Prolonged periods of insomnia can reduce energy, create unstable moods, affect productivity at work, decrease health and reduce quality of life. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that 20 percent of Americans use some form of sleep medication on a regular basis. Ambien, a sedative medication used in the short-term treatment of insomnia, will put you to sleep quickly. Using Ambien regularly, however, increases the risk of dependency, withdrawal symptoms, repeat bouts of insomnia and side effects.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Ambien, a non-benzodiazepines hypnotic, works on the GABA-A receptor sites in the brain. This type of drug is generally prescribed for short-term use, with treatment lasting seven to 10 days. Similar non-benzodiazepines hypnotics are available by prescription only, including Lunesta, Sonata and Rozerem. All non-benzodiazepines medication can cause side effects that may include severe allergic reactions, unusual behavior, fatigue, headaches and morning sedation. Benzodiazepines, a different class of sedative medication, carries higher risks for severe side effects, dependency and withdrawal symptoms, notes UMMC. Often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system. Prescription benzodiazepines include Xanax, Klonopin and Halcion.
- Ambien, a non-benzodiazepines hypnotic, works on the GABA-A receptor sites in the brain.
- Benzodiazepines, a different class of sedative medication, carries higher risks for severe side effects, dependency and withdrawal symptoms, notes UMMC.
How to Take Dramamine to Fall Asleep
Over-the-counter sleep medications, which contain antihistamines, can induce sleepiness. The Mayo Clinic notes that antihistamines may reduce the quality of sleep and bring on daytime drowsiness. OTC sleep aids should only be used for a few days at a time. Overuse can build up a tolerance and dependency on them. Some OTC sleep medications, like Tylenol PM, contain additional pain relievers. Brand name examples of OTC sleep medications, usually found at most large chain pharmacies, include Nytol, Sominex and Unisom.
- Over-the-counter sleep medications, which contain antihistamines, can induce sleepiness.
- Some OTC sleep medications, like Tylenol PM, contain additional pain relievers.
Melatonin, a hormone made by the body, which helps regulate the body’s natural sleep cycles, can be found in supplemental form. According to FamilyDoctor.org, melatonin is used to treat insomnia and jet lag. Additional research is needed on the possible side effects of long-term use of melatonin. Valerian root and chamomile, which are herbal supplements used to treat insomnia and anxiety, work in a similar manner as benzodiazepines. Both herbs have a sedative-like effect, which can calm the body and mind, and should not be taken with other sleep medications. Valerian and chamomile are found in tea, capsule, tincture and extract forms. Prolonged use of chamomile can increase ragweed allergies.
- Melatonin, a hormone made by the body, which helps regulate the body’s natural sleep cycles, can be found in supplemental form.
- Valerian root and chamomile, which are herbal supplements used to treat insomnia and anxiety, work in a similar manner as benzodiazepines.
Effexor Side Effects: Insomnia
Taking medication to induce sleep can be a temporary fix for insomnia. The Mayo Clinic recommends lifestyle and behavior changes, which may permanently help treat sleeplessness 1. Creating a sleep routine, by attempting to go to bed and wake at the same time every day, can help to set the body's natural sleep rhythms. Limit eating large meals close to bedtime and reduce intake of caffeinated beverages after lunchtime. Create a relaxing and inviting environment in the bedroom. In the hour before bedtime, allow the body to wind down by taking a bath, reading a book, or practicing deep breathing and meditation.
- Taking medication to induce sleep can be a temporary fix for insomnia.
- Creating a sleep routine, by attempting to go to bed and wake at the same time every day, can help to set the body's natural sleep rhythms.
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- Mayo Clinic: Insomnia: Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- Family Doctor: Melatonin
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Insomnia.
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- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Insomnia.
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- Sateia MJ, Buysse DJ, Krystal AD, Neubauer DN, Heald JL. Clinical practice guideline for the pharmacologic treatment of chronic insomnia in adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(2):307-349. doi:10.5664/jcsm.6470
- Saddichha S. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic insomnia. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2010;13(2):94–102. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.64628
- National Sleep Foundation. What causes insomnia?
- Pacek LR, Herrmann ES, Smith MT, Vandrey R. Sleep continuity, architecture and quality among treatment-seeking cannabis users: An in-home, unattended polysomnographic study. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017;25(4):295–302. doi:10.1037/pha0000126
- Qaseem A, et al. Management of chronic insomnia disorder in adults: A clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165(2):125-33. doi:10.7326/M15-2175
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. International classification of sleep disorders, 3rd ed. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2014.
Rachel Venokur-Clark is a certified holistic health counselor through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Venokur-Clark is trained in all the different dietary theories, Eastern and Western nutrition, modern health issues, personal growth and development, and health counseling.