Getting eight hours of sleep on a regular basis should be a universal goal for healthy living; however, this is easier said than done. Various factors contribute to sleep deprivation and sleeplessness and many individuals suffer from lack of sleep ranging from mild to severe. This is why sleeping aids and medications in pill form have been around for a while now and major pharmaceutical companies are always trying to go to the next level in terms of drugs that aid sleep with minimal side effects and maximum effectiveness. Your local pharmacy retails a variety of sleeping pills with varying effects and side effects; and even though sleeping medications are strictly prescription drugs; having some knowledge of these drugs; their chemical composition, effects and side effects is always a good idea and this article aims to shed light on this subject.
Top 5 Medications to Manage Sleeplessness & Insomnia
Listed below are the top 5 most commonly used sleeping medications with all the information you need to know about each of these prescription drugs. Read further to know more.
Doxepin (Silenor) falls into the category of prescription medications known as Tricyclic antidepressants. The primary use of doxepin is to help sustain an uninterrupted 7 to 8 hours of sleep and is primarily used to treat symptoms of sleeplessness and insomnia. As doxepin is a prescription medication for sleep and depression; they should be taken as directed by a doctor. However, this medication is generally taken at the same time every day, on an empty stomach or later than 3 hours after a meal and not more than 6 mg per day.
Side Effects of Doxepin: Doxepin (Silenor) comes with minor side effects like drowsiness and nausea. However, if the problem persists; your physician might prescribe a substitute. Since Doxepin (Silenor) is an antidepressant, it may have an opposite reaction of worsening depression which is a documented side effect of antidepressants in some cases.
This medication for sleeplessness and insomnia belongs to a category of drugs known as sedative hypnotics; Estazolam is a triple action sleeping aid that helps an individual fall asleep faster, stay asleep for 7 to 8 hours and prevents frequent waking up during the night. All these qualities make Estazolam one of the better medications for sleep. This prescription medication for sleeplessness and insomnia should be used as per directions of your physician. However, this drug is usually taken with or without food; right before bedtime. There is a potential for addiction to sleeping aids such as Estazolam that fall into the hypnotic sedative category of drugs and they also come with additional withdrawal symptoms. This is the primary reason why Estazolam is a strictly prescription drug for sleep.
Side Effects of Estazolam: Like other hypnotic sedatives; Estazolam comes with a fair share of side effects including dizziness, coordination problems, and sleepiness during the day and even major side effects like memory loss, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts which must reported to a doctor immediately.
Yet another sedative hypnotic; Eszopiclone (Lunesta) helps those afflicted by insomnia to fall asleep and stay asleep for 7 to 8 hours along with preventing frequent waking during the night. Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is best used for a limited period of time for insomnia, as this medication can lead to addiction and even withdrawal symptoms.
Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is best taken right before bedtime; with or without a light meal. Like all sleeping aids; directions for use are to be laid down by your doctor and a starting dose generally doesn’t exceed 1 mg. Most sedative hypnotics can cause rebound insomnia, which is trouble falling asleep for the first 2 or 3 days once medication is stopped and this is not a cause for concern.
Side Effects of Eszopiclone: The minor side effects of Eszopiclone (Lunesta) are dizziness, trouble with coordination, dry mouth and lingering unpleasant taste in the mouth. Major side effects that need to be reported to your doctor immediately are; memory loss, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.
Temazepam (Restoril) is the 3rd sedative hypnotic on this list and is a widely prescribed sleeping medication for those afflicted by advanced cases of sleeplessness or insomnia. Like most sedative hypnotics; temazepam (Restoril) users are vulnerable to dependence and addiction due to which, this sleeping medicine should be used for limited periods of time. This sleeping pill should be taken orally, as directed by your doctor. Taking temazepam (Restoril) right before bedtime results in 7 to 8 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep.
Side Effects of Temazepam: Like most sedative hypnotics; temazepam might result in minor side effects like dizziness and failure to maintain balance at certain times and sleepiness during the day, which can be helped by reducing the dosage. Major side effects of this sleeping medication like suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, worsening depression and anxiety must be reported to your doctor immediately.
Ramelteon (Rozerem) mimics the functions of melatonin that is a hormone naturally produced by the human body. Ramelteon’s primary use is to help insomniacs fall asleep faster and has no bearing on the number of sleep hours achieved and doesn’t prevent sleep interruptions in any way. This sleeplessness and insomnia medication doesn’t lead to addiction or dependence and discontinuing its usage doesn’t result in any withdrawal symptoms. Doctor’s directions are to be followed while taking this medication; however, Rozerem is best taken 30 minutes before bedtime; with or without meals. All this makes Rozerem one of the better sleeping medication.
Side Effects of Rozerem: Minor side effects of Rozerem are dizziness, sleepiness during the day and prolonged drowsiness. Major side effects that need to be reported to your doctor as soon as possible are; nipple discharges, decreased sexual desires, irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods, failure to conceive and drastic mood changes that involve suicidal thoughts and depression.
In conclusion; it is important to reiterate that all the medications for sleep listed above are strictly prescription drugs and there is no room for compromise in regards to taking up the use of these drugs as sleeping aids with a doctor’s green signal. One must also note that these medications are not the only sleeping aids available and serious side effects should be reported to your doctor; to avail of substitutes that may prove to be better for you. All in all; your doctor is the best person to decide whether you require medication for sleep, your requirement in terms of dosage and the duration.
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