What's Wrong With Sleeping Pills?
By Robin Westen
Americans fill around 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills every year. Although the meds can help us catch more zzz’s, studies show they also have a serious down side. Patients taking prescription sleep aids on a regular basis are nearly five times as likely as non-users to die over a period of two and a half years. These are the dangerous connections:
Alcohol risk: Since alcohol and sleeping pills are both sedatives, they should never be taken together. If they are, the combination could lead to the heartbeat slowing to a perilous rate or even stopping altogether.
Unconscious actions: Some people sleepwalk while on sleeping pills. There have been documented cases of sleep binge eating and even sleep driving.
Accidents:The risk for falls and car accidents is far greater while on sleeping pills. The danger remains as long as several hours after awakening if the groggy aftereffects of the pill are still felt.
Tolerance:Some people who use pills to fall asleep on a regular basis may develop insomnia if they stop taking them. And the longer a person takes a sleeping medication, the more he or she may need them in order to create the desired effect.
Addiction: Sleeping pills can be very addictive, some more than others. Your body may go through typical withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them suddenly.