Sleeping Pills: The Dark Side

Prescription sleeping pills tend to be effective in treating insomnia. However, improper use of the drugs can lead to serious implications. Sleeping pills are categorized as sedative hypnotics that are meant to induce and maintain sleep. Even though medical professionals have greatly improved these drugs as compared to previous decades, their side effects still may outweigh the positive ones. Some of the adverse effects of sleeping pills include the following:

Common Side Effects

Sleeping pills are known to cause certain side effects such as light headedness, drowsiness, poor concentration, memory impairment, and morning hangover. The drugs may also cause body weakness and even fainting in some cases.

Allergic Reactions

sleeping-pillsUse of sleeping pills may also lead to allergic reactions characterized by difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, nausea, pounding heartbeat, rash, swelling in face and/or blurry vision.


Some sleeping pills can be habit-forming thus leading to “accidental addiction”, not to mention an increased vulnerability to other side effects. Benzodiazepines for example, have been found to cause addiction. For that reason it is recommended that sleeping aids should not be taken for more than several days.

Withdrawal Effects

This occurs when use of the drug is abruptly stopped. The condition is characterized by anxiety, agitation and relapsing insomnia. In fact, insomnia is often gets even worse than that before the medication.


Experts have found that persons who took the drugs were more likely to get cancer. Some studies have showen that regular use of sleeping pills can increase the risk of getting skin cancer.


Lastly, these drugs do not go well with other medications or alcohol and pose greater risks for various groups. For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people suffering from liver or kidney disease, sleep apnea or respiratory issues are especially at risk.

Overuse of sleeping pills may lead to erratic behaviors like parasomnia. The sleeping pills are prescribed for treating insomnia and may not address underlying causes such as stress or depression.

According to a CDC report, approximately 4% of US adults use prescription sleeping pills. And some of them don’t even realize that those drugs cannot be a long-term solution. Instead, medical professionals suggest that people with sleeping problems should try other alternatives such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example. CBT majorly involves changing of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and habits that may be the root causes of one's sleep problems.

Alexandr Sedishev