Some people may need nonprescription sleeping pills from time to time to help them fall asleep. Examples of sleep medicines available without a prescription include Nytol, Sominex, and Sleep-Eze. All of these contain diphenhydramine, which is a type of antihistamine. Using an over-the-counter medicine now and then is okay. But sleep medicine works best as a short-term treatment combined with lifestyle and behavior changes.
Most over-the-counter sleep medicines can be used safely for 7 to 10 days. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Talk to your doctor before you take over-the-counter sleep medicine if:
When you take over-the-counter sleeping pills for a short time, side effects may include:
Over time, using sleeping pills can:
There are other ways to improve your sleep besides using medicine. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle and behavior changes you can try to help you sleep.
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as ofNovember 18, 2013
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