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Have you struggled with insomnia to the point where your face shows the ravages of sleeplessness? Have you tried a variety of lifestyle adjustments, such as changing your sleep environment, with little to no effect? If this sounds like you, you may benefit from the power of sleeping pills!
In this post, you'll discover the best sleeping pills to help you regain healthy sleep patterns, including a discussion of prescription, over-the-counter, and natural options, as well as a brief introduction to sleeping pills in general.
NatureWise 5-HTP Sleep Capsules
Genexa Sleepology Sleep Aid
Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid
Sleeping pills are used to treat several types of insomnia, including the inability to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, the inability to fall asleep after waking in the middle of the night and the inability to engage in restful sleep overall. Sleeping pills may also help you return to a normal sleep/wake cycle as a result of jet lag or coming off night shift work.
These sleep aids are taken orally and usually consumed approximately 30 minutes before wanting to fall asleep.
Have you ever found yourself popping a Benadryl on a night where you knew you needed plenty of rest for the following day? Or how about ZzzQuil or Unisom? The common ingredient across most of these over-the-counter sleep aids is a powerful antihistamine called diphenhydramine, which causes drowsiness as a side effect and thus perfect for inducing sleep.
While over-the-counter sleep aids of this type corner the market, other forms are also popular, including homeopathic pills or drops, herbal remedies in the form of tablets, teas or tinctures, and nutritional supplements, such as melatonin and magnesium.
Any of these over-the-counter and natural sleep aids are available in drugstores and natural living stores across the country, not to mention online.
Some of the best sleeping pills, however, require a doctor's prescription. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may start you off with a commonly prescribed drug such as Ambien or Lunesta, or other name brands including Sonata, Restoril, and Rozerem.
Generally speaking, sleeping pills work by tricking the brain into thinking it's time to sleep but differ in their approach:
Herbal supplements work by increasing levels of serotonin — a neurotransmitter responsible for producing a relaxed, drowsy state.
Homeopathic sleep remedies use super-diluted chemicals that produce full-body responses to help stimulate the body to heal itself from various disorders, including insomnia.
While prescription, over-the-counter, and natural sleeping pills may work differently in the brain, none of these types should be taken mindlessly.
For starters, prescription sleeping pills may produce a host of side effects (especially if you're not following doctor's orders or the package's directions) which may include (source):
And while less common, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements can also negatively affect you, causing allergic reactions, dizziness, excessive drowsiness, and other symptoms.
Even the safest options like homeopathic remedies may have undesirable effects like "rebound insomnia": experiencing difficulty falling asleep on your own after discontinuing a sleeping pill.
There's also the possibility of sleeping pills interacting with other drugs you may be taking, not to mention the off-chance of becoming physically or psychologically addicted to them.
Lastly, many types of sleeping pills aren't regulated by the FDA, especially nutritional supplements and herbal and homeopathic remedies. Thus, you must always approach sleeping pills with caution. To this end, the following guidelines may help (source):
As noted earlier, the best way to find a sleeping pill that suits your needs is to check with your doctor first. For all you know, he/she might suggest an over-the-counter option like melatonin, which may run cheaper than a prescription drug and with fewer side effects. But if you're intent on striking out on your own, these few tips may help you with your search:
Look for only highly-rated products – Since most non-prescription sleeping pills haven't been approved by the FDA, they should be given extra scrutiny.
For example, make sure that nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies are made with premium ingredients. Also, look for products registered with the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) or, in the instance of homeopathic remedies, regulated by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).
Identify a product that best targets your issue – Look for a sleeping pill that corresponds to your particular problem, whether it's trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or another sleep-related concern.
Find a product that best matches your lifestyle – Before popping a sleeping pill or filling a prescription, find out how long it takes for the pill to take effect and wear off.
Taking the tips above into account, the following high-quality sleeping pills may help resolve your insomnia:
Type: Natural Sleeping Pill
The key ingredient of this sleep supplement, 5-HTP, induces sleepiness by increasing levels of serotonin in the body — the "sleep" neurotransmitter mentioned earlier in this article. Moreover, this sleeping pill also includes vitamin B6 and tryptophan for a powerful effect that works great for tired, stressed-out adults.
Aside from helping restore your natural sleep cycle and regulate mood, this NatureWise product also suppresses appetite, which may help you to lose weight.
Type: Melatonin Supplement
This melatonin supplement works better than traditional melatonin tablets because of its 8-hour time-release formula, which keeps you asleep throughout the night without waking you up periodically like some sleeping pills. And with the addition of vitamin B6, this product also helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle.
Natrol Melatonin works quicker than many other sleep aids and thus should only be taken immediately before bed.
Type: Homeopathic Sleeping Pill
Genexa is a mix of homeopathic ingredients that addresses most causes of insomnia, including restlessness and stress. And as you'd expect of a homeopathic product, it's organically-based.
Its gentle ingredients provide deep sleep soon after taking it and helps you to stay asleep throughout the night without leaving you groggy the following morning.
The lavender vanilla tablets are flavorful and easy to chew, which makes it a great and safe bet for both adults and children.
Type: Natural Sleeping Pill
Many doctors recommend Sleep MD for good reason as it's quite effective as a short-term antidote to insomnia. And while it doesn't induce sleep as fast as some other products, you won't experience that awful, groggy feeling the next day like many other sleeping pills.
Its ingredients are mostly natural, which include magnesium, calcium, hops flower, valerian root extract, GABA, and melatonin. Thus, this powerful product may benefit those for whom single ingredient sleeping pills aren't helpful.
Type: Prescription Sleeping Pill
Unlike many older prescription sleeping pills, Rozerem is a somewhat new and effective drug that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle instead of sedating the entire central nervous system. Moreover, Rozerem doesn't cause nightmares or vivid dreams during sleep.
The effects of Rozerem last between four to six hours and thus may be a good option for both long and short sleepers (source). If this sounds like something you'd like to try, consult your doctor to see if you'd be a good candidate for this prescription pill.
While there are many types of sleeping pills available, it's best to start with a low-dose option with the fewest number of side effects. With this in mind, a simple sleeping pill that helps regulate the sleep cycle like Natrol Melatonin Time Release may be all you need to get back into your sleeping groove without needing more powerful drugs.
But if melatonin alone isn't enough, a pill that combines several natural sleep-inducing ingredients like Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid may just do the trick.
Here's wishing you a peaceful night of sleep!
What are your thoughts about sleeping pills? Leave your comments below!