Struggling to fall asleep at night? Or are you not getting a good quality sleep? We have investigated the best over the counter sleeping pills and sleep aids to see how good they really are!
Getting regular quality is hugely important for you to function optimally throughout the day. You know when you've had a good nights sleep, because you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day. You will be fully of energy, but this is not the case if you regularly have trouble sleeping.
When you have a bad nights sleep, you wake up feeling sluggish and groggy and you don't have the same optimism for the upcoming day. You also find it harder to interact with people as you're more irritable and generally you aren't as nice to be around.
For people that have trouble sleeping the first action they take is to purchase an over the counter sleeping aid. There are dozens of different brands on the market so it can be daunting when it comes to making a decision. We have created a guide to show you the best sleeping pills and aids to help you get the best nights sleep. We do advise you discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything.
Find the Best Over the Counter Sleeping Pills and Sleep Aids
1. The Restored 5HTP Sleep Aid Review
The Restored has been one of the best over the counter sleeping pills on the market, and the results speak for themselves with a survey of 127 customers declaring that 82% woke up less often, 76% fell asleep faster, and 98% would recommend.
This product has a Magnesium blend which reduces fatigue and tiredness, so you wake up in the morning feeling more refreshed. It also has Melo-Fruit blend of natural melatonin sources which is the key sleep hormone. It’s key to note that this doesn’t contain pure Melatonin because this product doesn’t require a prescription.
The Magnesium blend also helps to restore normal metabolism function and is suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.
The product contains Tryptophan which changes into 5 HTP then into Serotonin before it lastly converts into Melatonin. This process provides you with a gradual release of Melatonin throughout the night to give you a better nights sleep.
This formula will not make you drowsy, and it’s made in the UK to meet all GMP standards giving you 60 days of supply per bottle.
2. Neuro Rest by Utmost Sleeping Aids Review
The Neuro Rest formula contains a unique MagneRest blend which has a combination of nutrients that help you to maintain a consistent sleep which also helps to lift your mood. It contains 5 HTP, which is a precursor to Serotonin, from 100% Griffonia Seed extract.
You just simply Take one capsule per night 30 minutes before sleeping, and they’ll help you relax and fall to sleep quicker instead of tossing and turning all night. Usually, products that have a strong level of 5HTP tend to cause headaches or stomach upsets.
However, this contains an optimal balance of bioactive ingredients that helps to avoid this.
You’ll feel the effects of the pills after around a week when you wake up feeling less fatigued, and you’ll begin to look forward to sleeping. The product is made in the UK and is suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.
3. Nu U Nutrition Soothing Sleep Blend Review
The Neuro Night Complex provides you with a unique blend of 11 natural ingredients including Magnesium, and 5-HTP and the blend is carefully formulated to ensure that they all work in synergy to give you a better nights sleep.
The blend not only helps you get to sleep quicker and for longer, but this means that you suffer from less fatigue and tiredness the following day. This provides an excellent alternative to pure Melatonin which are classed as high strength sleeping pills.
However, this product doesn’t have the side effects that are often associated with Melatonin which included headaches and upset stomachs. Each bottle provides you with 90 servings and is also suitable for vegetarians while also being allergen-free.
The product is made within the UK to meet GMP standards and also meets EU legislation for health products. This gives you added peace of mind that you’re purchasing a high-quality product and is supported by a 100% money-back guarantee.
4. Kalms Night Sleeping Pill Review
Kalms is one of the most frequently marketed products in the sleeping aids industry and you have no doubt seen the advertisements all over TV and the radio.
The active ingredient is Valerian root yet again, however it contains 25% less Valerian than the superior Swanson product. Kalms has gained a lot of press and attention within the media, and generally has more positive than negative reviews amongst users.
However you can get much strong formulations for a similar price. Although it is made from a natural herb, it should not be used daily and relied on constantly.
This is definitely a product that you have to try as judging from hundreds of reviews it seems to affect everybody differently. Although it has a low cost, if you're on a low budget it would be wise to try a higher rated product that's on this list for a greater chance of success.
- Mixed reviews, everybody reacts differently
- Contains Valerian extract, known to aid sleep
- Little reported side effects
5. Nytol Herbal Sleeping Tablets Review
Nytol is another brand that has been subject to much media attention and marketing which has now seen it available for purchase in all high street retailers as they try to position themselves as the best natural sleep aid.
Nytol Herbal tablets are a herbal remedy formulation, that when ingested promote natural sleep, relaxation and calmness. Each pill contains a blend of natural plant extract. Its actual ingredients are Dogwood jamaica 90mg, hops 30mg, wild lettuce dry extract 3:1 15mg. passiflora dry extract 5:1 36mg,
This product has purposely distanced itself from the prescription sleeping pill industry and has labelled it as a sleeping aid. This means that it should be used on occasions when you are struggling to get to sleep, and it will not knock you out. When you wake in the morning you won't have the hangover feeling that Antihistamines often cause.
It's understandable that you may have seen this brand advertised many times which now makes you want to try it. There are several better alternatives listed above however because of its selling price its not an issue to give it a try.
- Made from natural ingredients & plant extracts
- Extremely affordable
- Easy to swallow tablets
What Are Over the Counter Sleeping Pills?
The best over the counter sleeping aids are unique formulations with active ingredients that help you to fall asleep. These ingredients are weaker than those found in prescription strength pills, however many people feel safer using over the counter sleeping pills as the first step before visiting the doctor.
Types Of Over the Counter Sleeping Pills
The most powerful sleeping aids use antihistamine diphenhydramine as the active key ingredient which promotes drowsiness which makes you feel tired. This is the most effective ingredient for OTC sleeping pills and the majority of the top performing products contain it. There are two commonly used Antihistamines:
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the body which helps you to keep a regular sleeping cycle. Production is triggered by darkness and its levels uplift throughout the night until morning light causes it to decrease.
By taking Melatonin in medicine form it encourages your body to stick to this sleeping cycle. This is especially effective for people with jet lag or those who have irregular shift patterns.
Herbal Pills (Valerian)
Valerian is a herb that has been used for sedation for hundreds of years for anxiety and insomnia. It works by increasing the production of GABA, a calming chemical within the body,
Herbal sleep remedies are the still one of the most effective solutions available and they have a lighter effect, so you avoid the next day drowsy feeling. They are useful if you find Antihistamines to be too powerful.
Other herbs that have sedating or calming effects include, Chamomile, Kava, Lavender, Passionflower,Lemon balm and Tryptophan.
Why You Should Avoid Antihistamines
The main problem with antihistamine sleeping pills is that their sedating properties will often be felt well into the following day which gives you a hangover feeling. So even though you may have a relaxing sleep you'll wake feeling groggy. If you use them long term, they can cause headaches and forgetfulness. This is why health professions advise against regular long term use.
Common Side Effects of Antihistamine Sleeping Pills
- Moderate to severe drowsiness the following day
- Forgetfulness and dizziness
- Clumsiness and lack of balance
- Urinary retention and constipation
- Blurred vision
- Dry throat and mouth
For these reasons we recommend that the over the counter sleeping pills you purchase should be Valerian and Melatonin based so you can avoid all these potential common side effects.
Because Valerian and Melatonin are natural, there are very few potential side effects and they are very rare especially when you don't use them long term.
How to Stay Safe
Although over the counter sleeping aids are heavily regulated by the authorities, if you do decide to try them, please be aware of the following guidelines:
Do not mix sleeping pills with other sedative drugs or alcohol
Alcohol has been proven to negatively affect quality of sleep, and it will also increase the sedative effect of sleeping pills. Combining the two is dangerous and should be avoided
Ensure you have enough time for a full sleep
Only take sleeping pills if you have enough time to sleep for a full 7-8 hours. If you don't you may still feel the effects of the sleeping pills when you wake such as drowsiness.
Only take 1 dose
It may be tempting, but don't ever take a second dose during the middle of the same night. This will give your body less time to clear the medication from your system, and the next day you may feel groggy and find it challenging to wake up.
Start with lowest recommended dose
It is always recommended to start with the lowest recommended does to assess how the medication affects your body and any side effects that you experience as a result.
Avoid using frequently
Sleeping pills should not be used daily as you can develop a dependancy to them. To lower the risk of adverse effects, save them for when you really need them.
Do not drive cars or operate machinery
This is even more important if you have just started taking sleeping pills for the first time as you have no idea how they will affect your body.
Read packaging carefully
Although it is an over the counter medication, it is still advised that you read the packaging carefully and pay attention to any potential side effects that could occur following ingestion. For many sleeping pills there are certain foods that must be avoided such as grapefruit. Don't be lazy, always read the packaging.
Closing Remarks - Best Over the Counter Sleeping Pills and Sleep Aids
You've now made it to the end of the guide, which means you now have the required knowledge of the best over the counter sleeping pills that are available on the market. You do of course still have the option of drinking more traditional sleep teas.
Whilst over the counter sleeping pills should never be relied on long term, they make a great short term solution to get you back into a regular sleeping cycle.