If you are having a hard time falling asleep or sleeping all night, then taking an OTC sleep aid may be very helpful. They have a tendency to produce fewer side effects compared to powerful prescription sleeping pills and you won’t feel so groggy when you wake up the next morning. They also don’t have the same issues with dependency and tolerance.
There are many different types of over-the-counter sleep aids to choose from, with most of them falling into one of four major categories:
– Melatonin: Helps with regulating your sleep patterns, which can be particularly useful for situations such as shift work or jet lag.
– Antihistamines: These tend to provide the strongest sedative effects.
– Combination sleep aids: These are mixtures of plant extracts, melatonin, and other ingredients.
– Herbal remedies: These are plant extracts that tend to have milder effects. They may help with anxiety as well.
The following are some of the best over-the-counter sleep aids:
- Kirkland Signature
Strongest overall sleep aid.
This is one of the most effective and powerful OTC sleep aids within the anti-histamine category.
Doxylamine Succinate is the active ingredient in Kirkland Signature, which has a very strong sedative effect. After you take it, you are very likely to feel both mentally and physical drowsy, which is exactly the effect you are after.
If you have enough time for getting a long night’s sleep, then it’s a good option. However, if you are limited on time, then you might still feel drowsy the next day.
Doxylamine doesn’t cause issues with addiction the way that so many of the prescription sleeping pills do. Therefore, you won’t need to keep increasing your dosage or worry about becoming addicted.
- Zenwise Labs Sleep Support
Offers a powerful combination of ingredients to help you relax and fall asleep.
There is a wide array of ingredients in this OTC sleep aid. They are all believed to help you either sleep or relax.
It can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night without any negative effects the next morning.
One caution is that the ingredients might be a bit too strong for some individuals, so you might want to try using half a dose to get started.
It may also contain more melatonin than most individuals really need.
- Vitafusion SleepWell
The SleepWell tablet comes from the well-respected Vitafusion supplement brand that has combined a very interesting mix of herbal ingredients.
The principal ingredient is melatonin, so it does target disrupted sleep for situations like jet lag or shift work. However, it also contains herbal ingredients such as lemon balm, chamomile, and passion flower, to help with other types of sleep problems like insomnia. Research has shown that chamomile can help to reduce anxiety. Therefore, if you are having sleeping difficulties due to having a worried mind, then you might want to try this sleeping aid.
- Kalms One-A-Night
This OTC sleep aid from Kalms is a valerian herbal sleeping aid.
There is just one natural ingredient contained in this product – valerian, which is one of the plants that is most used in herbal medicine both for anxiety and insomnia.
This is a natural, herbal remedy with a mild sedative effect but without any harmful side effects.
Valerian does have an accumulative effect. Therefore, you may need to take this OTC sleeping aid for a few weeks in order to feel all of its effects.
- Source Naturals Melatonin
Fast-acting sublingual melatonin sleeping aid
This pure melatonin sleep aid is produced by a company that has a reputation for making very high-quality supplements.
It appears that an increasing number of manufacturers are continuing to add more ingredients to their OTC sleeping aid. However, this one just contains a reasonable 2.5 mg of melatonin.
It is sublingual and quickly dissolves underneath your tongue so that you don’t have to swallow pills. This also means it is absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly than regular pills.
Like a majority of melatonin products, this one works the best when used in specific situations like for shift work, jet lag, and potentially insomnia for certain individuals.
If you are searching for a fast-acting melatonin sleep aid, then Source Naturals offers one of the best that is available.
- Unisom SleepGels
Offers a milder form of sedation.
This OTC sleep aid product contains Diphenhydramine hydrochloride, which is the other kind of anti-histamine that tends to be contained in sleeping pills.
There are 3 major versions that are available – QuickMelts, SleepTabs, and SleepGls. The major difference is how quickly the product gets absorbed into the body and whether it contains 50 or 25 mg.
There isn’t as much punch in the Unisom SleepGels are the Kirkland sleep aid, but it is very useful if you are simply needing a bit of help with falling asleep and aren’t wanting to feel its effects the next day.
If you are looking for a lighter form of an anti-histamine OTC sleep aid, then this is a good option to consider.
Alternatives To OTC Sleep Aids
- Develop good sleep habits and maintain them
Although sleep aids may work very well, it isn’t recommended that you take them over the long term on a regular basis. You should try to develop positive sleep habits and learn what is negatively impacting your sleep so that you can try to correct it.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to treat insomnia
If you are suffering from insomnia, then one effective method for treating it may be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
As you can see, there are many effective Over-the-counter sleep patch aids that are available in the marketplace. Before you start using any of these products, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor first. Also, be sure to take as directed. Finally, to solve long-term sleep issues, you should try to get to the root of the problem and not solely rely on medications to solve your issue and look for lifestyle changes instead.