Beware of These Over the Counter Sleeping Pills (Which Are Secretly Bad for You)

Why spend the time and money it takes to get a sleeping pill prescription from your doctor when you can get over the counter sleeping pills quickly and cheaply at your local drugstore? Millions of people ask themselves that exact same question each day. And we'd be willing to bet money that you're reading this article right now because you are one of them. But drugstore sleep medications are not as safe as they would have you believe. If you've taken sleeping pills before, or you're thinking about starting them, you need to read this article first!

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Avoid OTC Sleeping Pills With This Active Ingredient

The next time you're in a drugstore or rifling through your medicine cabinet, look closely at the label on your bottle or box of sleeping pills. If it contains the active ingredient "diphenhydramine", you might want to stay away from it. For better or worse, over 90% of sleeping pills depend on diphenhydramine as the active ingredient in their formula. This means that nearly every brand of sleeping pill you can purchase on your own could be potentially unhealthy.

Diphenhydramine isn't hiding in just sleeping pills, either. As a matter of fact, when the drug was first put on the market, it was sold as an anti allergy medication. While it does help clear up symptoms of mild to moderate allergies, it also causes drowsiness more often than not in people who take it. This gave drug companies the bright idea to rebrand and repackage diphenhydramine as a sleeping pill. This helps them increase their profits on the drug with very little cost and effort on their part.

So what exactly is so bad about diphenhydramine, you may be asking? Well, in the short-term, there may not be too many negative consequences. But over time, excessive use and abuse of diphenhydramine may not be the healthiest solution to your problems.

Diphenhydramine Health Effects

The two most common effects associated with diphenhydramine are allergy symptom alleviation and drowsiness. But that's not all. Taking diphenhydramine can also provoke the following symptoms:

You may not experience any of these symptoms if you only take diphenhydramine occasionally. In rare individuals, these symptoms will show up sooner rather than later. And with regular, daily use, they will only get worse. As if that weren't enough, your body will develop a tolerance for diphenhydramine over time. This means you'll have to take more to get the same effect, which will cause more damage and exacerbate the unwanted side effects.

Diphenhydramine has only been around since the 1940s, so there aren't many long-term studies on how it affects people who take it regularly for several years or decades. These days, thankfully, those studies are finally starting to come out. The University of Washington discovered that long-term daily use of diphenhydramine (for allergy sufferers) strongly correlated with the increased incidence and earlier onset of alzheimer's disease. Science has yet to prove a causal link between diphenhydramine and age-related brain diseases, but we imagine these studies will come out in the near future.

If you're still thinking about using an over-the-counter sleep medication to help you with your nightly restlessness, you may still want to talk to your doctor before you hit the drugstore. There are certain medical conditions that can make it extra dangerous for you to take diphenhydramine, regardless of the reason. These include:

If any of the medical conditions above apply to you, do not under any circumstances take diphenhydramine before consulting your primary care physician. It could make your conditions much worse, cause permanent damage, or even be fatal. Diphenhydramine can even be fatal all on its own. Suicide by sleeping pills is one of the most popular methods that some people used to take their own lives. The average dose of diphenhydramine comes in either 25 mg or 50 mg tablets or capsules. But a potentially fatal dose of diphenhydramine can be as little as 700 mg. Therefore, buying sleeping pills containing diphenhydramine in bulk could be a potentially dangerous situation.

Healthy OTC Sleep Medication Substitutes

We know that over the counter sleeping pills are cheap, easy to get, and pretty potent. It can seem as though there's no way to produce a similar effect without using chemical drugs. But, believe it or not, this thankfully isn't the case. There are plenty of herbal sleep remedies out there which can help you feel relaxed and ready for bed just as well as any chemical produced in a lab. You just have to know what ingredients to look for.

Obviously, this means you'll want to avoid diphenhydramine and chemicals like it. But you want to look for supplements that contain natural sleep ingredients like melatonin, 5-HTP, hops, and more. These popular natural sleep aids have been around for decades, if not centuries. Some of them even have ever-increasing amounts of scientific proof that they are as effective as anecdotal evidence has shown over the years.

Of course, your sleep problems won't be as easy to solve as just taking a pill. Thankfully, there are number of easy and minor lifestyle changes you can make to your daily routine which can help you get better rest. A natural herbal sleep supplement before bed is only the first step. You can also make an effort to practice better sleep hygiene, to protect yourself from too much electronic light, or even adopt a healthier sleep diet. The most important thing is to experiment with different tactics to find the one that's right for you. It may seem tedious at first, but getting a better night's rest will be a very worthwhile reward. Learn more.