Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Nonprescription Sleep Medicines
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.
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:
When you take over-the-counter sleeping pills for a short
time, side effects may include:
Over time, using sleeping pills can:
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.