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What is the best over the counter sleep aid?.

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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What is the best over the counter sleep aid?
Posted Sun, 16 Feb 2014 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Yogesh D 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Depends on what you are looking for. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for your query. I understand your concern. There is nothing like the best sleep aid, all sleep aids have side effects and are best avoided. The choice depends on your requirements and your clinical condition. The options include, Benadryl, Unisom, Melatonin, Valerian supplements, all of these have side effects like day time drowsiness, headaches, stomach upset, confusion, etc,. Benadryl and unisom contain over the counter antihistamines (Diphenhydramine, Doxylamine, respectively) and the efficacy of these drugs keeps decreasing with repeated use. Side effects for both are daytime drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness and memory problems. Melatonin is a hormone, it helps you fall asleep easily and it is a mild sleep inducer. Side effects are daytime sleepiness, dizziness and headaches, less commonly short spells of depression and confusion. Valerian is a plant extract, so the exact chemical compound that causes you to fall asleep soon is not known and the side effects include headache, abdominal discomfort, excitability or uneasiness, and heart disturbances. I would suggest you to seek medical help if your symptoms are severe enough. And do not make it a habit to take these medicines, with the side effects they can be unpleasant. Other important steps to follow for a hygienic sleep are. 1. Sleep at regular times. 2. Do not drink coffee or tea from 4 to 6 hours before your regular time for sleeping. 3. Turn off all lights while sleeping. 4. Avoid distractions such as cell phones during sleeping. 5. Exercise daily for good sleep. 6. Eat healthy food. 7. Avoid smoking before going to bed. Hope this answer helps you. If you need any clarifications, please do write back to me. Wishing you good health. Warm regards.
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