Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

Most sleeping pills are prescribed by doctors to help people fall asleep or stay asleep. There are a few over-the-counter drugs that act as sleeping pills. However, the primary type of sleeping pills has some kind of narcotic drug in its ingredients. All sleeping pills, especially narcotics, have a high risk of side effects, even some that can even lead to death.

  1. Warning

    • All narcotic sleeping pills have a possibility of addiction and even fatal overdose, according to MedlinePlus. This risk is greatly increased when alcohol or other narcotic drugs, such as Vicodin painkillers, are used. Some users of prescription sleeping pills have reported having sex, driving and eating while under the influence of such drugs. This risk can be reduced by getting into bed immediately after taking such a pill.

    Tylenol PM

    • Tylenol PM is an over-the-counter sleeping aid that is comprised of the pain reliever acetaminophen and the antihistamine diphenhydramine, according to MedlinePlus. Though it is not a narcotic, there are still some potential side effects. Adverse symptoms possible include dry mouth, nose, and throat, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, headache and increased chest congestion.


    • Restoril is a benzodiazepine sleeping pill that is chemically comprised of the drug temazepam, according to MedlinePlus. It has a number of possible side effects associated with its use, including lightheadedness, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, coordination problems, hangover effect, nausea and vomiting.


    • Ambien is comprised of the narcotic sleeping medication zolpidem, according to MedlinePlus. Possible side effects associated with the drug are drowsiness, weakness, headache, dizziness, unsteady walking, balance problems, feeling "drugged," constipation, diarrhea, gas and heartburn. Other adverse symptoms include eye redness, joint or muscle pain, dry mouth or throat, unusual dreams, ringing, itching or pain in the ears and muscle cramps.

    Allergic Reaction

    • Allergic reaction is possible with any sleeping pill, according to MedlinePlus. Signs of an adverse reaction are difficulty breathing, hives, itching, a rash, swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue, face or throat, feeling like the throat is closing and problems swallowing. These symptoms constitute a medical emergency and require prompt attention.

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