If you feel it necessary to take sleeping pills, be sure to take them for a relatively short period of time (i.e., 3 to 4 days)--the drugs are not recommended for long-term usage. Generally, sleeping pills are not recommended for chronic insomnia as the drug loses its effectiveness over time. Try to make it a habit of getting to bed at about the same time each night and avoid physical exercise in the evening. By the way, there is some evidence to support that regular exercise (when performed earlier in the day) does promote a better night's sleep. People who exercise regularly are less likely to have trouble falling asleep.
BOTTOM LINE: Sleeping pills have limited effectiveness, have potential side-effects, and long-term safety is unknown. If you do decide to take sleeping pills, be sure to take the smallest dose needed. Avoid mixing alcohol with sleeping pills. Avoid driving the morning after taking sleeping pills.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."