|Sleeping Pills: A Prescription For Better Sleep?
You know the tips for a good night's sleep. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Exercise regularly. Avoid caffeine and daytime naps. Keep stress under control. Relax before bedtime. But what if sleep remains elusive?
Ask your doctor for an evaluation. Treatment is available — but it depends on what's causing your insomnia. For occasional sleepless nights, sleeping pills may be helpful. Although sleeping pills don't treat the underlying cause of insomnia, they may help you get some much needed rest.
A little history
Sleeping pills are nothing new. Centuries ago, herbal potions and the opiate laudanum were used to induce sleep. By the early 1900s, barbiturates were introduced. In the 1960s, benzodiazepines arrived on the scene. In the 1990s, consumers welcomed a safer class of insomnia drugs known as nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics.
Today's sleeping pills don't carry the same risks of dependence and lethal overdoses as sleeping pills of the past. But risks remain — especially for people who have certain medical conditions, including liver and kidney disease. Here's the lowdown on some of the most common types of sleeping pills used today.
Various over-the-counter sleeping pills are available in any pharmacy. Many of these medications contain antihistamines, which induce drowsiness by working against the central nervous system chemical histamine. They're most effective for an occasional sleepless night. The more often you take them, the less effective they become.