We’ve all had our problems getting the rest we want. Sometimes, when we struggle with this problem more often than not, those commercials on TV advertising prescription sleeping pills are very tempting. But if you have the means to get one of these scripts from your doctor, take pause for a moment to really think about the consequences before you rush to the pharmacy.
There are some very good reasons why you can’t just pick up these pills over the counter. If the drugs were safe as the drug companies want you to believe, why would you need both a pharmacist and a medically trained doctor to give you permission? The truth is that these powerful drugs are given out more often than they’re actually needed these days. And this wanton disregard for people’s safety in exchange for profit is doing more harm than good for people who probably don’t even need prescription sleep medication in the first place. Before you take a prescription in order to help you sleep, make sure you know about all of the risks. Otherwise, the treatment can become worse than the disease.
Prescription Sleep Aid Side Effects 101
Whether it’s for legal liability reasons or because there are very real concerns, the warning leaflets for most medications these days are the size of a small dictionary. And that’s just the information the drug manufacturers want you to know. There are some other things that they would rather keep secret, such as…
The Correlation Between Cancer and Prescription Sleep Aids
A recent scientific study analyzed the relationship between mortality rate, positive cancer diagnosis, and prescription sleeping pills. And this wasn’t published in some fly-by-night journal – this was published in BMJ Open, which is both indexed and well known for its scientific integrity. According to the study, people who took prescription sleeping pills on a regular basis had both higher mortality rates and were more likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. On top of this, there is some buried data conducted by FDA studies which may show that this BMJ study is evidence of not just correlation, but possible causation as well.
Sleeping Pills Have Withdrawal Symptoms
There are many reasons why someone may decide to quit sleeping pills cold turkey. Maybe they are forced to because they lose their health insurance or the medication suddenly becomes too expensive. Maybe they have to switch primary care doctors, and this new caregiver cares enough about their health to take away their script. Maybe a person up and decides on their own that they’ve had enough. Regardless, there are many unpleasant if not downright dangerous side effects you may experience from sleeping pill withdrawal. Some of those include:
- Panic attack
- rebound insomnia, which can lead to sleep deprivation
There are a number of people who are taking prescription sleeping pills right now not because they want to or still need to, but because they are afraid of how miserable the withdrawal will be. This creates a cycle of dependence and addiction not unlike that of the opioid epidemic.
Performing Unhealthy, Dangerous, and Even Deadly Activities in Your Sleep
You’ve probably heard a funny story about somebody sleepwalking or sleep eating or sleep tweeting racist comments while under the influence of a prescription sleeping pill. You may have just laughed it off in passing; but the truth is that doing any activity (other than sleeping) while under the influence of prescription sleep medication can be extremely dangerous. Eating late at night – and most likely eating very unhealthy foods – is both bad for your waistline and your long-term health. Walking around while not conscious enough to remember it the next day often leads to serious falling injuries like fractures and concussions. Some people have even been known to drive a car or engage in sexual activity while still technically asleep. these extreme examples are incredibly dangerous for obvious reasons.
Of course, the potential lethality of prescription sleep aids isn’t limited to what you do out of bed while unconscious. They can kill you in your sleep even if you stay in bed all night. Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a person’s airways become blocked and they stop breathing while they sleep. Prescription sleeping pills have been clearly shown to exacerbate symptoms of sleep apnea. This cuts off oxygen to your brain and the other major organs of your body, potentially leading to death.
Prescription Sleeping Pill Alternatives
Some people may read this and decide never to touch a prescription sleeping pill. Others may feel conflicted. After all, if your insomnia problems are very serious, it may feel like these drugs are the only answer. But if they’re too dangerous to take the risk, what else is there? Is the small chance of injury or death really that much worse than chronic insomnia? And if so, what else can a person take to alleviate their sleep troubles?
Some people may be tempted to reach for an over the counter sleeping pill. Since they’re sold in pharmacies and don’t require a prescription, they should be safe, right? Wrong. We’ve talked about over-the-counter sleep aids before, so we strongly urge you to read our report there. But to make a long story short, over the counter sleeping pills have their own inherent dangers and risks. They are only a slightly less unappealing option then a prescription.
Instead, you should try natural methods first. Many people are unaware how poor their sleep hygiene is and how much relief they can find from practicing better habits. Others may be surprised to find out that there are plenty of natural, herbal sleep aids on the market which can be just as effective as any drug. Better yet, these herbal remedies don’t come with the horrific side effects that you would experience from a prescription sleeping pill. Some of the most popular ingredients include melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile – just to name a few. You can relax naturally and get deep, restorative, high-quality sleep by using a natural sleep aid instead of a dangerous medication.