Follow These Tips When Taking Prescription or Over-the-Counter Sleep Medications

Health & Medical Blog

There are many different types of sleep medicine available these days. Some are sold over-the-counter, and others are only available by prescription. Each medication has its own possible side effects and dosing instructions, and you should certainly read the label to make sure you know what these are. The following tips, however, should be followed regardless of which sleep medication you are taking in order to reduce your risk of side effects and help ensure a good result.

1. Take the pill after you are relaxing, and when you are ready to go to bed.

You do not want to take your sleeping pill, do the dishes, and then go to bed, for example. You should take the pill as you are climbing into bed, or right before you leave the bathroom to walk to your bedroom. Sleeping pills can kick in quickly, and if you are still up doing things when the medication begins to work, you may do something silly or irresponsible. You may also then have trouble falling asleep when you do lay down in bed. Finish everything you have to do, get into a relaxed mood, and then take your pill.

2. Avoid alcohol. 

Many people rely on alcohol to fall asleep. This can be a sign of untreated insomnia that would be better managed with sleeping pills. So now that you have sleeping medication to rely on, put alcohol aside. Mixing the two is never a good idea. It can lead to sleepwalking, bad dreams, and abnormal heart rhythms — even with some over-the-counter sleeping pills. 

3. Aim to get a full night's sleep.

Most sleeping pills are designed to be effective for 8 hours. This means you will be groggy for 8 hours, and if you wake up before those 8 hours are up, you may be delirious and unable to do things such as operate machinery or drive your car safely. Only take sleeping pills when you know you have time for a full night's sleep. If you're just trying to take a nap, or if you have to be up in 4 hours to drive to the airport, then do not take your sleeping medicine. 

Your doctor and the medicine label can give you more information about the specific medication you are taking. However, with any sleeping medication, the advice above will help prevent you from developing side effects and suffering from unwanted consequences.


21 October 2020

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