What Are Sleep Aids

by Nancy

Everyone has had trouble getting a good night sleep at some point in their lives.  For many this is usually an isolated occurrence that passes in a few days.  But what about those who have persistent and frequent issues falling asleep and staying asleep through the night? Lack of sleep can adversely affect your performance at work, your energy levels, and your overall emotional and physical health. And when you’ve tried implementing the commonly offered advice: setting a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, earlier bed time, and avoiding screens for an hour before bed, and you are still having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, what are your options?

Sleep aids can be an effective option if you are looking to get a better night’s sleep. There are several over the counter sleep aids that have proven to be effective at helping induce a successful night’s sleep. However, it is important to keep in mind that over the counter sleep aids are not going to magically solve a chronic problem.  Sleep aid medication can help with sporadic periods of insomnia, but should only be considered at your doctors recommendation. Sleep aids may prove ineffective at treating chronic insomnia symptoms.  For those suffering from chronic insomnia, always speak with your doctor or primary care provider about your sleep issues and seek their help to devise a treatment plan.

Over the Counter Sleep Aids:

There are several options for over the counter sleep aids, most which contain one of three ingredients: Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine succinate, and Melatonin. For the common over the counter sleep aids, such as Benadryl or Aleve, the primary ingredient is Diphenhydramine. It is important to note that Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine.  Antihistamine tolerance can build quickly, and repeated uses may be less effective. Sleep aids are not meant for prolonged use. A few of the common side effects include daytime drowsiness, blurred vision, and dry mouth. Doxylamine succinate has similar side effects.  Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces to regulate your natural sleep cycle. Melatonin supplements may help provide better sleep. As with any medication, any sleep aid has possible interactions with other medications.  Make sure you check with your doctor before starting any new sleep aid.

Things to Know:

Sleep aids are not meant for prolonged use.  Nor are they recommended for everyone.  For those who have asthma, sleep apnea, or liver disease, sleep aids can pose severe risks. Alcohol and sleep aids should never be mixed. And never take more than the recommended dosage of the sleep aid.

Benefits of Sleep Aids:

Sleep aids can be greatly beneficial to ones health if used properly and with doctor supervision.  Getting a full night’s sleep can improve mental health and physical health. Sleep aids are meant to be a good method to help you adjust your lifestyle to allow for better sleep. Brand name sleep aids, and store brands can provide you with a good night’s sleep and help you get your sleep schedule back on schedule.