There are many over the counter sleep aids available. So, how do you know which one is best for you? Below, we take a look at some of the most popular options to help you make the best decision for your needs.
Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that is commonly used as a sleep aid. It is most often found in brands such as Benadryl, Unisom, and ZzzQuil. Diphenhydramine works by block histamine receptors in the brain, which can promote drowsiness. However, this medication can also cause side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and next-day grogginess.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle. It is naturally produced by the body, but it can also be taken as a supplement. Melatonin supplements are often used to help people who have difficulty falling asleep or who have jet lag. This supplement is generally considered safe and does not usually cause side effects.
Valerian root is a herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to treat sleeplessness. It is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. Valerian root is generally considered safe, but it can cause side effects such as headache, stomach upset, and vivid dreams.
Sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep can lead to a multitude of health problems including weight gain, depression, and even heart disease. While there are prescription sleep aids available, many people prefer to try over the counter (OTC) sleep aids first. But with so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is best. Here is a look at some of the most popular OTC sleep aids and how they can help you get a good night's sleep.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It is thought to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. L-theanine is available in supplement form and is generally considered safe, although there is limited research on its efficacy as a sleep aid.
Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that is often used as a sleep aid. It is the active ingredient in popular OTC medications like Benadryl and ZzzQuil. Diphenhydramine works by blocking histamine receptors in the brain, which can promote drowsiness and relieve insomnia. However, diphenhydramine can cause side effects like dry mouth, constipation, and urinary retention. It can also be addictive with long-term use.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Our bodies produce less melatonin as we age, which is why older adults often have more difficulty sleeping. Melatonin supplements can help boost levels of this hormone and promote better sleep. Melatonin is generally safe with few side effects, but it can interact with certain medications. It is also not recommended for people with seizure disorders.
Valerian root is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. Valerian root is available in capsules, tinctures, and teas. It is generally considered safe, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people. It is also not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Chamomile is a dried flower that can be made into a tea. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural remedy for insomnia. Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin that is thought to promote sleep by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. Chamomile tea is generally safe, but it can cause vomiting in some people.
Lavender is a popular herb known for its calming properties. Lavender oil can be inhaled or applied topically to the skin. The scent of lavender oil is thought to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Lavender oil is generally safe, but it can cause skin irritation in some people.
Which OTC Sleep Aid Is Best For You?
There are many different OTC sleep aids available, and the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, chamomile tea or lavender oil may be the best option for you. If you have any medical conditions like seizure disorders or hypertension, you should speak to your doctor before taking any sleep aids. Diphenhydramine and valerian root may be suitable for short-term use, but they can be addictive and cause side effects like dry mouth and constipation. Melatonin supplements may be a good option for people over the age of 60 who have difficulty sleeping. Ultimately, the best way to find out which sleep aid works best for you is to try out a few different options until you find one that suits your needs.
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