Can sleeping pills cause depression? (A guide)

In this brief guide, we will discuss features of sleeping pills like can sleeping pills cause depression and other side effects of sleeping pills, and some other relevant information you may need about sleeping pills.

Can sleeping pills cause depression?

Yes, sleeping pills may cause depression sometimes, according to the informational label on a commonly prescribed sleeping pill Ambien, which has the generic name zolpidem tartrate.

Sleeping pills may cause depression-like symptoms when they are used too much or for too long, or recreationally. Sleeping pills can also cause depression if the person has become addicted to them and stops taking them.

Other commonly occurring side effects of Ambien and most other sleeping pills, apart from depression, are:

·       Anxiety symptoms as well as other related symptoms like Rapid heart rate, disorientation, ability to concentrate, and dizziness

·       Nausea or vomiting, other stomach related issues such as Diarrhea

·       Loss of appetite

·       Slow breathing rates

·       Impaired or blurred vision

·       Muscle cramps

·       Allergic reactions like rash or swelling, hoarseness of the throat

·       Memory loss

·       Inability to concentrate

·       Suicidal thoughts

·       Nightmares

·       Confusion

·       Aggression or irritability

Due to these side effects, it is recommended that you don’t take sleeping pills like Ambien without the express guidance of a doctor who is licensed to prescribe such drugs.

Addiction and withdrawal with sleeping pills

According to the American Addiction centers website, Sleeping pills have been known to be addictive for some people and can cause withdrawal symptoms if their supply is interrupted, like anxiety, palpitations, depression, and so on.

Ambien, the most commonly used sleeping pill, was initially developed as an effective alternative to other sleep medications which also have a lot of side effects, without the potential for abuse or addiction. 

Research indicates that overuse of sleeping pills can cause tolerance, dependency, and withdrawal, symptoms usually associated with any substance dependence.

A common symptom of dependence is also chemical dependence, which means needing the substance in order to feel comfortable and function normally.

If you take sleeping pills with a doctor’s prescription and use only for a short-term period, chemical dependency and addiction are unlikely to develop.

Furthermore, individuals at risk of addiction include those who take sleeping pills for longer than a few weeks or those who take more than the recommended dose.

In addition, recreational users who take sleeping pills for nonmedical reasons are also prone to developing a dependence on it that may then cause withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop. Also, using sleeping pills for fun can also lead to overuse and oversedation, leading to serious problems like death or loss of consciousness.

Other withdrawal symptoms resulting from a sleeping pill addiction include:

·       Anxiety

·       Depression

·       Sleeplessness

·       Tremors

·       Muscle cramps

·       Dizziness

·       Agitation

·       Nausea

·       Headaches

Can you wake up after taking sleeping pills?

You can wake up after sleeping pills, but according to the label on most sleeping pills, grogginess, or fuzziness upon waking up is a risk.

For some people, especially those who may be taking sleeping pills along with antidepressants, or just people who are suffering from depression and are taking sleeping pills as a means to help with the Insomnia resulting from depression, may find it hard to shake off the sleepiness when they wake up after taking a sleeping pill.

If you feel that you are feeling too sleepy during the day because you took sleeping pills at night before sleeping, you can talk to your doctor about changing the dosage.

If you are not taking sleeping pills to help with severe insomnia but just to get into a good bedtime schedule, you can try better, more natural alternatives like Melatonin, which tap into your body’s natural hormones that induce sleep.

You can also try to make sure that you’ve scheduled enough time for a full night’s sleep, rather than take the sleeping pill and not get an adequate number of hours. Many people experience grogginess due to the reason that they have not actually achieved the full night’s sleep that was induced by the sleeping pill.

Try to get at least 7-8 hours after taking a sleeping pill.

Remember that most sleeping pills reach maximum efficiency about 1 to 1 ½ hour after the person takes them, so also make sure that you take it at an appropriate time and don’t operate any heavy machinery or do any important work after taking it.

You can also try to practice good sleep hygiene to help the sleeping pill make you fall asleep.

Most prescription sleep medicines reach maximum levels about after someone takes them, Sateia says.

Can Sleeping pills cause gastritis

Sleeping pills have been known to cause stomach problems like gastritis or make the condition of acid reflux worse, however, these only tend to happen when these pills are taken in big amounts regularly.

For short term users who take the sleeping pills as prescribed, the risks of these stomach related issues are much less.

Also, if you are experiencing more problems with sleeping pills than other people, talk to your doctor, they may give you an antacid or something else to help you with the stomach problems.

You can also try to basic home remedies to help with the acid reflux.

It is important to get the acid reflux under control. Donald O. Castell, MD, a distinguished professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, says that it is “extremely important” for patients suffering from acid reflux to be careful with sleeping pills.

“It sends a definite warning that serious levels of acid reflux can occur without detection after a sleeping aid and that the prolonged acid exposure has the potential to produce injury to the esophageal lining that might not otherwise occur,” he says.

How you can limit acid reflux at night?

If you experience nighttime reflux, particularly after taking a sleeping pill, talk to a doctor about your symptoms.

If adjusting your medications alone is not enough, experts also recommend trying these nighttime techniques to help reduce acid reflux happening due to sleeping pills:

·       Try to avoid eating three to four hours before going to bed

·       Elevate your head while sleeping by 4 to 6 inches, by using a higher pillow or getting more support.

Dr. DiMarino advises caution when prescribing sleeping pills to patients who may be suffering from acid reflux “Beware, because they may not be adequately suppressing the acid,” he says. “If you just willy-nilly go out and write a prescription for a sleeping pill in that setting, I definitely think you’re setting patients up for complications.”

Which sleeping pill is dangerous?

Sleeping pills have been known to cause depression or make symptoms of depression worse, and therefore it is important to know which ones you should avoid.

Daniel F. Kripke, MD, of the Viterbi Family Sleep Center at Scripps Health in San Diego, who conducted a study to find out the side effects and other harmful symptoms that sleeping pills can cause, said, “What our study shows is that sleeping pills are hazardous to your health and might cause death by contributing to the occurrence of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments.”

His research showed that eight of the most commonly used sleeping pills were associated with increased risks of mortality and cancer.

This list of sleeping pills including the popularly prescribed medications zolpidem (marketed by the brand name Ambien) and Temazepam (brand name, Restoril).

Dr. Kripke said, “Those drugs had been thought to be safer than older hypnotics because of their shorter duration of action.”

His co-author, Robert D. Langer, MD, MPH, of the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wyoming reports further about the study, “We tried every practical strategy to make these associations go away, thinking that they could be due to use by people with more health problems, but no matter what we did the associations with higher mortality held.”

How many mg of sleeping pills are safe?

600 mg is a general cutoff for most users where a user is entering overdose limitations.

Death is usually reported at doses higher than 2,000 mg, but a lethal dose may still occur at lower amounts.

While modern sleeping pills are safer than the ones that were in use a few decades ago death from overuse of sleeping pills is less likely but still possible.

When taking sleeping pills, the rule of thumb is to always stick to the exact dosage that was recommended by the doctor, and nothing more.

If you find that the recommended dosage is not working, you need to consult the physician and get it changed, but never do it on your own.

What happens if you take 2 sleeping pills?

Taking 2 sleeping pills at once may put you in a slightly longer sleep, but more importantly, it will cause stomach issues and you may feel the usually listed side effects of the medication you are taking.

If you have missed a dose of your medication or if you are not able to sleep well after the one dosage, talk to your primary care physician and see what you can do about it. Do not take the more sleeping pills on your own as it can cause bad effects on your body.

In addition, you should also never mix sleeping pills with alcohol or other substances as this causes serious side effects and you may become very sick.

Can Depression medicine make you sleep?

Medicines for depression, that is, antidepressants, can make you sleep, and usually when antidepressants are prescribed sleeping pills are omitted even if the person is having trouble sleeping.

These are some medicines for depression that can also help you sleep and eliminate the need for sleeping pills:

·       SSRIs: Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil.), and sertraline (Zoloft) vilazodone (Vibryd), and vortioxetine (Trintellix).

·       Tricyclic antidepressants: Amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor)

·       SNRIs: (serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) desvenlafaxine (Khedezla), desvenlafaxine succinate (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), or venlafaxine (Effexor)

·       Sedating antidepressants: Mirtazapine (Remeron)

Can sleeping pills cause severe depression?

Sleeping pills cannot cause severe depression, but they can make symptoms of depression worse on occasion.

In addition, sleeping pills have their own longevity (9–20 hours for Alprazolam/ Xanax), and if the drug is still in your blood flow, you can still feel tired and unconscious, or feel the low mood generally associate with depression, which may make you feel depressed and unable to concentrate on things.


In this brief guide, we discussed features of sleeping pills, like can sleeping pills cause depression and other side effects of sleeping pills, and some other relevant information you may need about sleeping pills.

Frequently Asked Questions 9FAQs): Can sleeping pills cause depression

Can sleeping pills make you emotional?

Yes, sleeping pills may make you emotional, but this is not something that happens to everyone that takes sleeping pills.

After regular use for a long period, your sleeping pill may not work as well as you build a tolerance to the medication. 

You may also become psychologically and chemically dependent on sleeping pills and the idea of going to sleep without it can make you anxious. You might even find it difficult to sleep without the sleeping pill,

Can sleeping pills cause death risk?

Sleeping pills cause death risk when the dose is taken is too high, but taken in the way they were prescribed does not pose a threat.

People rely on sleeping pills to get a good night’s rest, but a new study shows that sleeping pills pose a 4.6 times higher risk of death and are also associated with a significant increase in cancer cases among regular pill users.

What are the harmful effects of sleeping pills?

Some harmful effects of sleeping pills include:

– Headache, which may lead to falls.
– Dizziness or lightheadedness
– Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and nausea.
– Severe allergic reaction.
– Prolonged drowsiness, more so with drugs that help you stay asleep.

What are the long term side effects of sleeping pills?

The Long-Term Side Effects of Sleeping Pills include:

– Depression and suicidal thoughts or actions.

– Greater risk of cancer.

– Increased risk of dementia in older people 

– Memory problems and confusion.

– Parasomnia: activities while sleeping such as driving or eating without remembering.

What happens if you take a sleeping pill and stay awake?

Staying awake after taking a sleeping pill can cause dangerous side effects including hallucinations and gaps in memory or other memory-related problems. 


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