How do sleeping pills work, and why are there so many stereotypes about people doing crazy things after taking them?

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How do sleeping pills work, and why are there so many stereotypes about people doing crazy things after taking them?

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It sounds like you’re talking, specifically, about the newer a-drug sleeping pills like ambien. These Z-drugs are called hypnotics and work differently than sedatives and tranquilizers. One difference is the potential to not put you all the way out, but still put out the parts of you that regulate impulse control.

ELI5 they make you forget you didn’t get any sleep so you are dead tired and forgetful. This leads to crazy behavior if you take them longer than a week or so. Not a stereotype but true. The memory issues also make it very difficult to convince people that the pills arent working, even taping them and using brain monitors dont convince them.

There are a few different categories that work in different ways, so it depends on which ones you are talking about.

And like basically all drugs they can have side effects because for as much as medical science has improved over the recent centuries and decades there is still a LOT we don’t know, and the drugs we take are less precise than we’d like, but the alternative is generally worse.

Meanwhile people doing crazy things isn’t a stereotype, its a very real, very serious documented phenomenon and why you need to be careful when you first start taking these (or really any) strong drugs. Will it cause YOU in particular to do crazy things? No, probably not, but its a possibility and its enough of one for drugs like Ambien to have warnings.