Skip Nav
Healthy Living
The Best Goal-Setting Journals to Crush Your 2019 Resolutions
Healthy Living
Cheese-Lovers, Here's All the Dairy You Can Eat on the Keto Diet
Julianne Hough Endometriosis Pain During Sex
Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough Opens Up About the "Frustrating" Effect Her Endometriosis Pain Has on Her Sex Life
Workouts
Halle Berry's 8-Move Medicine Ball Workout Is Legit — Our Muscles Are Already Quivering
Healthy Living Tips
If You Haven't Heard, 2019 Is the Year We'll All Be Drinking Matcha

Is It Bad to Take Sleeping Pills Every Night?

A Doctor Explains the Scary Physical Effects of Relying on Sleeping Pills

When you're ill or stuck on a long flight and desperately need to get some shut-eye, sleeping aids can come in handy. However, relying on them to get a good night's sleep for prolonged periods of time can be detrimental to not only your sleep cycle but other aspects of your health too. When used for a short period of time, sleeping aids rewire the chemicals in the brain to induce sleep; however, according to Dr. Daniel Fenton of London Doctors Clinic, they can be very addictive, and "when these medications are abused, the physical consequences can be very severe." Given the various factors that can affect your natural sleep cycles, we asked Dr. Fenton what happens when you continuously turn to sleeping aids for help.

What are the physical effects of overuse?

According to Dr. Fenton, the effects of taking sleeping aids go far beyond your sleep cycle. These can include the "substantial risk of overdose, which can cause marked drowsiness and confusion." Due to the sedative nature of sleeping aids, Dr. Fenton says, "You can develop respiratory depression, which in simple terms is a difficulty in breathing." In addition, "they can create slurred speech, blurred vision, and a lack of coordination. In the very worst situations, they can cause a coma."

How do they affect your sleep cycle?

Using sleeping aids over a long period of time can disrupt your brain's ability to right your sleep cycle and produce the hormones needed to induce sleep. In fact, you can become so dependent on sleeping aids that stopping usage can cause you to develop something called "rebound insomnia." According to Dr. Fenton, "This is where the ability to get to sleep or stay asleep can be even worse than when you started the pills. Essentially, the brain becomes accustomed to the chemical changes caused by the sleeping pills, and their long-term use may even have caused the body to reduce the amount of naturally produced sleep chemicals."

ADVERTISEMENT

What's the best way to break the addiction?

Much like other addictive substances, putting a complete stop to your use of sleeping aids should be done in a safe and sustainable way over a period of time rather than suddenly. Dr. Fenton advises that you "should undertake a slow and gradual reduction with a planned schedule with an ultimate plan to stop." He emphasizes the importance of involving a healthcare professional, saying, "The process of stopping should be done in a carefully controlled fashion. This can often be done at home with guidance from your GP or can be done as in-patient 'detox' with the oversight of a specialist."

From Our Partners
Coffee-Mate Oat Milk Creamer
Fitness Tracker Jewelry
New Year's Resolution Memes
Whole30 at Starbucks
How Long Is a Cold Contagious?
What to Know About WW
What Is the Planet Diet?
Best Pajamas For Women 2019
Dodow Sleep Device Review
Best Pillows 2019
Chobani Launches Vegan Yogurt Line
Selma Blair's Instagram Post About Multiple Sclerosis
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds