The collective term sleep disorder refers to conditions that affect sleep quality, timing, or duration and impact a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. These disorders can contribute to other medical problems, and some may also be symptoms of underlying mental health issues.
Data indicates that more than one-third of adults in the United States report getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. More than 70 percent of high school students report getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep on weeknights.
Most people occasionally experience sleeping problems due to stress, hectic schedules, and other outside influences. However, when these issues begin to occur on a regular basis and interfere with daily life, they may indicate a sleeping disorder.
Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. The lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.
What are sleeping pills?
Sleeping pills also known as hypnotics, sedatives, sleep aids, sleep medicine, or tranquilizers are medications that help you catch some sleep. People who have sleep disorders like insomnia may take these medications to help them fall asleep. Sleeping medicines can also help you stay asleep if you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night.
How do sleeping pills work?
There are various types of sleeping pills. Each works differently. Some sleep aids cause drowsiness, while others silence the area of the brain that keeps you alert.
What is tizanidine?
Tizanidine is a prescription drug that comes as an oral tablet and an oral capsule. Tizanidine oral tablet is available as a brand-name drug Zanaflex. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
Tizanidine oral tablet is used to manage muscle spasms. Symptoms can include muscle tightness, pain, or stiffness. This drug is often used for people with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or muscle spasticity. Tizanidine is also used off-label for managing patients suffering from chronic neck and back pain, chronic migraines.
Studies indicate that tizanidine has direct effects on the induction of sleep, and promotes muscular relaxation bringing about good sleep. Tizanidine is also useful for the treatment of refractory sleep disturbance in spastic quadriplegic patients.
How it works
Tizanidine belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-2-adrenergic agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. Tizanidine reduces the activity of nerves in the spinal cord that control muscles. This helps to reduce muscle spasms.
How much tizanidine should I take for sleep?
Tizanidine comes as a tablet and a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken consistently either always with or always without food two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. For adults over the age of 18, the typical starting dose is 2 or 4 mg due to the possible dose-related side effects. A doctor can then increase the dose in increments of 2–4 mg every 1–4 days to achieve the optimal effect possible with a tolerable amount of side effects. People can repeat the dose at 6–8 hour intervals, but they should never exceed three doses, or a total of 36 mg, within 24 hours
Tizanidine is not FDA-approved for use in children under 18 years old. Take tizanidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Tizanidine capsules may be opened and sprinkled on soft foods such as applesauce. Talk to your doctor before opening the capsules because the effects of the medication, when used in this manner, may be different than when swallowing the capsule whole.
The medication in the capsule is absorbed differently by the body than the medication in the tablet, so one product cannot be substituted for the other. Each time you have your prescription filled, look at the tablets or capsules in the bottle and make sure that you have received the right product. If you think you received the wrong medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of tizanidine and gradually increase your dose, depending on your response to this medication.
Do not stop taking tizanidine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking tizanidine, your heart may beat faster and you may have increased blood pressure or tightness in your muscles. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
How to safely take sleeping pills
If your best attempts to get a good night’s sleep have failed, prescription sleeping pills may be an option. Here’s some advice on how to use them safely.
• Get a medical evaluation. Before you take sleeping pills, see your doctor for a thorough exam. Often your doctor may be able to find specific causes for your insomnia. If you’re taking sleeping pills for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor about an appropriate follow-up schedule to discuss your medications.
• Read the medication guide. Read the medication guide for patients so that you understand how and when to take your medication and what the major potential side effects are. If you have any questions, ask your pharmacist or your doctor.
• Never take a sleeping pill until you’re going to bed. Sleeping pills can make you less aware of what you’re doing, increasing the risk of dangerous situations. Wait to take your sleeping pill until you’ve completed all of your evening activities, immediately before you plan on sleeping.
• Take your sleeping pill when you can get a full night’s sleep. Only take a sleeping pill when you know you can get a full night’s sleep of at least seven to eight hours. A few short-acting sleeping pills are intended for middle of the night awakenings, so you may take them when you can stay in bed for at least four hours.
• Watch for side effects. If you feel sleepy or dizzy during the day or if you experience any other significant side effects, talk to your doctor about changing your dose or weaning off your pills. Don’t take a new sleeping pill the night before an important appointment or activity because you won’t know how it affects you.
• Avoid alcohol. Never mix alcohol and sleeping pills. Alcohol increases the sedative effects of the pills. Even a small amount of alcohol combined with sleeping pills can make you feel dizzy, confused or faint. Combining alcohol with certain sleeping pills can lead to dangerously slowed breathing or unresponsiveness. And alcohol can actually cause insomnia.
• Take sleeping pills strictly as prescribed by your doctor. Some prescription sleeping pills are for short-term use only. Be sure to contact your doctor for advice. Also, don’t take a higher dose than prescribed. If the initial dose doesn’t produce the intended effect on sleep, don’t take more pills without first talking to your doctor.
• Quit carefully. When you’re ready to stop taking sleeping pills, follow your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions or the directions on the label. Some medications must be stopped gradually. Also, be aware that you may have some short-term rebound insomnia for a few days after you stop taking sleeping pills.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor for additional help.