With today’s fast-paced lifestyles & hectic work from home routines, sleeplessness has become a common problem. It’s normal to have some nights of inadequate rest, but when it happens on a regular basis, you might want to try over the counter sleeping aids.

A sleeping pill is not a lasting solution to sleep; precautions are necessary while consuming them. We share valuable tips to follow while taking a sleeping pill.

Guidelines to Follow While Taking Sleeping Pills

Here are 5 instructional tips for taking over-the-counter pills for insomnia:

1.   Seek a doctor’s consultation:   

A sleeping pill is not an ordinary pill for fever or headache. It is a prescription drug to treat sleep disorders. Habitual intake can reduce the response value of a sleeping drug.

Discuss your insomnia problems with your doctor before starting on a sleeping pill. A doctor’s diagnosis will help get to the root of the problem. Know a follow-up plan to reduce intake if you have been taking sleeping pills for more than a week. A doctor’s visit aims to help reduce dependence on drugs like sleeping pills. Moreover, sometimes rather than traditional sleeping pills, doctors may prescribe herbal sleeping tablets that are as effective as these pills but are not habit-forming.

2.   Take a sleeping pill only before bedtime:

Some people believe that a sleeping pill is apt for the daytime. Now, this is a cardinal mistake one could make. Taking a sleeping pill reduces the awareness and agility of all that’s happening around the concerned person and can have dangerous fallout.

Complete all your tasks for the day and evening. When it’s time to doze off for a full night’s sleep, then take the sleeping pill. Avoid taking short-acting sleeping pills to get up in the middle of the night.

3.   Avoid alcohol while taking pills for insomnia:

Refrain from mixing sedatives with alcohol. Alcohol increases the sedative properties of the pills. Sipping a small alcohol peg with sleeping pills can cause dizziness and a fainting spell which may cause several implications like shallow breathing, sleepwalking & memory loss.

Apart from that, it could lead to hallucinations and impaired motor control and in worst cases, lead to CNS suppression and ultimately leading to death.

4.   Watch out for side effects:

The after-effects of sleeping pills may harm health. Side-effects can always happen after taking insomnia drugs. Age and the extent of sleeping pill intake can ring alarm bells.

Immediately report side effects to your family doctor. If you feel dizzy during the day, talk to your doctor. Avoid taking a sleeping pill if you have an emergency meeting or an urgent task coming up the next day.    

5.   Quit sleeping pills after medical consultation:

Although treating short term insomnia with sleeping pills is what people look for, sometimes you may become dependent on these pills for your sleep. Deciding when to quit taking sleeping pills is not an individual decision. Call or meet your doctor to know when to stop the dosage. Read the directions on the product label for supplementary guidance. 

Remember discontinuing the sleeping pills upon completion of the required dosage can bring back sleeplessness for a few days. Discuss it with your physician.      

Extra Tips before Taking Sleeping Pills

Some additional tips for insomnia patients before taking sleeping pills:

  • Adhere to the dosage instructions on the product label/prescription slip, so you know how and when to take the pill and the potential side effects.
  • Over-the-counter sleeping drugs may interact with other medications for health problems, like a heart ailment or a kidney disease. Go by the doctor’s advice. Skip self-medication.
  • Explore natural alternatives likeHerbal Sleeping Tablets. Chamomile tea and melatonin are other dietary supplements for sleep enhancement.
  • Limit your Sleeping pill usage for two to four weeks only.If you need help for a long time,ensure to consult your doctor.
  • Share your previous prescription of insomnia and behavioural changes you faced with your doctor for medication ahead.      
  • Long-term patients of insomnia should consider behavioural therapy for treatment.
  • Dont stop taking sleeping pills suddenly as it can rebound insomnia
  • Never resort to driving after taking a sleeping pill.
  • Report immediately to your physician when facing any problems with insomnia medication. 
  • Convoluted changes in sleep such as sleepwalking, can happen with a sleeping pill. Read the FDA instructions to know more about the safety risks.
  • Always consult your doctor for help, if you find nagging problems of sleeplessness even after pursuing medication.


Sound sleep is a challenge affecting most people. Talk to your health provider if you are lying awake for consistent nights. Medication is available, but it comes with side effects. Pursue an active lifestyle so you can sleep on your own with no medical intervention.