Sleep Aids And Stimulants
If you are not sleeping well, you may decide to try an over-the-counter medication for sleep. Most OTC sleeping aids are antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine. Because they have a long period of action, they can make you feel drowsy for several hours after you awaken. Also, they lose their effectiveness over time. Thus, it may be better to see a health care provider for an assessment and advice.
Your doctor can prescribe a medication that fits your specific sleep problem. Three typical problems are difficulty going to sleep, difficulty staying asleep and waking up too early. The newer prescription medications target each of these problems specifically, with different mechanisms and durations of effect.12
You might be tempted to have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage to help you fall asleep. Although drinking alcohol can quicken sleep onset, researchers strongly recommend against this because it causes arousals and awakenings. As a result, you may not feel refreshed on waking.
Best For Sleep Disorders: Melatonin
- Dosage: Up to 10 milligrams
- Best for: Circadian rhythm sleep disorders
- Benefits: May help people with shift work, jet lag, insomnia, and those living in places with short night hours
- Risks: Overdose and safety in pregnancy
The brain produces the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle by telling the body that it is almost time for sleep.
The brain makes less melatonin when it is light outside and more when it is dark, such as during the winter. Age also plays a role according to
Many sleeping aids contain melatonin. They tend to be most effective for people with circadian rhythm sleep disorders, which are problems with the timing of sleeping or waking up.
Melatonin can beneficial for people:
- having trouble falling asleep at night
- doing shift work
In recent years, manufacturers have marketed snacks and drinks that contain melatonin as relaxation products. However, doctors do not know if they are effective.
Melatonin supplements are available without a prescription from drug stores, supermarkets, and online shops. Melatonin is available in dosages of 110 mg, and a person should take them at bedtime. How long the effects last depend on the dosage taken.
It is possible to overdose on melatonin, so people should always follow product instructions or talk with a doctor about safe dosages.
Experts do not know if melatonin is safe to use during pregnancy.
The following are sedating antihistamines:
Zenwise Labs Sleep Support
Active ingredients: Melatonin 6mg, Magnesium 80 mg, L-Taurine 200 mg, L-Theanine 200 mg, Chamomile powder 150mg, l-Ornithine 5 mg, Valerian powder 150 mg, GABA 100 mg and 5-HTP 100 mg.
The Zenwise Labs sleep aid is one of the strongest over the counter sleep aids on the market, which when you consider how many ingredients it has in it, isnt all that surprising. It contains melatonin , magnesium, L-Taurine, L-Theanine, Chamomile, l-Ornithine, Valerian, GABA and 5-HTP all ingredients which are believed to help with either relaxation or sleep.
Zenwise Labs Sleep Support helps you to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep throughout the night. Plus, because there are no reported after-effects in the morning, its ideal if you need to rush off to work soon after waking up. Its an effective sleep aid, but there are a couple of things you may want to consider. Firstly, 6 mg of melatonin is very high, as 3 mg is the usual dose found in sleep aids.
Secondly, because there are so many ingredients in this herbal supplement, it has the potential to be a little too strong for some people. As such, its a good idea to try a half dose to begin with. If you only experience a feeling of light sedation, you can always increase the dosage next time.
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Chloral Hydrate And Clomethiazole
Chloral hydrate and clomethiazole are older drugs with many side effects, including possible dependence. Chloral hydrate is a liquid drug, but it may also be available in tablet form called cloral betaine. And clomethiazole may also be spelled chlomethiazole.
These drugs are not usually offered nowadays as medication for insomnia. But they may be used in some rare circumstances. Your doctor may avoid prescribing you these medications if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. They may also be cautious about prescribing them if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
If you are chloral hydrate, you should avoid it coming into contact with your skin as it may cause skin damage.
Zzzquil Nighttime Sleep Aid
Diphenhydramine antihistamine similar to Benadryl
Not to be confused with Pure Zzzs, which is also made by Vicks, the ZzzQuil nighttime sleep aid contains diphenhydramine HCL .
Diphenhydramine is a different kind of antihistamine than found in Kirland and Unisom. And interestingly, Benadryl has the same ingredient. So in this case, its the side effect of the famous Vicks cold medicine which is put to use as a sleep aid instead.
When I took it, it seemed to help increase my total sleep time. And on the times that I woke up in the middle of the night, I found it relatively easy to go back to sleep again.
Right from the first morning, however, I noticed that Id wake up with a fuzzy head. And that hangover effect increased in strength and duration over the next few mornings. It was particularly strong when I took the full dosage of 50mg, and better when I only took 25mg.
It comes as liquicaps, which need to be swallowed rather than chewed. But they are small and smooth, so considerably easier to take than standard pills.
On the whole, I personally seem to tolerate doxylamine succinate anti-histamine sleep aids better. But it might be a different case for you, and I can at least say that Zzzquil nighttime does appear to have a sedative effect.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sleep Aids Available Over The Counter
The two main types of sleep aids youll find on the market are sedating antihistamines and melatonin. Sedating antihistamines can be diphenhydramine or doxylamine succinate , Dr. Williams says. If allergies, headaches, or minor pains are disrupting your sleep, diphenhydramine can be helpful. Doxylamine succinate is for people who can’t fall asleep but not because of any other complaints.
Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance associated with allergy symptoms, Dr. Williams says. In addition to clearing up congestion, it also causes drowsiness, hence the reason for it being used as a sleep aid. But there are some unpleasant side effects from using antihistamines on the reg, including headaches, drowsiness, blurred vision, and constipation.
On the other hand, melatonin is considered a more natural option since its a hormone that your body produces naturally. Your bodys melatonin level tends to be at its highest at night and lowest in the morning, Dr. Williams says. Melatonin helps your body know that it’s the time to relax and sleep. It doesnt, therefore, knock you out, like antihistamines. And youre unlikely to become dependent on melatonin, nor are there many side effects.
Do Otc Sleep Aids Cause Side Effects
While the side effects of OTC sleep aids depend on certain factors such as dose and the person taking them, these medications are associated with the following:
|OTC Sleep Medication|
|Dizziness, drowsiness, thickening of mucus in nose or throat, and dry mouth, throat, and nose||31 major interactions, including acetaminophen and aspirin|
|Valerian||Headache, upset stomach, cognitive dysfunction, dry mouth, feelings of excitement or unease, strange dreams, and daytime drowsiness||3 major interactions, including sodium oxybate and buprenorphine|
Those with insomnia and other sleep issues can potentially benefit from taking one of these medications. However, as with other medications, you should exercise caution and speak with your doctor before taking any sort of OTC sleep aid. The physician will help you understand the potential side effects and drug interactions, as well as alternative treatment options that may serve you better.
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Tips For Safer Use Of Sleeping Pills
If you decide to try sleeping pills or sleep aids, keep the following safety guidelines in mind.
Never mix sleeping pills with alcohol or other sedative drugs. Alcohol not only disrupts sleep quality, but it increases the sedative effects of sleeping pills. The combination can be quite dangerouseven deadly.
Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time for at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Otherwise you may feel very drowsy the next day.
Dont take a second dose in the middle of the night. It can be dangerous to double up on your dosage, and with less time for the medication to clear your system it may be difficult to get up the next morning and shake off grogginess.
Start with the lowest recommended dose. See how the medication affects you and the types of side effects you experience.
Avoid frequent use. To avoid dependency and minimize adverse effects, try to save sleeping pills for emergencies, rather than nightly use.
Never drive a car or operate machinery after taking a sleeping pill. This tip is especially important when you start using a new sleep aid, as you may not know how it will affect you.
Before taking sleeping pills
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about:
Melatonin Receptor Agonist Hypnotic Sleeping Pills
Ramelteon is the newest type of sleep medication and works by mimicking the sleep regulation hormone melatonin. It has little risk of physical dependency but still has side effects. It is used for sleep onset problems and is not effective for problems regarding staying asleep.
Ramelteons most common side effect is dizziness. It may also worsen symptoms of depression and should not be used by those with severe liver damage.
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What Sleep Aid Options Are Available
Many have asked, which is better: prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids? The good news is there are several options for each type. To decide which sleep medicine may suit you best, you should have a good understanding of your general medical history, in addition to the specific cause of your sleep disorder, if any. Your primary care physician or pharmacist are good sources of guidance if you are unsure or have additional questions.
Please keep in mind that the non-pharmacological approach is always the first line of therapy for insomnia. Therefore, before initiating any sleep aid, please ensure that you practice good sleep hygiene, including avoiding caffeine and alcohol several hours before bedtime. Regular moderate exercise may improve sleep quality if you have a sedentary lifestyle.
The Best Sleep Aids For 2022
What is the most effective natural sleep aid? To help you decide which sleep-promoting supplement should work for you, here is a list of the top 8 best sleep aids of 2022.
If youre looking for a solid nights sleep with peaceful dreams, Sleep Support Plus could be the right product for you. This supplement for occasional sleeplessness is a mixture of herbal ingredients that lead to calmness, relief of stress, relaxation, and peaceful sleep. Some of these extracts also may lead to an increase in a positive mood, such as 5-HTP.
Sleep Support Plus supports an overall healthy cycle, helping you to regulate your hours so you sleep and wake at approximately the same time every day. This is healthier for your overall system and your well-being. In addition, youll be less likely to have a disrupted sleep punctured by waking up in the night.
Sleep Support Plus stands up well next to other best sleep supplements that are in the same class. It has a richer collection of ingredients than most similar products, and the price is very reasonable and affordable.
In addition, there are very few side effects that are associated with using this product, so you dont have to worry about additional symptoms developing. You can just take your supplements at night and drift off into a peaceful sleep.
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Sleep Aids Over The Counter
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Sleep aids over the counter side effects can be experienced by one time users or habitual users. Different medications react differently on different people. Sleep aids over the counter side effects depends on the type of medication you use. There are other underlying conditions that can affect an individual in case of taking medication with
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Sleep aids over the counter can be the only solution that is known to you for dealing with insomnia. There are many other ways of dealing with sleeplessness. The body normal sleep cycle can be affected by many factors. Stress and depression are common causes of insomnia. Old age can result to sleeplessness. Anxiety and
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Sleep aids over the counter would be the last option after trying all the remedies recommended by friends and family. Regular sleeping schedule, managing stress and avoid foods with caffeine or alcohol is some of the remedies used by people. Still a goodnight sleep becomes elusive for most part of the night. This is the
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Risks And Side Effects Of Sleeping Pills
All prescription sleeping pills have side effects, which vary depending on the specific drug, the dosage, and how long the drug lasts in your system. Common side effects include prolonged drowsiness the next day, headache, muscle aches, constipation, dry mouth, trouble concentrating, dizziness, unsteadiness, and rebound insomnia.
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Why Do We Need Sleep
Sleep is something that we need to stay awake the following day. We have all experienced that sensation of tiredness after a late night of partying or working until 3 AM.
Tiredness and cognitive impairment, however, are not the only side-effects of poor sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation explains that sleep is essential for the consolidation of memories and to properly prepare the brain for the information that will be obtained and processed the next day.
Additionally, it is also important to realize that sleep does benefit not only the mind but also the rest of the body.
Poor sleep habits can contribute to heart disease, obesity and many other adverse health effects. For this reason, acting upon sleeping problems such as insomnia should be important in order to benefit from the benefits that sleep has to offer, as well as to prevent the increased risk of chronic disease and health ailments caused by sleep deficiency.
Pharmacokinetics Of Otc Sleep Aids
Data describing the pharmacokinetics of OTC sleep aids are scarce. Available data are limited to diphenhydramine. Because older adults may have slower metabolism and clearance than younger adults, medication half-lives tend to be prolonged, and peak concentrations tend to be higher in older adults. Data suggest this is the case for diphenhydramine as well. An early study reported that diphenhydramine has a half-life of 9.2hr in adults , rising to 13.5hr in elderly adults . However, another study found the half-life to range from 4.1hr in young adults to 7.4hr in older adults . A review published in 1986 found a reported half-life range for diphenhydramine from 3.3 to 9.3hr .
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Observe These Caveats If You Use Over
It’s 2 a.m. and you can’t sleep. Is it okay to take a nonprescription remedy? “They’re not meant for the long term, but it may be okay for an occasional night of problems with sleep,” says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
But which option should you reach for? Drugstore shelves are lined with a dizzying array of products promising a good night’s sleep. They fall into two categories: nonprescription medications and dietary supplements.
Exercise Is A Powerful Sleep Aid
Studies have shown that exercise during the day can improve sleep at night. When we exercise, we experience a significant rise in body temperature, followed a few hours later by a significant drop. This drop in body temperature makes it easier for us to fall and stay asleep. The best time to exercise is late afternoon or early evening, rather than just before bed. Aim for at least 30 minutes four times a week. Aerobic exercises are the best to combat insomnia as they increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the blood.
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Sleeping Pills Can Have Serious Or Even Deadly Side Effects
All sedative-hypnotic drugs have special risks for older adults. Seniors are likely to be more sensitive to the drugs effects than younger adults.
And these drugs may stay in their bodies longer.
The drugs can cause confusion and memory problems that:
- More than double the risk of falls and hip fractures. These are common causes of hospitalization and death in older people.
- Increase the risk of car accidents.
The Best Sleep Aids For Sleep
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If youre a regular reader here, you know I am deeply interested in how to employ natural therapies to help sleep. Im not alone in that interest: Im asked all the time about how to treat sleep with supplements and natural remedies.
Over the years, Ive written in-depth about some of the best-studied, most effective natural sleep aids. As we head into the new year with a focus on prioritizing sleep, I thought Id share a quick review of some of my top suggestions for natural sleep therapies. These are the supplements that I most often discuss with my patients, and in some cases use for myself and my family.
Below, Ive shared highlights and key information about some of the top sleep supplements. You can also find links to more in-depth articles for each supplement, which include information about dosing, side effects and interactions with medications and other supplements.
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician at your next appointment.
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