Follow these guidelines to make sure that you use sleeping pills safely and properly to treat insomnia:
1. Never take a sleeping pill without first getting approval from your doctor.
2. Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medications that you already take.
3. Notify your doctor if you have any other medical problems such as high blood pressure or liver problems.
4. Carefully read the package insert that comes with your medication.
5. Follow your prescription. Do not take more than the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
6. Never drink alcohol near the time when you take a sleeping pill.
7. Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time to get plenty of sleep. (Most sleeping pills, such as Ambien or Lunesta, should be taken at least seven to eight hours before you need to wake up. You can take Intermezzo in the middle of the night if you have at least four hours of bedtime left.)
8. Try to take the first dose on a night when you don't have to go anywhere the next morning.
9. Never drive a motor vehicle after taking a sleeping pill.
10. Contact your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any problems while taking a sleep medication.
Contact a local sleep center to get help for insomnia or another sleep illness.
Updated Aug. 7, 2013