How Safe Are Insomnia Medications?

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How Safe Are Insomnia Medications?


Many people in Queens have difficulty sleeping, whether it’s an occasional issue or a chronic problem. It’s not uncommon for people with insomnia to take some form of medication to help them sleep. Naturally, many patients want to know how safe these insomnia medications really are. Although most of them are relatively safe when used infrequently, there is some evidence that long-term use of sleeping pills for chronic insomnia may actually be potentially dangerous, especially in people who also take other prescription drugs. The uncertainty surrounding the safety of prescription sleeping pills is yet another reason that neurofeedback therapy is such a promising alternative for people struggling with insomnia and other common disorders.


How Safe Are Over-the-Counter Sleeping Pills?

Over-the-counter sleep aids are widely available in Queens, and are commonly used to help with mild or occasional insomnia. When used infrequently, they are benign and not particularly dangerous. Most drug store sleep aids contain diphenhydramine, an antihistamine better known under the brand name Benadryl, as the active ingredient. Diphenhydramine is highly sedative, although when used too often it loses its effectiveness. It is safe to take, but can cause side effects including dry mouth and symptoms resembling a panic attack. Although diphenhydramine is hard to overdose on, caution should be used with medicines that also contain acetaminophen, which is toxic to the liver in overdose.

Most over-the-counter “herbal” or “natural” insomnia remedies are very safe. Melatonin, a hormone produced naturally in the pineal gland that regulates the sleep cycle, is commonly sold in drug stores and vitamin shops in Queens. Many people find it helps with insomnia. Another common herbal sleep aid is valerian root.


Are Prescription Drugs for Insomnia Safe?

Many people with insomnia in Queens find that over-the-counter medications don’t help much. Sometimes these patients are prescribed a sleeping pill, like Ambien or Lunesta. There has been some recent research that has questioned the safety of using these drugs for long-term insomnia treatment. Sleeping pills may be especially dangerous for patients with preexisting heart problems or breathing-related sleep issues. In these individuals, sleeping pills can greatly increase the risk of heart failure. Another body of research has indicated that sleeping pills may also be dangerous for patients who also take medication for anxiety. Prescription sleeping pills

Although it is probably safe for most individuals to take prescription sleeping pills, they probably still aren’t the best remedy for insomnia. The problem with most medicines for insomnia, including both over-the-counter antihistamines and prescription drugs, is that they interfere with normal sleep architecture. This can often result in sleep that is not as restful or restorative as it should be.


Finding a Better Alternative for Treating Insomnia

Neurofeedback therapy, a form of biofeedback that works on brainwaves, has consistently been found to be effective for patients who struggle with insomnia in Queens. Neurofeedback therapy identifies and corrects abnormalities in brainwave patterns that can contribute to the inability to sleep. It is an active, self-guided process by which a person can “train their brain” to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep. Since neurofeedback is extremely safe and has no side effects, it may provide an appealing and effective alternative for many patients with insomnia in Queens.

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