Thousands of people struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a number of other unpleasant disorders that could easily be treated if they were able to get enough rest.

In our modern day, fast-paced society, we are constantly checking our phones, our computers, emails, and worrying about how to take care of ourselves and our families in such a hectic time period.

If you feel that you can relate to this, you’re not alone; today you’ll see strangers, friends, family, and maybe even yourself using Ambien, Xanax, and other prescription medications to deal with their inability to relax or get any real sleep.

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Later on, this leads to addiction, financial issues, and dependency on the prescriptions to get through your day to day activities. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Try a Natural Pill

While some prescription medications have their purpose, most are addictive, habit forming, and some are completely unnecessary.

Instead, try a sleeping pill that contains natural ingredients like Chamomile, Lavender, and Melatonin. Existing as a naturally occurring hormone within our bodies, Melatonin is the feeling inside that lets you know it’s time to go to sleep.

Some people don’t produce enough of this hormone, so sleeping can become challenging. The options below contain their own distinct blend of these herbs along with others, adjusted perfectly to create a soothing feeling and ease your tension.

There’s also a reason why Chamomile is used for relaxation in just about every product available. Aside from helping you sleep and relax, Chamomile helps to ward off inflammation in the gums, digestive track, and viral infections.

This awesome herb is often consumed in the form of a tea, or burned as an essential oil, which is something you could try doing before switching over to sleeping pills and see how it makes you feel.

Those who have allergies to pollen should avoid using chamomile as could trigger a reaction. If you experience any type of nausea or vomiting after using sleep aid products that contain chamomile, including pills, discontinue use.

Also Read: Best Tea for Sleeping

Lavender on the other hand has a calming, and pleasant scent this also frequently used in essential oils and teas. It’s helpful for anxiety, depression, and postpartum depression in new mothers who also experience significant sleep loss within the first few months after giving birth. Lavender happens to be one of few ingredients to sleeping pills that doesn’t have side effects, or if it does, they’re only mild.

Look out for ingredients that do have side effects.

Side effects are pretty common for certain kinds of sleeping pills. Look out for brands that contain high doses of Valerian Root, or Humulus Lupulus. Valerian Root is regularly noted for causing bad dreams in         some people; not everyone experiences this issue, but if you happen to fall in that category, avoid using products that contain this derivative. You’ll also feel thirst, have persistent cotton mouth, and an inability to concentrate if Valerian Root has a negative impact on your system.

Humulus Lupulus on the other hand, can make symptoms of depression worse in people who already experience mood swings or feelings of extreme sadness. Also known as Hops, this herb is much like Lavender in that it can be a trigger for allergies if used by people who are allergic to pollen.

One other thing to look out for is whether or not the pills your taking seem to give you more energy, wake you up in the middle of the night, or create chaos and dysfunction in your sleep cycle. This can be a side effect of Melatonin; some people experience the opposite of the effect that this hormone is supposed to provide.

Use sleeping pills as instructed.

Abusing pills or taking more than what is advised on the bottle is not a good idea.

Unfortunately, you’ll find that many people ignore the labels and the warnings and choose to take anywhere from 4 to 8 more than what’s suggested! It’s better to be safe than sorry, overuse of any type of medication can cause significant damage to your stomach, your liver, and your kidneys.

Most labels will also make it very clear whether or not a sleep aid is appropriate for children, and the age groups that can take them; usually, you’ll see 12 and up as the most common age group.

Best Over the Counter Sleeping Pills – Our Top Picks

Genius Sleep Aid

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Working as both a non-habit forming sleep aid and a detox method for caffeine and other forms of toxin buildup. Made with Melatonin, L-thiamine or TheaKalm, Glycine, and Inositol, falling asleep will no longer feel like active daily chore. The Genius Sleep Aid is also a vegan dietary supplement, which means you can literally and figuratively fall asleep with a clean conscious.

Pros:

  • 100% Vegan
  • No drowsiness or lingering exhaustion
  • Keeps you from waking up too much through the night

Cons:

  • Some people had the opposite effect, felt more awake after using

Everyone’s body works differently, and each one of our brains has its own chemical balance. So if you are part of the twelve percent of people who experience this, it could be that you are consuming too much Melatonin and need to decrease your dosage or purchase a different brand with a low dose.

Hyland’s Calms Forte Sleep Aid Tablets


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Swallowing pills can be difficult to do for many, after all it’s only human nature to want to chew our food. Luckily, these pills are small and easy to take down with a little bit of water! This sleep aid not only provides a restful sleep, but it can also be used to help you relax if you’re having difficulties with it. Hyland’s all natural ingredients include Avena Sativa, Chamomilla, and Passiflora 4X HPUS, which stands for Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States.

Pros:

  • Won’t be accompanied by a “morning hangover” or grogginess
  • Can be used for children 12 and up for long plane or car trips

Cons:

  • Some negative experiences with mood swings and bad dreams
  • A small percentage of people have reported migraines after using

This sleep aid contains Humulus Lupus, so if you have clinical depression this ingredient might make it worse. Try a sleep aid that mainly uses Chamomile and Lavender instead; it’s a basic blend that might not be as potent, but you won’t have to sacrifice your mental health when using it.

Sleep Well Vegan Natural Sleep Aid

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Like most sleeping pills, the Sleep Well Vegan Natural Supplements contain a base mixture of Chamomile, Lemon Balm extract, and Melatonin. This formula includes Deodorized Valerian Root, which is ideal since it tends to have an unpleasant smell that comes out in your urine. Sleep Well is an inexpensive alternative to pure Melatonin, and animal lovers will be happy to know that no animal products are used in these sleeping pills.

Pros:

  • Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly
  • No sleepiness or fatigue upon waking
  • No bad dreams or side effects from the Melatonin

 Cons:

  • Valerian Root smell is still noticeable
  • Large pills, difficult to swallow

Vegan products are described as being free of any and all animal products. With pills, it’s challenging to find things that don’t contain gelatin, so this is a great option for anyone who is very strict about veganism and take the nutrition portion very seriously.

Better Rest Natural Sleep Aid

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The Calm Company is dedicated to helping people sleep better at night, and uses their own special blend of Valerian Root, Melatonin, Chamomile, L-Theanine, Tryptophan, Hops, Gaba, Lemon Balm, and Passionflower. You should only need 1 to 2 tablets to fall asleep, and these should be taken about an hour to 20 minutes before you plan to hit the sheets. Avoid using televisions, phones, and products that require you to look at LED and Blue Lights, as this hinders your body’s ability to respond to the sleep aid and drift off. Give yourself adequate time to prepare for bed and practice some relaxation techniques or read a book.

Pros:

  • Works as an excellent alternative for anyone taking Ambien or other habit forming sleep aids
  • No morning grogginess, drowsiness, or fatigue

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work for a small percentage of people

Although it works as an alternative, you should never combine Ambien or other drugs with sleep aids. Bad reactions can occur and could cause irreversible damage to your body, or even prove fatal. If you plan on using Better Rest Natural Sleep Aid, discontinue use of all others while you’re taking it.

Xenuro Sleep It Off

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You don’t need to take 2 or 3 of these to fall asleep, one Xenuro Sleep It Off tablet is enough, and then its lights out. Do you spend hours rolling around, tossing and turning, lying there with your eyes closed while your mind is still racing? Well, we’ve all been there and you don’t have to continue fighting every single night to fall sleep. The major ingredients include Tart Cherry, French Melon Sod, Black Pepper, Gaba, Melatonin, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine are essential in assisting to induce a deep sleep. You might be surprised to see Black Pepper on this list, what purpose could it possibly have? Pepper actually helps your body absorb nutrients more effectively. This is why you only need to take 1 one of these tablets, your body is able to break it down and use it quickly.

Pros:

  • Tart Cherry and French Melon help to produce natural melatonin and antioxidants
  • Gaba and L-Theanine (green tea derivative) helps to calm the brain

Cons:

  • Ineffective for a small portion of consumers

While this sleep aid may not have been very helpful for some, it works well for the majority of those who have purchased it.

Sundown Naturals Melatonin 5 mg Gummies

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Personally, I have no problem swallowing a pill regardless of the size, but what if you can’t swallow pills at all? Not to worry, gummies are a great alternative for anyone who is unable to get a tablet down the hatch. They’re soft, strawberry flavored, and contain a very small amount of Melatonin in each one, but they do the trick! All it takes is one or two, and you’ll soon be on a journey through the dreamland of your subconscious.

Pros:

  • Gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO
  • They stay soft and fresh over long periods of time
  • No grogginess associated with this sleep aid

Cons:

  • Could be considered an allergenic based on production
  • Contains corn syrup (causes breakouts for those with sensitive skin)
  • Some reports of nightmares have been associated with this product

Although this sleep aid does not contain gluten or dairy, it was produced in a facility that also processes eggs, fish, shell fish, soy and tree nuts. For a truly vegan sleeping pill, try BeCalm Premium Stress and Anxiety Relief instead. It’s not a gummy, but it is still a guilt-free choice for those who don’t wish to consume animal products.

Unisom SleepTabs

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These sleeping pills are a little different from the others on this list, the active ingredient is Doxylamine Succinate. Since there are always going to be folks out there who are unable to consume herbs due to allergies and other conditions, it’s good to know there is a simple solution available. The Unisom SleepTabs are also non-habit forming, so you can stop taking them at any point if you feel like you won’t need them anymore.

Pros:

  • Can be taken with vitamin B6 to get rid of pregnancy nausea/morning sickness
  • Doesn’t give you a headache or migraine
  • Excellent alternative to Nyquil and Tylenol PM

Cons:

  • A full dose can make you feel groggy
  • Can have the opposite effect on some people/makes them feel more awake

The Unisom SleepTabs are popular among pregnant women and recommended by doctors as a safe sleep aid.

MidNite Natural Sleep Dietary Supplement, Cherry Flavor

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Sometimes it can be difficult or downright painful to swallow pills, especially if they’re quite large. The MidNite Natural Sleep Supplement is chewable and cherry flavored so that you can easily take them down with a glass of water. The popular blend of Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Lavender will ease your tense muscles and comfort your mind so you can snooze without waking up every few hours and give yourself a full 8.

Pros:

  • Extremely helpful to those who suffer from insomnia
  • Provides a deep sleep, no waking up randomly at 2AM
  • No “morning hangover” or grogginess accompanied upon waking

Cons:

  • Can cause bad dreams as a side effect

Even if you do have a chewable tablet, you should never take any kind of medication without eating or drinking something first. Taking sleep aids on an empty stomach, especially flavored varieties, can upset your stomach and induce nausea. So be sure to have a small snack or a smoothie before you take your evening dose of MidNite Natural Sleep Supplement.

STAR6URN PM


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The STAR6URN PM sleep aid is a surprising concoction of Melatonin, Ashwagandha, Macuna Pruriens, and Magnesium. This supplement also serves as a natural carb blocker, if you’re carrying extra pounds it could factor into why you aren’t getting good enough rest. The Green Coffee Bean extract will pump up your metabolism without pumping a single drop of caffeine into your bloodstream. The T6 brand offers a variety of different products for bodybuilders and fitness fanatics who need some supplements to go along with their STAR6URN PM.

Pros:

  • Helps you lose weight
  • Made for bodybuilders and gym rats
  • No grogginess or morning headache

Cons:

  • Not very potent, some people took higher doses of this product to be effective enough for sleep
  • May cause nightmares if you take it with Ambien or prescription medications for mood alteration

While you should mostly rely on this product as a sleep aid, it’s important to realize that you cannot lose weight simply by taking a pill. You have to eat clean, exercise daily, and be disciplined in your daily routine. The STAR6URN PM will help you get there as long as you’re consistent, and of course you’ll need to get your rest in order to recover from those intense workouts.

BeCalm Premium Stress and Anxiety Relief

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Losing sleep over anxiety and overthinking is tough on your physical and mental being. No one wants to like awake for hours into the night trying to remember if they called a client, set up a meeting, or whether or not their presentation for work is going to be good enough. Take a deep breath and try the BeCalm sleep aid, it’s meant to decrease your stress and anxiety levels enough to help you get a fuller sleep at night. The Passionflower and Hops Flower will help you relax while Valerian Root and Chamomile will help you slip away into a gentle slumber. The Stearic Acid in this supplement is derived from plants- no animals were harmed in the production of the BeCalm sleep aid.

Pros:

  • Vegan and GMO-free
  • 30-Day money back guarantee
  • Packed with Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B12, Magnesium and Calcium

Cons:

  • Some consumers have said this sleep aid increased feelings of depression
  • Large pills, difficult to swallow

Keep in mind that if you start having bizarre or upsetting dreams at night, it could be a side effect of Valerian Root. A small portion of people have had strange, vivid nightmares while using the BeCalm sleep aid. Discontinue use if this happens, you can still return your pills for a full refund as long as it’s within the 30-day period. Generally, you’ll still start to notice any issues with sleeping within the first 2-3 weeks of use.

Final Thoughts

Pay attention to your evening habits, there might be other reasons why you can’t sleep.

At least 30 minutes to an hour before you go to bed, put away your phone and turn off your television.

Read a book, meditate, burn some scented oils, drink some tea, listen to some relaxing music, or do any other activity that doesn’t involve you sitting in front of a screen.

The LED light confuses your body and tricks your brain into thinking that you’re seeing sunlight; this causes dysfunction with your biological clock, making you want to stay up later.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re using the right equipment.

You’re probably wondering what kind of equipment you could possibly need for sleep, but think of your mattress, pillow, eye masks, and other things as tools for bedtime.

If you’re trying to get a job done, the result is only going to be as good as the tools you had to work with. So, look at your mattress and pillow as tools to that help you sleep; is your mattress lumpy?

Too firm? Do you feel comforted as soon as you lie down, or do you toss and turn hoping to find a good position?

Is your pillow old, discolored, and beat up? Toss it and buy a new one! Before you skimp on a mattress or pillow though, look at them as investments for the future.

If you’re pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before using sleeping pills.

It can be uncomfortable and difficult trying to sleep when your belly is carrying a whole person, but even all-natural products can be harmful to your baby depending on what it is.

Get the okay from your doctor before you make a purchase, you don’t want to consume anything that could be harmful to your baby.

Sleep aids such as Tylenol PM and Benadryl are frequently used for pregnant women who can’t sleep, for any other kind of ingredient, it’s best to check with your doctor first.

Most sleep aids are safe, just pay attention to what your body tells you.

There’s nothing wrong with trying sleeping pills, especially if you do have a really hard time falling asleep.

Just remember to keep an eye out for signs that you don’t feel well, or just aren’t feeling like yourself. Everyone is different, so if you do feel like something is wrong with your medication, stick to your gut feelings and stop taking it.

About Dabora Dabora is Chief editor at Sleeping Culture. She is a proud mother of two, passionate about sleep and finding ways to live a healthier and stress-free lifestyle.

For many people, over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are usually the initial step to finding a solution to insomnia or sleeplessness. When first experiencing trouble falling or staying asleep, most people will head to a pharmacy or drug store before seeking heavy-duty treatment from a doctor. There are many OTC sleep aids on the market, including both natural supplements and drugs, and that can be overwhelming or helpful depending on your situation. Typically, sleeplessness occurs as a result of a medical condition or stress, and there are many sleep aids to address either cause. Having choices of sleep aids allows you the freedom to try different options to see what works best for you, as well as giving you the opportunity to find the best sleep aid that fits with your health.

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While insomnia can be a nuisance, it can also have serious effects on our overall health and wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain, an inability to think clearly and make decisions, sickness due to a weakened immune system, depression, increased blood pressure, hormone disfunction, and increased risk of heart disease, among others. Living a healthy lifestyle can address all of these as well as sleeplessness, but for some people, an over-the-counter sleep aid is an option to take into consideration.

Sleep & Our Health

Because sleep is a vital piece of our overall health and wellbeing, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the proper quality and quantity of sleep on a consistent basis. According to WebMD, the average adult should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, but that range can vary depending on the person. Some people have found that need more sleep to feel rested and fully functioning during the day, while other have found that they feel this way after only 6 hours of sleep per night. There are other exceptions as well—pregnant women, children, or people with certain medical conditions generally need more sleep than the average adult.

An important point to remember is that our bodies never become accustomed to a lack of sleep, so if you lose sleep one night, you will need more sleep the next night to make up for it, and that is difficult to accomplish with an already full schedule. Try to keep track of how much sleep you get at night and how you feel during the day to determine your personal nightly sleep goal. If you feel drowsy during the day at work or personal obligations, you may need to schedule in some more time to rest.

A frequently overlooked factor that influences sleep is overall wellbeing. Living a healthy lifestyle can help ensure that your body is functioning the way it should be, including being able to fall and stay asleep. If you are eating unhealthy foods, smoking, consuming alcohol, or not exercising, for example, your health suffers in many ways, sleep being one of them. Maintaining healthy habits, such as exercising, eating right, and generally taking care of yourself can help alleviate sleeplessness.

Similarly, good sleep habits play a big role in your health and the quality and quantity of your sleep. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same times consistently, making sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep, and avoiding certain activities before bed. Sticking to the same bed time and wake time each day, even on the weekends, will train your body to sleep when it is time to sleep. Additionally, your bedroom should be set up as the ideal sleep environment: calm, cool, dark, and silent, rid of anything that has lights, moves, or makes noise. Finally, prepare your mind and body for bedtime by taking a bath or shower, reading or writing in a journal, drinking herbal tea, or meditating; it is best to avoid being active, eating, or working before bed.

Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids

Sometimes, living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good sleep habits may not be enough to overcome sleeplessness caused by stress or a medical condition. In those cases, an over-the-counter sleep aid could be your solution.

Sleep aids are drugs or supplements that are intended to treat insomnia by helping the user fall asleep quickly, stay asleep all night, and wake up rested in the morning. There are several OTC sleep aid varieties, but usually they fall into one of two categories based on their ingredients: natural or unnatural. Both types are meant to be used on a temporary basis for those people who experience occasional insomnia, not as a permanent solution. For more serious cases of insomnia, it is best to consult a doctor for advice, rather than using OTC sleep aids on a regular, consistent basis.

Unnatural OTC sleep aids most often contain diphenhydramine HCI or doxylamine succinate as their active ingredients. These two drugs are very similar. First, they are both antihistamines. Antihistamines are well known for treating allergies and having drowsiness as a side effect. When used as sleep aids, that side effect actually becomes the desired effect.

Diphenhydramine HCI and doxylamine succinate are also known to share many of the same side effects, which are oftentimes referred to as “hangover effects”. Dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness during the day, constipation, and general unwell feeling, among others, have been documented as the common side effects of drugs that contain the ingredients diphenhydramine HCI or doxylamine succinate. Similarly, these ingredients carry with them some risk for dependency on, or tolerance for, the drug.

Natural OTC sleep aids also share many of the same ingredients, all of which are sourced from our bodies or the outdoors. The ingredients you will most likely find some combination of are melatonin, valerian (or valerian root), chamomile, passionflower, hops, magnesium, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Each of these ingredients is included for their ability to create drowsiness, and soothing feelings of relaxation that can help users fall asleep and stay asleep. Since natural OTC sleep aids usually come in the form of supplements, they are not strictly regulated by the FDA, so there is a small risk that they could be made improperly, contain the incorrect dosage, or have the wrong ingredients. Despite this, these sleep aids are considered to be safer to consume on a more regular basis because the ingredients are naturally occurring.

What Are the Top Nine Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

Here is a summary of the top nine OTC sleep aids, both unnatural and natural, and each offers a unique combination of desirable features and options. All of these products are highly rated, and sleep tested.

Member’s Mark Sleep Aid

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The Member’s Mark Sleep Aid is a maximum strength, over-the-counter sleeping pill with the active ingredient diphenhydramine HCI (50mg). Other ingredients include white and blue coloring, gelatin, glycerin, light mineral oil, polyethylene, glycol, purified water, and sorbitol-sorbitan. This product allows its users to fall asleep fast and sleep soundly all night with the help of the drowsy qualities of an antihistamine. This sleep aid is available in softgel form and is offered at a discount when purchasing two 96-count bottles together.

Pros:

  • Highly effective
  • Easy to swallow
  • Becomes effective within 30 minutes
  • Non-habit forming

Cons:

  • May cause odd dreams
  • May produce “hangover” effects

Unisom SleepGels

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Like the Member’s Mark Sleep Aid, Unisom SleepGels have the active ingredient diphenhydramine HCI (50mg) and inactive ingredients gelatin, blue coloring, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl acetate, phthalate, propylene glycol, sorbitol, titanium dioxide, and water. Unisom SleepGels help you forget about anxiety and stress and allow you to achieve restful sleep all night. This sleep aid comes in packs of 60 softgels with one softgel being the recommended dose.

Pros:

  • Highly effective
  • Easy to swallow
  • Non-habit forming

Cons:

  • May produce “hangover” effects
  • May not work for everyone

Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid

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This over-the-counter sleep aid contains the antihistamine doxylamine succinate as its active ingredient. Other ingredients in this product include dicalcium phosphate, blue coloring, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. It helps its users become drowsy, then fall and stay asleep. Each pack of the Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid contains 96 tablets and the recommended dosage is one tablet.

Pros:

  • Body will not become tolerant to the drug
  • Becomes effective within 45 minutes
  • Highly effective

Cons:

  • May cause grogginess in the morning if you sleep less than 8 hours
  • Safe for adults only

Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid

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ZzzQuil is a popular OTC sleep aid with the trusted Vicks brand reputation. It does not treat illness or aches and pains like the other Vicks products; it only helps its users get restful sleep. The active ingredient is diphenhydramine HCI, which is an antihistamine that creates a drowsy feeling. This product also contains the ingredients red and blue coloring, gelatin, glycerin, polyethelene glycol, purified water, and sorbitol-sorbitan solution. ZzzQuil is available in packs of 48 LiquiCaps.

Pros:

  • Becomes effective within 20 minutes
  • Won’t leave you feeling groggy
  • Highly effective

Cons:

  • May allow you to wake up in the middle of the night
  • Safe for adults only

Natural Factors Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep

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This natural, OTC sleep aid is made with 100% natural ingredients including melatonin, l-theanine, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is an amino acid that works as a precursor to melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone in our body that regulates sleep cycles, and l-theanine is an amino acid that has a calming effect. Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep also contains sugar, magnesium stearate, natural fruit flavors, and citric acid. This sleep aid comes in chewable tablet form, and the recommended dosage is 2 tablets before bed.

Pros:

  • Becomes effective within 40 minutes
  • Highly effective
  • Energetic feeling in the morning
  • Safe for children
  • Relieves anxiety

Cons:

  • May contain too much sugar/sweetness

Peak Life Somnapure Natural Sleep Aid

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The Somnapure Natural Sleep Aid is a well-known and effective sleep aid. It has been clinically tested and contains high-quality, all-natural ingredients to ease your anxiety and help you fall asleep. The active ingredients are valerian root, lemon balm, l-theanine, hops, chamomile flower, and passionflower for relaxation and drowsiness, and melatonin to help you stay asleep all night. This product comes in tablet form and is available in 30 or 60 count bottles with the recommended dosage being 2 tablets per night.

Pros:

  • Highly effective
  • Becomes effective within 30 minutes
  • Relieves anxiety

Cons:

  • May cause heart to race
  • Tablets may have unpleasant smell

Hyland’s Homeopathic Calms Forté Sleep Aid

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The Calms Forté Sleep Aid helps users achieve quality sleep while relieving anxieties. The active ingredients in this product differ from other natural sleep aids and include avena sativa, calcarea phosphorica, chamomilla, ferrum phosphoricum, humulus lupulus, kali phosphoricum, magnesia phosphorica, natrum phosphoricum, and passiflora. Each of these ingredients is meant to address either sleeplessness or stress and irritability. Calms Forté comes in bottles of 100 tablets, and there are bulk purchase discounts available.

Pros:

  • Meets standards of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States
  • Highly effective
  • Non-habit forming
  • Becomes effective within 30 minutes

Cons:

  • May cause odd dreams
  • May not work for everyone

Zhou Nutrition Driftoff Premium Sleep Aid

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Zhou Nutrition helps insomniacs by relieving their anxieties and allowing them to, as the name suggests, drift off to sleep. This sleep aid is vegetarian and free from any chemical ingredients. The active ingredients are melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, GABA, passionflower, lemon balm, and hops. Additionally, this product contains l-tryptophan, which is an amino acid found in plant and animal proteins that supports the functions of melatonin. Lastly, Zhou Nutrition offers discounts when you purchase two or more of their products together.

Pros:

  • Won’t leave you feeling groggy or “hungover”
  • Safe for all ages
  • Relieves anxiety

Cons:

  • May not overcome particularly stubborn sleeplessness

Genius Sleep Aid

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The Genius Sleep Aid is more than just a vegan, OTC sleep aid. It has several other benefits including decreasing anxiety levels, balancing moods, detoxing your body of caffeine, and restoring adrenal function. The active ingredients are melatonin, l-theanine, glycine (an amino acid), inositol (a form of sugar), and finally rutaecarpine, which helps to rid your body of caffeine. Pacific Coast Naturals, the company behind the Genius Sleep Aid, offers discounts when you purchase two or more of their products together.

Pros:

  • Won’t leave you feeling groggy or “hungover”
  • Energetic feeling in the morning
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Highly effective

Cons:

  • May not work for everyone

What Else Should You Consider When Purchasing and Using Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

When trying to find a solution for insomnia, it can be easy to forget about the big picture. Although sleeplessness is a health concern, it is critical that you try to address the issue while keeping your overall health in mind. If you find a drug or supplement that helps you sleep, but has other negative effects on your body, then nothing has been accomplished. Because of this, you must be aware of the potential side effects or interactions that over-the-counter sleep aids can have.

First, consider side effects. Typically, the OTC sleep aids that produce the most side effects are those that contain drugs like diphenhydramine HCI and doxylamine succinate. Some users may not notice any side effects, and for others, the side effects could be mild, but in certain cases, the side effects could be very damaging. Until you know how a sleep aid will affect you in particular, proceed with caution. Oppositely, natural OTC sleep aids aren’t known to produce side effects. The only real exception to this is with natural sleep aids that contain valerian or valerian root, which could produce mild “hangover” symptoms like headache, upset stomach, confusion, dry mouth, and feelings of anxiety.

Second, consider drug or supplement interactions. When adding something new to your diet or routine, there is always a chance that it could interact with other drugs or supplements you are already taking as well as the way your body is already functioning. In some cases, adding a sleep aid to your body’s current conditions could create a new health concern or worsen an existing health concern. Because of this, it is recommended that you become informed about the OTC sleep aid you plan to try by speaking with a pharmacist or researching online.

Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids – Final Thoughts

There is no question that sleep is an important factor in our overall health and wellbeing. For those times when a healthy lifestyle and good sleep habits aren’t enough to curtail your sleeplessness, there are many OTC sleep aids that can help. Since over-the-counter sleep aids are a temporary solution to occasional sleeplessness, be sure to consult a doctor if your sleeplessness worsens or continues. Not all OTC sleep aids are the same and they can affect everyone differently, so proceed with caution and be aware of how introducing a new drug or supplement could fit into your individual situation.

About Marissa Gvozdenovich Marissa is an English teacher and writer. She enjoys the Florida beach life with her husband and puppy.