Since humans spend roughly 1/3 of their lives sleeping, you would think it would come easy. However, for some people, getting adequate sleep can be a real struggle. There is just so much that contributes to tossing and turning at night. Stress, traveling, aging and shift work can all impact the quality of sleep you are achieving.

While some people find relief by adjusting their daily habits and routines, others turn to prescription medication for better sleep. But before you visit your doctor for a prescription, you should be aware how sleeping pills can affect you and the problems connected with the drugs. While there are quite a few issues related to prescription sleeping medication, the biggest is the associated side effects. In addition, some sleeping pills only cure problems short-term while others may have a dependency profile with possible addiction.

Why You May Want to Avoid Sleeping Pills

Oftentimes, the best solution to your sleeping problems does not include prescription medication. While you may think they are the ideal cure to your poor sleep, prescription drugs actually create more problems than they solve. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be wary of prescribed sleep medication.

Associated Side Effects

Like most prescription medication, sleeping pills come with a host of different side effects. While some may be minimal, other reactions to the medication can be severe. In addition, certain sleeping medication can worsen problems you already have. For example, if you suffer from chronic lung issues such as asthma or COPD, a sleeping pill can interfere with your normal breathing patterns while you sleep, which could have dangerous consequences. Other reported side effects include changes in appetite, dry mouth, headaches, problems with attention or memory, dizziness, sleepwalking, heartburn and impairment the next day after use.

Short-term Solution

Sleeping pills are a short-term solution to your disturbed sleep patterns; the clinical data around long-term relief is still lacking. Most sleeping pills should only be taken for a couple of weeks to address your temporary sleep problems. Using the pills any longer than that, you risk building up a tolerance which could result in having to take higher and higher doses to get meaningful results. That is why it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s recommendations when taking any prescription medicine and to stop use when instructed.

Can Be Addictive

If you do begin to build a tolerance to sleeping pills, you may find that increasing your dose is the only way to get back to sleeping. However, a high dose and consistent usage can culminate in you becoming psychologically and physically dependent on the medication. If you are addicted to prescription sleep medication, the idea of going to sleep without a pill may make you very anxious, and sleeping without medication may be even more difficult.

No matter what supplement, medication or vitamin you decide to take for better sleep, it is important that you consult your physician beforehand. Not only can he or she help determine what is best for you, your physician can also address or diagnose any underlying problems which could be contributing to your poor sleep.

What are Melatonin Supplements?

Melatonin supplements are a natural solution to regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Since melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body, side effects associated with a melatonin supplement are usually non-serious and comparable to a placebo. Melatonin is also available in advanced sleep formulas to continually release and absorb melatonin for up to 7 hours, further mimicking your body’s natural secretion of the hormone.