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In the event of an overdose or if combined with another sedative, many of these drugs can cause unconsciousness (see hypnotic) and even death.
At higher doses, it may result in slurred speech, staggering gait, poor judgment, and slow, uncertain reflexes.
These include suicides and accidental drug poisonings.
Accidental deaths sometimes occur when a drowsy, confused user repeats doses, or when sedatives are taken with alcohol.
Like alcohol, benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat insomnia in the short-term (both prescribed and self-medicated), but worsen sleep in the long-term.
While benzodiazepines can put people to sleep but, while asleep, the drugs disrupt sleep architecture: decreasing sleep time, delaying time to REM sleep, and decreasing deep slow-wave sleep (the most restorative part of sleep for both energy and mood).