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The Dos and Don’ts of Sleep Aids

Sleep aids are one of the most popular products on the over-the-counter medicine market, and for good reason. The majority of Americans report having at least one restless night of sleep every week. And for many people who suffer from an inability to fall or stay asleep, readily accessible sleep aids seems like an easy, convenient, and inexpensive solution.

But before you head to the drug store, there are a few things to keep in mind when using sleep aids. Always use them with caution, especially the type you can pick up at any pharmacy or grocery store in the country.

So keep these guidelines in mind to ensure that your sleep aid use actually helps you sleep, and doesn’t cause unexpected problems.

The Essential Dos and Don’ts of Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids


Use sleep aids if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Sleep aids and OSA are a dangerous combination. This is because they relax your already-struggling airways, neck and throat muscles even further, putting more pressure on your ability to breathe.

For more important information about what can hurt your OSA treatment, check out this recent post.


Start with a big dosage

With sleep aids, it’s important to start small, gauge how your body reacts, and proceed accordingly.

Start with the smallest dosage possible to ensure that you can easily fall and stay asleep, without experiencing unwanted side effects like fatigue when it’s time to wake up in the morning.

For more information, check out this post on OTC sleep aids.



Talk to your doctor first

This is especially true if you have allergies to certain medications, are already taking other prescription or over-the-counter medications, or think you may have a sleeping condition, like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea.


Be picky about what you select

Do an online search for sleep aids, and you’ll be bombarded with options!

There are thousands of different sleep aids on the market, so it’s essential to do your research. Look at peer reviews when examining your options, as well as any associated research that has been done on the main ingredients of the product.


Try lifestyle adjustments first

Do you regularly fall asleep in front of the TV?

Have a soda or a cup of coffee in the afternoon?

Or indulge in dessert or a sweet snack after dinner?

All of these could be the root cause of your inability to fall and stay asleep.

Granted, it’s much easier – and more enticing – to take a sleep aid than to drastically adjust your eating habits and lifestyle choices, but cutting back on sugar, caffeine, and time in front of a screen will help you sleep better naturally, while providing a world of health benefits across the board.


Check out natural sleep aids

Natural sleep aids with ingredients like chamomile extract, valerian root, passion flower extract, and other nature-based materials may boost your sleep without causing excess side effects, like drowsiness when you wake up.

Explore your options, and as with any form of sleep aid, do your research first to ensure that the product is high quality and recommended.


Sleep aids can help to promote a good night’s rest, but they can also cause unintended problems when not used properly. Do your due diligence, choose a sleep aid smartly, and always talk to a doctor if other factors or conditions are at play. With smart choices and usage, you can get back on track to ample nights of quality rest.

Sleep aids are never a substitute for good quality rest. If you feel fatigued each day, it could be sleep apnea. Don’t hesitate to contact us about testing and treatment to get back to feeling great!


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The Dos and Don'ts of Sleep Aids
Sleep aids can be a double-edged sword when it comes to a good night’s rest. Here is an essential guide to taking OTC sleep aids to fall and stay asleep.