It’s fairly common for individuals to experience sleeplessness for a number of reasons.

Typically, stress at work or home and disorders like snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome are credited with causing sleep deprivation.

All of these circumstances can lead to sleepless nights permanently or temporarily.

The single best way to eradicate most issues with sleep deprivation is to simply be healthier— eat right, exercise, and live clean, but for some, it takes more than that.

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Individuals who experience sleep deprivation understand that losing sleep is a serious issue.

Everyone wants to fall asleep easily and maintain a restful sleep all night long because of the overwhelmingly positive effects sleep has on our bodies.

Sleep improves our overall health and can affect our hormones, mood, and weight, so it is easy to see why there are so many sleep aids on the market.

In the case of long-term, serious sleep deprivation, it is recommended that you consult a doctor. But for those who experience more occasional interruption in sleep, there are a plethora of solutions to consider.

Sleep & Your Health

Sleep is incredibly important to a person’s health and wellbeing. Our society has begun to live on less sleep, but the effects of this are detrimental.

When someone is operating on a lack of sleep, they are impaired in several ways including their decision making, reactions, and other functions. Plus, a lack of sleep can cause memory issues, depression, and a weakening of the immune system.

According to WebMD, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but that can vary based on the individual. Some adults may only need 6 hours of sleep per night, while others may need closer to 10.

Children and pregnant women often require much more sleep than average adults. In general, you know you are getting enough sleep if you don’t feel drowsy during the day.

Another factor that will impact how much sleep you need is how much sleep you’ve been getting.

For example, if you have been losing a lot of sleep recently, you will need to sleep more to make up for it.

Unfortunately, many people live sleep-deprived lives and although some may say that they have become accustomed to getting less sleep, this is not the case—our bodies do not adapt to a lack of sleep.

Good Sleep Habits

Good sleep habits are mostly centered around your schedule, your environment, and your body. What you do before bed can have a major impact on your sleep.

Being active, eating, or working before bed can cause you to lose sleep, but taking a shower or bath, reading or writing in a journal, drinking herbal tea, meditating, maintaining a regular bed time, and eating healthy meals and snacks can improve sleep.

Additionally, it is recommended that your bedroom is a calm, dark, cool, silent place. Anything that makes noise, has lights, or moves can interrupt your sleep, so it is best to minimize the presence of those in your bedroom.

Unnatural Sleep Aids

If you find yourself unable to naturally get the proper amount and quality of sleep that your body needs, you may consider using a sleep aid.

The goal of any sleep aid is to help your body achieve restful sleep. Aside from prescription medication, there are many sleep aids openly available including both natural and unnatural options.

Generally, the natural sleep remedies include herbal supplements and therapies, while unnatural solutions include medications, products, or technology.

The best sleep aid for you is whichever one, or combination, fits your specific needs.

Also Read: Best Sleeping Pills

Many unnatural sleep aids come in the form of over-the-counter pills.

These medications share a few commonly used active ingredients: diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate. Diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate are similar in that they are both antihistamines with sedative qualities and they share side effects including dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness during the day, constipation, and general unwell feeling.

These side effects are colloquially known as “hangover effects”. Unnatural sleep aids also pose a higher risk for becoming dependent on the drug or developing a tolerance for it, which is why they are only recommended for use on a temporary or occasional basis.

Unnatural sleep aids can also come in the form of sleep technology.

There are many products that have been designed to create optimal sleep conditions to aid those who experience difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Sleep trackers of all varieties are one example of this.

Smart watches and gadgets like the Fitbit are capable of tracking sleep cycles and can help you keep a regular sleep schedule.

Other products include specialized lightbulbs, apparel, pillows, mattresses, and aroma and sound machines to create an ideal environment conducive to sleep.

Natural Sleep Aids

As mentioned earlier, natural sleep aids are typically herbal supplements made from naturally occurring ingredients that create feelings of relaxation and drowsiness.

Some of the most common and safest ingredients in natural sleep aids are melatonin, valerian, chamomile, passionflower, hops, magnesium, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).

The majority of natural sleep aids have been used to treat difficulty sleeping for many years, although most of the common ingredients have not shown overwhelming medical evidence to prove that they are effective in treating the inability to sleep.

The natural ingredients melatonin, magnesium, and 5-HTP are closely related; 5-HTP comes from amino acids and is a precursor to melatonin, which is a hormone that governs our sleep cycle, and magnesium helps regulate our body’s production of melatonin.

Valerian is an herbal extract that comes from the valerian plant, and is known for treating anxiety, depression, and insomnia, although there is little medical evidence to support that.

Valerian is also reported to have a “hangover” effect, especially when used for more than a month.

Chamomile is one of the most reliable natural sleep aids, and it is usually consumed in the form of tea. It is an herb that has a calming effect, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities.

Passionfruit and hops are often grouped together, and both are herbs that may have a calming effect.

In the past, two other ingredients, kava and tryptophan, were considered to be natural sleep aids on their own, but have since been disproven to help with insomnia, and they may not be safe if consumed in large quantities.

Tryptophan is still sometimes used as a minor ingredient among other natural ingredients in a supplement.

However, there are some other natural remedies that are less consumable and more like procedures or techniques for getting better sleep.

Examples are essential oils and specialized therapy. Aromatherapy with essential oils can have a sleep-inducing effect,  and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) involves working with a therapist to improve sleep and sleep habits.

While it is widely believed that natural sleep aids are safer and healthier, there are some risks.

Supplements are not regulated as strictly by the FDA as over-the-counter sleeping pills, so they could be made improperly, contain the incorrect dosage, or have the wrong ingredients.

This, of course, could lead to many negative health issues ranging from mild to severe. Natural sleep aids still require you to take the proper precautions and learn all you can about them and how they may affect you.

What Are the Top Seven Sleep Aids?

Here is a summary of the top seven sleep aids, first unnatural then natural, and each offers a unique combination of desirable features and options. Each product is highly rated, and sleep tested.

Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid

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The Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid is one example of a common, over-the-counter sleep aid drug. The active ingredient in this drug is doxylamine succinate, which is an antihistamine, and the other ingredients in this 25 mg tablet include dicalcium phosphate, blue coloring, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. This product is known for helping even the most restless people fall and stay asleep, but as with all sleep aids, the effects vary based on the individual, and it is not intended as a permanent solution to difficulty sleeping.

Pros:

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

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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Because of the Vicks brand reputation, this sleep aid is often assumed to treat colds or pain, but that is not the case. This drug is intended only to help users fall asleep quickly, stay asleep all night, and wake up rested and refreshed. The active ingredient in ZzzQuil is diphenhydramine HCI, which is an antihistamine, and it is non-habit forming. Other ingredients in this product include red and blue coloring, gelatin, glycerin, polyethelene glycol, purified water, and sorbitol sorbitan solution. ZzzQuil is available in 3 liquid flavors or in LiquiCaps, and it is intended to treat occasional sleeplessness.

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Unisom SleepTabs/Gels

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Unisom SleepTabs utilize the active ingredient doxylamine succinate, which is an antihistamine. The other ingredients in this drug are dibasic calcium phosphate, blue coloring, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. This sleep aid will allow you to forget about the anxieties and stresses of the day and help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Unisom states that their sleep aid will help you fall asleep 33% faster and recommends taking the medication 30 minutes before bed. Like the Kirkland Sleep Aid above, it is a non-habit-forming drug, but should be used on a temporary basis.

Pros:

  • Body will not become tolerant to the drug

Cons:

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

Advil PM

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Advil PM does double duty by relieving any aches and pains while lulling you to sleep. As a result, this sleep aid has two active ingredients: ibuprofen (200mg) and diphenhydramine citrate (38mg). It also has a longer list of inactive ingredients including calcium stearate, carnauba wax, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, croscarmellose sodium, blue coloring, glyceryl behenate, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, pregelatinized starch, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid, and titanium dioxide. Advil PM comes in coated caplet form and is non-habit forming. This drug is intended to help you fall and stay asleep by not letting aches and pains get in the way.

Pros:

  • Relieves both chronic and temporary pain
  • Won’t leave you feeling groggy

Cons:

  • May cause you to have restless legs
  • Safe for adults only

Nested Naturals Luna Natural Sleep Aid

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Luna is a vegan, herbal sleep aid made with natural ingredients. It is non-habit forming and has minimal side effects because it contains no harsh chemicals. Ingredients include magnesium for relaxation, melatonin to help you stay asleep, soothing amino acids GABA and l-theanine, and calming herbs valerian root, lemon balm, passionflower, and hops. Luna is designed to help you drift off to sleep quickly, stay asleep all night, and wake up rested. Nested Naturals allows you to purchase their product risk free by offering a 100% money back guarantee.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • May not overcome particularly stubborn sleeplessness
  • Effect may be different each time you take it

Zhou Nutrition Driftoff Premium Sleep Aid

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This vegetarian sleep aid is intended to help you sleep, while easing your anxiety and restlessness, without all of the chemical ingredients of over-the-counter sleep aids. The Driftoff sleep aid is made with melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, l-tryptophan, GABA, passionflower, lemon balm, and hops, all of which are naturally occurring in our bodies or the outdoors. It will help you fall asleep fast and wake up energized the next day, but as with all sleep aids, it should be used responsibly. Zhou Nutrition also 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 helps you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up energized, but it also has several other benefits. It helps to reduce anxiety and control moods, plus it addresses chronic fatigue by restoring adrenal function, and helps your body rid itself of caffeine with an ingredient called rutaecarpine. This vegan sleep aid is a combination of natural herbs and amino acids, including melatonin, l-theanine, glycine, and inositol, that resist tolerance and dependency. Pacific Coast Naturals, the manufacturer of 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

Cons:

  • May not work for everyone

Fitness Trackers

An emerging and popular trend in both health and technology deals with fitness tracking, and fortunately, that also includes sleep tracking. Fitness tracking devices have flooded the market, but many smart watches and non-wearable sleep trackers will also perform several of the same functions. Oftentimes, these gadgets use your heart rate to show you your sleep patterns and the stages of sleep you go through during the night. Tracking your sleep in this way can help you improve your sleep habits and routines, and it can also help you identify when your sleep is being interrupted, so you can figure out why it’s being interrupted. There are many devices that provide sleep tracking, but the general rule is to find one that can identify when you are sleeping rather than just sitting still. If your tracker can do this, usually the other data it provides is reliable as well.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

The first natural sleep aid on this list is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which a non-drug approach to addressing sleeplessness. CBT has been proven to be effective in treating chronic sleeplessness or insomnia. Typically, CBT begins with a sleep assessment, then consistent work with a therapist over the course of several sessions. The therapy portion of this process can be individualized to address the reason for your loss of sleep. The goal of CBT is to change your beliefs and attitude about sleep, as well as form good sleep habits and routines, which decreases how long it takes you to fall asleep and increases how long you stay asleep. To put it simply, it is retraining your brain to sleep, and it can be done for people experiencing both chronic and intermittent sleeplessness.

Aromatherapy with Essential Oils

Another natural, non-drug sleep aid is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is more powerful than commonly believed, and because of this, it can work as an effective sleep aid. Our olfactory nerve picks up smells and sends those signals directly to our brain, which decides what to do with those signals. Some smells can cause our bodies to react with lots of energy, whereas other smells can cause us to relax. Certain essential oils extracted from plants have been shown to relieve stress and relax the body, lulling it to sleep. One of the most common essential oils that accomplishes this is lavender, but others include lemon or yuzu, bergamot, ylang ylang, sage, jasmine, valerian root, and chamomile. It is recommended to try one, or a combination of several, essential oils to see which has the best effect on you personally.

What Else Should You Consider When Purchasing And Using Sleep Aids?

Whenever you are trying something new regarding your health, it is best to proceed with caution.

Medications, especially, have a poor reputation for having side effects or risk of addiction. As with any medication, those meant to help with sleeping should also be used responsibly.

The best way to do this is to be informed, so be sure to do some additional research on the sleep aid you decide to try.

Make yourself aware of any side effects and read about the experiences others have had while using the product. Lastly, only use the sleep aid in the manner that it was intended to be used in and follow all usage instructions.

It is equally important that you are sure that the aid you choose fits your health conditions specifically.

Whether you are suffering from a sleep disorder or any other medical condition, it is vital to know how adding a sleep aid will affect you.

For example, individual sleep disorders may have specific remedies that pair best with that disorder but may not pair best with other medications you are taking or any allergies you may have.

The same may be true if you are suffering from a condition or disorder unrelated to sleep.

It is always best to be sure that the new medication, supplement, or change in routine will not negatively interact with your health in any other way. And as a general rule, don’t combine alcohol with sleep medication.

Finally, consider if the sleep interruption you are experiencing is a long-term or short-term issue.

In general, over-the-counter sleeping pills are only safe for temporary use, usually no more than two weeks. This is why it is best to pinpoint what is causing your sleep issue and make lifestyle changes to correct it.

Sleep Aids – Final Thoughts

Hopefully it is now clear that there are many options for people who are losing sleep.

Whether your sleep interruption stems from a disorder or stress, there are both natural and unnatural remedies that could be your solution.

Keep in mind that not all sleep aids will work for all people and situations, and you may need to try a number of approaches, or combination of approaches, to find what works best for you.

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

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.


Sleeplessness is an issue faced by many. Snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome are some of the numerous forms of sleep deprivation. For some individuals, sleeplessness is fleeting and occasional, but for others, it can be a long-term struggle, and usually, there are two main causes: stress or a medical condition. But, no matter the cause, sleeplessness must be remedied because of how important sleep is for our health and wellbeing. A lack of sleep can result in poor decision making or judgement, weight gain, hormone disfunction, illness due to a weakened immune system, depression, increased blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease, among others.

Quick Look at Our Top 5 Picks

If you are living a healthy lifestyle—clean eating, exercise, etc.—sleep should come easy, but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, even the healthiest of individuals experience difficulty falling and staying asleep, and it begins to affect their overall wellbeing. When faced with this struggle, a natural first step would be to look for help in the form of over-the-counter sleeping pills.

Sleep & Maintaining Good Habits

Sleep is closely related to our overall health, and as mentioned earlier, a lack of sleep can cause our health to decline in a variety of ways. This is why 7 to 9 hours of sleep should be the nightly goal for adults, but it is really based on the person. For example, one person may find they can function normally on 6 hours of sleep, but someone else might need up to 10 hours of sleep per night. However, pregnant women or people with other medical conditions may require more sleep for their body to perform the functions it needs to. One way to tell if you are getting enough sleep is whether or not you feel drowsy during the day, for instance, at work or during personal obligations.

The best ways to improve sleep are to live clean and have a routine. If you take care of your body with healthy foods and exercise, your body will be functioning the way it should, including being able to achieve restful sleep. Similarly, a good routine when it comes to your sleep habits can make a big difference. Good sleep habits include 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.

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule will ensure that you always get the proper amount of sleep. Our bodies never become accustomed to a lack of sleep, so if you lose sleep one night, you will need to sleep more the next night to make up for it, and that is difficult to accomplish. It is equally important to make sure your bedroom is the perfect sleep environment. Your bedroom should be a calm, cool, dark, and silent place that is rid of anything that has lights, moves, or makes noise, since those things can interrupt your sleep. Lastly, what you do before bed can influence your sleep. Avoid being active, eating, or working before bed, and instead try taking a bath or shower, reading or writing in a journal, drinking herbal tea, or meditating before bed.

Sleeping Pills

If your sleeplessness is due to racing thoughts in your head or a medical condition, living a healthy lifestyle may not be enough to help you achieve restful sleep. For those people, a sleeping pill may be able to help.

To put it simply, sleeping pills are drugs or natural supplements that are meant to help those who struggle with sleeplessness fall asleep and stay asleep all night. In most cases, sleeping pills are intended for adults, but natural supplements may be suitable for children as well. Sleeping pills are available over the counter, or for more serious cases, by prescription. It is common for people who experience occasional sleeplessness to seek help with over-the-counter sleeping pills first, but it is recommended that you see a doctor if your insomnia becomes a bigger issue.

Sleeping pills that are not natural supplements are typically made with one of two active ingredients: diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate. These ingredients share some of the same qualities—first, they are both antihistamines, and second, they have very similar side effects. Antihistamines are usually used to treat allergies, but they also have certain sedative qualities which make them effective as sleep aids. The side effects of these drugs are typically referred to as “hangover effects” and can include dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness during the day, constipation, and general unwell feeling, among others. Additionally, these ingredients put users at a higher risk for developing a dependency on, or tolerance for, the drug. For these reasons, unnatural sleeping pills are only meant to be used temporarily, not as part of your daily routine.

Natural sleeping pills are, as the name suggests, made with naturally occurring ingredients such as melatonin, valerian, chamomile, passionflower, hops, magnesium, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). These ingredients either come from our bodies or nature, and they have qualities that create feelings of relaxation and drowsiness in order to help users achieve restful sleep. The supplements made from these ingredients are safer to take on a more regular basis, but they are not proven to be as effective as unnatural sleeping pills. However, it is important to note that there are some risks with taking natural sleeping pills because they are not strictly regulated by the FDA. As a result, these natural supplements could be made improperly, contain the incorrect dosage, or have the wrong ingredients.

What Are the Top Ten Sleeping Pills?

Here is a summary of the top ten sleeping pills, first unnatural then natural, and each offers a unique combination of desirable features and options. Each product is highly rated, and sleep tested.

Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid

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The Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid is an over-the-counter, 25mg sleeping pill with the active ingredient doxylamine succinate. This drug uses an antihistamine to produce a drowsy effect that helps people fall asleep and stay asleep. Other ingredients in this product include dicalcium phosphate, blue coloring, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. As with all sleeping pills, the effects of this drug vary based on the individual and it is not intended as a permanent solution to sleeplessness. 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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Unlike other Vicks brand products, ZzzQuil is only intended to help its users get quality sleep, not treat colds or aches and pains. It helps people who experience difficulty falling and staying asleep with the active ingredient diphenhydramine HCI. Diphenhydramine HCI is an antihistamine that helps users feel drowsy and drift to sleep. This product also contains the ingredients red and blue coloring, gelatin, glycerin, polyethelene glycol, purified water, and sorbitol sorbitan solution. ZzzQuil is non-habit forming and 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

Unisom SleepTabs/Gels

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Unisom SleepTabs are similar to the Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid because they have the same active ingredient: doxylamine succinate. Doxylamine succinate is a non-habit-forming antihistamine that encourages drowsiness to help users fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. Unisom SleepTabs also contain the ingredients dibasic calcium phosphate, blue coloring, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. This drug is available in tablet form in packs of 32, 48, or 80, and each dosage is one tablet.

Pros:

  • Body will not become tolerant to the drug
  • Highly effective

Cons:

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

Advil PM

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Advil PM differs from the other unnatural sleeping pills because it relieves aches and pains while also helping you fall and stay asleep. The two active ingredients are ibuprofen (200mg) and diphenhydramine citrate (38mg), and other ingredients include calcium stearate, carnauba wax, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, croscarmellose sodium, blue coloring, glyceryl behenate, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, pregelatinized starch, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid, and titanium dioxide. Advil PM comes in coated caplet form in packs of 20, 40, 50, 120, and 200.

Pros:

  • Relieves both chronic and temporary pain
  • Won’t leave you feeling groggy
  • Highly effective

Cons:

  • May cause you to have restless legs
  • Safe for adults only

Peak Life Somnapure Clinical Strength Sleep Aid

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The Peak Life Somnapure sleeping pills are similar to ZzzQuil because they share the same active ingredient, diphenhydramine HCI. This antihistamine product is non-habit forming, and helps its users fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night. Other ingredients in this product include croscarmellose sodium, dicalcium phosphate, blue coloring, fractionated coconut oil, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, microcrystalline cellulose, polydextrose, silicon dioxide, starch, stearic acid, talc, and titanium dioxide. Somnapure comes in packs of 30 caplets.

Pros:

  • Relieves anxiety
  • Becomes effective within 30 minutes
  • Affordable
  • Body will not become tolerant to the drug

Cons:

  • Safe for adults only
  • May cause heart to race

Olly Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement

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The first natural sleeping pill on this list is the Olly Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement. This gluten-free, drug-free supplement’s active ingredients are melatonin, l-theanine, chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm. Melatonin is a hormone sourced from our bodies that governs our sleep cycle, l-theanine is an amino acid from green tea that creates a calming effect, chamomile is an herb that has a calming effect, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities, and passionflower and lemon balm produce soothing and relaxing effects. Olly Restful Sleep gummies come in packs of 50, with the recommended dosage of 2 gummies per day. Because it is made with all-natural ingredients, it is safe to use on a more regular basis.

Pros:

  • Becomes effective within 30 minutes
  • Safe for children
  • Highly effective
  • Great taste

Cons:

  • May cause odd dreams

Natural Factors Stress-Relax Tranquil Sleep

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Relax Tranquil Sleep- Like the Olly Restful Sleep gummies, the Tranquil Sleep product from Natural Factors is made with 100% natural ingredients including melatonin, l-theanine, and 5-hydroxytryptophan. All of these work together; melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our body that regulates sleep cycles, l-theanine is an amino acid that calms our bodies, and 5-hydroxytryptophan comes from amino acids and is a precursor to melatonin. Other natural ingredients include 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

Nested Naturals Luna Natural Sleep Aid

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The Luna sleeping pills is all natural and 100% vegan. Like the other natural sleeping pills or supplements on this list, it is non-habit forming and has minimal side effects because it contains no chemicals. The active ingredients in Luna are magnesium, melatonin, GABA, l-theanine, valerian root, lemon balm, passionflower, and hops. Magnesium helps regulate our body’s production of melatonin, and melatonin regulates our sleep cycles. GABA and l-theanine are both amino acids that work to create a soothing effect. Valerian root, lemon balm, passionflower, and hops are all herbs and extracts that calm our bodies. All of these ingredients together result in a product designed to help you fall asleep quickly, stay asleep, and wake up rested. Nested Naturals offers a risk-free, money-back guarantee with the purchase of Luna.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • May not overcome particularly stubborn sleeplessness
  • Effect may be different each time you take it

Zhou Nutrition Driftoff Premium Sleep Aid

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The Driftoff Premium Sleep Aid works double duty by helping users sleep and easing anxiety and restlessness. These natural sleeping pills are vegetarian and free from any chemical ingredients. Like the Luna sleep aid, the active ingredients in Driftoff are melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, GABA, passionflower, lemon balm, and hops. This product also has the ingredient l-tryptophan, which is an amino acid found in plant and animal proteins that supports the functions of melatonin. All of these ingredients together produce feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. Finally, 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 has several key benefits that go above and beyond helping with sleeplessness. This product helps decrease anxiety levels, balance moods, detox your body of caffeine, and restore adrenal function. These sleeping pills are vegan and non-habit forming. The major ingredients in the Genius Sleep Aid are melatonin, l-theanine, glycine (an amino acid), inositol (a form of sugar), and rutaecarpine, which is what helps to rid your body of caffeine. Additionally, Pacific Coast Naturals, the manufacturer of 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 Using Sleeping Pills?

When trying to find a solution for sleeplessness, it is vital to keep your health as your number one priority. Whenever you introduce a new medication to your body, there are risks to take into consideration.

First, what are the side effects of this new drug or supplement and are you willing to see if they manifest in you? This question is most relevant when considering an unnatural sleeping pill because it is more common to experience side effects with the antihistamine pills than natural supplements. The only natural ingredient that has been reported to have side effects is valerian or valerian root, which can bring “hangover” symptoms like headache, upset stomach, confusion, dry mouth, and feelings of anxiety. Furthermore, you should be prepared to experience side effects when trying different products to determine which one works best for you.

Second, will this new drug or supplement interact adversely with your current health conditions or medications? Certain over-the-counter sleeping pills, both natural and unnatural, could create a new health concern or worsen an existing one. It is important to research, and be informed about, any new medication or supplement you are going to try in order to make the safest decision.

Sleeping Pills – Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep, there is help. Both natural and unnatural sleeping pills provide options to remedy your sleeplessness, whether it’s caused by stress or a medical condition. Not all sleeping pills are the same, so it is best to try different products to find a good fit. Keep in mind that sleeping pills are an occasional or temporary solution to sleeplessness, and if your sleeplessness continues, consult a doctor for another course of action.

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