For many people, having a good night's sleep might remain elusive. The causes of having trouble in falling asleep might be varied from work-related worries, stress, sleeping in the afternoon, consumption of a heavy meal, to jet lag. Whatever the cause maybe, tossing and turning in bed, trying to fall asleep is very very frustrating. It leaves you tired and cranky in the morning and affects your normal routine activities. If this becomes a pattern, you could be suffering from insomnia. People suffering from insomnia need professional help, and it cannot be just cured by taking over-the-counter sleeping pills.
Most Effective Over-the-Counter Sleep Aid
Any medicine or drug that does not require a prescription to be purchased from a pharmacist or drug store is known as 'over-the-counter' medicine. These are mainly generic drugs that do not have a strong dosage to be harmful if ingested. Any type of sleeping pills and sleep medications are only effective when used sparingly. The more you use them, the less effective they tend to be, particularly for older people.
St. John's Wort
Before you try out chemical drugs for falling asleep, a time tested herbal remedy should be considered. St. John Wort is a perennial plant that is used for both depression and anxiety treatment. It also helps treat sleep disorders, particularly mild cases. It is available in a concentrated pill form and is one of the best herbal remedies for insomnia. Some of the side effects of taking St. John's Wort is an increased sensitivity to the sun which might cause sunburn. By far, the effectiveness of this natural sleep aid far outweighs the side effects.
Tylenol PM is actually a mild pain relief drug that also acts as a sleep aid. Acetaminophen and diphenhydramine are the active ingredients in Tylenol PM, which are actually very common antihistamines that are found in pain and cold medications. It is a reasonably effective sleep aid, but only when used for short duration of time. It does not lead to drug dependency, but will not work if you overuse the drug. If you are allergic to acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, or any other antihistamine drug, then you should avoid taking Tylenol PM.
One of the best over-the-counter sleeping aid is Ramelteon. It contains melatonin which is a substance that is produced in human's pineal gland, which is located at the center of the brain. It is responsible for maintaining the circadian rhythm within the body, which regulates our internal body clock. Melatonin secreted from the pineal glands is determined by the amount of light that comes in contact with our eyes. The level of melatonin decreases due to stress and anxiety, making us sleepless. When melatonin is taken by a person in a pill form, it reduces anxiety, causes drowsiness, and relaxes the muscles, which in turn promotes sleep.
Before taking these medications, it is advisable to first use natural methods for falling asleep like taking a hot bath, drinking milk before bedtime, etc. The side effects of these pills should also be taken into consideration. Some of these medications should not be taken by pregnant women and by those people who are taking medicines for depression and migraines.
Disclaimer: This SleepHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.