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Quality sleep refreshes the body and is vital for good health. Yet many Americans do not get enough sleep, and about 70 million people have problems sleeping on a regular basis. Many have chronic insomnia, which means they either can't get to sleep, can't stay asleep, or the quality of their sleep is poor.
What sleep aids can I buy without a prescription?
Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are recommended for short-term sleep problems that only happen once in a while. Sleep aids should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, babies or children without a healthcare provider's permission. Some common ingredients in sleep aids are:
- Diphenhydramine and doxylamine: These are sedating antihistamines that help make people sleepy. Side effects may include daytime drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness and memory problems.
- Melatonin: Helps control the body's sleep-wake cycle. It may help treat jet lag or reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Common side effects include daytime sleepiness, dizziness and headaches.
- Valerian: May reduce the amount of
time it takes to fall asleep. Seems to help people sleep
better. Side effects may include headache, stomach upset, mood
swings and heart problems.
Ask your Walgreens pharmacist to help you find a sleep aid for your needs.
Are OTC sleep aids addictive?
OTC sleep aids, such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine are usually not habit forming. However, they do cause drowsiness, so use caution if you are driving a car or operating heavy machinery if you still feel sleepy when you get up in the morning. Speak with your healthcare provider or Walgreens pharmacist before taking a sleep aid.