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Rx Sleep Drugs: Side Effects

Are you concerned?

If you’re taking prescription sleep medication, you’re probably worried about harmful side effects. If you’re not taking the right type of prescription drug for your specific sleep problem, at the right dose for your body type and in the right way, your chances of suffering from harmful side effects are increased. What has been your experience with prescription sleep medication? Have you suffered from some of these common side effects?

Tired and Fuzzy-Headed

Are you feeling loopy in the morning? Many people feel that way after taking sleeping pills, they'll feel tired, fuzzy-headed, or dizzy; experience headaches or nausea; or have trouble waking up the morning after. Unfortunately, these side effects are quite common.

Heartburn Hazards

A full night's sleep might involve special risks for people with heartburn and the more than 40% of Americans who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Published reports indicate that people taking prescription sleep medication were less likely to wake up during bouts of acid reflux, increasing their exposure to nighttime stomach acid. This backwash can cause damage to the esophagus that might have been avoided if the individual could wake up and swallow, allowing saliva to neutralize the acid.

Substance Abuse

An over-dependence on sleep medication is a common problem. Long-term use of sleep medications makes it difficult for medical professionals to understand the real cause of sleep problems, such as bad sleep habits or too much stress. Indeed, stress is a very common cause of insomnia. Finding the real cause might result in the avoidance of drugs all together.

Rebound Insomnia

If you’re taking Rx sleep medication, don’t stop taking it abruptly; that might make things worse with rebound insomnia. That is, you might experience the same or worse symptoms of your sleep disorder without medication. Be sure to consult your doctor about the proper way to stop taking a drug for sleep.

Rx and Sex

It is possible for Rx sleep medications to interact with hormones. They might increase the level of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep, but it could also affect testosterone levels. You could experience changes in your sex drive as well as your menstrual cycle.


The Food & Drug Administration has mandated that all sedative-hypnotic drug products carry a warning about the potential for sleepwalking and similar behaviors. People taking sleep medication have reported walking, eating, and even driving in their sleep, and not remembering anything in the morning.

Consider Other Ways: Go Natural

It’s not a side effect but Rx drugs for sleep are expensive, especially the newer ones. Consider other treatments. Sleep experts encourage their patients to try behavior therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, which are considered very effective for long-term sleep problems. Holistic practitioners might encourage you to try meditation to relieve stress, or suggest well-known herbal remedies like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, or Hops Flower extract. Wean yourself from prescription drugs for sleep and wake up fresh and alert for another exciting day.


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