How Sleep Aids Work: Diphenhydramine Hcl Vs Doxylamine Succinate
The main way to distinguish between different OTC sleep aids is by looking at their active ingredients. Most products on the market contain either Diphenhydramine HCl or Doxylamine Succinate. Both are antihistamines, which are typically used to treat allergy symptoms, like a runny nose or itchy eyes. When you have an allergic reaction or a cold, histamines are released in your body to increase blood flow to the site of invasion. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors in cells to reduce the allergy symptoms related to the histamine response.
Many first-generation antihistamines, like Diphenhydramine HCl and Doxylamine Succinate, also make you drowsy. Thats because they dont differentiate among various histamine receptors and inhibit histamines that regulate sleep. That might not be desirable if youre taking an antihistamine for allergy relief, but it makes both compounds ideal for use in sleep aids.
Diphenhydramine HCl and Doxylamine Succinate function fairly similarly, but there are some marked differences:
Prescription Sleep Aids For Insomnia
Prescription sleep medications are only available from a pharmacy, and to obtain them you must have a prescription from your doctor.
Insomnia occurs when a person cant fall asleep or stay asleep even when they have the chance to do so. It is the most common sleep disorder, and many prescription sleep aids are designed to treat insomnia.
Several kinds of drugs may be used. While they are chemically different, they have many similar effects and potential side effects. The following sections review the types of prescription drugs for insomnia to help you compare your options.
Best Cbd Products For Sleep
Weve spent many hours researching different products based on soil, formula, extraction method, form, 3rd party testing, and company vision and reputation. We’ve also contacted companies to find some of this information as it isn’t always provided on their websites.
All of our top choices are full-spectrum CBD products because they contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the plant that are stripped away in CBD isolates. We have included one non-THC isolate for those who don’t want to ingest even a small amount of THC.
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Can Pregnant Women Take Them
Many medications are not safe for use in pregnancy since they can cross the placenta and cause harm to the baby. While sleep issues during pregnancy can be challenging, the best treatment during this time may be a lifestyle change. If you are pregnant and experiencing insomnia, speak with your physician about the best options for you.
When Are Medications Used
Short-term use of medications is common in acute insomnia. In chronic insomnia there is not high quality research to guide when to use medication in the treatment of long-term or chronic insomnia. But, research in the last few years suggests that if people are very distressed about their sleep, using medication whilst in parallel working on non-drug treatments gives the best results.
So, my usual practice is to focus on non-drug treatments for insomnia, but if someone is having a lot of trouble and not managing well through the day, to also start a medication. Ill aim to reduce the medication once peoples symptoms begin to settle as they get more confidence in managing their sleep. That is usually in around 6 weeks to 3 months, but can be longer, particularly if people have either very severe insomnia, other health problems, or a tendency to anxiety which can make insomnia symptoms take longer to settle.
In Australia, the only medication for insomnia approved for use for more than 3 months is suvorexant. This causes problems for people who have insomnia because of chronic health problems as they may need ongoing treatment with medications.
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What To Try Instead
Should sleep problems persist beyond 14 days, its time to see your doctor. Insomnia can be due to an underlying condition, such as heartburn, depression, or heart disease. When Jerry Bell finally did go to a doctor in spring 2015, he was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. He learned relaxation techniques and cut out caffeine completely. He is no longer taking any drug to help him sleep.
For those whose chronic insomnia is not so easily fixed, a new analysis by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs recommends cognitive behavioral therapy instead of any sleeping pills as a first-choice treatment. With CBT, you work with a licensed sleep therapist, learning about habits or attitudes that may compromise your sleep. CBT also uses techniques like journaling to help you feel more optimistic about sleep. Studies suggest that CBT helps 70 to 80 percent of people with chronic insomnia, and effects are long-lasting, with fewif anydownsides.
If you still decide to take insomnia drugs, do so for only a few days at a time, at the lowest recommended dose. Never drink alcohol while taking them, and dont take an extra pill to get back to sleepdoing either can worsen the drugs side effects. Pay close attention to sleeping pill labels and avoid mixing them with other sleep drugs or supplements, including OTC nighttime pain relievers and antihistamines. Use caution if you drive the next day you might still be drowsy.
Chloral Hydrate And Clomethiazole
Chloral hydrate and clomethiazole are older drugs with many side effects, including possible dependence. Chloral hydrate is a liquid drug, but it may also be available in tablet form called cloral betaine. And clomethiazole may also be spelled chlomethiazole.
These drugs are not usually offered nowadays as medication for insomnia. But they may be used in some rare circumstances. Your doctor may avoid prescribing you these medications if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. They may also be cautious about prescribing them if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
If you are chloral hydrate, you should avoid it coming into contact with your skin as it may cause skin damage.
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About Barbiturates Sleep Aids
Barbiturates are drugs: they act as a depressant of the central nervous system and, as such, can produce a wide range of effects, from relatively mild sedation through to complete anesthesia. Theyre also effective as hypnotics, anxiolytics, and anti-convulsants. Barbiturates do have analgesic effects, but because the effects are quite weak it means that barbiturates cant be used in surgery when other analgesics are unavailable. In addition, they have both physical and psychological dependence liability. In todays routine medical practices, barbiturates have largely been replaced by benzodiazepines, in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, for example, mostly because when it comes to overdose, benzodiazepines are much less dangerous. Barbiturates are derivatives of barbituric acid, and today, barbiturates are still used for epilepsy, general anesthesia, and assisted suicide.
The positive allosteric modulation of GABA receptors is believed to be barbiturates principal mechanism of action. Examples include Pentobarbital, Amobarbital, Phenobarbital, Sodium Thiopental, and Secobarbital.
Other Food And Beverages
You might raid the kitchen looking for other things to help you sleep. Perhaps a glass of warm milk? What about a turkey sandwich, laden with the sleep-promoting chemical called tryptophan? Even a glass of soothing “sleepy time” tea may seem tempting.
You should be cautious if you choose to eat or drink something to help you sleep. Any products that contain the stimulant caffeine should, as a rule, be avoided. As such, abstain from coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. In addition, other selections may be undesirable.
You may not want to eat a large meal, spicy food, or tomato products as you might provoke nighttime heartburn. Food consumption prompts the release of insulin, which may promote wakefulness.
There are foods that can be comforting, and this may put you in a more favorable mindset to sleep. In general, a bedtime snack is unlikely to ease you into a sound nights rest, however.
There are some foods that may be more effective. Certain foods, such as turkey, contain tryptophan. When you eat it, your body converts it to a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Higher levels of serotonin within your brain may, in turn, make you feel sleepy.
There are also foods that contain low doses of melatonin, a hormone that is important in the regulation of the timing of sleep called the circadian rhythm. However, the melatonin contained within food is so little that you would have to consume a large portion of the food to see any effect.
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Medications That Help You Fall Asleep
Most insomnia medications are better at helping you fall asleep, rather than helping you stay asleep. As a result, this kind of insomnia having trouble falling asleep is definitely easier to treat with medication. There are several options available, as outlined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Are Sleeping Pills Safe For Children
Some parents give over-the-counter antihistamine medications to children to help them sleep. These medicines arent approved for sleep purposes. Theres a risk of overdosing a child.
Dont give a child supplements like melatonin. Theres no research on their safety in children.
Currently, there are no prescription sleep medicines available for children. Changing a childs sleep behaviors is often the best way to improve sleep.
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Different Forms Of Cbd
There are many ways to take CBD, and each method has its benefits and drawbacks.
- Capsule – is a good way to take CBD as you know exactly how much you’re taking. It has to pass through your digestive system and get metabolized by your liver, so take capsules an hour or two before bed.
- Tinctures and sprays – have the fastest absorption rate of all forms of CBD. Spray or place the drops under your tongue, then wait 60-90 seconds. The CBD will be absorbed in about 20 minutes via the mucous membranes in your mouth. The only drawback of these methods is that it’s a little more difficult to get an exact dosage, and sprays and tinctures will sometimes have a taste that people don’t like.
- Gummies – have a similar absorption method to capsules. The only caution is that some brands contain a lot of added sugar, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Creams and lotions – are generally a better option for localized pain, such as pain in your knee or elbow.
- Vaping – we don’t recommend vaping due to safety concerns. Though it’s smokeless and fast-acting, manufacturers aren’t regulated, and as of February 2020, there have been 2,807 cases of vaping-related illness and 68 deaths.
What Medications Are Used
Rather than using the same medication in each person, I use a range of medication depending on peoples individual circumstances. Some people just have trouble getting to sleep, so will do better with a medication that has a quick onset and doesnt last for long. Other people wake after 3-4 hours and have trouble in the second half of the night. They need a medication that lasts longer, but this comes with the risk of medication not completely wearing off by the time they need to get up in the morning.
Ill also try to get an idea of the underlying mechanisms for peoples insomnia. If someone has insomnia because of a body clock problem, then melatonin may be helpful. Whereas if they have trouble switching off, drugs that block alerting neurotransmitters may be more helpful.
So, rather than have a go to drug that works for everyone, its a matter of matching the medication choice to peoples symptoms and the factors that are contributing to their insomnia.
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Need More Information About How You Can Sleep Better
At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.
Herbal And Dietary Sleep Supplements That May Help
Go to the drugstore and youll see dozens of so-called natural sleep supplements. The FDA doesnt regulate dietary supplements for safety, quality, effectiveness, or even truth in labeling, so its up to you to do your due diligence. Although the evidence is mixed, the following supplements have the most research backing them up as insomnia treatments:
Valerian. Valerian is a sedating herb that has been used since the second century A.D. to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is believed to work by increasing brain levels of the calming chemical GABA. Although the use of valerian for insomnia hasnt been extensively studied, the research shows promise and it is generally considered to be safe and non-habit forming. It works best when taken daily for two or more weeks.
Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that increases at night. It is triggered by darkness and its levels remain elevated throughout the night until suppressed by the light of morning. Although melatonin does not appear to be particularly effective for treating most sleep disorders, it can help sleep problems caused by jet lag and shift work. Simple exposure to light at the right time, however, might be just as effective. If you take melatonin, be aware that it can interfere with certain blood pressure and diabetes medications. Its best to stick with low dosesone to three milligrams for most peopleto minimize side effects and next-day drowsiness.
Natural doesnt mean safe
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Relaxation Techniques As An Alternative To Sleeping Pills
Relaxation techniques that can relieve stress and help you sleep include simple meditation practices, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, and the use of deep breathing. With a little practice, these skills can help you unwind at bedtime and improve your sleep more effectively than a sleeping pill or sleep aid. Try:
A relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off screens at least one hour before bed and focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, gentle yoga, or listening to soft music instead. Keep the lights low to naturally boost melatonin.
Abdominal breathing. Most of us dont breathe as deeply as we should. When we breathe deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and ribcage, it can actually help the part of our nervous system that controls relaxation. Close your eyes and try taking deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make each exhale a little longer than each inhale.
Progressive muscle relaxation is easier than it sounds. Lie down or make yourself comfortable. Starting with your feet, tense the muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10, and then relax. Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up to the top of your head.
For a guided progressive muscle relaxation meditation, .
Taking Sleep Aids Safely
No matter what kind of sleep aid you use, its important to take precautions. Some basic principles of taking sleep aids safely include:
- Only take the prescribed dose at the recommended time. Even if you still struggle to sleep, dont take another dose during the night unless advised to do so by your doctor.
- Focus on sleep hygiene in conjunction with any sleep aids.
- Make sure you have at least 7-8 hours to sleep after taking a sleep aid in order to reduce the risk of morning grogginess.
- Plan for short-term use. The risks from sleep medications may increase if they are taken for longer than recommended.
- Dont mix sleep aids with drugs or alcohol. Serious problems may arise if sedative sleep aids are mixed with alcohol, other sedatives, or recreational drugs.
- Take sleep aids under the guidance of your doctor. Working with your doctor can prevent unwanted side effects or drug interactions that could affect your health.
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Only Take The Recommended Dosage
It can be tempting to increase the dose if you are not noticing improvement or are looking for a quick fix. If you have been using an over the counter sleep aid for an extended period of time and the pill is no longer working for you, do not attempt to go beyond the recommended dose. Using a larger dose than what is listed could be dangerous and result in serious harm.
Other Risks Of Sleeping Pills
Drug tolerance. You may, over a period of time, build up a tolerance to sleep aids, and you will have to take more and more for them to work, which in turn can lead to more side effects.
Drug dependence. You may come to rely on sleeping pills to sleep, and will be unable to sleep or have even worse sleep without them. Prescription pills, in particular, can be very addictive, making it difficult to stop taking them.
Withdrawal symptoms. If you stop the medication abruptly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, and shaking.
Drug interactions. Sleeping pills can interact with other medications. This can worsen side effects and sometimes be dangerous, especially with prescription painkillers and other sedatives.
Rebound insomnia. If you need to stop taking sleeping pills, sometimes the insomnia can become even worse than before.
Masking an underlying problem. There may be an underlying medical or mental disorder, or even a sleep disorder, causing your insomnia that cant be treated with sleeping pills.
Some serious risks of sleeping pills
Sedative-hypnotic medications can cause severe allergic reaction, facial swelling, memory lapses, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts or actions, and complex sleep-related behaviors like sleep-walking, sleep-driving and sleep-eating . If you experience any unusual sleep-related behavior, consult your doctor immediately.
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