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Sleeping Pills - Facts and Tips

Frequently called sedatives, nerve pills or muscle relaxants, sleeping pills are drugs used to reduce anxiety, nervous tension, sleeping problems and muscle tension.

Belonging to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines, most medications used to reduce anxiety and stress, or help with sleeping problems, must be prescribed by a doctor.

Benzodiazepines depress or slow down the central nervous system. They are frequently used for relief of depression, anxiety or sleeping problems which may be caused by life changes such as retirement, reduced financial income, poor health, the loss of loved ones, or physical and social loneliness. As we age, typical changes in sleeping patterns may be interpreted as a sleeping disorder. Less frequently recommended than in the past, sleeping pills are still used more than they should be to releive these symptoms.

Effects Since they treat the symptoms of stress and not the cause, sleeping pills only releive anxiety and sleeping problems momentary. They may help during an exceptionally stressful time, but they are not meant to be used for more than 8 to 12 days.

Side Effects Body's sensitivity to sleeping pills augments with aging and severe illness.The side effects of these medications are more to be expected in seniors. The property of medication can be more altered in a senior than in a younger individual because drugs stay longer in seniors' bodies. The following side effects may be experienced: *drowsy during the day *groggy *confusion and lack of concentration *forgetful *dizzy or uncoordinated which can result in a fall or another kind of accident *irritable *anxious *depression *headache *nausea *constipation *changes in heart rate

Unlike other medications, the side effects do not fade away with persistent use.

Dependency More than ever when used repeatedly for more than a few weeks, all prescription sleeping pills can cause corporeal and psychological addiction. Signs of addiction can be the need to get more of these drugs to get the similar effect, or finding it hard to do with no drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms If a dependence on sleeping pills has developed, withdrawal from these drugs have to be supervised by a health professional to lessen the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms which may be life threatening. Watch for the following withdrawal symptoms: * anxiety * irritability * agitation * abdominal cramps * vomiting * diarrhea * sweating * increased heart rate * tremors * seizures

Drug Interactions Damaging reactions can take place when taking sleeping pills with other prescription or non-prescription medications. Alcohol will augment the consequence of sleeping pills and can generate inadvertent side effects. Do not drink alcohol when taking these medications. You should tell your doctors and pharmacists concerning all the drugs you are taking and the quantity of alcohol you drink to diminish the risk of these reactions.

Alternatives to Sleeping Pills The following healthy ideas can help out with sleeping, aloneness and anxiety problems as a replacement of taking sleeping pills. If you can't sleep: * Get fresh air and exercise throughout the day, but bear in mind: exercise before bed can keep you awake; * Keep your bedroom cool and quiet, make it more comfortable; * Before you go to bed, drink warm milk or hot water; * Read a little, listen relaxing music in the evening or take a warm bath; * After 5 p.m., avoid soft drink, coffee or tea, alcohol, smoke and spicy food.

For those already taking sleeping pills, here are a few essential tips

Take sleeping pills only during a stressful period. Since they treat symptoms and not causes, keep in mind that these drugs do not solve your aloneness, anxiety or sleeping problems.

Except if your doctor advises otherwise, avoid taking sleeping pills for more than 8 to 12 days. In fact, one of the effects of continuing use of sleeping pills is not being able to sleep.

Know your medication; what is it called? How often should you take it? How long should you take it for?

Ask for written information concerning the medication or put in writing answers from your doctor.

Always ask your doctor for the smallest effective dosage.

Don't drink alcohol when you are taking sleeping pills.

Tell all the doctors and pharmacists you visit about all the prescription, non-prescription and herbal remedies you take. Combining medications can cause undesirable reactions.

Do not carry on taking medication if it is not helping you or if you have uncomfortable feelings after taking it. Speak to your doctor and pharmacist.

Keep in mind: If you have been taking sleeping pills for a long period, stopping this medication rapidly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

Under no circumstances borrow or share medication.

In conclusion, what you should know is that sleeping pills can be an answer to your problems if taken carefully, along with the indications of your doctor.

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