Before attempting to use an OTC sleep aid product, it is best to consider non-pharmacological options to improve sleep hygiene.
Maintaining healthy sleep habits
Go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. If you enjoy sleeping till noon on weekends or if you are involved in “shift-work” you may not be thrilled at developing or even be able to set up a consistent sleeping schedule.
Do not engage in stressful or non-relaxing activities prior to bedtime. Playing a loud video game or disciplining the kids before you try to go to sleep may not be the most effective way to ensure that you will fall asleep quickly
Do not perform strenuous exercises before bed. Running three miles on a treadmill may be a little too much, minutes before bedtime. Stretching or yoga is fine.
Do not over eat before you go to bed. Avoid large meals or snacks-especially chocolate or caffeine containing beverages before bedtime. Alcohol is also a bad choice before bedtime.
Remove or minimize disruptions. Turn your alarm clock so it is not visible while in bed. Make sure the room is dark and noise volume is at a minimum.
Try to relax. If you are unable to fall asleep, try not to worry; walk out of the bedroom and read a magazine or listen to some music until you feel tired.
If the above suggestions do not improve your sleep cycle, temporary relief is available. While no product natural or synthetic are free of any possible adverse reaction or side effect, OTC products are relatively safe for short periods of time.
Non-prescription sleep medications
Remember, these non-prescription sleep aids are only intended to be used for short periods of time. If after utilizing both non-pharmacological options and a short-course of an OTC sleep aid, you still have several consecutive nights of persistent insomnia, it would be prudent to consult with your physician.
Nonprescription sleep medications include Tylenol PM, Motrin PM, Advil PM, Unisom, Sominex, and MidNite. Here is a list of nonprescription sleep products, their acitve ingredients, sie effects, and warnings.
Adam M. Kaye Pharm.D., FASCP, FCPhA
Authors: Adam M. Kaye Pharm.D. and Jessica S. Kaye
This medication summary is for information only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.
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