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Over the counter sleep aids

About sleeping aids

Over-the-counter sleep aids or supplements can be helpful when different reasons are preventing you from falling asleep. However, if you are experiencing greater difficulties with insomnia, the right cure usually requires changes in your life habits.

If you lead a healthy life and if you work out on a regular basis, don’t drink coffee and don’t sleep during the daytime, and you shouldn’t have any problems with sleeping. But, there are individuals who have difficulties despite that, and in those cases you should consider taking sleep aids that can be bought without a prescription. When sleeping difficulties are prolonged, you should consult your doctor.

Over-the-counter sleeping aids are useful but only if your problems are not constant and are appearing from time to time. The negative side of using these aids is that they can make you feel sleepy all day long.

Common over the counter sleep aids

Over-the-counter sleeping aids have substances called antihistamines and they are what makes you feel sleepy. They can be purchased in almost every pharmacy, but they are less expensive in store brands. It is important to ask your doctor whether to use these aids or not, especially if you are already using antidepressants called MAOIs or medications for Parkinson’s disease. You should also know that medicines that contain antihistamines can help you currently, but when it comes to long-lasting insomnia, they are not efficient. Well known over-the-counter sleep aids are Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine (Unisom), Melatonin and Valerian.

  • Diphenhydramine can cause dryness of your mouth, lightheadedness, lethargy and memory issues. If you are nursing a baby, then you shouldn't take this medication and the same goes if you are expecting a baby. There are some other conditions where this medicine should be taken with precaution such as glaucoma, heart diseases or problems with prostate.
  • Doxylamine can also result in longer inertia and also shouldn’t be used if you are breastfeeding or are pregnant. If you have problems with asthma, bronchitis, glaucoma, peptic ulcer and prostate, you should use this medicine with precaution.
  • Melatonin is considered to be less effective than the other medicines of this type, but it is an artificially made type of natural hormone. Individuals who used this product complained of sleepiness during daytime, headaches, and vertigo.
  • Valerian is a plant that can help you to fall asleep faster. This plant is safe to use but it can cause some unwanted effects such as headache, irritability and tension. It is also not recommended to use it if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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