Over the counter sleeping pills

Over the counter sleeping pills

Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Are you constantly tossing and turning, or waking up in the middle of the night? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. Thankfully, there are a number of over-the-counter sleeping pills that can help you get the rest you need. In this blog post, we will discuss the best over-the-counter sleeping pills and how they can help you get a good night’s sleep!

Sleep aids

Over-the-counter sleep aids might help you sleep for a single night every now and again. There are, however, some limitations.

Antihistamines are a common ingredient in over-the-counter sleep aids. Antihistamine tolerance can develop rapidly, so the longer you take them, the less likely they are to put you to sleep.

Many over-the-counter sleep aids, for example, leave you feeling groggy and sick the next day. This is the result of ingesting too much alcohol on an empty stomach.

Physicians are not the only ones to benefit. Patients may also improve their sleep habits and, as a result, receive better medical outcomes if they take over-the-counter sleeping pills. The safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter sleep aids are unknown.

How do sleeping pills work?

otc sleep aids

Sleeping pills come in a variety of forms. Each one acts differently. Some sleep aids make you drowsy, while others hamper the function of the part of your brain that keeps you awake.

How effective are sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills, according to studies, aren’t very effective in aiding in restful sleep. The majority of people who take sleep medications fall asleep approximately eight to 20 minutes faster than those who do not take them. On average, you may receive an extra 35 minutes of slumber.

Sleep medications should generally be used for a limited length of time. They can be most beneficial if you’re having trouble sleeping as a result of a difficult life event, such as the end of a marriage or the death of a family member.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep problem. It affects almost everyone at some time in their life.

Insomnia is frequently brief-lived. Acute insomnia occurs when it’s connected to stress or something that can be recognized. When you have difficulty sleeping the night before a big exam, for example, this is known as acute insomnia.

Insomnia can also become chronic. Chronic insomnia is a type of sleeplessness that persists for more than three months.

There are various methods to help you fall asleep. Some are more successful than others. Others might lead to additional issues.

Over-the-counter sleep pills

sleep aids

Although there are over a dozen different brand names for OTC sleep aids, most of them fit into one of the following chemical categories. Before taking any kind of sleep medication, whether or not it needs a prescription, always consult a physician.


Melatonin is a natural chemical produced in the pineal gland of the brain. The retinas detect natural light throughout the day and notify the brain to produce hormones such as cortisol that boost wakefulness and alertness. The pineal gland receives signals to release melatonin as daylight fades in the evening, making you tired and calm.

Light in the evening, for example, can confuse the brain into thinking you should be awake, which hampers or diminishes melatonin production. Some individuals take melatonin supplements to boost low melatonin levels. Melatonin pills are often produced from animals, microbes, or synthetic ingredients and may be used to treat sleeplessness.

Melatonin may be advised or given for a variety of applications. Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and shift work disorder, as well as certain childhood sleep disorders, are examples of circadian rhythm sleep problems that cause low melatonin levels. Melatonin can also help to alleviate jet lag symptoms in travelers.

Melatonin is a dietary supplement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate as stringently as other medicines. According to doctors, some people are allergic to melatonin. Individuals who have epilepsy or take blood-thinning medication should be under medical care while taking melatonin to avoid hazardous interactions.


Valerian is a herb that’s commonly used as a dietary supplement and marketed and sold as “valerian root.” Valerian is commonly found in mild sedatives, such as valerian root, used to treat sleeplessness and anxiety. Researchers believe that valerian interacts with GABA, serotonin, and adenosine receptors. There has been little evidence suggesting that valerian is an effective treatment for insomnia so far.

Valerian is a dietary supplement and, therefore, does not go through the same levels of FDA scrutiny and approval as other types of sleep aids. As a result, the composition of valerian root pills may vary from brand to brand. Valerian at high dosages in the evening has been connected to morning tiredness, although a normal 600mg dose does not appear to have any effect on reaction time, alertness, or attention.

Because the effects of valerian on unborn fetuses and newborns have yet to be investigated further, women who are pregnant or nursing should not consume it without medical supervision. The same goes for children under the age of three. Valerian may also react with other sleep medicines and cause greater grogginess the following day.


Doxylamine succinate, or doxylamine, is a first-generation antihistamine that may cause drowsiness. Doxylamine might be used to treat sleeplessness temporarily or in combination with decongestants to relieve cold symptoms like sneezing and nasal blockage. It’s sold under the brand names Unisom SleepTabs, Medi-Sleep, and Good Sense Sleep Aid, as well as being an ingredient in pain relievers that reduce fever.

If Doxylamine for insomnia doesn’t work and symptoms continue for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor about other treatment choices. Likewise, if Doxylamine cough and cold relief are taken for longer than seven days, it shouldn’t be done any longer. To date, 31 major drug interactions with Doxylamine have been discovered, including aspirin and acetaminophen.

Senior citizens who use these antihistamines frequently have been shown in studies to do so chronically. This might result in severe health problems, especially if the person drinks alcohol on a regular basis.


Benadryl is a diphenhydramine antihistamine that is authorized by the FDA. It’s available under a number of brand names, including Advil PM, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Tylenol PM, and Zzz Quil.

Diphenhydramine is used to treat drowsiness. It may be advised or supplied as a solution for brief periods of tiredness.

The effectiveness of Diphenhydramine as a sleep aid is debatable. Some research has given participants the advised dosage of 50mg, and findings suggest that sleep enhancements are minor at best. At the same time, Diphenhydramine taken in the evening has been linked to psychomotor impairment and reduced wakefulness the following day.

Elderly people who take these medicines on a regular basis can have trouble with them because as we grow older, our metabolism slows down, extending the half-life of medications and making them more powerful. If you use sedatives in the evening, this might result in a “residual sedative effect.”

Diphenhydramine should also be avoided by people under the age of 16. The FDA warns that dosages greater than those recommended can induce serious medical complications, including seizures, heart attack, coma, and death. Many youths have been admitted to hospitals in recent years as a result of participating in the “Benadryl Challenge,” which was promoted through social media sites via viral spreading.

What are the potential side effects of sleeping pills?

prescription sleep aids

The day after taking sleep medication, about eight out of 10 people experience a hangover effect. They are drowsy, foggy-headed, and have dizziness or balance difficulties. These daytime symptoms might hinder you from driving, working, going to school, and doing daily chores.

Over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills (and supplements) can cause these side effects:

  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Digestive problems, including gas, heartburn, and nausea.

What are the potential risks or complications of sleeping pills?

Your body might get used to taking sleeping pills on a regular basis, resulting in dependency. When you stop taking the pill, your sleeplessness may return worse than it was before. This is known as rebound insomnia.

If you’ve been using sleeping medicines for a while, talk to your doctor about how to quit safely. It could take months to cease taking the pills altogether.

You should also avoid combining sleep aids with other sedatives or alcoholic beverages. There’s a chance of suffering an overdose.

Frequently asked questions

What is the strongest over-the-counter sleep medicine?

The strongest over-the-counter sleep medicine is doxylamine succinate, an antihistamine found in medications such as Nytol and Unisom.

Can you overdose on over-the-counter sleeping pills?

Yes, it’s possible to overdose on over-the-counter sleeping pills. If you’re experiencing adverse effects, stop taking the medication and seek medical help.

What are the long-term side effects of over-the-counter sleeping pills?

There is no definitive answer to this question since there has not been enough research conducted on the long-term side effects of over-the-counter sleeping pills. However, some potential risks include rebound insomnia, dependency, and accidental overdose.

What can I buy OTC to help me sleep?

Some over-the-counter sleep medications include doxylamine succinate (Unisom), diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl), and eszopiclone (Lunesta). Consult with your pharmacist to see if a particular medication is right for you.

How can I safely stop taking over-the-counter sleeping pills?

If you’ve been using sleeping medicines for a while, talk to your doctor about how to quit safely. It could take months to cease taking the pills altogether. You should also avoid combining sleep aids with other sedatives or alcoholic beverages. There’s a chance of suffering an overdose.


Sleeping pills, both over-the-counter and prescription, can have a variety of side effects. It is important to be aware of the risks before taking these medications. If you experience any adverse effects after taking sleeping pills, stop taking them and seek medical help. quitting safely. It could take months to cease taking the pills altogether. You should also avoid combining sleep aids with other sedatives or alcoholic beverages.

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