A good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. When you are well-rested, your body and brain function properly, meaning you’ll have more energy and focus, and you are less likely to develop certain illnesses. However, with noise pollution, technology distractions, and day-to-day stresses, you may find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, taking a sleep aid and or supplement may help. Here are a few of the best over the counter sleep aids.
Doxylamine Succinate and Diphenhydramine
Doxylamine succinate and diphenhydramine are the most common sedating antihistamines used in drugstore OTC sleep aids. Doxylamine is one of the most potent over the counter sedatives, and one dose causes rapid drowsiness in most people, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. Diphenhydramine is not as powerful as doxylamine but is still an effective sleep aid.
However, there are several diphenhydramine and doxylamine side effects to be aware of, including daytime drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, and urinary retention.
Unisom is perhaps the most popular over the counter sleep aid with doxylamine as the active ingredient. Unisom is clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster and sleep through the night. Potential Unisom side effects include daytime drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and memory problems. You should stop using the product if you experience these side effects and consult with your doctor.
Diphenhydramine Sleep Aids
Sleep aids that contain diphenhydramine can help you relax and fall asleep. Diphenhydramine is also used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. These include Advil PM, Tylenol PM, and Benadryl.
You may have also heard of people taking Benadryl for sleep. While this and other over-the-counter medicines containing diphenhydramine can help you struggle to sleep because of a cold or allergies, it should not be used for more than two weeks to treat insomnia.
Natural Over the Counter Sleep Aids
Sleep aids that use melatonin, valerian root, and passionflower can help you fall asleep more naturally and have fewer side effects than doxylamine or diphenhydramine sleep aid. You can also use them over more extended periods.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally released in the brain a few hours before you start to feel sleepy. Triggered by reduced light exposure, it signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep soon. We are surrounded by light at night from both indoor and outdoor sources. Between outside lighting and the light from phones, TVs, and computers, it can prevent the natural release of melatonin. Supplemental melatonin can have the same sleep-inducing effects of melatonin your body makes naturally.
Valerian Root is an herb native to Asia and Europe. It is considered one of the best herbs for sleep as it contains several compounds that may help promote calmness. Studies suggest that it can interact with the brain to reduce GABA breakdown, which may improve stress response and help maintain adequate levels of mood-stabilizing brain chemicals.
Passionflower is a family of plants that have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Ingesting passionflower through teas or supplements may help treat anxiety and insomnia.
Simple Vitamins Sleep Aid
Sleep Aid by Simple Vitamins was designed using scientific research to find a balance of all of the essential vitamins that promote faster-regulated sleep as well as immune-supportive rest. The high absorption capsules are vegan and easy to swallow.
Sleep Aid is GMO-free and lab-tested. It contains valerian root extract, chamomile, melatonin, passionflower, ginkgo biloba, and magnesium oxide.
Love Wellness Lights Out
These capsules contain magnesium and valerian root to support relaxation and reduce stress, as well as melatonin to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Each capsule contains magnesium, organic valerian root powder, L-theanine, organic lemon balm leaf powder, organic passionflower, aerial part powder, and melatonin.
Ora Organic Natural Sleep Aid Supplement
This natural sleep aid supplement has organic ingredients to support tranquility, a calm nervous system, and promote healthy sleep. It contains magnesium, organic tart cherry powder, organic Siberian ginseng powder, organic lemon balm, organic passionflower extract, organic valerian root extract, and organic tapioca maltodextrin.
CBD for Sleep
CBD is a chemical compound from cannabis plants. Unlike THC, it won’t get you high but is used for its relaxing and pain-relieving properties.
Because it supports a relaxing neurological response that may calm stress and anxiety, many people find that CBD aids with insomnia and other sleeping issues. Additionally, CBD may support feeling more awake during the day, meaning you may be able to fall asleep more easily at night.
Pure Relief Sleep Gummies
Gummies are a delicious way to consume CBD and still experience the benefits. The hemp gummies are formulated with melatonin to help you fall asleep naturally and wake completely refreshed.
Native Remedies Hemp + Sleep
These capsules are made with 100% natural phytocannabinoid-rich hemp powder. They contain the benefits of the full hemp plant profile offering vitamins, fibers, minerals, and flavonoids. The capsules are infused with melatonin to help you fall asleep.
Rodial CBD Sleep Drops
While not as immediate or potent as ingested CBD options, this topical CBD solution may promote calmness to help you fall asleep faster and hydrate your skin as an added bonus. Before you go to bed, massage two to three drops onto a clean face and neck.
Magnesium is an important nutrient as it promotes brain, heart, and muscle health. Magnesium glycinate, the compound used in many magnesium-based sleep supplements, may have a variety of other health benefits. The compound may calm anxiety and promote better sleep without the grogginess you may experience from other sleep aids.
These potent magnesium supplements are high absorption, meaning you’ll feel benefits quickly. Taking these supplements regularly can relieve muscle tension and promote muscle recovery, support fitness endurance, and help with relaxation for a calm, restful sleep.
Rootcha High Potency Magnesium Zinc Complex
This natural sleep aid contains magnesium to promote deep and restorative sleep by supporting healthy levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. It also naturally supports a better mood and relaxation by supporting healthy serotonin levels and suppressing the release of excess stress hormones.
Being well-rested is crucial for good health; however, it can sometimes be challenging to fall asleep. There are a variety of sleep aids available to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.