Do you struggle to get to sleep? Insomnia can come about for a wide variety of reasons. There are nights when it seems impossible for sleep to finally come along. Instead of waiting for the alarm clock to read 4am, consider finding the best over the counter sleep aids to let your body naturally want to fall asleep. Here's what you need to know about these products.
The Best Chart for OTC Sleep Aids
Most OTC sleep aids are based on supplements or herbal combinations. These can sometimes interfere with medications that are being taken, so be sure to speak with a medical provider before choosing one of the products from the chart below.
|LUNA - Natural Sleep Aid||4.3||$$|
|OZzzz's Sleep Aid for Children||4.6||$|
|Earth's Design Natural Sleep Aid Pills||4.6||$$|
|Potent Nutrament Sleep & Slumber||4.6||$$|
|Best Naturals Melatonin 5mg||4.8||$|
|Zenwise Labs 100% Natural Sleep Support||4.6||$$$|
|Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep-Aid||4.5||$$|
|Dr Ts Deep Sleep Aid||4.6||$$$|
|Tired Teddies Natural Sleep Aid for Kids||4.5||$$|
Why Choose an Over the Counter Sleep Aid?
You've kept up with your bedtime routine for weeks. The caffeine and other stimulants have been eliminated. You're getting some exercise regularly, perhaps you're meditating, and you have even worked on managing your stress. Yet sleep is still elusive every single night. This is when you should be considering an OTC sleep aid.
Sleep aids should not be treated as a long-term solution to a problem with insomnia. They aren't magic pills, but they can help you sleep if nothing else is working and you don't want to have a prescription aid. Many of the best over the counter sleep aids are antihistamines, however, so you should take care in using them because most people build up a tolerance to them very quickly.
Another effective solution that doesn't involve allergy medication is the use of the hormone melatonin. This is what your body naturally uses to establish a sleeping cycle and this sleep aid is particularly useful in managing jet lag and other sleep issues because it reduces how long it takes for a person to fall asleep.
What Are Common Issues With OTC Sleep Aids?
Even the best over the counter sleep aids are going to place someone at risk of developing unwanted side effects. The most common issue that people face when taking sleep aids is what is known as the “hangover effect.” Upon waking up, the sleep aid makes people sometimes feel very groggy and tired, making it difficult to get moving. Sometimes it even causes people to fall back asleep.
Other common issues include headaches, stomach discomfort, and ongoing fatigue that persists throughout the day. Certain antihistamines may also cause vision changes, a dry mouth, and stomach cramping several hours after the sleep aid was taken. Make sure that you don't need to drive somewhere until you know how your OTC sleep aid of choice is going to affect you.
Sleep aids should never be taken with alcohol. Alcohol will increase the sedative effects of the OTC sleep aid and this can depress the circulatory and nervous system to the point where life threatening situations may occur. Because alcohol works as a depressant on the body, you actually get less sleep even though you feel tired because of the effects which occur to the central nervous system.
How To Find the Best OTC Sleep Aid For Me
The first step you must take is to evaluate how your preferred sleep aids may interact with any medications or lifestyle habits you may not be able to be change. People who have asthma, glaucoma, or digestive system issues may need to avoid many of the OTC sleep aids because it can make their health situation worse instead of better. Speaking with a medical provider about your health history is an important part of this process.
Selecting the type of sleep aid is the next step. You will want to choose a complimentary sleep aid to reduce the chances that the sedative effects are countered by other items. If you're already taking allergy medication, for example, then melatonin supplements would be a better choice than an antihistamine-based sleep aid.
Consider asking yourself these three questions.
- How much am I willing to spend to make sure I can get to sleep tonight?
- Do I have any allergies to the ingredients that are in my preferred sleep aid?
- What will happen if I choose a sleep aid and it doesn't work for me as intended?
Most OTC sleep aids are not intended to be taken for more than 2 weeks. Taking them for an extended period of time can cause the body to develop a dependency upon them and this can make it impossible to sleep if the aids aren't available. New sleep habits, changes to your sleeping environment, or even replacing a mattress or bed may help to encourage better long-term sleep habits while you manage short-term needs with these aids.
What Are the Prices of OTC Sleep Aids?
The best over the counter sleep aids are very affordable right now. A 2 week supply of your preferred product can generally be found for less than $20. Certain brand-name products may cost more than this or require you to purchase an extended supply, but most people can find sleep with a sleep aid that costs less than $1 per dose.
Sleep aids are available in a wide variety of dosing formats. Chewables and liquids tend to work the fastest, while tablets and capsules tend to be a little cheaper per dose.
Some supplements are based on natural product combinations and may be used for more than 2 weeks if supervised properly by a medical provider. Look for products that are not habit forming while you shop if you believe this could be a potential need.
What Do Our Reviews Have to Say?
Made from chamomile, Valerian, and melatonin, this sleep aid provides a lifetime guarantee for results. The marketing materials claim that you can get to sleep in 14 minutes or less after taking this vegetarian capsule. Results may vary, however, and you may find yourself waiting 20-30 minutes to make it to your dreams. Compared to a full night of fitful tossing and turning, however, a 30 minute wait to get to sleep doesn't sound so bad. In return, you'll stay asleep longer and feel refreshed in the morning – a winning combination!
This product is based on melatonin and theanine, making it an effective occasional OTC sleep aid to use when your schedule changes. It also contains some core minerals that your body needs, such as magnesium, that could provide you with more energy if you are deficient in them. It is not habit forming and will encourage the body to drift into a deep sleep. The combination of ingredients naturally relaxes the body, which means your mood can stabilize and not have hangover effect afterward even if you have to wake up earlier than expected.
The problem with many of the best over the counter sleep aids is that they are in tablet or capsule form. This means that it takes time for them to begin working, especially if you've just eaten something before going to bed. This product from Vick's is liquid-based with the main ingredient being Diphenhydramine HCI, so you'll feel sleepy right away. It won't treat the symptoms of an illness like other products. Long-term dosing can develop a tolerance, so only take this sleep aid as needed for best results.
Can you sleep like a baby all night long? This all-natural herbal sleep aid features melatonin and Valerian in an effort to make sure you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling rejuvenated. Vitamin D is also included in this product to help the body absorb the needed herbs while reducing the potential for bothersome leg twitches that can keep some people awake. It also contains niacin, however, so there are drug interactions which may need to be considered. This OTC sleep aid may not work for everyone with its vitamin combination, but it may also be the solution you need if nothing else seems to be working.
Ok parents – the kids aren't going to sleep at night. You've established a clear routine, let them have the lavender bath, and have even avoided snacks before bed and nothing is working. This product contains 0.3mg of melatonin, mixed with chamomile and other herbs to encourage sleep in a safe way. Kids don't develop a tolerance for these and they aren't habit forming either, so you don't have to put up with those sleepless nights any more. It is also free of sugar and many common food allergens. If it doesn't work for some reason, then you can get your money back. There's really nothing to lose except the insomnia!
The best over the counter sleep aids are designed to help with acute insomnia and changes to your sleeping habits. Chronic insomnia should always be evaluated by a doctor before seeking an OTC solution. Use this guide to help find the right product that can help you sleep and you'll finally be able to rest easy.