Medications are among the most commonly used treatments for insomnia and can be quite effective. However, medications should always be used judiciously and in conjunction with the non-pharmacological approaches as discussed previously.
There are several classes of medications used for sleep, including:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- “Natural” or herbal remedies
- Sedative-hypnotic medications
- Sedating antidepressants
In This Article:
- Insomnia Medications - Non-Prescription
- Over the Counter (OTC) Medications as Short-Term Sleep Aids
- Herbal Remedies as Non-FDA Approved Sleep Aids
Sleep Aid Guidelines
Most experts recommend taking medications for insomnia only as a “last resort” after the behavioral techniques discussed previously have been attempted. The National Sleep Foundation suggests the following guidelines for use of medications to treat sleeping disorders:
- The cause of the sleep disorder has been identified and is best treated with medication.
- Sleeping difficulties are causing problems in daily activities.
- Behavioral approaches have not been completely effective.
- Treatment with medication should “begin with the lowest possible effective dose.”
- Be short term if used nightly.
- Be intermittent if used long term.
- Be used only in combination with good sleep practices and behavioral approaches.