After a long bout of insomnia, it may be tempting to reach for over-the-counter medicines to help with drifting off. However, some of these easily-accessible sleep aids and other drugs may actually do more harm than good when it comes to restful sleep.
The Dependency Dilemma
Even the best mattress topper can’t always beat insomnia, and there comes a time to use sleep aids. However, when this becomes a daily routine, it has its significant drawbacks. Because the body forms a tolerance to several drugs over time, it can require more and more of the substance to have the desired reaction. Furthermore, sleepers may find that they can no longer fall asleep without the medication, leading to dependency. This may result in insomnia and even withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped.
Benzodiazepine Sedative-hypnotic Sleeping Pills
Benzodiazepine prescription medications, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, are used to treat anxiety, but they also can be used to treat insomnia. According to the CDC, nearly 9 million Americans use prescription medications for a sleep aid, but they should be used very safely and wisely. For example, according to WebMD, the sedative-hypnotic Halcion is potentially addictive and can present problems with memory and attention. WebMD also reports that some patients report problems with sleepwalking when taking these sleeping pills. When used on a nightly basis, they can also lose their effectiveness and lead to cognitive slowing and drowsiness.
When sleep aids aren’t available, many reach instead to cough syrup. Even over-the-counter antihistamines, such as liquid Benadryl, may result in drowsiness and more ease falling asleep. However, cough syrups can also contain alcohol in a range from 1.5 percent to a whopping 40 percent. Alcohol is a known sleep disruptor and can reduce the quality of one’s sleep, so it’s important to find alcohol-free cough syrup formulations.
Herbal supplements used as sleep aids, such as St. John’s wort and melatonin, are largely unregulated. This means that these supplements are often not tested for purity or concentration, so consumers have little way of knowing what they’re ingesting. This may result in consuming much higher levels of sleep aids than necessary, resulting in sluggishness and a change to one’s sleeping schedule. However, since melatonin is produced naturally in the body, this is one of the safest products to take for a sleep aid when used in moderation and in accordance with the dosage directions.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, it’s also important to know you’re sleeping on the best mattress available. For more information about preparing for a better night’s sleep with a new mattress, you can check out our previous blog post. At Buis Mattress, our bench-made mattresses can be custom-fit to ensure you receive a good night’s rest. Reach out to us today to learn more about our line of mattresses.