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You should also avoid the use of alcohol while being treated with the non-benzodiazepine medications, (often referred to as the “Z” drugs). Alcohol can further increase the central nervous system side effects of these drugs alcohol and pills such as drowsiness, dizziness, and trouble concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, memory or reflexes. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

  • But if you’re getting the best sleep you’ve had in months while using nightly prescription medications, why (and when and how) should you stop using them?
  • Over-the-counter sleep aids, including herbal products and dietary supplements, carry the same risks as prescription-only sleep aids when combined with alcohol.
  • When taken together, their side effects may be enhanced, which can lead to a potentially fatal sleeping pill overdose.
  • American Addiction Centers, parent company of, is a nationwide provider of addiction treatment facilities.
  • Prescription sleeping pills can also trigger disturbed sleep behaviors, such as sleep-eating and sleep-driving, especially if used improperly.
  • Understanding these “standard” drink sizes can make it easier to follow health guidelines.

Sleep aids can also be helpful for those times when people may wish to get to sleep earlier than usual, or in circumstances where they find resting difficult, as in a long plane trip. Like benzos drugs, they may also cause side effects and dependence, especially when combined with alcohol. Alcohol, while active in your body, suppresses REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage of sleep you go through when you have dreams. This decreases overall sleep quality and can lead to more sleep interruptions and a worse overall sense of restfulness when you wake up.

Side effects of antidepressants with a sedating effect

Drinking alcohol before bed can increase the suppression of REM sleep during the first two cycles. Since alcohol is a sedative, sleep onset is often shorter for drinkers and some fall into deep sleep rather quickly. As the night progresses, this can create an imbalance between slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, resulting in less of the latter and more of the former. This imbalance decreases overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions.

When combined with alcohol, sleeping pills can have the same effect as many other meds on this list. People can also have problems with motor control, memory, and behavior. If your best attempts to get a good night’s sleep have failed, prescription sleeping pills may be an option.

Is It Dangerous to Combine Sleeping Pills and Alcohol?

These recommendations are based on average body sizes so if you are unusually large or small for your gender, adjust your consumption accordingly. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information.

  • Side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness and slowed breathing may be more intense, and there is an increased risk of overdose.
  • Many clinics are even attached to rehabilitation centers and patients can visit 12 step meetings on the premises.
  • Both alcohol and sleeping pills depress certain body systems and functions.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever been dependent upon alcohol, opioids or other prescription medications, or recreational / illicit drugs. Some of these sleep-inducing drugs, which bind to the same receptors in the brain as do benzodiazepines, include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. They are somewhat less likely than benzodiazepines to be habit-forming, but over time can still sometimes cause physical dependence. Another sleep aid, called Rozerem, acts differently from other sleep medicines. It affects a brain hormone called melatonin, and it’s not addictive.

Allergy, Cold, and Flu Medicines

Combining alcohol with over-the-counter sleep aids increases these medications’ sedative effects and side effects. Silenor (doxepin) is prescribed to treat insomnia in people who have trouble staying asleep. Drinking alcohol with doxepin may increase the sedating effects of alcohol. Increased sedation from mixing alcohol and sleep aids like doxepin can cause breathing problems, coma or death. The risks of mixing alcohol and central nervous system depressants, such as sleeping pills, are serious.

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These include not drinking too quickly, not drinking too much, and watching out for signs of intoxication. When someone drinks on an empty stomach, there is less food in their stomach and intestines. These organs are also responsible for moving alcohol into the bloodstream.

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