Top tips for the safer use of sleeping medication

Tips for the safer use of sleeping medication

Tossing and turning all night, staring at the ceiling thinking about work and bills can be frustrating and may even turn you towards sleeping pills, which may not always be the best option. 

If you are being regularly affected by poor sleep, then it should be a red flag that something isn’t quite right. In general, sleeping pills are most effective for a short-term problem such as jet lag or working the occasional night shift. These shouldn’t be used for longer than 14 days and if they are still required after that, see your GP to discuss long-term treatment options.

Risks of sleeping medication

Common side effects include dizziness, headaches, muscle aches, constipation, dry mouth and rebound insomnia. Sleeping medication can also result in drug tolerance, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.


Never take with alcohol

Alcohol does not only disrupt the quality of sleep but can also interact with sleeping pills, further enhancing the sedative effect which can be deadly combination.

Plan for seven or eight hours

If you take sleeping tablets without the time to sleep for 7 or 8 hours you will feel very drowsy the next day 

Don’t double up in the middle of the night 

It can be tempting when you wake up in the night to take another tablet to get you back to sleep, however, this can be dangerous if the previous dose has not yet been broken down by the body

Start with the lowest recommended dose

Starting low and working your way up will help prevent any excess medication being taken and will reduce your likelihood of suffering from side effects

Avoid frequent use 

Saving sleeping tablets for emergencies rather than taking nightly will help avoid dependency and minimise adverse effects

Never drive or operate machinery after taking sleeping tablets

You never know how the tablets may affect you so avoid driving and machinery

Carefully read the information inside the packet before taking your medication