Archive for January 10th, 2007

Are Sleeping Pills Safe? Tips To Induce Sleep…

January 10, 2007

2265466448.jpgAnxiety, stress, too many things to think about, drinking too much coffee are some good reasons why people can’t sleep. Not getting enough sleep puts one at risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and depression.  And if this happens almost everyday, then almost always one will need to seek medical help.  And the obvious immediate help given is the sleeping pill!  But how safe are the Sleeping Pills?

Below is the list of available sleeping pills noting its duration of action and more specifically the risk of developing dependence which can be disabling in the future.   The ones highlighted are available to us locally.


  Duration of Effects Side Effects Dependence
Diphenhydramine   4-6 hours (sleepiness may last longer) Daytime sleepiness; confusion and difficulty urinating in older people. Low
Selective GABA Medicines

  • Ambien or Stillnox (zolpidem tartrate)
  • Ambien CR (zolpidem tartrate extended release)
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)
  • Sonata (zaleplon)
  6-8 hours Usually few. Memory disturbances, hallucinations, behavior changes possible. Med(usually low)
Sleep-Wake cycle Modifiers

  • Rozerem (ramelteon)
  4-6 hours Headache, drowsiness, dizziness. Uncommonly, problems with sex drive. Loss of menses or problems getting pregnant. Low

  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax or Xanor  (alprazolam)
  Varies (from 4 hours to more than 12) Sedation, loss of muscle coordination, dizziness, habit-forming. Higher
Tricyclic Antidepressants

  • Adapin (doxepin)
  • Aventyl (nortriptyline)
  • Elavil (amitriptyline)
  • Pamelor (nortriptyline)
  • Sinequan (doxepin)
  • Trazodone (desyrel)
. Not well studied Low at usual doses for insomnia. Dizziness, blurry vision, difficulty urinating, cardiac arrhythmias possible. Trazodone can cause prolonged, painful erections. Low

 Remember….all sleep medicines have untoward side effect and the most problematic of all is their potential for causing dependence…mainly psychological dependence, not physical.  So if you have to use these pills, get the one with the low dependence risk.

Before resorting to pills…I outlined some remedies in my previous post: Sleepless Nights?.  But do take time to try some other natural remedies that may help induce you to sleep tightly:

  • Warm milk contains high levels of tryptophan known to be a natural sedative.
  • Aromatherapy especially with massage using jasmine oil, lavender oil, and other relaxing essential oils, may actually help induce one to achieve sleep.
  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation may help.
  • And more importantly, avoid mentally stimulating activities in the evening hours… that is… don’t bring your job to bed!

Weigh the Risk Before Resorting To The Pills!

Read My Other Related Posts:

  1. Does Melatonin Work?
  2. Sleepless Nights? Why and What To Do
  3. Are You Getting Enough Sleep?