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Over-the-counter sleep aids can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often. And we’ve got a mix of sleep and pain relievers to ease minor aches and pains that keep you awake.
The Best Natural Sleep Aids, According To Customer Reviews
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Is Melatonin Safe To Take Every Night?
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The Potential Risks Of Over The Counter Sleep Aids
It’s midnight, you’re awake. You can do more than shoot and roll.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. What is the correct way to brush your teeth? Want to stay on vacation? Help Your Preschooler Sleep on Her Own and 21 Spices for Holiday Meals The New Guide to Opioids for Pain Relief: What You Need to Know Should You Get an Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid? ADHD Medication Shortage: Coping Tips Does Milk Absorb Water If You Are Affected During Rehydration? Melasma: What’s the Best Treatment? Respiratory injuries are common after a flood: taking these steps can help
It’s 2am and you can’t sleep. Are over-the-counter medications worth it? “They’re not long-term, but they can be good for the occasional sleepless night,” says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, M.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
But which option should you choose? Drugstore shelves are full of sleep-inducing products that promise a good night’s sleep. They fall into two categories: over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements.
Temazepam: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects
Over-the-counter sleep aids use antihistamines as their main active ingredient. Nytol, Sominex, and Unisome (the blue capsule form), for example, contain 25 to 50 milligrams (mg) of the antihistamine diphenhydramine per pill.
Other over-the-counter sleep medications, such as Unisom Sleeptabs, contain 25 mg per tablet of an antihistamine called doxylamine succinate.
These drugs work by blocking certain chemicals in the brain that have a sedative effect. They are generally safe, but they do carry some risks. “The effects wear off relatively quickly, so they stop working for you. And we don’t have a lot of long-term data on what happens if you use them for a long time,” says Dr. Epstein. . “And antihistamines can cause side effects like confusion and falls in older people.”
Another risk: Some over-the-counter sleep aids contain other medications. For example, Tylenol PM contains not only 25 mg of diphenhydramine, but also 500 mg of the pain reliever acetaminophen. If you only focus on the benefits of sleeping pills, you may not know this.
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Valerian root. The roots of this tall flowering plant help people sleep and relieve anxiety and stress. It has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient Rome.
Chamomile. The use of this daisy-like flower also began thousands of years ago. It is also available in pill form and in tea (many people drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed). It is considered soft and safe to help you fall asleep. But some people have an allergic reaction to chamomile (especially those who are allergic to ragweed).
Melatonin. This supplement does not come from a plant, but from a laboratory. It is a synthetic version of a human hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. But Dr. Epstein says it’s not a sleeping pill. “It makes people a little sleepier, but it has a big effect on changing the timing of sleep stages,” he explains.
If you’re trying to adjust your sleep cycle better because of jet lag or night shift work, Dr. Epstein recommends taking one to three milligrams of melatonin two to three hours before bed. He says you can safely take melatonin long-term.
Stopping Sleeping Pills And Rebound Insomnia
Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan) and temazepam (Restoril) target gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces nerve activity and promotes sleep. These drugs can be habit-forming, cause daytime sleepiness, and may be associated with dementia.
Nonbenzodiazepines such as zolpidem (Ambion) and azopiclone (Lunesta) also work with GABA, but they leave the body more quickly and have fewer side effects, allowing for normal daytime functioning and wakefulness the next day. However, they are still at increased risk of falling asleep and daytime sleepiness, which can lead to falls and injuries.
Melatonin receptor agonists such as ramelteon (Rozerem) target melatonin receptors in the brain. They leave the body quickly and do not form a habit.
These drugs are intended for short-term use only under the direction of a doctor. “In the treatment of insomnia, they are more useful. But drugs are only one option for treating insomnia. Behavioral therapy, which includes thinking about your sleep habits, sleep and routines, is just as effective,” says the sleep specialist. . Lawrence Epstein, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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“In fact, there are no data on herbal supplements that demonstrate efficacy beyond the modest beneficial effects of valerian root,” says Dr. Epstein.
Many supplements can cause minor side effects such as headache, dizziness, or nausea. Or they may increase the effects of other medications you are taking, such as alcohol or other sleep medications.
Perhaps the biggest concern is that the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so there’s no way to know what the manufacturer says is a pill.
If you’re considering taking an over-the-counter sleep medication or dietary supplement, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it doesn’t interact with any medications you’re taking.
Antihistamines And Sleep: Can You Take An Antihistamine Every Night?
If you’re having sleepless nights from time to time, it’s time to find out what’s causing the problem.
“Most sleep problems can be corrected without medication,” says Dr. Epstein. “But it can take many approaches. Sleep problems are often caused by many things, not just one thing that a pill can fix.”
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Alarming Number Of Teens Use Sleep Aids With Potentially Risky Results
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