Getting quality rest can play an important role in overall wellness, as it helps to regulate mood, energy, and even hormone levels. While making changes to lifestyle habits can promote better sleep, such as avoiding caffeine in the evenings, cutting down on technology use, and engaging in light exercise during the day, some people may find that they need additional help to achieve quality restful sleep. In these cases, medication may provide the solution.
Prescription and Non-Prescription Medications
Prescription medications, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety medications, are typically prescribed for short-term use, although in some cases may be used for longer periods of time. Non-prescription medications, such as herbal supplements and natural sleep aids, are often taken for mild insomnia. When considering medication for improving sleep, it’s important to discuss both the risks and potential benefits with a medical professional.
Short-Term Versus Long-Term
Short-term prescription medications such as sedatives are designed to help people fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, and be taken no more than 3 weeks after the physician consultation. These can be habit forming, so it is important to use them only under the direct supervision of a medical professional. Long-term medications, such as anti-anxiety medications and herbal supplements, can provide relief from chronic insomnia by providing a more natural sleeping experience.
Side Effects & Considerations
The short-term use of medications such as sedatives can bring about physical changes, such as fatigue and dizziness. Herbal supplements, like valerian root and chamomile, can cause allergies or interaction with other medications. Even natural sleep aids, such as melatonin, can make people feel drowsy the next day. Long-term use of medications carries more risks, so it is important to discuss the risks and potential benefits with a physician.
Getting the Most Out of Medications
When prescribed by a doctor, medications can offer relief from insomnia without making major lifestyle changes. However, to get the most out of medications it is important to also review lifestyle habits that may be contributing to restlessness, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine late in the day, limiting technology time after dark, and engaging in light exercise during the day. With the combination of lifestyle adjustments and medications, people can find relief from insomnia and get the most out of their restful sleep.