Using Over the Counter Sleep Aid for Treatment

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People are quick to use over-the-counter sleep aid when they can’t solve their insomnia with natural remedies. Natural treatments are better because they don’t have serious side effects. Insomnia is often a lifelong condition, meaning that the treatment should be ongoing because the trouble sleeping will come back whenever you stop treatment. Should you use sleeping pills to deal with this condition?

Over the Counter Sleep Aid

Know the side effects

The first thing you must remember is that medications come with side effects. Even sleep supplements may also cause side effects although they are probably milder than prescription drugs. The side effects also go hand in hand with the dosage. The longer you use a sleep aid, the stronger the side effects will be.

The same goes when you increase the dosage without telling your doctor first. The most common side effects of a sleep aid include dry mouth, constipation, and headaches. You should be careful of the potential drug tolerance. The body will likely develop tolerance to chemicals in a sleep aid. Thus, the effect will decrease gradually over time.

To make it as effective as the first time, you will need to increase the dosage. Another possible side effect is dependence, which means your insomnia will come back the moment you stop taking the pill.


Valerian is one of the supplements recommended to treat sleep problems. This herb has calming and sedative effects. Besides insomnia, it’s also used to treat other psychological conditions, like mood disorders and anxiety. One of the active ingredients in valerian is valepotriates in which research suggests to be the compound behind the sedative effect.

It’s a big concern to use a sleep aid that has minimal side effects. Thankfully, valerian falls under the category of safe supplements. That being said, you may not feel the effect right away. You need to use it for a few weeks before the effect kicks in.


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. This was the idea behind the creation of melatonin supplements. Melatonin levels change from time to time. The production is typically induced by light. It increases in bright environments and decreases in the dark. This hormone plays a critical role in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.

If your sleep problems have to do with the lack of melatonin in the body, then getting it from a supplement is a good idea. Learn the directions of use before taking it. The usual dosage is around 0.5mg to 5 mg. Higher dosage may lead to a quicker sleep, but it’s still better to start with a low dosage, so that your body doesn’t quickly build tolerance. Take it moments before bed because it’s when melatonin starts to increase naturally.