It’s hard to believe that there are side effects for sleeping pills, but it’s true. Sleeping tablets can have a variety of different side effects, and knowing about them before you start taking them is important. This article will discuss the most common side effects associated with sleeping tablets so that you know what to expect if you decide to take these medications!

Sleeping pills

sleep eating

“Sedative sleeping pills” is the most common type of sleeping pill. This is a distinct group of medicines that are used to induce sleep or keep you asleep. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics are examples of sedatives.

Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Librium, valium, and Xanax are anti-anxiety medications. They also promote drowsiness and aid in the fall asleep of individuals. Halcion is a benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic drug that has largely been supplanted by more up-to-date drugs. While these medications might be useful in the short term, all benzodiazepines have the potential to become habit-forming and lead to memory and attention difficulties over time. They are generally not suggested for the long-term treatment of sleeping disorders.

Barbiturates, like other sedative-hypnotics, have a sedative effect on the central nervous system and can cause a drowsy situation. Barbiturates are used as sedatives or hypnotics in small doses or long terms. However, only for anesthesia do these sleep medications become important. They can be deadly if taken in excessive quantities.

Sleeping pills and other sleep aids have improved. Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata are examples of drowsy-inducing medicines that bind to the same brain receptors as benzodiazepines. They’re less habit-forming than Benzodiazepines, but they can still cause physical dependence over time. They may help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep soundly. Rozerem, another sleeping pill, works differently than other sleeping pills. It modifies a brain chemical called melatonin and is not addictive. Belsomra is a unique sleep aid that targets orexin, a brain neurotransmitter. And it’s not addicting. Silenor (low-dose doxepin) is a low-dosage form of the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin that isn’t addictive.

Types of prescription sleeping pills

Sleeping pills can make it easier to fall asleep or sleep longer—or both. The advantages and disadvantages of different prescription sleeping pills may differ. To determine the best prescription drug for falling asleep, your doctor will usually need to:

  • To obtain a clear picture of your sleeping routine, ask questions.
  • Check your sleep habits and get tests for any underlying conditions that may be affecting your rest.
  • Consider taking a prescription sleeping pill, including how often and when to take it, as well as the form in which you’re going to take it.
  • To determine if Ambien is right for you, prescribe a sleeping pill for a limited time to see whether it provides any advantages and drawbacks.
  • Have you ever tried another prescription sleeping pill if the first one you take doesn’t work after the full course of treatment?
  • To assist you in determining whether a generic version of a product is typically less expensive than a proprietary drug.

Insurers may have restrictions on which sleeping medications are covered by insurance, and they may demand that you try other methods first.

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills and sleeping pills

sleep disorders

Over-the-counter sleeping pills, on the other hand, include antihistamines as their most active component and cause drowsiness.

  • Common over-the-counter sleep medications include
  • Diphenhydramine (found in brands such as Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compiz)
  • Doxylamine (trademarks such as Unisom, Nighttime Sleep Aid)

Antihistamines are sometimes used in conjunction with acetaminophen (found in brands such as Tylenol PM) to treat aching muscles. Others, such as NyQuil, include antihistamines with ethanol.

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Side effects

The disadvantage of antihistamines is that their sedative effects typically last for more than one day, resulting in a hangover the next day. They can also cause forgetfulness and headaches with prolonged usage. Sleep experts do not encourage the regular use of antihistamines because of these side effects.

  • Common side effects of antihistamine sleeping pills
  • Moderate or severe drowsiness the next day.
  • Dizziness and forgetfulness.
  • Clumsiness, a sense of loss of balance.
  • Constipation and urinary retention.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry mouth and throat.
  • Nausea.

Prescription sleep medications

sleep disorders

Sedative sleeping pills are a type of prescription sleep medication that acts on the brain to cause drowsiness. In general, these substances impact receptors in the brain, slowing down the nervous system. Some medicines are used to induce sleep and others to keep people asleep. Some of them have a greater potential for dependency than others (longer half-life), while some have a higher addiction risk.

Benzodiazepine sleeping pills

Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a type of sedative-hypnotic that has been used for decades. Because they are a group, benzodiazepines have been found to be more addictive than other sleep aids and are classified as controlled substances. Benzodiazepines that have been authorized for the treatment of sleeplessness include estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion).

Side effects

  • Benzodiazepines have a high potential for dependence and addiction. They can cause physical and psychological dependency. You may believe you can’t sleep without them, and when you stop taking them, you may experience physical symptoms such as anxiety and sleeplessness.
  • Sleeping pills become less effective if taken at night because the brain receptors lose sensitivity to their effects. Benzodiazepines can lose their effectiveness within three to four weeks.
  • The overall quality of your sleep may be reduced because to less restorative deep and REM sleep.
  • On the third day, you may have cognitive dullness and drowsiness (the hangover effect), which might be even more severe than the lethargy you experience from genuine sleep deprivation.
  • Even if the drug is effective throughout its use, insomnia reoccurs after it has been discontinued. Instead of battling sleeplessness, you merely put off the issue, just as you would with all sleeping pills.
  • There may be a link between dementia and the use of benzos. Although an investigation is currently underway, there are concerns that benzodiazepine consumption might lead to dementia.

Non-Benzodiazepine sleeping pills

Some new medications do not have the same chemical structure as benzodiazepines, but they work in the same part of the brain. They are considered to have fewer negative effects and a lower risk of addiction, but they are still classified as controlled substances. Zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), which have been evaluated for extended usage, up to six months, are examples of these.

Side effects

Non-benzodiazepines have fewer disadvantages than benzodiazepines, but this does not make them ideal for everyone. It may appear to some that this sort of sleeping pill isn’t efficient in promoting sleep, despite the fact that long-term effects are unknown.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently ordered manufacturers of ambien and similar sleeping medications to lower the recommended dosage due to the dangerous possibility of morning drowsiness while driving, especially in women. Other symptoms include:

  • Tolerance to drugs.
  • Recurrent insomnia.
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • In some cases, dangerous sleep-related behaviors such as sleepwalking, driving while asleep and overeating while asleep.
  • New or worsening depression; suicidal thoughts or actions.


sleep disorder

Ramelteon (Roserem) is a new sleep medication that simulates the hormone melatonin, which govern sleep. It has a low probability of physical dependence and comes with its own set of adverse effects. It’s indicated for difficulties with falling asleep and isn’t effective for falling asleep on time.

Side effects

Dizziness is the most common Ramelteon adverse effect. It can also make depression symptoms worse and should not be used by those with severe liver damage.


Antidepressants have not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of sleep disorders, and their use has not been proved to be effective in treating sleep problems. However, because of their sleepy properties, some antidepressants are not used for their intended purpose. There is a tiny yet real risk of suicidal thoughts or worsening depression when taking any anti-depressant, particularly in children and teenagers.

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Taking sleeping pills

If you’ve been trying to get a decent night’s sleep and haven’t had any luck, prescription sleeping pills may be useful. Here are some pointers on how to use them safely.

Get a medical report. Consult a doctor for a thorough examination before taking sleeping pills. If your insomnia is due to an underlying condition, your doctor may be able to identify it. If you’ve been using sleeping pills for longer than a few weeks, see your doctor about an appropriate follow-up plan to talk about your therapy.

Read the medication guide. Read the medication handbook for patients to find out how and when to take the drug, as well as what common adverse effects it might cause. If you have any queries, contact your pharmacist or doctor.

Never take sleeping pills until you go to bed. Sleeping pills can make you less aware of what you are doing, increasing the risk of dangerous situations. Wait to take a sleeping pill until you finish all your evening chores, just before you plan to sleep.

Take a sleeping pill when you can get a good night’s sleep. Taking sleeping pills should be a last resort. Only take them if you know that you’ll be able to sleep for at least seven or eight hours straight. Short-acting sleeping pills are meant to wake you up in the middle of the night so that you can stay in bed for at least four hours.

Watch out for side effects. If you’re feeling sleepy or dizzy during the day, or if you experience any other serious adverse effects, discuss reducing the dose or stopping the pills with your doctor. On the eve of a crucial meeting or occasion, do not take a new sleeping pill since you will not know how it will affect you.

Avoid alcohol. If you must consume alcohol, it’s best not to combine it with sleeping pills. Sleeping pills have a sleep-inducing (rather than sedative) effect when taken in moderation. Even a little amount of alcohol can make you feel dizzy, confused, or faint when combined with sleeping pills. Combining alcohol and certain sleeping medicines might result in serious breathing issues or loss of consciousness. In addition, drinking might cause sleeplessness.

Take sleeping pills strictly as prescribed by a doctor. Prescription sleeping pills are intended for periods of no more than 14 days. Consult a physician before using any medicine. Also, don’t take more than the prescription dose. If the first dosage does not work, do not take additional tablets unless advised by your doctor.

Step out carefully. When you’re ready to stop taking sleeping pills, follow the directions of your doctor or pharmacist or the label’s instructions. Some medicines need to be gradually tapered down. Also, keep in mind that after stopping sleeping pills, you could experience short-term sleeplessness for a few days.

Who should be afraid of sleeping pills?

sleep disorder

Taking a sleeping pill is a serious decision that should always be carefully weighed, and first and foremost you should talk to your doctor about the dangers and benefits. When taking sleeping pills, certain individuals are at higher risk. People who fall into one of these categories are more likely to experience adverse events when taking sleeping pills:

  • Those who have asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at risk of experiencing severe breathing problems. Some sleeping pills can cause sleep apnea and exacerbate the potential for respiratory failure. People with low blood pressure and arrhythmias should likewise avoid taking sleeping medications.
  • People who have liver or kidney illnesses. These disorders impact the body’s metabolism, which may lead to longer daytime disruptions and drowsiness as a result of altered metabolisms.
  • Pregnant or nursing women should not take this medicine. Some sleeping pills are known to have a higher risk of causing depression, memory loss, and poor coordination in pregnant women. Doctors may advise against taking them altogether. If medication is required, doctors may prescribe it at lower dosages.
  • The elderly. Side effects of sleeping pills, according to studies, are more likely in older people, including dizziness, nausea, imbalance, confusion, and sedation. This may raise the risk of falling or harm. If sleeping pills are required, doctors may prescribe a lower dose to reduce the danger.
  • Other medicines may interact badly with sleeping pills, posing a greater risk of side effects. If you’re on any other drugs or supplements, discuss them with your doctor before taking sleeping pills.
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Can there be an allergy to sleeping pills?

People may react to any medicine, whether because of the medicine’s active component or any of its inactive components (such as dyes, binders, or coatings). People who are allergic to a particular sleeping pill should avoid using it. It is critical to notify your doctor if you experience one of these severe side effects, such as:

  • Blurred vision or any other vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • The feeling that the throat is closing
  • Beehives
  • Hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Vomiting


If you can’t sleep, ask a doctor about the side effects of sleeping pills. Together with your physician and pharmacist, find safe alternatives to sleeping pills if you need to.

Sleep is a vital activity of our body, and we should maintain active lifestyles in order to get better sleep quality at night. Good habits can help us keep healthy minds and bodies so that we could have the ability to fight off diseases as well as side effects induced by medicines such as sleeping pills.


Is it harmful to take sleeping pills every night?

No, it isn’t. As long as you obey the doctor’s instructions and use sleeping pills in moderate doses, they are safe to take regularly over time.

Falling asleep after taking a pill is not always harmful either; if you fall asleep before your usual bedtime while under medical supervision or at least once prescribed by a physician, this side effect may actually be considered beneficial for those with insomnia disorder.

What problems can sleeping pills cause?

The side effects of sleeping pills can vary depending on the person and the medicine. However, some common problems include daytime sleepiness, dizziness, impaired balance, confusion, hallucinations, and memory loss. Sleeping pills should be avoided if you have liver or kidney disease, asthma or COPD, low blood pressure, or an irregular heartbeat. Pregnant women and those over 65 years old are also at a higher risk for experiencing adverse events when taking sleeping pills. Taking other medications along with sleeping pills may also increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects. Always consult your doctor before taking any new medication.

Are there long-term risks associated with using sleeping pills?

Yes. While occasional use of sleeping pills is generally safe for most people, using them every night can lead to dependence and long-term health risks. Sleeping pills can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to function normally during the day. They may also increase your risk of falls and other accidents. If you find that you need to use sleeping pills every night, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

How do I know if I’m allergic to a sleeping pill?

If you experience any severe side effects after taking a sleeping pill, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, or hives, contact your doctor immediately. You may be allergic to the medicine. Notify your doctor if you have any other symptoms after taking a sleeping pill, such as blurred vision or chest pain. These could be signs of a more serious problem.

Scientific Sources


Jake Ferree

I am interested in studying everything related to medicine, psychology, a healthy lifestyle, and self-development. My knowledge is constantly updated and all the information that I have will be shared with you on the pages of this blog. Therefore, blog topics are very diverse.
I have become a healthy and happy person. I'll teach you too.
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