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jcs007's avatar

What are the safest sleep aids you could take, do they affect quality of sleep, and will I become dependent on them?

Asked by jcs007 (1754 points ) June 25th, 2008

I have trouble falling asleep at the same time everyday, but everyday, I get up at the same time. I blame the afternoon naps I take.

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21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, when one naps daily, it can interfere with nighttime sleep. Chamomile tea helps me. I drink it about 1/2 hour before bed.

I cannot really speak to the safety of pharmacological sleep aids. Virtually all of them say that dependency can be a problem. Also, with Ambien, the idea that people can get up in the middle of the night and do things like raid the refrigerator with absolutely no memory scares the heck out of me personally. It does not seem worth it. Here is one news story.

cage's avatar

I think the safest sleep aid is a book. Sad I know, but you won’t get addicted, and if you do, it’s a good thing!

Knotmyday's avatar

I take a generic form of benadryl, and it works fine. It contains diphenhydramine, which is an ingredient in sominex as well. It also helps my hay fever…
If anyone has experienced ill-effects as a result of what I’m doing, please speak up! I haven’t. Yet.
I heard someone at the GNC touting valerian root as a sleep aid as well. I didn’t try it, but they sounded convinced.

Knotmyday's avatar

Marina, reading your article I came across this one. I like the picture…

Edit: also, I will never pair Ambien with nausea medication again.

marinelife's avatar

@knotmyday I have to keep Benadryl on hand, because I am allergic to bee stings, but I avoid it otherwise precisely because it puts me to sleep!

According to this FDA report, looks like they are OK unless you have breathing problems:

“Used appropriately, OTC and prescription sleep-aids also can
help provide sounder sleep, the ASDA advises. The association
cautions, however, that for some types of insomnia, such as that
caused by breathing disorders, the products may be dangerous.
“Before taking any OTC drug product, you should read the label
for directions on how and when to use it, and whether you should
check with a doctor before taking it,” says FDA regulatory review
pharmacist Michael Benson. “Antihistamines are the ingredients in
OTC nighttime sleep-aids that make you nod off, and some contain
other ingredients, like an analgesic for pain,” he says.
FDA allows three antihistamines—diphenhydramine hydrochloride
(HCl), diphenhydramine citrate, and doxylamine succinate—to be
used as the active ingredient in OTC nighttime sleep-aids.
In the early 1970s, FDA began a review of OTC drug products.
Manufacturers were requested to submit data on the safety and
effectiveness of the active ingredients for their intended uses.
Expert panels on various classes of drug products were convened to
review the data and make recommendations to the agency.
In 1978, FDA approved a new drug application providing for OTC
marketing of doxylamine succinate for nighttime sleep-aid use. In
1982, the agency authorized the initial marketing of
diphenhydramine HCl and diphenhydramine citrate for this use. These
two drugs were the only ones included in the agency’s final
monograph on OTC nighttime sleep-aids, issued in 1989. After the
monograph’s publication, products containing active ingredients
other than doxylamine succinate, diphenhydramine HCl, or
diphenhydramine citrate had to be reformulated or taken off the
market.”

tinyfaery's avatar

There are many herbal remedies, as well as pharmacological. I find that most sleep problems come from lifestyle choices. Things like food, exercise, stress all contribute to your sleep patterns. I’ve been prone to insomnia almost my whole life. If it isn’t a serious problem, and your life is not being negatively effected, try not to use sleep aids. I’d say diphenhyramine is safe, but not effective for everyone. Oh, and remember, the addiction could be psychological at times. If you think you need it, that could be a problem.

marinelife's avatar

@knotmyday We will have to ask jcs007 if that is how he looks deprived of sleep. Marketers must have just gone nuts over those findings. It might make the basis for an interesting Fluther question. I am led to wonder what is the biological imperative for us to seek newness? What evolutionary advantage does it grant us? Thanks, KmyD, for an interesting side trip.

Knotmyday's avatar

Marina, Dimetapp is an effective antihistamine, and doesn’t make you drowsy. Dimetapp PM does though.

That article was interesting. Could probably explain falling in and out of love as well, but I realize that’s another topic.
:^D

Seesul's avatar

Note: if you have any issues with high blood pressure, some of the drugs you are discussing can raise it. Check the package, better yet, check with your MD, as Marina’s article points out.

susanc's avatar

If you do ten minutes of yoga stretches on the floor, then
drink a cup of warm milk while relaxing in a hot bath, you’ll feel more like sleeping. And
yes, these things are addictive.

marinelife's avatar

@susanc Yoga, good idea.

scamp's avatar

Sorry, I have to be quick because I am at work, but did anyone mention melatonin yet?

Knotmyday's avatar

I thought we had, but I must have been remembering this thread. Good call!

scamp's avatar

Thanks! I was thinking of that trhead too, but I didn’t have time to look for it.

edmartin101's avatar

A quick solution to this problem is taking over the counter medicines, just keep in mind all medicines are addictive and give you side effects sooner or later.
A better solution that takes longer to get the onset are herbal teas like Chamomile, Lemon Grass, Sage, and Valerian(herb). This is the value you get from herbal teas: “Made from a variety of plants, and prepared in a similar way (infusing hot water through the substance), herbal teas provide many of the same values. They’re relaxing, enjoyable, tasty and have many health benefits.”
Cage is on the right track as well, get a boring book that will put you to sleep in no time, it’s a good addiction with no side effects.

Trance24's avatar

I used to take melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid. Melatonin is released in the brain to induce sleep, but some people do not release enough or when sleep is wanted. It worked fine for me, but some people complain of waking with headaches, or grogginess. It all depends on your body. You are not likely to become dependent on this medication either.

lily's avatar

i take ambien and it works great for me. but sometimes if my partner takes it, he starts hallucinating and raiding the fridge. its scary. especially because sometimes his unconcious raids include the liquor cabinet. truly dangerous. does anyone know how dangerous the interaction of ambien and alcohol is???

timeand_distance's avatar

@lily REALLY dangerous.
can be, at least.

sakura's avatar

I can’t recommend any medicinal sleep aids, however I can reccommend a cup of warm milk (and a littl bit of sugar if required) and a good book. These always help me relax :O

GrumpyGram's avatar

3mg of Melatonin knocks me out. I can’t help but suspect it won’t keep working. I use the sublingual form in peppermint.

ArpitaBarua's avatar

I have never take sleeping pill in my life. We need daily 7–8 hours sleep for a healthy life. I am afraid, but it is not really good idea depending on sleeping aid. You could try relaxation techniques, meditation and some other tips to sleep well. Try to adopt those techniques those are fit on you.

Thanks.

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