There are medications that put you to sleep and medications that keep you awake, whether they are over the counter or prescription drugs. Beyond the drugs that are used to treat sleep disorders, are the top drugs prescribed for other medical and psychological conditions that have nothing to do with sleep, but still have sleep side effects.
There are pros and cons to medications like Ambien, Klonopin and Sonesta, all prescription drugs that aid in sleep, which are mostly the new benzodiazepines. The biggest pro is short term aid in sleeping, and the biggest con is the potential for dependency. Many sleeping pills are overprescribed and abused and are best used short term.
99% of doctors prescribing medications (of all kinds) are completely unaware of the sleep side effects of these medications. Many people take several prescription medications, nonprescription drugs, and dietary supplements and it is important to know the interactions that these drugs have and how they can affect your sleep.
Many of these are blockbuster drugs for common ailments like high blood pressure, mood disorders, diabetes and high cholesterol. They include allergy and cold medicine, beta-blockers used for hypertension, opioid pain relievers, steroids, asthma medicine, Ritalin, Adderall, and some antidepressants.
Also, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can cause sleep problems and interfere with medication. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants and alcohol, while a depressant, interferes with your sleep cycle so paying attention to your consumption of these is important when looking at medication and treatments.