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Pros and Cons of Using Sleeping Pills for Insomnia


Lingering Effect of Sleeping Pills

The simplest, most obvious con of using sleeping pills is that the medicine’s potent agents carry over into the early morning hours and make the person taking them groggy. That person may also have a difficult time waking up, needing a longer amount of time to get going in the morning.

Rare side effects of prescription insomnia medicine include sleep eating, sleep walking and even sleep driving. The Food and Drug Administration regulates only sleep medicines sold behind the pharmacist counter. The many over-the-counter and homeopathic solutions each have their advocates, especially when it comes to the latter internationally. But because the FDA is not directly involved, studies are not generally conducted on that medicine maker’s behalf.

Functional Impairment

A study of users of an insomnia medicine called Zolpidem for example found that within two hours of taking it, especially among older adults, a person’s sense of balance was seriously impaired. In other words, if that person were to wake up and go to the bathroom or kitchen, the risk of injury was greatly heightened.

At the very other end of the spectrum, there are ancient Chinese herbal remedies such as sorghum and pinella ternate soups. The reason homeopathic patients favor these types of medicines over synthetic solutions is the relative absence of side effects.

Other Beneficial Agents

Among the more nascent pros relating to insomnia is the idea that some patients can find success without ever taking directly targeted medicine. A recent study determined that some anti-depressants can also help the patient sleep, though acknowledging that more research is needed.

Of course, the benefit of using anti-depressant medication would depend on the side effects of the medicine. A similar, evolving pro-con scenario currently surrounds synthetic versions of melatonin, the very human hormone that helps regulate sleep and awake cycles. But there is still the risk of harm and permanently upsetting the natural secretion and creation of that hormone, if it is synthetically administered.

Other solutions to insomnia with a lesser risk but also a less guaranteed rate of success include cognitive and behavioral treatments. Another issue is that of the more than 100 recent studies conducted on the pro-con effects of insomnia sufferers and potential treatments, only 34 were deemed by one organization to be of high quality.



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – How is Insomnia Treated, Retrieved February 2nd, 2011 from – “Popular Sleep Medicine Puts Older Adults at Risk for Falls, Cognitive Impairment”, January 4, 2011, Retrieved February 2, 2011 from

Taiwanese Department of Health – “Insomnia Medicine in Ancient Chinese Books”, Retrieved February 2nd, 2011 from

University of Alberta – “Manifestations and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults”, Retrieved February 2nd, 2011 from

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