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Are the Side Effects of Sleeping Pills Worth IT?


IF YOU HAVE INSOMNIA, just making it through the day can be a challenge. There’s nothing worse than being exhausted and climbing into bed, only to toss and turn, unable to get more than a few minutes of dozing in at a time.

The struggle is most definitely real.

When you’re so tired you could cry, sleeping pills can be a huge temptation. For many people, pills provide excellent relief and allow them to get some much-needed rest.

Before you rush out to try an over-the-counter sleep aid or ask your doctor for a prescription, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of sleeping pills. Many come with side effects, and all should be used carefully and only as directed. Make sure the benefits of that good night’s sleep outweigh the risks.

Common Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are sedatives, some of which can be habit forming if not taken correctly or relied upon for too long a period. Be sure to check with your doctor before using any sleeping pills. Sleeping pills, like any medication, also have side effects:

    • Digestive changes, such as constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, excess gas or loss of appetite
    • Dizziness or difficulty with balance
    • Drowsiness or other impairment during the daytime hours
    • Dry mouth or throat
    • General weakness
    • Headaches
    • Problems with attention or memory
    • Sleepwalking
    • Tingling sensations or uncontrollable shaking in the hands, arms, feet and legs
    • Unusually vivid or disturbing dreams

It’s also important to avoid alcohol while using sleeping pills and to stay alert for signs of an allergic reaction, which can include swelling, itching, hives, vomiting and shortness of breath.

Alternatives to Sleeping Pills

If the side effects of sleeping pills have you a little spooked about trying them, there’s good news: There are plenty of non-chemical ways to try to improve the quality of your sleep. Many of these tips are good, commonsense ways to improve your overall health as well, so it’s time well spent giving them a try:

    • Cut Out Caffeine: Even if you only drink your java first thing in the morning, a caffeine addiction can mess with your sleep cycle.coffee_to_go-1.jpgWean yourself off of the stuff slowly to avoid the worst of the withdrawal headaches, which most definitely will not improve your sleep.
    • Get Some Exercise: You’ve heard it hundreds of times, but exercise really is a bit of a miracle cure. Try taking a half-hour walk around dinnertime to calm your mind and get your heart pumping — you’ll tire yourself out naturally, and still have several hours to relax before bed.
    • Stick to a Bedtime Routine: Creating triggers that signal to your brain it’s time to shut down can be a helpful habit. Put away any stressful work and turn off the TV — quiet reading, knitting or conversation is much more restful. It’s also helpful for your sleep rhythms to begin your routine at the same time every night.
    • Replace Your Mattress: If you’re tossing and turning on a saggy, aging mattress, invest in a new one. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make, and our sleep comfort experts are here to help you choose just the right one.

Whether you choose to try sleeping pills or any of these non-medical alternatives, don’t give up on getting a good night’s sleep. Proper rest is crucial for your health and happiness, so keep trying!

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