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How do I Choose the Best Sleeping Pills?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 17, 2024
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Finding the best sleeping pills can take time, patience, and ideally a doctor’s supervision. There are various types of sleeping pills on the market, including over-the-counter and prescription versions. Within those categories there are different strengths, ingredients, and brands. You and your doctor can consider your specific sleep problem, any allergies you have, and any other medications you’re taking. Once these factors are taken into consideration, you’ll be on your way to finding the best sleeping pills for you.

Determine whether you want over-the-counter sleeping pills or prescription sleeping pills. For some people, OTC sleeping pills work just as well as prescription versions. For others, such as those who have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, prescription versions are the best sleeping pills.

Consult your doctor if you’re not sure how to determine whether OTC or prescription pills would be the best sleeping pills for you. He will talk with you about your sleeping problem and either write you a prescription for sleeping pills or suggest you try an OTC version. Based on your sleeping problem, your doctor can talk with you about whether you should try strong or mild sleeping pills. He might even suggest a particular brand of OTC sleeping pills. It’s likely your doctor will also talk with you about ways to promote healthier sleep unrelated to pills, such as making certain lifestyle or diet changes.

If you decide to try OTC sleeping pills, the next decision to make is which kind of OTC pills to try. There are various types of sleeping pills you can purchase over the counter, and they all fall into one of two categories. The first type is medicated which, as the name suggests, contains medication to help you sleep. The second type is natural. These types of sleeping pills include a variety of natural ingredients, such as melatonin, to help promote sleep.

Whether you decide to use OTC or prescription sleeping pills, it could take a few tries before you find the best sleeping pills for you. When you talk to your doctor about prescription versions, be sure to mention any allergies you have, and have him explain any special instructions or precautions. If you’re buying sleeping pills over the counter, read the ingredients to avoid any allergic reactions or complications with other medications you’re currently taking. Regularly communicate with your doctor about how the pills are working. By doing this, he can change your prescription or suggest another kind of OTC sleeping pill until the two of you find the best sleeping pills for you.

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Discussion Comments

By Cageybird — On Sep 04, 2014

I used to depend on prescription sleeping pills for a good night's rest, but lately I've been trying natural or herbal sleeping pills. I'm concerned about getting too dependent on chemicals in general, and I'm also changing my eating habits to a more organic diet. I think the herbal blends sold in health food stores are the best sleeping pills I've ever tried.

I can see where other people might prefer to use prescription or over the counter sleeping pills, however. Natural sleeping pills don't hit me the way prescription sleep aids used to do. I take them at least an hour before bedtime and then do some relaxation exercises. I don't watch television or read a book, I just try to listen to what my body is telling me. If someone can't sleep because of anxiety or pain, however, I'd recommend trying OTC sleeping pills instead of prescription medication.

By Buster29 — On Sep 03, 2014

I have always gotten good results with over the counter sleeping pills. I find that a lot of prescription sleeping pills have awful side effects, like hallucinations and sleep walking. I haven't tried any of the newer prescription sleeping pills, however. I think they have made some real improvements in the past 10 years or so. I still keep a bottle of store brand otc sleeping pills by my bed, though.

I have found that the best sleeping pills for me are the ones that contain a painkiller as well. The PM blends tend to eliminate those headaches I'll get at night, and the ingredients for sleep make me feel pleasantly drowsy, not drugged. If I don't try to fight the effects, I'll usually get exactly 8 hours of sleep and wake up feeling rested.

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