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Problem With Sleeping Pills and OTC Sleep Aids

Problem with sleeping pills? You lay awake recalling your to do list, thinking about work, and worrying about bills. You consider reaching for a sleeping pill but then you worry about how you will feel the next day or fear becoming dependent. What can you do instead? What is a viable alternative to sleeping pills?

Problem with sleeping pills and OTC sleep aids

Problem with sleeping pills? Do they actually work? For starters, sleeping pills don’t cure or even address the underlying cause of insomnia, and in fact can often make the problem worse in the long run. Sleep aid, OTC sleep products and prescription sleeping pills come with a list of concerns and possible side-effects.

  • Problem with sleeping pills #1: Drug tolerance. You may build up a tolerance to sleep aids. This means you will have to take more and more to get the same effect. This of course means a greater chance of side effects.
  • Problem with sleeping pills #2: Side effects. Side effects include prolonged drowsiness the next day, confusion, blurred vision, feeling off balance (clumsy),and forgetfulness. Others may be more severe.
  • Problem with sleeping pills #3: Drug dependence. You may come to depend on sleeping pills to sleep or believe you can’t sleep as well without them.
  • Problem with sleeping pills #4: Withdrawal symptoms. If you stop the medication abruptly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and shaking.
  • Problem with sleeping pills #5: Rebound insomnia. If you need to stop taking sleeping pills, sometimes the insomnia can become even worse than before. Or you may be able to fall asleep faster but then wake up more frequently throughout the night.


The problem with sleeping pills and OTC sleep aids is that unfortunately, they do not treat the cause of insomnia. Sleeping pills only mask underlying problems that lead to insomnia.

Often times people with insomnia struggle with underlying physical, emotional, or even a sleep disorder, causing your insomnia that can’t be treated with sleeping pills.

As an insomnia therapist, Elika Kormeili works with her clients to develop individualized plans to overcome their insomnia. Contact Elika MFT with your insomnia related questions.

California residents, schedule your complementary 20-minute sleep consultation here.

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