Sleep aids, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, can solve the problem of a restless night.
Often, simple remedies can solve the problem of an occasional restless night.
For some people, just a few minutes' reading or television gazing will lull the mind to sleep.
Others coax slumber by taking a warm bath or light snack just before bedtime.
Children Sleep Aids
One-way that parents promote self-soothing is through the encouragement of the use of sleep aids. A sleep aid is defined as any object (including parts of the child's own body) that a child uses in his/her sleeping environment to facilitate sleep without requiring parental assistance .
Prescription Sleep Aids
People with chronic insomnia should see a doctor for treatment, which may include short-term use of prescription sleep aids. Used appropriately, Over-the-counter (OTC) nighttime sleep-aids and prescription sleep aids also can help provide sounder sleep, the ASDA advises.
The association cautions, however, that for some types of insomnia, such as that caused by breathing disorders, the products of prescription sleep aids may be dangerous. FDA allows three antihistamines--diphenhydramine hydrochloride (HCl), diphenhydramine citrate, and doxylamine succinate--to be used as the active ingredient in prescription sleep aids.
Most OTC sleep aid product labels caution patients with certain conditions to check with a doctor before taking the product. Such conditions include shortness of breath, asthma, emphysema, chronic pulmonary disease, glaucoma, and difficulty urinating due to enlarged prostate gland.
The labels on the prescription sleep aids also warn against taking the product along with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, such as sedatives or tranquilizers, because they heighten the depressant effect.
Prescription sleep aids that contain aspirin must carry a warning to consult a doctor about Reye syndrome before giving the product to children and teenagers who have chickenpox or flu symptoms. Reye syndrome is a rare but serious disease that has been associated with use of aspirin in children with these conditions.
Natural Sleep Aids - Tricks for the Tired
If you're having trouble sleeping, you may want to try modifying some behaviors that might be keeping you awake. The American Sleep Disorders Association suggests one or more of the following natural sleep aids practices might help:
- Get up about the same time every day, regardless of when you go to bed.
- Go to bed only when sleepy.
- Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, reading, or watching television.
- Exercise regularly. Get vigorous exercise--such as jogging or squash--in the late afternoon, and mild exercise--such as simple stretching or walking--two or three hours before bedtime.
- Don't eat or drink caffeine-containing products within six hours of bedtime. It's better not to smoke at all, but if you do, avoid smoking at bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants. Even if they don't interfere with falling asleep, they may trigger awakenings later.
- Don't drink alcoholic beverages at bedtime. A nightcap may induce sleep, but it can interfere with sound sleep through the night.
- Don't nap, unless you find that naps don't interfere with sleep later on.
- If you often worry at bedtime, reserve another time of day for working on problems.
- If you can't sleep, get out of bed and go to another room to read or watch television.