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Nowadays a lot of people turn to sleeping pills in order to finally relax and fall asleep.
Sleeping supplements come in different forms, and they may be sedatives as well as hypnotics. A lot of natural supplements, prescription, and over-the-counter pills are available. This article will describe the main types of sleeping pills, safety profiles, and the benefits of using them.

So, which sleeping pill will work for me?

Taking sleeping pills may be a short-term solution if nothing else worked. But as a matter of fact, a lot of people don’t really need sleeping pills. Some of them just have to try to improve their sleeping habits and prevent insomnia, which involves maintaining good sleep hygiene, regular exercising, and not overusing alcohol and nicotine. Insomnia is a condition that means having trouble falling asleep or waking up repeatedly and failing to stay asleep. People who suffer from insomnia can wake up way too early and feel exhausted and not refreshed afterward. When this condition gets severe and cannot be eliminated by adjusting one’s lifestyle, taking sleeping pills may be an effective temporary solution. However, you should avoid taking such pills for a long term, because this can deteriorate the situation and make insomnia even worse if the patient suddenly stops taking the pills.

If you suffer from insomnia, you should consult your healthcare provider and get the best suitable treatment.

Some of the sleeping pills popular in the USA, UK, Australia, with the best effect are mentioned below.


Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the human brain when the surroundings get dark. This hormone is responsible for regulating the rhythms of the sleep-wake cycle by informing the body that the bed-time has come. The brain produces less melatonin when there is a lot of light outside, and more melatonin when it’s mostly dark, for example, like in winter. The age also influences the amounts of produced melatonin, and they also decrease as the person gets older.

A lot of sleeping supplements contain melatonin, and such supplements have a tendency of being the most effective ones, especially for those who suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders. It can also be helpful for people who:

  • are experiencing a state of being jet-lagged
  • have troubles with falling asleep at night
  • have shift or night work

Over the past few years, snacks and drinks that are said to contain melatonin became popular as “relaxation” products. However, their effectiveness is quite questionable.

Melatonin supplements can be bought in drugstores, online shops, and supermarkets without a prescription. The common dosage of the pills is usually 1–5 mg, and they should be taken before going to sleep. One can buy sleeping pills over the counter if have a prescription issued by doctor.

There are some pieces of evidence, which suggest that melatonin is capable of treating insomnia. Although some of the findings seemed to be mixed, most studies still prove that it can decrease the amount of time it takes for a patient to fall asleep. One of such studies is a 2017 meta-analysis conducted by Trusted Source and published in the Sleep Medicine Reviews journal.

Sedating Antihistamines

This type of supplements can also become an aid for people who experience trouble falling or staying asleep. Some of the antihistamines that are available over-the-counter are usually used for the treatment of allergies. But they can also create a feeling of drowsiness.

Despite the fact that not all of the antihistamines can cause this effect, some people occasionally use 1st generation antihistamines or certain sedating antihistamines in order to help them fall asleep or at least reduce the level of tension and anxiety.

Sedating antihistamines include:

  • diphenhydramine (which is the active agent in Benadryl)
  • cyclizine (which is the active agent in Marezine)
  • doxylamine (which is the active agent in Unisom)

The second-generation antihistamines will not cause any drowsiness. Usually, people use them in order to treat the symptoms of certain long-term allergies, and they cannot be used as an effective sleeping aid.

The antihistamines without a sedating effect include:

  • cetirizine (which is the active agent in Zyrtec)
  • fexofenadine (which is the active agent in Allegra)
  • loratadine (which is the active agent in Claritin)

Sedating antihistamines may be recommended by a doctor only as a temporary solution. Even if they are not addictive, the patient’s body can get used to these medications very quickly, so they lose their effectiveness with time.

Valerian Root

It is a common herbal supplement, which can increase the quality of sleep. As we know, valerian is a plant, and the medicinal properties of its roots have been used by people since the times of existing of ancient Greece and Rome. Valerian root became a common ingredient of many herbal supplements that are frequently used in order to relax, improve sleep quality, and relieve anxiety. It is available in many forms, including capsules, liquids, and teas. You can buy the valerian root-based supplements in online shops, drug and health food stores.

A number of clinical researches indicate that taking valerian may improve the quality of sleep in people who suffer from insomnia. Nevertheless, there is not enough evidence that would prove the effectiveness of valerian root as a sleep aid.


It is a group of sleeping supplements, which can only be bought by prescription. Hypnotic drugs can be prescribed for the treatment of some sleep disorders, like insomnia. Hypnotics can also be used in the treatment of movement disorders that often cause sleep interruption. These disorders may include restless legs syndrome (RLS) as well as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).

Zaleplon, ramelteon, eszopiclone, and zolpidem are the most popular hypnotic pills. Doctors usually prescribe hypnotics in order to treat severe insomnia which is bothersome and long-lasting, because this type of supplements tends to cause some side effects.

Benzodiazepines are another class of sedative-hypnotics used for the treatment of insomnia. This class includes medications like lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam. Benzodiazepines raise concerns about becoming addictive and triggering severe side effects, so the doctor will likely recommend a hypnotic at first.

Sleeping Pills Administration

Patients should read and carefully follow the instruction for all the over-the-counter sleeping supplements, including valerian root products and antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine or doxylamine.

Each sleep problem has its own nature, so the best time for taking melatonin is individual.

Sleeping pills for the treatment of insomnia

A person who suffers from insomnia should take a sleeping pill just before or at the time of going to bed.

Sleeping pills for coping with jet lag
A person who suffers from jet lag should take melatonin daily several hours before the planned bedtime during the trip and continue the treatment for a few days more. A 0.5–5 mg dosage is usually enough.

Sleeping pills for the shift workers
People who do shift work can take 2 or 3 mg of melatonin at the end of every shift. It will help to relax and prepare the body for sleep.

Prescription sleeping pills
The treatment regimen and dosage largely depend on a patient’s condition and the type of supplement that is going to be prescribed.