Sometimes quality sleep cannot be achieved through natural means alone. Many people in that situation are often prescribed sleep medication to help them begin to get the rest they need to be able to function normally during the day.
Unfortunately, some sleeping pills have significant side effects that can negatively impact both your waking and sleeping hours. Here are some side effects to be aware of when taking prescription sleep drugs:
Heartburn affects thousands of people every day, but taking sleep drugs can increase your potential for developing it. Many individuals taking sleeping pills are awakened by bouts of acid reflux, causing exposure to nighttime stomach acid. Over extended periods of time, the cells lining the esophagus can become damaged by the acid, and this may lead to esophageal cancer.
Compulsive behaviors may occur in individuals who suffer from restless leg syndrome. Studies have shown that taking a drug containing dopamine may quiet your restless legs, but it can also cause compulsive behaviors to develop, particularly gambling and eating habits. Because dopamine targets the reward receptors in the brain, people taking this drug to improve their quality of sleep should be aware of its side effects.
Sleepwalking, driving, and eating are all possible side effects of sleeping medications. In most cases, the individuals who participate in the activities don’t remember any of their actions the next morning. Although these cases are rare, they can still be dangerous if, for example, someone cooks a meal and leaves the gas on overnight.
Rebound insomnia happens when someone abruptly stops taking sleeping pills. This side effect causes the individual to experience similar or even worse insomnia than before starting the medication. It can also cause disturbing dreams, panic attacks, and increased anxiety upon waking. Always consult a doctor before stopping a medication, as you need to be slowly weaned off of sleeping drugs.
Dry mouth and chemical taste are often associated with sleeping pills. Some sleep aids contain an antihistamine, which causes dry mouth to occur. The chemical taste connected to some sleeping medications is a bitter one, making the process of taking pills an unpleasant one.
Addiction to sleeping pills is a realistic danger. People who are addicted to sleeping pills may exhibit any of the following side effects: trying and failing to quit the medication, frequently seeming detached or confused, ignoring professional and social obligations, and needing larger doses of pills to fall asleep. While many people need the assistance that sleeping pills can provide, it’s best to be on the alert for any side effects that may come with using them.