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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Can OTC sleep aids be used to restore a sleep schedule?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (25307points) August 19th, 2010

I have had terrible insomnia lately. I’ve had insomnia off and on for as far back as I can remember, but the last few weeks have been one of the worst bouts that I’ve ever had.

Can I use an over the counter sleep aid to get back to sleeping every night – or is there potential to make the problem worse?

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10 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I have used Benedryl or the “sleep aid” that has the same ingredient with great success for insomnia. Depending on your size and “need”, a ½ a tab is more than enough to knock me out and that way I avoid a drowsy feeling in the morning I might get with the whole tablet. I sleep like a baby when I take that as needed of course.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Cruiser I’m very sensitive to medication, also. Most antihistamines knock me on my butt. Have you ever taken them a few nights in a row? I’m afraid of making it worse, but I absolutely must get back to sleeping every night. This has been terrible.

I need REAL rest!! :\

Cruiser's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie Yes I have a stressful life and have taken it for a couple weeks in a row to get past some hum dinger weeks. Anyway I do believe you can help re-establish a sleep routine/rhythm again using a pretty small dose. I chew the ½ tab and in 20 minutes you will feel it and out you go. I would exercise too if you do not already do so. A good jog, bike ride or swim early evening at the latest, and get some books on American History take your OTC and you will soon be sleeping on your own. Don’t drink alcohol either as that will really mess up your sleep in a major way.

gypsywench's avatar

Have you ever tried melatonin supplements? They work for me.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Cruiser great advice, thank you.

@gypsywench I did many years ago and they didn’t help, but I would be willing to try again.

syz's avatar

I have also used benadryl (when I worked overnights) with no problem. Personally, I have to remember to take it fairly early (not in the middle of the night after I’ve been unable to sleep for hours) because it takes a while to clear my system and I don’t want to be foggy.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’ve been using OTC sleep aids for the past three months for the same reason you are thinking of using them. They helped quite well for the first two months, but now they don’t seem to be working as well for me. @Cruiser has some great advice. Try not to rely on them for too long and you should be fine.

Good luck!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@jonsblond thanks, that is my big worry. I don’t want to risk any kind of dependency, since my sleep tends to be a very touchy thing on its own. Did you try to stop using them shortly after you started.. or did you just keep taking them out of habit and then noticed a decline in the how effectively they were working?

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m still taking them hoping they will work. Life has been very stressful, and I just can’t seem to find a way to get a good nights sleep. I do know when I used to keep a consistent exercise routine I slept much better. I think I’ll take @Cruiser‘s advice and see if that will help again. I’ve been slacking lately. :(

john65pennington's avatar

Have you ever had a sleep study? to discover why you are not sleeping at night?

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