– What Are Sleeping Pills?
“Sleeping pill” is a broader term used for over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication like Desyrel, Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. They fall under the category of sedative-hypnotic drugs for their properties to induce or increase drowsiness.
These are basically therapeutic drugs used to treat and manage sleep-related disorders. The sleeping pills mechanism of action is to affect the GABA receptors in the brain and induce sedation and drowsiness. In addition, they also reduce anxiety and increase muscle relaxation.
Street names for sleeping pills include:
- Chill pills
- French fries
Various brands and classes of the best sleeping pills work on many levels to treat insomnia, and hence, the time taken to see their effects also differs. Most sleeping pills are supposed to be taken right before you go to bed, and you should have at least 8 hours of rest before you plan to wake up and go about your daily duties. Since these drugs are powerfulhypnotics, if you do not get a full night’s sleep, it will increase the risk of your daytime drowsiness.
Other sleeping pills used include sleep maintenance. This is for people who have trouble going back to sleep once they wake up in the middle of the night. In such cases, prescription pills like Intermezzo will help them go back to sleep. This pill can be taken in the middle of the night – when you have at least 4 hours of bedtime remaining.
How Do Sleeping Pills Work?
Sleeping pills mechanism of action is such that they encourage drowsiness in people by controlling the brain’s section that affects their ability to focus. If they have a hard time sleeping, these pills help relax the brain’s GABA receptors and induce sleep.
They work similar to benzos and cause the same side effects. They have a high potential for addiction as both activate GABA receptors and create relaxation in the users. However, the main difference is that benzos are used to treat anxiety and other issues while sleeping aids only target insomnia and related conditions.
Types of Sleeping Pills
People whose inner clock is off due to traveling a lot or with an irregular circadian rhythm may have trouble sticking to the normal sleep track. Sleeping aids are non-benzodiazepines, also called, “Z-Drugs,” which are those that sedate users by inducing a sleep-like state.
There are three main Z-Drugs types, apart from the generic versions:
Ambien (Zolpidem): It is marketed as having less addictive potential than benzodiazepines. However, that fact remains that, due to its fading effectiveness, people may get addicted in less than 2 weeks.
Lunesta (Eszopiclone): It is another sleep aid, available as small circular pills in white or blue, from 1-3 mg potency since they are recommended only for a short duration.
Sonata (Zaleplon): It is the most short-acting Z-drug, available as a time-release capsule, designed to induce sleep instantly.
Although all these Z-drugs are to be consumed orally, many abusers take them in a powdered form by crushing the pills and snorting them to get the instant effects. It is best you incorporate them in your normal night-time routine so that you don’t miss a dose.