It is not at all uncommon for people to struggle with sleep at night. You may toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep, or you might wake up every couple of hours throughout the night. For serious sleep problems, there are prescription medications available. But before you ask your doctor for a prescription, it can be helpful to try one or more of the following over-the-counter sleep medicines.
You've probably taken diphenhydramine before, but maybe not as a sleep aid. It's an antihistamine and is more commonly used to treat mild to moderate allergic reactions, but it also causes drowsiness. Diphenhydramine may take a few minutes to kick in. It should help you doze off, and then it should help keep you asleep throughout the night. There are not any serious side effects to worry about, and the medication is not addictive. However, you should use it sparingly and only as needed since taking it night after night can make it less effective.
Melatonin is really more of a supplement than a medication, but it is an over-the-counter sleep aid nonetheless. Your body produces its own melatonin in the pineal gland. It is a hormone that triggers you to sleep. However, many people do not produce enough melatonin. Contrarily, other people make melatonin at the wrong time of day. If you have ever done shift work or have stayed up all night to work all day, then your melatonin production might be off. Taking a dose of melatonin a little before bedtime can help sleep come more easily. Based on the packaging recommendations, consider starting with a lower dose, and if that is inefficient, work your way up from there.
Doxylamine is a newer over-the-counter pain reliever that is also an antihistamine. It works very similarly to diphenhydramine. Some people are more sensitive to doxylamine than diphenhydramine, however, so if you do not get great results with one, it is worth giving the other a try. Doxylamine can cause some patients to feel nervous and excited. If this happens to you, just stop taking it and either talk to your doctor about a prescription or try another over-the-counter medicine.
These are three good, over-the-counter options for managing mild to moderate insomnia. They're generally safe and widely available. If these medicines do not work for you, then you should talk to your doctor about move involved treatment options. For more information, talk to a clinic such as Elkview General Hospital.