The Best Sleeping Pills To Counter Insomnia
(Reviews and Buyer's Guide 2018)

Best Sleeping Pills

Have you struggled with insomnia to the point where your face shows the ravages of sleeplessness? Have you tried a variety of lifestyle adjustments, such as changing your sleep environment, with little to no effect? If this sounds like you, you may benefit from the power of sleeping pills!

In this post, you'll discover the best sleeping pills to help you regain healthy sleep patterns, including a discussion of prescription, over-the-counter, and natural options, as well as a brief introduction to sleeping pills in general.

Product

Our Rating

Price

1

NatureWise 5-HTP Sleep Capsules

2

Natrol Melatonin

3

Genexa Sleepology Sleep Aid

4

Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid

5

Rozerem (RX)

What Are Sleeping Pills?

Sleeping pills are used to treat several types of insomnia, including the inability to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, the inability to fall asleep after waking in the middle of the night and the inability to engage in restful sleep overall. Sleeping pills may also help you return to a normal sleep/wake cycle as a result of jet lag or coming off night shift work.

These sleep aids are taken orally and usually consumed approximately 30 minutes before wanting to fall asleep.

Types of Sleeping Pills

Have you ever found yourself popping a Benadryl on a night where you knew you needed plenty of rest for the following day? Or how about ZzzQuil or Unisom? The common ingredient across most of these over-the-counter sleep aids is a powerful antihistamine called diphenhydramine, which causes drowsiness as a side effect and thus perfect for inducing sleep.

While over-the-counter sleep aids of this type corner the market, other forms are also popular, including homeopathic pills or drops, herbal remedies in the form of tablets, teas or tinctures, and nutritional supplements, such as melatonin and magnesium.

Any of these over-the-counter and natural sleep aids are available in drugstores and natural living stores across the country, not to mention online.

Some of the best sleeping pills, however, require a doctor's prescription. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may start you off with a commonly prescribed drug such as Ambien or Lunesta, or other name brands including Sonata, Restoril, and Rozerem.

How Do Sleeping Pills Work?

Generally speaking, sleeping pills work by tricking the brain into thinking it's time to sleep but differ in their approach:

Herbal supplements work by increasing levels of serotonin — a neurotransmitter responsible for producing a relaxed, drowsy state.

Homeopathic sleep remedies use super-diluted chemicals that produce full-body responses to help stimulate the body to heal itself from various disorders, including insomnia.

Over-the-counter sleep aids usually decrease histamine in the body, which produces a side effect of drowsiness, like allergy remedies that contain antihistamines (source).

Prescription sleep aids often affect different receptors in the brain than natural aids, which depend on the classification prescribed by your doctor: (source 1 | source 2)

  • Antiparkinsonians – These drugs prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter dopamine to stimulate sleep and decrease restless legs. Common choices include Sinemet and Mirapex.
  • Antidepressants – Since depression is often at the root of insomnia, antidepressants such as Elavil and Trazadone can help boost mood and thus improve sleep.
  • Benzodiazepines – These are examples of psychoactive drugs that activate GABA receptors in the brain to help you relax and feel sleepy. Ativan, Restoril, and Xanax fall under this category.
  • Melatonin Receptor Stimulators – This relatively new type of prescription sleep aid binds to melatonin receptors in the brain, thus helping to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Currently, the only drug in this classification is Rozerem.

Are Sleeping Pills Safe?

While prescription, over-the-counter, and natural sleeping pills may work differently in the brain, none of these types should be taken mindlessly.

For starters, prescription sleeping pills may produce a host of side effects (especially if you're not following doctor's orders or the package's directions) which may include (source):

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sleepwalking
  • Memory problems
  • Daytime sedation
  • Diarrhea

And while less common, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements can also negatively affect you, causing allergic reactions, dizziness, excessive drowsiness, and other symptoms.

Even the safest options like homeopathic remedies may have undesirable effects like "rebound insomnia": experiencing difficulty falling asleep on your own after discontinuing a sleeping pill.

There's also the possibility of sleeping pills interacting with other drugs you may be taking, not to mention the off-chance of becoming physically or psychologically addicted to them.

Lastly, many types of sleeping pills aren't regulated by the FDA, especially nutritional supplements and herbal and homeopathic remedies. Thus, you must always approach sleeping pills with caution. To this end, the following guidelines may help (source):

  • Consult your doctor first to rule out any underlying condition to account for your insomnia and for recommendations on which sleeping pills to try.
  • Follow package directions exactly when taking over-the-counter sleeping pills and doctor's directions exactly when taking prescription sleeping pills.
  • Never mix more than one type of sleeping pill as they may counteract each other and/or cause side effects.
  • Never mix sleeping pills with alcohol as they're both powerful sedatives which, when combined, can cause serious side effects including cardiac arrest and motor impairment.
  • Take a sleeping pill immediately before going to bed (most will help you to fall asleep within 30 minutes).
  • Allow at least seven to eight hours of sleep after taking a sleeping pill to avoid waking up with drowsiness.
  • Talk with your doctor if you experience side effects that interfere with your daily tasks.
  • Avoid making sleeping pills a nightly habit. Consult your doctor for advice on when it's best for you to stop.
  • Don't quit sleeping pills abruptly, ease off gradually instead.

How to Choose the Right Sleeping Pill

As noted earlier, the best way to find a sleeping pill that suits your needs is to check with your doctor first. For all you know, he/she might suggest an over-the-counter option like melatonin, which may run cheaper than a prescription drug and with fewer side effects. But if you're intent on striking out on your own, these few tips may help you with your search:

Look for only highly-rated products – Since most non-prescription sleeping pills haven't been approved by the FDA, they should be given extra scrutiny.

For example, make sure that nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies are made with premium ingredients. Also, look for products registered with the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) or, in the instance of homeopathic remedies, regulated by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).

Identify a product that best targets your issue – Look for a sleeping pill that corresponds to your particular problem, whether it's trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or another sleep-related concern.

Find a product that best matches your lifestyle – Before popping a sleeping pill or filling a prescription, find out how long it takes for the pill to take effect and wear off.

Reviews of the Best Sleeping Pills

Taking the tips above into account, the following high-quality sleeping pills may help resolve your insomnia:

1

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Natural Sleeping Pill

The key ingredient of this sleep supplement, 5-HTP, induces sleepiness by increasing levels of serotonin in the body — the "sleep" neurotransmitter mentioned earlier in this article. Moreover, this sleeping pill also includes vitamin B6 and tryptophan for a powerful effect that works great for tired, stressed-out adults.

Aside from helping restore your natural sleep cycle and regulate mood, this NatureWise product also suppresses appetite, which may help you to lose weight.

PROS

  • Proven effective in small clinical trials
  • Derived from all-natural plant sources
  • Regulates the sleep cycle
  • Boosts mood and suppresses appetite
  • Doesn't cause excessive drowsiness

CONS

  • May cause nausea, vomiting, or rashes in some people
2

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Melatonin Supplement

This melatonin supplement works better than traditional melatonin tablets because of its 8-hour time-release formula, which keeps you asleep throughout the night without waking you up periodically like some sleeping pills. And with the addition of vitamin B6, this product also helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle.

Natrol Melatonin works quicker than many other sleep aids and thus should only be taken immediately before bed.

PROS

  • Fast-acting
  • Works through the night
  • Regulates the sleep cycle

CONS

  • May cause stomach ache and/or daytime drowsiness in some people
3

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Homeopathic Sleeping Pill

Genexa is a mix of homeopathic ingredients that addresses most causes of insomnia, including restlessness and stress. And as you'd expect of a homeopathic product, it's organically-based.

Its gentle ingredients provide deep sleep soon after taking it and helps you to stay asleep throughout the night without leaving you groggy the following morning.

The lavender vanilla tablets are flavorful and easy to chew, which makes it a great and safe bet for both adults and children.

PROS

  • Fast-acting
  • Organic ingredients
  • Non-habit forming

CONS

  • May not help major bouts of insomnia in some people
  • May produce nightmares in some people
4

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Natural Sleeping Pill

Many doctors recommend Sleep MD for good reason as it's quite effective as a short-term antidote to insomnia. And while it doesn't induce sleep as fast as some other products, you won't experience that awful, groggy feeling the next day like many other sleeping pills.

Its ingredients are mostly natural, which include magnesium, calcium, hops flower, valerian root extract, GABA, and melatonin. Thus, this powerful product may benefit those for whom single ingredient sleeping pills aren't helpful.

PROS

  • Proven effective by sleep researchers
  • Improves onset of sleep
  • Doesn't cause excessive drowsiness

CONS

  • May not help you stay asleep throughout the night
  • May cause "rebound insomnia" in some people
5

Rozerem

Rozerem

Quality

Our Rating

Type: Prescription Sleeping Pill

Unlike many older prescription sleeping pills, Rozerem is a somewhat new and effective drug that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle instead of sedating the entire central nervous system. Moreover, Rozerem doesn't cause nightmares or vivid dreams during sleep.

The effects of Rozerem last between four to six hours and thus may be a good option for both long and short sleepers (source). If this sounds like something you'd like to try, consult your doctor to see if you'd be a good candidate for this prescription pill.​

PROS

  • Works on body's natural sleep/wake cycle
  • Appropriate for long-term use
  • Non-habit forming

CONS

  • May cause side effects, including decreased sex drive, headache, drowsiness and dizziness
  • May decrease ability to get pregnant

What Are the Best Sleeping Pills for You?

While there are many types of sleeping pills available, it's best to start with a low-dose option with the fewest number of side effects. With this in mind, a simple sleeping pill that helps regulate the sleep cycle like Natrol Melatonin Time Release​ may be all you need to get back into your sleeping groove without needing more powerful drugs.

But if melatonin alone isn't enough, a pill that combines several natural sleep-inducing ingredients like Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid​ may just do the trick.

Here's wishing you a peaceful night of sleep!

Now Over to You!

What are your thoughts about sleeping pills? Leave your comments below!

Read More Posts About Sleeping Pills

Leave a Comment: