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Q. & A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Sleeping Pills

Board Certification: Family Practice

Board Certification: Family Practice

This Month’s Topic- Sleeping Pills

Q.  Dr. Kiskila, what are your thoughts about short-term use of potentially habit-forming medications to help me fall asleep? How do you weigh concerns about sleep deprivation vs. chemical dependency?

A. Sleep is very cyclical, and sometimes we need help getting back on that sleep cycle with the help of short term use of sleep medicines. Certainly any medicine has risks and sleep medications may be habit forming. Speaking with your doctor about the potential risks and side effects as well as risk of dependency with sleeping pills is important before starting any medicine, but if you want to treat sleep deprivation than it may be worth taking those risks. Treatment goals, including duration of treatment, should be addressed with your doctor and a plan in place to stop treatment may be warranted.

Q. What are the risks of long-term use of prescription medications to help with insomnia?

A. Prescription strength sleep medications typically work well with most patients to treat insomnia and if something works well, than it may be habit-forming over long-term use. If you use sleeping pills over long periods of time, than there may be a rebound effect when you try to stop the medication and you may go through an adjustment period of insomnia again.

Q. Do you have any tips to help me fall asleep without using a medication?

A. Sleep is very cyclical, so staying on the same schedule is important. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Don’t do things that impede sleep before bed, like caffeine, exercising right before bedtime, or heavy meals.  Avoid TV and make the bedroom conducive to sleep (quite, dark, comfortable).  Relax the brain before bed by reading or doing a crossword puzzle.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.