When looking at sleeping pills the options can be dizzying. Go to a CVS or Walgreens and there are dozens of options that promise you a good nights sleep, but how can you make the right choice without buying every remedy on the shelves.
There are generally three routes you can take when looking at sleeping pills:
- Prescription sleeping pills
- Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills
- Natural sleeping pills
Prescription sleeping pills
If you are a heavy insomniac or you have another serious sleep condition, this may be the best route to take. You and your Doctor can discuss and find the right sort of medication for your condition.
On the other hand, if you have not been diagnosed with a serious sleeping condition, your Doctor may not agree that prescription sleeping aids are right for you.
Some things to pay attention to when discussing the medications available to you; are how each sleeping tablet is going to make you fall sleep. I have listed the most common solutions below.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) medications
- GABA medications work by targeting receptors in the brain, which help control your level of alertness or relaxation.
- They’re more rapid in onset, more selective in their action, and less prone to side effects.
- In most people, selective GABA medicines are metabolized completely before morning.
Sleep-wake cycle modifiers: Ramelteon (Rozerem)
- Ramelteon acts directly on the body’s sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.
- Ramelteon also does not seem to have any potential for abuse.
- Ramelteon binds specifically to melatonin receptors in this “circadian clock” area of the brain, promoting sleep.
- Benzodiazepines are a type of medication known as anxiolytics or tranquilizers.
- People who take benzodiazepines regularly may develop tolerance, or even a physical dependence on the drug.
- Benzodiazepines have a relatively high potential for abuse.
OTC sleeping pills
These are the most common sleep aids found in large department stores and drug stores. All OTC sleeping tablets rely on sedatives. There may be other ingredients that may assist in sleep but the main sleep inducer is antihistamine.
This is good when you know that you can be in bed for at least 8 hours as the effects tend to stick around in the body. It is possible to build a tolerance to OTC sleep aids. So if you find that you need to increase the dosage to sleep, that is a good sign that it is time to stop taking that medication.
- The active ingredient in Benadryl
- An over the counter medicine that treats allergy symptoms, which has a side effect of drowsiness.
- Can cause drowsiness in the morning.
Natural sleeping pills
Natural sleep aids are not going to knock you out like some of the over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills. But, a natural sleep aid will not stick with you after sleep.
Being that they are marketed as herbs and supplements, they are not regulated by the FDA. So do you research and read reviews about the natural sleep aid you are looking to use.
The more popular and better researched ingredients to look for are:
- Valerian is a sedating herb that has been used since the second century A.D. to treat insomnia and anxiety.
- Valerian is believed to work by increasing brain levels of the calming chemical GABA.
- Is generally considered to be safe and non-habit forming.
- Works best when taken daily for two or more weeks.
- Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that increases at night.
- It is triggered by darkness and its levels remain elevated throughout the night until suppressed by the light of morning.
- Although melatonin does not appear to be particularly effective for treating most sleep disorders, it can help sleep problems caused by jet lag and shift work.
I hope that this guide brings a little light to your search for the right sleeping pill.
Please note that many of these sleeping pills may market themselves as long term solutions, using spelling pills as a long term solution is not advised.
It would be a better idea to make a change to your lifestyle to fix your sleeping problem.
I used to sleep during the day for work, and the one sleep aid that worked for me was Melatrol.