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Excessive Sleeping Pill Use

Mahaska Health Partnership Cautions about Excessive Sleeping Pill Use

If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night and never seem to be able to get enough sleep, Mahaska Health Partnership advises a change of habits before using sleeping pills.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and alert when they wake. Everyone experiences trouble sleeping at some point in their life for a variety of reasons.

“Most of the time, occasional inability to sleep stems from stress, longer hours at work or environmental distractions,” said Family Practice Provider Stephen Mineart, MD. “However, someone who has trouble sleeping over a prolonged period of time may need to be evaluated for a more serious sleep problem such as insomnia or sleep apnea.”

The FDA says there are some medicines available by prescription or over-the-counter to help you fall or stay asleep. None of these medicines should be taken without knowing the risks and side effects associated with the drug.

“A lot of times you hear that a person will be more tired in the morning and have a hard time ‘waking up’ after using a sleep aid,” said Dr. Mineart. “Sleeping pills can also cause you to behave strangely while you are sleeping or dreaming.”

The FDA suggests making these changes to your night time habits to help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time each day

• Sleep in a dark, quiet room

• Avoid caffeine or nicotine

• Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime

• Don’t exercise before bedtime

• Don’t take a nap after 3 pm

• Don’t eat a large meal before you go to sleep

“If you do end up choosing to use a sleeping pill, try to only use the medicine for a short period of time when you have exhausted all other options,” reminded Dr. Mineart. “Using sleeping pills for prolonged periods can cause dependency.”

If you feel that you have tried every option available and are still having trouble sleeping, you may have a sleep disorder. For more information about sleep disorders and what can be done to help, please call the MHP Sleep Center at 641.672.3163.