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September 07, 2022

What you should know about sleep aids

Adult Health Sleep

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If you’re one of the 70 million Americans that suffer from chronic sleep problems, you have probably tried the usual tips for getting a good night’s sleep. For many people, healthy sleep habits like avoiding caffeine, sticking to a schedule, and creating an ideal sleep environment in your bedroom can be helpful. But if you’ve tried everything and still have trouble dozing off at night or staying asleep, it may be time to consider using a sleep aid.

There are many different kinds of sleep aids that can help you wake feeling up rested. Here’s what you should know about natural, over-the-counter, and prescription sleep aids.

Natural sleep aids

Natural sleep aids have a low risk of side effects and can help promote sleep if you use them for a short period of time. Most natural sleep aids are herbs, which means they are not FDA-approved. And you’ll want to speak with your doctor about any interactions that could occur with any other medications you’re taking.

Chamomile and valerian are two of the most popular herbs and can be drunk as tea or taken in capsules each day. Hops, ginseng, and passionflower abstracts can be helpful as well.

Over-the-counter sleep aids

There are many sleep aids available at your local pharmacy that don’t require a prescription. Melatonin supplements are one of the most commonly used over-the-counter options. While melatonin is not recommended for long-term use, it is particularly effective in instances where the hormone is naturally depleted, like from jet lag.

Antihistamines are also commonly used as sleep aids. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and doxylamine (Unisom) both have sedative qualities, although they can also cause daytime drowsiness, a dry mouth, and even constipation. For these reasons, it’s important to avoid alcohol and check with your doctor if you start taking an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Prescription sleep aids

if you've tried natural and over-the-counter sleep aids and are still having trouble sleeping, consider talking with your doctor about a prescription sleep aid. There are a number of FDA-approved prescription medicines for helping you sleep:

• Non-benzodiazepine agonists, including Lunesta, Ambien, and Sonata
• Benzodiazepines, such as Doral, Halcion, Restoril, and Prosom
• Antihistamines, including Silenor
• Melatonin receptor agonists, like Rozerem
• Dual orexin receptor agonists, such as Dayvigo and Belsomra

You deserve to have a quality night of sleep that allows you to wake up the next day feeling rested and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. If you’ve been struggling with sleepless nights, schedule an appointment with your health care provider so they can help you find the right solution for your particular needs.

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