Are you among those individuals who are having trouble sleeping especially at night? Do you lay awake in the evening counting sheep for the hope of getting that shut-eye that you need? Or do you belong in that group of people who, even can invite sleep, often wake up constantly through the night? It can be frustrating, isn’t it? This is particularly on days when you feel exhaustion seeping into your bones. The last thing you’d want is to be more tired for not getting your body’s must needed rest.
You are not alone, however. Many thousands of people face this problem all the time. While some of them find a natural way to address this, there are also those who ask for prescriptions from professionals. But really, how effective are sleeping aids? And what are the dangers constant sleep aid intake pose to our bodies?
Sleeping should be a normal occurrence at night especially if you are consuming most of your energy in the morning. However, there are still those who experience sleepless nights even if this is the case.
One of reasons attributed to this is the lifestyle of many individuals. People who favor nightlife and who work night shifts would naturally have very different sleeping patterns than their counterparts. Their body clock automatically adjusts to accommodate their norm, making it harder to rest during the evening. This is also the same for those who always have the inclination to sleep during the day and to those who let sleep pass as they engage in a variety of activities.
Medical conditions, medications, and exposure to pain can cause restlessness and sleep difficulty. Albeit not applicable to everyone, caffeine intake can also be a contributing factor. While there are those who blame stress, anxiety, and worry as the reason behind their wakefulness, there are people who by default have sleeping disorders such as insomnia.
People strive to get as much sleep as they can whenever possible because the lack of it can visibly weigh a person down. It could visibly affect not only the physical well-being, but the mental health of an individual as well. In fact, individuals who get full hours of sleep can be observed to function more actively and a lot more productively than those who don't. This is why it is not anymore surprising why many people who cannot find a natural cure resort to sleep aid to address their sleeping troubles.
The continuous improvement of technology, especially in the area of medicine, makes way to more available sleep remedies in the market. Stronger sleeping pills do need a doctor's prescription prior to purchase and consumption. But there are also alternatives that although not as concentrated as those needing a doctor's approval, can provide a temporary solution. These are over-the-counter sleep aids.
There are basically common ingredients for the sleep aids you can get in the nearest pharmacy in your place:
The most common characteristic between the two is that they are both sedating antihistamine, with the latter having a stronger concentration and being priced a little bit higher compared to the former. This is why it is understandable why Doxylamine succinate is the preferred choice of many because of its potency.
Melatonin and Valerian are two other sleep aids you can purchase without prescription. Instead of the antihistamine mixed like what the two previously mentioned sleep aids contain, melatonin on the other hand is a dietary supplement variety of sleep aid while valerian is a herbal type. These two are more on the natural side of sleep aids which is a lot better. The only drawback is that the effect of these two can be mild. In fact, for Valerian, there are even claims that this is not effective at all. Overall, those who like to get some shut-eye still prefer the Diphenhydramine and Doxylamine succinate types amid some mentioned side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, and constant drowsiness even after a long period of sleep.
There are over-the-counter sleep aids and there are sleeping pills that need a physician’s prescription. Otherwise, the last-mentioned can have a serious consequence to one’s health, even causing death. Usually, those who suffer from prolonged sleeplessness and those with sleep disorders already seek out the assistance of a physician to get a prescription for this type of sleep pill. This type is a lot more potent and among the common examples include the following:
These prescription drugs are being sold in different brand names and can cause addiction to the one taking it over time.
There is a smorgasbord of sleeping disorders that force an individual to seek out prescription pills and some of them are listed below:
Insomnia - this is the most common type where a person finds it difficult to get into a peaceful slumber. In the rare instance that the individual can, the sleep usually doesn't last long and going back to sleep is not easy.
Restless Leg Syndrome - Willis-Ekbom disease is another name for this disorder. This usually causes wakefulness because of the urge of the affected person to move the legs as they try to fall asleep. This can be really uncomfortable because the legs of the individual sometimes suffer from aching.
Sleep Apnea - this is a sleep disorder when a person experiences abnormal breathing due to blockage of the upper airways. This comes in different types and pulls the individual out of even the most peaceful sleep due to the feeling of getting choked.
Parasomnias - this disorder is commonly accompanied by unusual behaviors that disrupt one's sleeping patterns. A good example is sleep walking, bedwetting, and teeth grinding.
Ambien® and its otc alternatives
Ambien® is one popular brand of Zolpidem Tartrate. This is known to have sedative-hypnotic properties that can help treat insomnia in adults. When an individual takes this pill, it works on the central nervous system, enabling the person to feel calm. As a result, it is easier for the person to fall asleep. However, although this may sound like a haven for those who are looking for relief from insomnia, it is important to note that this should also be used with the right dosage prescribed by the doctor.
Ambien®, as a sleep aid, produces an adverse effect when overused. It can make a person feel high, thus, causing addiction to the drug in the process. A person who uses Ambien® should be careful to monitor their overall well-being after use. Like most sleeping pills, this produces side effects such as extreme dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even stomach ache. Some even claim that it causes forgetfulness after prolonged use. Particularly the day after it is taken, Ambien® causes grogginess. As such, one should make sure not to drive and to engage in related activities that need careful concentration until the drug has been flushed out totally in the system. One should also ensure that s/he can accommodate a full night’s sleep after drinking this pill. Otherwise, expect to not be fully functional after drinking Ambien® because it really has an ability of pulling anyone to a deep slumber.
There are those who suffer from sleeping disorders but refuse to see a physician for consultation. Instead, they look for alternatives to prescription drugs, especially Ambien®. However, there’s a reason why this brand of Zolpidem Tartrate is for prescription only. As mentioned above, it can be detrimental to one’s health when not taken in moderation. It needs to be properly administered so as to not cause fatalities. As such, although there are other brands to choose from for this Zolpidem Tartrate, Edluar and Intermezzo are two examples, there are no available alternatives that can be bought over-the-counter. The nearest available sleep aid you can buy without prescription remains to be Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine succinate, Valerian, and Melatonin.
If you are still looking for a good brand of over-the-counter sleep aid to replace Ambien®, then one brand you should try is Benadryl. This is not Zolpidem Tartrate, but is a brand of Diphenhydramine. Albeit more commonly recognized as an effective cure for allergies and itchiness, Benadryl is also a good sleep aid without the worrying side effects and the expensive price.
Likewise, Melatonin can also be bought over-the-counter as a replacement for Ambien®. No, it is still not Zolpidem Tartrate which needs to be taken with strict instructions, but nevertheless, it works as a sleep aid. Melatonin is more of a supplement that comes in a form of chewables, syrups, and even a pill. But although there are claims that this is one of the safest sleep aid alternatives, overdose is still a no-no. This is just reasonable and perhaps, most will agree that everything not in moderation poses as a danger no matter how safe it seems to be. It is still good to check with your physician if you drink this every night and for how long.
Valerian and Melatonin are two over-the-counter drugs that are natural sleep aids. These are mostly the choice of individuals who are looking for a cure on their sleep difficulty but do not want to suffer the side effects.
Comparing Valerian and Melatonin from their counterparts - sleep aids with antihistamine properties and those requiring prescriptions - these two indeed, have milder effects. But this does not stop their capacity to help individuals have a good sleep. In fact not only do they induce sleep, but studies show that they are capable also of improving the quality of slumber one is having.
There are different claims on how effective each one is. While there are those who testify that Valerian is much better, especially being a herbal variety of sleep aid, there are those who argue that Melatonin is still a lot better. This is dependent still on the preference of an individual and what is suited in his or her body. Although there are people who say that Valerian is quicker to take effect and pull you to sleep.
For many adults, 8 hours of sleep can be considered as a dream come true. This is most especially among those who juggle several responsibilities everyday and those who have more than one job. Not every adult could sleep more than 4 or 5 hours everyday. Because of this, whenever possible, they take advantage of all the sleep they can get.
It is possible to get 8-hours of sleep everyday. But is it easy? For some maybe. But for most, this is not possible without a sleep aid. Fortunately there are individuals who, even without these pills or drugs, have found a way to address their sleeping problem. They developed a habit or a routine that would deliver them straight to an 8-hour sleep. Constant exercise to destress and to release excess energy is among their refuge. Others found the perfect diet which involves putting limits on the caffeine intake, avoiding big meals at night, and even cutting back on chocolates and sweets consumption. There are also people who also went beyond the usual and learned breathing exercises to make their goal of a straight 8 hours of sleep achievable.
It is normal for people with sleep disorders to have regular awakenings throughout the night. Waking at 3 AM is not as rare as what you think although superstitious individuals attribute this to the witching hour. But to be honest, you are not alone in experiencing this. You are not isolated. There are others like you and this can be caused by many reasons.
Did you sleep early? Are you in a lot of stress? Are you thinking too much? Ask yourself again. After you do, develop a strategy that will address your wakefulness and will drive you into a peaceful slumber.
It was discussed above that there are many things that cause the lack of sleep for an individual. It is possible that you may have developed a sleep disorder already. Another reason is psychological. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, and over thinking. Habits, lifestyle, and body clock can largely contribute to your wakefulness as well. Or perhaps, you live in a place where factors like noise, light, and the like keep you awake at night.
While sleep aid is the fastest way to knock you out, there are still those who consider this only as their last option. There are still those who prefer the natural way such as drinking tea and/or milk before they sleep. They take a bath and fix their diet. They go as far as soundproofing their room and making it as comfortable as possible while at the same time ensuring that they are sleeping at a regular schedule. These individuals even veer from activities such as watching tv in bed, playing with any consoles or gadget, and even spending time on their phones.
How do you fall asleep in 5 minutes?
If sleeping straight for 8 hours is a dream come true, then sleeping within 5 minutes of lying in the bed is making fantasy a reality. People can do this sometimes, but everyday? Not quite. It is good if you are one of the rare few, but for those are not, this is really a difficult feat.
There is no perfect recipe that can make this happen. Not even exhaustion to the bones can call sleep as fast all the time which can really be annoying. Your thoughts can largely be at fault. If it is really the reason, then how can you fix it? Perhaps, you've already tried forcing your brain to shut down but it just caused it to explode with a variety of other thoughts that make you more anxious. This is possible and this happens. What you can do is instead of staying in bed and making yourself think more, you engage in other activities instead that will distract your mind for a bit. You can also read which others find a relaxing activity as well before they go to sleep. Other than that, meditating is also a good activity to engage in.
Veering away from sleep aids and looking for better alternatives? No problem. You can take vitamins as well. There are researches claiming that a good dose of vitamins B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 and vitamin C and D can help you get that sleep you are craving. You can also take in an extra dose of Magnesium and even Iron if you think you have deficiencies on this. Sometimes the lack of certain vitamins and minerals in your body can cause restlessness and wakefulness and there is definitely no harm in trying to fix this.
Remember though that before you rush to the nearest pharmacy, you can consult your physician first for good measure. You'll never go wrong in asking for professional advice. You may also opt to get your vitamins and minerals from different types of food sources instead of getting several pills to take. In that way, it will be more natural and a lot safer.
Different sleep aids acquire different reviews so one cannot really attest as to what really works best for everyone as a whole. What may work effectively to your sister may not exactly work the same way for you. The same goes with the effect of a natural sleep aid having a 7-9 hours effect to your mom but you only feel its impact or sleeping properties for 3-4 hours. The effect of natural pills is highly dependent on how your body receives it and how your body reacts.
For instance, the most common choices are Valerian and Melatonin. But there are also those who claim that drinking lavender or chamomile tea, which are other forms of natural sleep remedy, is a lot more effective to them. You can try this and work out what is best for you. But then again, do this in moderation and if you are going to take in sleep aids in the form of pills for a long period, make sure to seek out professional advice just to be sure.
Natural sleep aid is usually considered to be counterparts of prescription sleeping pills. They are those that normally can be bought from the pharmacy over-the-counter. Although there are those that come in pills like other drugs, you can also purchase natural sleep aid sometimes in the form of a spray, liquids and syrups, and even in chewables. They can also be in a form of tea or food you can just eat, and even an essential oil you can rub on your body. While there are herbal natural sleep aids, there are also those that are dietary supplements.
Sleeping aids aside, many people can attest that there are certain drinks that can help you sleep well at night. Warm milk is very popular especially for kids. Decaffeinated tea is the favorite of adults. There are also those who prefer coconut water. But like what was mentioned above, these are not foolproof remedies and are still dependent on how your body will take it.
If you are still considering Melatonin as a sleep aid you'd like to try, then minimum dosage will suffice. You can take small dosage from 0.5 mg to 3 mg. This is already enough to induce sleep. Studies show different results on the max dosage of Melatonin one can take daily. Some claim 10 mg to 20 mg but there are also those who say more. But better safe than sorry. Even deemed as safe as it is, there's no point taking a substantial amount when a smaller dose can already deliver the result. One should also take note of other pills that cannot be taken with Melatonin which include birth control pills, antibiotics, insulin, etc. For a much safer source, you can just choose to eat fruits and vegetables that are great sources of melatonin.
Melatonin is a good supplement that can fight anxiety and panic attacks. However, if you are one to consider this as your sleep aid, make sure also that you are aware of its sometimes negative effects including headaches and nausea.