Treating Your Sleep Problems Medication

With 35% of American adults experiencing insomnia every night, it is unsurprising why the sleeping pill is one of the most prescribed medications in the country.

Over the last 10 to 15 years, new sleep medications have been introduced into the market, each with a different degree of hangover, side effects, and risk of dependency than that of the previous sleep drug. Today’s generation of sleep medications assure users that they would get a good night’s sleep without the hangover.

The advantages of new sleep medications

Older sleep medications such as benzodiazepines, more popularly known as Valium or Xanax, affect how you sleep by decreasing the amount of time spent in certain stages of sleep particularly during the deepest stages. Because of this, users usually end up groggy and suffering from hangover.

Newer batch of sleeping drugs are called non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, which come in brands such as Ambien, Ambien CR, Rozerem, Sonata, and Lunesta. They have a relatively short half-life, lessening the chances of hangover once the user wakes up.

The new sleep aids are also less likely to cause addiction, withdrawal symptoms, or a buildup of tolerance. This is because they only act on specific receptors in the brain that are focused on sleep rather than multiple receptors that older medications affect.

The disadvantages of new sleep medications

As much as these new sleep medications cause less hangover and addiction towards the drug, not everyone can be prescribed to it.

For instance, these drugs are not recommended for people suffering from insomnia because of sleep-related breathing disorders of restless leg syndrome because experts say it would not address the underlying problems. Pregnant women also should not take these medications, as well as those who frequently wake up in the middle of the night for work or taking care of a child.

These non-benzodiazepine hypnotics have also recently been linked to some unusual side effects. The FDA issued a warning that Ambien and Lunesta can cause bizarre behaviors during sleep such as sleepwalking, and even night eating syndrome, when users binge on foods without their consciousness. Severe allergic reactions and facial swelling have also been reported when taking these medications.


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