Unfortunately, many people today suffer from insomnia due to various factors such as stress leading to uncontrolled use of prescribed or over the counter sleeping pills. It is essential to know that sleep and learning go hand in hand, thus necessary to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

What are sleeping pills?  Well, they are a group of drugs used to induce or maintain sleep. They are to be used for at least once a week or twice. Usage for longer periods predisposes one to a number of side effects.

Effects of taking sleeping pills

Here are the common side effects of sleeping pills that you need to understand:

1. Addiction

It is mostly psychological dependence because one may develop anxiety with the thought of not using the pills before sleeping. This causes one to have difficulties in sleeping. It especially happens to people who have used them for a long period.

2. Dizziness

Certain sleeping pills last longer in the body and the following day they may impair one’s activities like driving, riding a bicycle or any other day to day activity.

3. May lead to weakness

This may in turn cause one to fall. It commonly affects elderly patients. Zolpidem, a type of sleeping pill, is commonly known to have such effects.

4. Allergy

This can be caused due to the different ingredients used to make the products. Some of its side effects include vomiting, rash, itching and fever among others.

5. Difficulty in breathing

This is caused by taking high doses of the pills and may lead to depressed breathing which could be severe enough to cause death.

6. Leads to trouble laying off the medication

Due to their addictive nature, it becomes difficult for one to let go. It is important for you to consult your doctor before stopping their use.

7. Abnormal behaviour

This includes sleep walking. It is an involuntary and uncontrollable behavior that happens as one sleeps. One may find themselves in a strange location and have difficulties in remembering how they got there.

Others include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Memory and performance impairment
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas among others

Precautions to take while under medication

Here is what to do while under medications:

Avoid alcoholic beverages

This is because alcohol increases the sedative effects of the medication even in small amounts. This leads to one feeling dizzy and weak probing them to faint. It may also lead to labored breathing that may lead to one losing consciousness and even lead to death.

Medical advice

This may lead one to know the root cause of the insomnia and also your doctor, after a thorough investigation and proper diagnosis, may be able to come up with a schedule that will work for you.

Follow doctor’s instructions

Some medications may not produce the intended results immediately so it is advisable to consult your doctor before increasing your doses. And if you want to lay off the medication, it is also appropriate to seek advice from the doctor.

Read the medication manual

This enables you to know the potential side effects and recommended periods of use. In case of unclear information it is advisable for you to ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Only use them while going to sleep

Using them earlier than your sleep time may impair your activities and make you less productive.

Side effects

If you experience itching, rash, vomiting or other abnormal occurrences after using the pills, it is appropriate for you to consult your doctor before switching or stopping the medication.

Get a full night sleep

That is at least 7-8hours a night so as to ensure it is used in the body. It also depends on the type of medication used because some last for 4 hours, so it is advisable for you to use the ones that work for you.

Last thoughts on sleeping pills

Sleeping pills should not at any time be misused. You need to seek your doctor’s advice before use of any sleeping pills. We hope that the above tips will enable you maintain your healthy lifestyle under the medications.


  1. Sleeping pills (January 2015)




  1. Effects of sleeping pills (February 2016)




  1. Precautions to take while under medication( January 2016)