Getting a good nights’ rest is what makes or breaks the following day. But with tossing and turning becoming a nightly thing these days, a good night sleep is hard to find.

Anything can be a factor of not getting a good nights rest: stress, anxiety, too much light or room temperature, but over the recent years, sleeping pills and medications have become a popular option to fix those restless nights.

The average adult needs eight hours of sleep to qualify as having a good night’s sleep. More than nine million people use sleeping pills, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which addresses the health status of adults and children in the United States. There are four types of sleeping medications: Diphenhydramine, Benzodiazepines, Selective GABA Sleeping Pills and Sleep Cycle Modifiers. Names such as that can confuse the average person, but what people need to know is that each type offers different solutions to sleep problems. Some popular sleep meds include Tylenol PM, ZzzQuil, Xanax, Lunesta and Ambien.

But other than making people fall asleep, what else do sleeping pills bring to the table?

Plattsburgh State junior Joseph Tisbe said he has never used sleeping pills and doesn’t know much about them.
Tisbe said he would like to know if they are good or bad for him, should he ever need to use them.

Sleeping pills can be beneficial, but only for a short time. The human body can build up a tolerance to the drug, just as the body does when becoming immune to a sickness. Once the body gets used to the pills, the individual will need a higher dosage to get the same effect as before.

According to new research, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, those prescription meds may be more dangerous than the average person thinks. This report shows that between 2005 and 2010, the number of emergency room visits that involved overmedication of zolpidem, which is an active ingredient in some sleeping pills, doubled from 21,824 to 42,274.

As stated in a Women’s Health magazine article, sleeping pills do not fix the problem of long-term sleeping problems.
“When someone comes in and asks for sleep medication, we always check underlying issues first,” PSUC Student Health Center nurse Monica Lattrell said.

Lattrell said underlying issues such as depression and anxiety can cause unwanted sleep problems.

“We deal with those first because sometimes the sleep problem goes away once the underlying problems are taken care of.”
Lattrell said one could stop taking the pills cold turkey but should consult with a doctor first.

When used correctly, the pills are safe and effective, but if used wrong, the body can wake up with what feels like a hangover.
A Health magazine article said if the person taking the pills has a higher dosage than he or she is supposed to be, they could wake up feeling pretty lousy. The pills will take longer to wear off, making the person feel sluggish the next morning, therefore making getting out of bed more difficult. This “hangover” has doubled the risk of car crashes, according to HealthDay: News to Healthier Living, an online newsletter that provides daily health news.

Another way to stay safe while using sleeping pills is to never mix them with alcohol or any other drugs. Drinking alcohol while having the pill already in the body can increase the sedative effect of the pill, which can then turn fatal.

To get a good night’s rest without having a sleep-hangover, it is suggested to power down all electronics at least a half an hour before going to bed. The light from mobile devices can disrupt your sleep cycle by confusing the body and telling the brain the person isn’t ready for bed when they really are. Working out regularly helps increase the chance of getting a better sleep at night if he or she doesn’t make it too close to bedtime – a post-workout burst of energy can keep the body up. To have a comfortable night’s sleep, having the bedroom too hot or cold will disturb that plan.

The Better Sleep Council, an association devoted to educate the public about sleep, suggests creating the bedroom as a haven of comfort by making the bedroom only for two things: sleep and sex. Stressors such as work, school and friend problems can interrupt sleeping time by keeping the person up at night, worrying about what he or she needs to do the next day.

Always talk to a doctor before starting any sleep medications, and make sure to get the right medication and correct dosage to have the intended effect.

Email Samantha Stahl at samantha.stahl@cardinalpointsonline.com

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