Approximately 30% of American adults exhibit symptoms of insomnia. The trouble people face in trying to sleep makes them resort to the use of sleeping pills despite the many warnings that have been issued by officials from the Federal Health department. Now the FDA has warned the masses once again and that also in a prominent way.
Accordingly, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered that a black box warning be printed over the packaging of popular sleep-inducing drugs such as Sonata, Ambien, etc. This has been done to alert users about the dangerous, and possibly even life-threatening, side effects that accompany sleeping pills.
Ingesting sleeping pills makes a lot of people engage in ‘sleepwalking.’ This is an act in which one walks, talks, and does normal things while he is still partially asleep. Some people also drive in this state and such behavior can result in injuries or even death.
FDA has also said that Zolpidem, Zaleplon, and Eszopiclone must not be given to any person who has exhibited complicated sleeping behaviors such as sleepwalking. Some people experience these negative side effects more than others. This can perhaps be because they are already prone to such sleep disorders and taking sleeping pills triggers the behavior.
Such instances where people go through adverse side effects because of sleeping pills are rare, however, they are serious and cannot be ignored. The FDA reviewed 66 cases of people who engaged in sleepwalking after taking sleep medication. It was found that some attained injuries due to falling, some burned, nearly drowned, or lost limbs due to being out in intense cold.
Some even suffered car crashes. Of the cases analyzed, 20 people died. The Acting Commissioner of FDA, Ned Sharples said, “These incidents can occur after the first dose of these sleep medicines or after a longer period of treatment and can occur in patients without any history of these behaviors and even at the lowest recommended doses.”
This warning by the FDA urges people to take other routes to improving their sleep rather than sleeping pills. Maintaining a proper sleep hygiene can also help. This is a behavioral therapy that comprises of sleeping and waking at a set time, sleeping in the right temperature which isn’t too hot or cold, and sleeping without any lights on.
Moreover, one must also keep his phone or another smart device aside at least an hour before hopping into bed as the blue light from these devices can delay the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Lack of sleep is linked to many adverse consequences ranging from low productivity, inability to focus, short term memory loss to diabetes, and heart disease.
It is, therefore, essential to try safe methods for improving sleep. Keeping in view the FDA’s latest warning regarding the use of sleep medications, those are best avoided because of the adverse side effects and many risks that tag along with them.