Thumbnail image of: My Medicines: Illustration

Sleeping Pills

What are sleeping pills used for?

Sleeping pills are medicines that can help you fall asleep. They can also help you stay asleep if you wake up often during the night.

Getting enough sleep is important for both your mental and physical health. If you have problems sleeping well, changes to your bedtime routine can help you sleep. For example, you can:

  • Avoid caffeine late in the day (for some people this mean no caffeine after noontime)
  • Go to bed at or near the same time each day
  • Wind down and relax before bedtime by reading or having a warm bath

If you are having trouble sleeping, sleeping pills may help you get back into a good sleep routine.

How do they work?

There are different types of sleeping pills that work different ways. Some require a prescription from a healthcare provider, and some may be bought without a prescription.

Talk to your provider about the risks of taking sleep medicine. Some medicine can make it hard to stay alert during the day. This could slow your reactions if you are driving or operating machinery and could cause an accident or injury. The medicines may also affect your coordination and increase your risk for a fall.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Do not take sleeping pills if you have been drinking alcohol. Alcohol can worsen the side effects of some sleeping pills.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-07-31
Last reviewed: 2014-07-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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