Many people are wary of taking sleep medication even when it has been suggested by their doctor and not without reason. However, it's important to remember that while sleeping pills carry risks, so does chronic sleep deprivation; indeed, many serious illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease to cancer, have been linked to chronic sleep debt.



One must therefore make an educated decision regarding when medication is appropriate; if you have tried your best to practice proper sleep hygiene and use alternative therapies and are still having difficulty getting a good night's rest, you may want to weigh up the pros and cons of sleeping pills:





The Pros of Sleeping Pills:



They work quickly. It can take a long time to diagnose the underlying cause of a person's insomnia, and in the meanwhile, they're left suffering with the condition. Sleeping pills quickly and effectively put an end to this suffering, for most people.



They can be an effective psychological aid. Many people who struggle with insomnia develop a lot of anxiety about sleep, which of course, keeps them awake. Sometimes just knowing that there is an effective aid close by can help people relax enough to sleep, without always having to take the medication.



Sleeping pills are much safer than they used to be, with few serious side effects as long as they are taken correctly.



In some people they may improve sleep quality. This is a bit hit and miss, but for people who have sleep maintenance issues (they wake frequently in the night), sleeping pills may improve sleep quality.



The Cons of Taking Sleeping Pills:



They may cause dependency. Many sleeping medications are habit-forming, though not all of them are. If you have struggled with addiction issues in the past, talk to your doctor about non-addictive sleep medications.



Almost always causes “rebound insomnia”. If you have to stop taking sleeping medication for any reason (side effects, pregnancy, it interferes with another medication you need to take, etc.) you will almost certainly find yourself experiencing insomnia once again, and it may be worse than it was prior to the medication.



Unwanted side effects, all medications, no matter how benign, carry some risk of unwanted side-effects. Always carefully research a medication prior to choosing it, and monitor your body for unfavourable changes after you start.



You will likely develop a tolerance, and the medication will become less effective over time. To help combat this, start with the lowest (effective) dose possible.



Sleep quality may not be ideal, depending on the cause of one's insomnia, and morning drowsiness is common.