Effective Sleep Aids and Medications

by Monte Drake

Often insomnia cannot be cured merely by making behavioral and environmental changes. Insomnia sufferers at times don’t wish to attempt various cures or types of treatment. Luckily for those people, there are some effective sleep aids and medications on the market.

Prescription medicines should not cause any problems with addiction if taken correctly and only as needed for brief periods of time. This may come as a relief, since sleep medications are the treatment of choice for insomnia.

Anti-insomnia aids come both by prescription and as over-the-counter medications. Naturally, in order to get a prescription, you must be under a doctor’s care. Because successful treatment begins with a solid diagnosis and identification of any underlying causes for the insomnia, this is actually very wise. The patient will fare better when given a prescription for the treatment of depression or anxiety rather than the sleep disorder, for example, if insomnia emerges as a symptom of depression or anxiety.

Hypnotics are the most effective aids for promoting sleep when insomnia is identified as purely a sleep problem. Hypnotics aim to bring on sleep quicker and maintain it for a longer period of time, resulting in a better quality sleep.

There are two types of hypnotics; half-life and full-life. Half-life hypnotics won’t hamper your daily activities unlike the full-life hypnotics because they stay in your system only half as long. Dosages vary for hypnotics as well. They are most effective in inducing sleep when applied in small durations and when they are gradually decreased over time.

The most common form of OTC, or over-the-counter, sleep aids are antihistamines. Even though antihistamines are meant to block the chemicals the body produces during an allergy attack, they produce a calming effect which facilitates sleep.

Melatonin supplements act as an additional sleep aid that can help relieve the symptoms of insomnia. Melatonin is the hormone humans naturally release when daytime changes into evening. It lowers body temperature and triggers other bodily changes to help the body prepare for sleep.

There is always a risk of over-supplementation (ingesting more than is necessary) so caution must be used when supplementing melatonin. Also, the side effects of such nutritional supplements, such as melatonin, may not be fully understood because they lack the stringent testing and reporting requirements that govern prescription medications.

Although there are no regulations to attest to the effectives of long-term usage, herbal supplementsSt. John’s Wort, valerian root, chamomile and lemon balm have been noted as reducing insomnia.

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