Sleep aid

Over-the-counter sleep aid can be effective for an occasional sleepless night. There are a few caveats, however.

Most over-the-counter sleep aid contain antihistamines. Tolerance to the sedative effects of antihistamines can develop quickly — so the longer you take them, the less likely they are to make you sleepy.

In addition, some over-the-counter sleep aids can leave you feeling groggy and unwell the next day. This is the so-called hangover effect.

Medication interactions are possible as well, and much remains unknown about the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter sleep aids.

important precautions

When using over-the-counter sleep aids, follow these steps:

  • Start with your doctor. Ask your doctor if the sleep aid might interact with other medications or underlying conditions, and what dosage to take.
  • Keep precautions in mind. Diphenhydramine and doxylamine aren’t recommended for people who have closed-angle glaucoma, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, severe liver disease, digestive system obstruction or urinary retention. In addition, sleep aids pose risks for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, and might pose risks to people over age 75, including an increased risk of strokes and dementia.
  • Take it one day at a time. Over-the-counter sleep aids are a temporary solution for insomnia. Generally, they’re not intended to be used for longer than two weeks.
  • Avoid alcohol. Never mix alcohol and sleep aids. Alcohol can increase the sedative effects of the medication.
  • Beware of side effects. Don’t drive or attempt other activities that require alertness while taking sleep aids.
  • It’s equally important to pay attention to your signs and symptoms. Know which adult health warning signs merit medical attention. These might include unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits, shortness of breath and sudden headaches.
X

Shop By Department

WhatsApp WhatsApp us