In a study on prescription sleep use by Americans, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, it was found that 4% of U.S. adults over the age of 20 use prescription sleep aids. Sedative and hypnotic medications, often referred to as sleep aids, are used to induce or maintain sleep by suppressing the central nervous system. Because sleeping pills lend themselves to misuse, they are usually prescribed for short-term use for insomnia.

Common Pharmaceutical Brands of Sleeping Pills:Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon)

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Some of the signs of sleeping pill abuse include:
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Unsteady gait
  • Inability to focus
  • Impaired memory
  • Unusual euphoria
  • Taking medication to feel euphoric effects
  • Having cravings to use sleeping pills during the day
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual dreams
  • Itching and swelling
  • Lightheadedness
  • Depressed breathing rate
  • Relying on sleeping pills every night in order to fall asleep
  • Not experiencing the same effects from the same dose
  • Preoccupation with bedtime in order to take medication
Over time, ongoing use of sleeping pills can lead to atrophy or weakening of the muscles, depression, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat as well as an overdose.
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