WellSpan Home

Nonprescription Sleep Medicines

Topic Overview

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:

  • You are or could be pregnant, or you are breastfeeding.
  • You take other medicines (with or without a prescription) to help you sleep or to treat other health problems.

When you take over-the-counter sleeping pills for a short time, side effects may include:

  • Confusion.
  • Memory loss.
  • Dizziness.

Over time, using sleeping pills can:

  • Hide the real reason for poor sleep, such as a medical problem.
  • Make you feel less alert the next day.
  • Cause other health problems, such as anxiety, depression, blurred vision, loss of appetite, or nausea.
  • Cause serious medical problems when you take them with alcohol or drugs.
  • Become habit-forming and lead to dependence. When this happens, your sleep problems may get worse when you stop taking the medicine.

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.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry

Current as ofMay 3, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×