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Full Sleeping Tablets Side Effects List

Full Sleeping Tablets Side Effects List

Nearly one-third of adults in the United Kingdom complain of poor sleep and the statistics are similar, if not more alarming, in various European countries among other regions globally. This is why so many people consider using sleep medications or have already tried them.

Before you can reach for a sleeping pill though, it is important to know all the information there is pertaining to the therapeutic, including the sleeping tablets side effects.

It is also important to note side effects that apply to differing groups of sleep meds. Sedative-hypnotics can include:

Benzodiazepines became popular after they were shown to be related to fewer side effects than their predecessors, barbiturates.

According to the American Academy Family of Physicians (AAFP) Foundation, non-benzodiazepines have a better safety profile (fewer side effects and a reduced risk for tolerance) than benzodiazepines. This class of sedative medications is also recommended as a first-line treatment of chronic insomnia. In addition, the best type of sleeping pills are those considered to be rapidly acting with a relatively short half-life.

Sleeping tablets carry added risks of side effects in older persons. This is because as you get older, it becomes more difficult for the body to get rid of the medication. This can increase the effects of sedation and is probably the reason behind the statistics relating to accidental falls following administration of a sleep aid. The World Health Organization (WHO) report falls as the second leading cause of accidental injury and reveals that this is prevalent in seniors.

Common Sleeping Tablets Side Effects

These can be grouped as follows:

  • Benzodiazepines: light-headedness, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, muscle weakness
  • Z-drugs: headaches, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle weakness
  • Gabapentinoids: clumsiness, constipation, diarrhoea, dry mouth, nausea

Factors that influence the onset of sleeping tablets side effects include the following:

  • Smoking: the hepatic enzymes, CYP1A2 and 2B6, are responsible for metabolising certain medications. These enzymes are induced by the action of smoking cigarettes. Abrupt stopping of smoking can affect the levels of these enzymes in the blood, which may affect the amounts of the medication in the body system. Tobacco smoke can also have an influence on the absorption, distribution and elimination of medicines.
  • Level of hydration: dehydration can be linked to an increased risk of side effects. A low level of hydration can also further heighten certain side effects, as there are medications that affect the fluid balance of the body.
  • Diet: there are certain foods that negatively affect the action of therapeutics. Grapefruit is a common example which should be avoided, with most medications in fact, including those used for sleep - e.g. zopiclone. Medicines are broken down with assistance from the CYP3A4 enzyme in the small intestine. Grapefruit blocks the action of this enzyme, which means more of the active ingredient may enter the blood stream or remain in the system for longer. The result of this could be too much of the sleep medicine in the body and hence, more adverse effects.

Uncommon Sleeping Tablets Side Effects

Some of the side effects associated with the use of common sleeping tablets, like temazepam, and which typically occur less-frequently can include:

  • Diarrhoea: there is a recommended diet when dealing with diarrhoea and this is known as the 'BRAT' diet. It involves eating bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Experts believe these foods reduce the symptoms of diarrhoea because they are starchy and low in fiber. Other ways to naturally relieve these symptoms can include drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as water or juices.
  • Loss of energy: a loss of energy can be managed with frequent exercise and adding nutritious foods to your diet. Some also believe that having light meals, every two to three hours, may be useful for increasing your energy levels.
  • Generalised weakness: this includes muscle weakness and the symptoms can be evident as muscle pains or cramps. Ways to help manage muscle weakness involve mild exercise or brief walks on a regular basis. Foods, such as nuts, can also be of assistance as they are high in vitamin E and magnesium, which are beneficial for the health of your muscles.

Rare Sleeping Tablets Side Effects

Rare sleeping tablets side effects can include allergic reactions and/or parasomnias. Allergic reactions occur when the immune system responds in an abnormal manner to certain substances, like the ingredients of a sleeping tablet.

Each year, at least 200 000 people require medical attention for allergies in the United States and these numbers are mirrored in some parts of Europe. Many of these are in fact related to medications. Although they are rare, the adverse effects associated with sleeping pills can be fatal if they interfere with the breathing function.

Rare sleeping tablets side effects, such as parasomnias, can be observed with the use of certain Z-drugs, like zopiclone. Parasomnias can be characterised as sleep orders which are disruptive and are often related to drinking, eating, walking and talking without any knowledge of doing so. In a 2008 study, in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, zopiclone was revealed to be related to the emergence and exacerbation of sleepwalking, and other parasomnias in extreme cases.

According to Jordahn and other researchers, the mechanism linked to complex behaviours is still being explored and the relation of Z-drugs to these behaviors (like sleepwalking) may be due to concentrations exceeding the advised limits (2016).

Sleeping Tablets Effects Explained

If you are using a sleeping pill and notice side effects, you can ask yourself some of these important questions:

  • Are there other factors which may be contributing to the sleeping tablets side effects such as stress, a poor diet or a lack of exercise?
  • Are there foods I should avoid which further potentiate the side effects experienced with the medications?
  • Is there room to lower the existing dosage and still acquire the therapeutic benefits of the medication?
  • Is there any daily activity which is prohibited due to the sleeping tablets side effects?
  • Do the side effects represent an unpleasantness, which is of greater proportion to the therapeutic advantages of the medicine?

By analyzing factors like the above, it is possible to determine whether or not the side effects associated with the sleeping tablets available in the UK are tolerable or not. If you find these adverse effects may be intolerable, your health care provider may adjust the dosage of the sleeping pill or change the medication altogether.

Updated: 29th January 2021
Review Due: January 2022




Quickly establishing herself as a content writer Sarah found herself drawn to the medical industry – specifically in the field of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-I), and sleep aids for insomnia. Sarah brings a wealth of experience, expertise and enthusiasm and will no doubt keep our readers absorbed with her insightful and thoughtful blogs written especially for

Ted – Mar 13, 2021
Hi Sarah - I suffer from insomnia and I find that taking them three nights a week works wonders for me. I don't experience any side effects as I don't take them every night. Thanks for creating this informative post.

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