What you should know about sleep aids

If you’re one of the

70 million Americans that suffer from chronic sleep problems
, you have probably tried the usual tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
For many people,

healthy sleep habits

like avoiding caffeine, sticking to a schedule, and creating an ideal sleep
environment in your bedroom can be helpful. But if you’ve tried everything
and still have trouble dozing off at night or staying asleep, it may be
time to consider using a sleep aid.

There are many different kinds of sleep aids that can help you wake feeling
up rested. Here’s what you should know about natural, over-the-counter, and
prescription sleep aids.

Natural sleep aids

Natural sleep aids

have a low risk of side effects and can help promote sleep if you use them
for a short period of time. Most natural sleep aids are herbs, which means
they are not FDA-approved. And you’ll want to speak with your doctor about
any interactions that could occur with any other medications you’re taking.

Chamomile and valerian are two of the most popular herbs and can be drunk
as tea or taken in capsules each day. Hops, ginseng, and passionflower
abstracts can be helpful as well.

Over-the-counter sleep aids

There are many sleep aids available at your local pharmacy that don’t
require a prescription.


supplements are one of the most commonly used over-the-counter options.
While melatonin is not recommended for long-term use, it is particularly
effective in instances where the hormone is naturally depleted, like from
jet lag.


are also commonly used as sleep aids. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and
doxylamine (Unisom) both have sedative qualities, although they can also
cause daytime drowsiness, a dry mouth, and even constipation. For these
reasons, it’s important to avoid alcohol and check with your doctor if you
start taking an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Prescription sleep aids

if you’ve tried natural and over-the-counter sleep aids and are still
having trouble sleeping, consider talking with your doctor about a
prescription sleep aid. There are a number of

FDA-approved prescription medicines

for helping you sleep:

• Non-benzodiazepine agonists, including Lunesta, Ambien, and Sonata
• Benzodiazepines, such as Doral, Halcion, Restoril, and Prosom
• Antihistamines, including Silenor
• Melatonin receptor agonists, like Rozerem
• Dual orexin receptor agonists, such as Dayvigo and Belsomra

You deserve to have a quality night of sleep that allows you to wake up the
next day feeling rested and ready to take on whatever life throws at you.
If you’ve been struggling with sleepless nights, schedule an appointment
with your health care provider so they can help you find the right solution
for your particular needs.

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