Do sleeping pills work?

Do sleeping pills work? This is a question that many people ask, and the answer is not always clear. There are many different types of sleeping pills on the market, and they all claim to be the best solution for insomnia. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at sleeping pills and explore whether or not they are really effective. We will also discuss the risks associated with using sleeping pills and provide tips for getting a good night’s sleep without them!

What is a sleeping pill?

Sleeping pills, as the name implies, are used to help you get some rest. People who have sleep problems such as insomnia may use sleeping pills to aid in their relaxation. If you’re a frequent bedwetter, sleeping medications can also assist you in remaining asleep if you tend to wake up during the night.

Are sleeping pills suitable for you?

It’s the middle of the night, and you’re lying in bed, thinking about work or bills or the kids. It’s tempting to take a sleeping pill or sleep aid when sleeplessness persists. And you may get it right now. However, if you have difficulty sleeping on a regular basis, this is an indication that something is wrong. It might be as simple as drinking too much coffee or watching television late at night. It’s also possible that it’s a sign of an underlying medical or psychological problem. Whatever it is, however, sleeping pills will not cure it. Sleeping pills are best thought of as a stopgap measure. At their worst, they’re addictive crutches that can make sleep deprivation worse in the long run.

That doesn’t imply you should never take medicine, but it’s critical to consider the advantages and drawbacks. Sleeping pills and sleep aids are most effective when used infrequently for short-term purposes, such as going across time zones or recovering from a surgical procedure. If you decide to use sleeping pills over a longer period of time, it is ideal to only take them on an occasional basis “as needed,” rather than relying on them on a daily basis.

How effective are sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills, according to research, do not aid in the promotion of a good night’s sleep. The majority of people who use sleeping pills fall asleep approximately eight to 20 minutes faster than those who don’t take them. On average, you may expect an additional 35 minutes of sleep.

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Sleep medications should generally be used for a short time. They might be most beneficial if you’re unable to sleep as a result of a traumatic life occurrence, such as a divorce or the death of a family member.

How do sleeping pills work?

sleep disorders

Sleeping pills come in a variety of forms. Each has its own set of characteristics. Some sleep aids induce drowsiness, while others shut down the region of the brain that keeps you awake.

Who might need sleeping pills?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 20% of Americans suffer from long-term sleeplessness. As you get older, sleep problems become more prevalent. Approximately one-third of elderly people take some form of sleep medication.

What are the types of over-the-counter sleeping pills?

A pharmacy is where you can purchase over-the-counter sleep medications. OTC sleep treatments often include an antihistamine. This medication treats allergies as well as makes you drowsy.

To sleep, some people use melatonin or valerian supplements. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body that helps you fall asleep. Valerian is a plant known to help with relaxation and sleep.

Although these medications are very accessible, you should consult your doctor before using them. Over-the-counter sleep aids (including vitamins) can cause drug interactions and exacerbate health problems.

Prescription sleep medications

sleep disorder

If you have a long-term insomnia problem, your doctor may prescribe medication to help. These types of medications are only available by prescription.

The most common sleeping pills prescribed for people with sleep disorders include:

• Nonbenzodiazepines (also called “Z drugs”). This class of drugs includes eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien).

• Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine drugs include alprazolam (Xanax) and triazolam (Halcion).

Benzodiazepine sedative sleeping pills

Benzodiazepines, which were originally designed to treat anxiety disorders and are now used to induce sleep, include the most popular class of sleeping pills. Benzodiazepines in general are considered more addictive than other insomnia sedative-hypnotics and are classified as controlled substances. Estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion) are some of the anti-anxiety benzodiazepines that have been authorized for use as sleeping medications.

Non-benzodiazepine sedative sleeping pills

While some newer drugs do not have the same chemical structure as a benzodiazepine, they act on the same region of the brain. They are considered to have fewer unwanted side effects and a lower risk of dependency, but they are still classified as controlled substances. Zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), for example, have been studied for longer-term usage, up to six months.

Herbal and dietary supplements for sleep that can help

sleep eating

There are a number of natural sleep medications on the market. Because dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, you should do your research. Despite the fact that the evidence is conflicting, the following ingredients have been shown to be effective as insomnia remedies with strong scientific evidence:

Valerian: Valerian is a calming herb that has been utilized since the second century A.D. to treat sleeplessness and anxiety. It is supposed to improve GABA levels in the brain, which is believed to help people relax. Although valerian’s use for insomnia hasn’t been extensively studied, promising evidence suggests it may be beneficial, and it

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Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that is released at night. It’s responsible for the sleepiness that sets in after dark. Melatonin levels rise at night and drop during the day, though it does not appear to be very beneficial for treating most sleep disorders. It can aid in coping with jet lag and shift work-induced sleeplessness by helping people. However, only simple exposure to light at the appropriate moment might be just as beneficial. If you use melatonin, keep in mind that it may counteract certain blood pressure and diabetes medications. It’s preferable to stay with low dosages—one to three milligrams for most individuals—to minimize adverse effects and next-day drowsiness.

Chamomile: Chamomile is a popular herbal tea. Many people drink chamomile tea for its soothing effects, although it can trigger allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to plants or pollen. Bring water to a boil, then add two to three tea bags (or the equivalent of loose-leaf tea), cover with a lid, and let steep for

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is used to make the chemical messenger serotonin, a substance in the brain that helps your body tell you to sleep. L-tryptophan is a frequent byproduct of tryptophan, which the body may transform into serotonin. Some studies have shown that L-tryptophan can

Kava: Kava is a plant root extract that has been used in South Pacific cultures for hundreds of years to help people relax and fall asleep. Kava has been found to enhance sleep in individuals with stress-related insomnia. Kava, on the other hand, can induce liver damage, so it should only be taken under close medical supervision.

Lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender are just a few of the herbs that have been discovered to have a soothing or sedative effect. Many natural sleep aids incorporate a blend of these elements in order to enhance sleep.

Tips for the safe use of sleeping pills

prescription sleeping pill

If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t ignore the problem. If your lack of sleep is affecting your quality of life or daytime productivity, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

  • Don’t take a sleeping pill every night for more than two weeks without consulting your doctor to make sure it won’t interfere with other medications you’re taking.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take other sedatives while taking a sleeping pill.
  • Never drive or operate heavy machinery after taking a sleeping pill.

Be aware that it can take up to four weeks for the full effects of some sleeping pills to be felt. If you don’t feel any improvement after four weeks, talk to your doctor about trying a different medication or dosage.

For better sleep, choose healthy habits, not pills.

Try to establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.

Exercise is a powerful sleeping pill

Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, but not within three hours of bedtime.

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Don’t eat or drink anything that contains caffeine four to six hours before bedtime (coffee, tea, and soda are common sources). Don’t smoke either — nicotine is also a stimulant.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is superior to sleeping pills

CBT is a form of therapy that helps you identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you from sleeping well. CBT has been shown to be more effective than sleeping pills in the long term, with few or no side effects.

Relaxation techniques as an alternative to sleeping pills

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation. These can be done before bedtime or during the night if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep.


Sleeping pills are a short-term solution, and they have side effects. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about the best option for treating your insomnia. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication or recommend other ways of improving sleep, such as relaxing before bedtime or keeping a regular sleep schedule.


How long do sleeping pills take to kick in?

Usually, the effects of sleeping pills take hold within 30 to 60 minutes. For some medications, it can be as long as 90 minutes. You’ll fall asleep soon after taking one of these medications if you don’t have any other health issues that prevent your body from responding properly to them.

How do sleeping tablets help you sleep?

Sleeping pills work by binding to receptors in the brain and thus blocking signals that keep us awake. They increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which is a chemical messenger that helps to slow down activity in your nervous system. This results in a relaxed state similar to that experienced when using marijuana or opiates.

How long do sleeping pills last?

Most of the effects of sleeping pills don’t last very long at all and will wear off quickly – only a few hours after you take them. However, if you have been taking these medications on a regular basis then they can stay in your system for several days.

How do sleeping pills help with anxiety?

Sleeping pills work by binding to receptors in the brain and thus blocking signals that keep us awake. They increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which is a chemical messenger that helps to slow down activity in your nervous system. This results in a relaxed state similar to that experienced when using marijuana or opiates.

How long can you take sleeping pills?

You should only take sleeping tablets for up to two weeks at a time, and not every night either. If your insomnia persists after this period of time then talk with your doctor about other options such as cognitive behavioral therapy or relaxation techniques.

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Vaishnavi Shetty
Neurologist who specializes in the healthcare of patients with neurological disorders
Articles: 4

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