Sleeping pills can be effective at helping you get a good night’s rest, but it is important to consider the risks and side effects. Many sleeping pill users develop tolerance and dependence to the drug, which can lead to misuse and addiction. Additionally, long-term use can be very harmful to your health and can actually cause chronic insomnia.
Medications such as benzodiazepines (Lunesta, Ambien), melatonin, and barbiturates are used for insomnia because they produce a deep and rapid sleep. However, these medications can be habit-forming, and they may lead to next-day grogginess, memory impairment, and difficulty concentrating. They can also increase the risk of accidents and injuries, especially if taken with alcohol or other depressants.
Other medications that can cause sleepiness include antidepressants, sedative-hypnotics, and some antihistamines. These drugs are not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma, and liver problems. In addition, they may interact with other substances, such as dietary supplements and some pain relievers.
Overdose on a sleeping pill is rare and can be life-threatening, depending on the type of medication and dose. Benzodiazepine overdoses, for example, can cause respiratory depression and be fatal. However, overdose on a less dangerous sleeping pill, such as melatonin, is very unlikely.