If your symptoms remain for more than a few weeks or get worse, consult your doctor. Persistent insomnia may be due to an underlying health condition such as heartburn, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, chronic pain, thyroid disease, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, kidney disease, neurological disorders, respiratory problems and hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Also, prescription and over-the-counter medications may interfere with sleep quality.
If left untreated, insomnia can increase your risk for anxiety, depression, heart failure, high blood pressure and substance abuse.
Your Doctor and Pharmacist can help you identify the root cause of your persistent insomnia and determine the treatment approach that is most suitable for you.
Treatment approaches include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
- Use of over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids.
- Use of prescription sleep aids.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you to develop habits that improve the quality of your sleep. Your therapist will work with you over the course of a few months to figure out which thoughts and behaviors are contributing negatively to your sleep patterns.
A cognitive behavioral treatment plan may include:
- Sleep restriction
- Relaxation therapy
- Sleep hygiene education
- Sleep scheduling
- Stimulus control
This usually has better long-term outcomes than medicine alone.
Over-the-counter (OTC) options include antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate.
Some other OTC sleep aids combine antihistamines with the paracetamol.
Common prescription sleep medicines include benzodiazepine sedatives such as lorazepam, diazepam, clonazepam and non-benzodiazepine sedatives such as zolpidem, zopiclone, suvorexant and doxepin
Dosage of these medications is determined by your Doctor or Pharmacist and is generally based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy.
Safe use of sleep pills
- Never mix sleeping pills with alcohol or other sedative drugs to avoid hangover effect.
- Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours.
- Carefully read the package insert that comes with your medication.
- Pay careful attention to the potential side effects and drug interactions. Many common medications, including antidepressants and antibiotics, can cause dangerous interactions with both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills. For many sleeping pills, certain foods such as grapefruit must also be avoided.
Remember, you have the right to quality sleep!
We hope this piece helps.
Got questions? Walk into any Alpha Pharmacy close to you and get professional help from our seasoned Pharmacists.