Sleeping aids can be used by many people for many reasons. People who experience bouts of anxiety or depression which keep them up at night can merit the use of medications which induce sleep. Insomniacs may also have gotten to the point where sleeping is completely impossible without the aid of the habitual use of sleeping pills. These cases and more have proven that the use of sleeping aids have valid medical uses.
People who do not suffer from any sleep depriving diseases can use sleeping pills or other sleeping aids simply to have a more comfortable sleep at night. However, leisure use of sleeping aids can quickly devolve into dependence and addiction, and should be moderated whenever use has become fairly regular. Regardless of your reason for wanting to use sleeping aids, be sure to check with your doctor before making it a habit.
Kinds of Sleeping Aids
Sleeping aids can come in all shapes and forms, from off the shelf or prescription drugs found in your local drugstore to homemade solutions such as herbal teas or music therapy. A person suffering from a disorder which stunts his or her ability to sleep may benefit from these methods which may aid sleep, whether it includes the use of synthetic drugs or natural solutions.
Sleeping pills and some kinds of off the shelf sleep medications are generally more effective when used for short term situations, such as long flights on airplanes across time zones or recovering from some forms of medical procedures. Medical treatments for the early stages of insomnia or other severe forms of sleep deprivation disorders may also call for more serious and powerful sleep inducing medications. Instead taking sleep medication on a daily basis, some sleep disorders are only to be taken when needed to avoid addiction or dependence. It is always important to consult a health care professional before starting any kind of medication.
Over the counter sleeping pills sold at many drugstores may contain a chemical known as antihistamine. As a substance used to treat allergies or common cold symptoms, antihistamines can be found in other common drugstore medications such as Benadryl. The opposite chemical histamine, a chemical brain messenger, is known to promote wakefulness; the opposite chemical antihistamine has the effect of inducing sleepiness.
Primarily used to treat some kinds of anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines are the one of the oldest kinds of sleep medications still in common usage today. Benzodiazepines, however, are a group of medications thought to have a higher risk of addiction and dependence than other insomnia medications, sedatives or hypnotics. This class of insomnia medications are still classified as controlled substances.
Melatonin based medications are a relatively new form of sleeping aids which work by mimicking the hormone melatonin, the sleep regulation hormone contained in your body. It is commonly used for sleep onset problems instead of problems where the person has problems staying asleep. While the risk of addiction is low compared to other common sleep medications, there are known side effects to melatonin drugs.
Moving into more natural sleeping aids, valerian is a herb that has been used as a natural remedy for insomnia for ages. Today, has been accepted in European countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy as common, over the counter sleeping aids. Exactly how valerian works in the body is still not entirely understood, but recent medical studies have found trace amounts of the calming neurotransmitter known as GABA.
For the insomniac not willing to risk the side effects of drugs and prescribed medications and pills, there are more natural relaxation techniques which may be considered as legitimate sleeping aids. Visualization is a method where the person imagines a relaxing scene to fall asleep, and is commonly depicted on television as a person counting sheep. There are indeed other natural methods of relaxation techniques, such as doing yoga, music therapy, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Side Effects of Some Sleeping Aids
Many medications may come with side effects which may counter the effects of the sleeping aids. It is important to abide by a few general guidelines before taking any kind of medication, as well as the advice of a trained medical professional such as a doctor or practicing physician.
Consult a medical professional before combining certain sleeping aids with other medications you are taking. This also includes non prescription and over the counter medications such as common pain killers and allergy medicines, as well as the majority of natural herbal supplements. Combining medications have the potential to be very dangerous.
There should be specific instructions for decreasing or terminating the use of a medication when your sleeping disorder or ailment has signs of disappearing, or if the medication is simply not working. Stopping medication suddenly or abruptly may cause discomforting side effects and may even cause a relapse of insomnia in some cases.
Medications which are used intermittently instead of regular nightly use may be prescribed in order to decrease the sleeping aids’ negative side effects, or to increase the efficiency when used. However, this may not be appropriate with all kinds of medications, as some may cause extreme cases of withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped abruptly.
Factor in the usage of your sleeping aids with other medical conditions that you may have. Some sleeping aids and drugs can have serious side effects on people with certain medical problems such as high blood pressure, liver problems, glaucoma, depression, in addition to other kinds of medical problems. Again, consult a doctor before going ahead with the use of some sleeping aids.