Are sleeping supplements effective?

I have always had a hard time falling asleep, and I am thinking about getting some type of pills, but are they truly effective?

I also remember seeing a spray that was on indiegogo a few months ago. It has since been released and they claim it is better for you than pills because it puts less melatobin in your system.
This seems like it has even a lower chance of being effective. Can anyone confirm or deny the effectiveness of these types of supplements?

Might try something like Excedrin PM or Tylenol PM. Hardly considered sleeping pills, but I use them from time to time. I wouldn’t say they actually put you asleep, but I do sleep more soundly and get an extra hour or so. No side effects.

I have taken melatonin in tablet form. It did absolutely nothing for me. If anyone comes up with a good way to fall asleep I hope they’ll post it here. I’d pay big bucks for that.

I have been put on both Low-dose Amitriptilyne and recently Trazadone (also low dose).

I find they work VERY well.

A trick that I discovered with ambien/zopiclone and their ilk is that a half tablet puts you to sleep for half as long. A quarter tablet works for me to put me to sleep if I’m relaxed, in bed but can’t fall asleep.

these are not supplements though. Keep in mind I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV

These aren’t supplements, they’re meds. It seems to me that the OP was specifically asking about the former.

Supplement-wise: Melatonin helps, especially the time-release.
And as for meds: Trazadone.

If you’re going to make a distinction, you may not have a big problem.
Once you’ve spent almost a month trying to survive on 2 hrs sleep/night, you’ll try anything.

My doc came to the rescue with a prescription for Trazadone. I took one a night til I got some rest and could cope. Now I’m down to 1/4 tab (+ low doses of melatonin and allergy meds).

I tell friends it’s not just for falling asleep, it’s also for falling back asleep in the middle of the night.

My understanding is that taking more melatonin (higher dosages, IOW) is not actually what you want or need. Most people end up taking more than the amount required to gently nudge their body back onto a proper sleep schedule.

Also, melatonin is best used to help reset your body clock. It won’t make you sleepy, per se. It’s a hormone that plays a role in getting your body ready for sleep.

This website provides a nice overview of what melatonin is, and how to use it.

Sleep supplements can certainly be effective but people respond to different ones in wildly different ways. Trazodone induces drowsiness in most people within a short time but it requires a prescription and drowsiness is just one of its side effects although it is generally considered very safe. OTC sleep aids are usually just Dramamine knock-offs but those have never done a thing to make me feel tired. The only OTC sleep aid I respond to is doxylamine succinate (Unisom and its generics). Almost all pharmacies and most supermarkets sell it but you have to look for it carefully because the Dramamine and its knockoffs predominate on the vast majority of OTC sleep aids. I never had good luck with melatonin either but I have relatives that swear it put them in a veritable coma for the better part of a day before they swore never to take it ever again.

In summary, sleep aids do work but they don’t work equally for all people so you have to experiment slowly to find what works for you. All of the OTC drugs and supplements described above are generally safe and non-addictive when used per directions. There are more powerful prescription drugs like Ambien that are addictive and should only be taken with well informed consent. All primary care doctors should be well-informed about prescription medications to induce sleep and most of them are willing to prescribe Trazodone or other safe alternatives if a patient requests it because the risks are so low and there is little potential for abuse.

Lidtke Tryptophan has been extremely effective for me, I highly recommend it. One or two capsules before bed when you are having trouble sleeping.

I use Calms maybe once a week.

I’m not home, so don’t know exactly what’s in 'em. Advertised as ‘Natural Homeopathic’.

I have zero problem falling asleep. It’s staying asleep that I can’t do. I’ll wake up after about 3-4 hours, my mind racing and can’t get back to sleep. The Calms do help. Also, as noted previously, Advil PM works for me, but leaves me a little ‘hung over’ in the morning.

Not a supplement, but not a prescription med: Benedryl (diphenhydramine) usually does the job for me.

Probably any old antihistamine will do - the doxylamine in NyQuil will knock me out pretty well (they also have a version ZzzQuil which is just the doxylamine). The alcohol probably doesn’t hurt either. As Lewis Black calls it, “The moonshine of medicine”.

I was recently in an airport preparing to board a red-eye and was looking for something to help me sleep (I have difficulty sleeping on airplanes). I saw a packet of Sominex (earworm from childhooh: “Take Sominex tonight and sleep…Safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep…”). Read the label and was shocked to see that it was diphenhydramine (Benedryl)!

Many years back when I had some difficulty sleeping, I tried Melatonin for a while and it made no difference.

While I am pretty good about sleeping now, when fighting colds I have sometimes taken medications that also have a sleep-inducing effect.

The interesting thing, to me anyhow, is that the sleep-inducing affect wears off rapidly. After 2 nights of using, say, Tylenol w/Codeine, it doesn’t make me at all sleepy.

FWIW I really try to avoid medications because any sleep-inducing effects in the day time are to to me worse than the cold symptoms.

Back in the early days of my career I tried melatonin to cope with the frequently weird hours and the need to transition quickly from fully awake and working to fully asleep while queezing a full night’s rest into just 7 hours in a hotel room.

It was highly effective. At putting one half my brain directly into REM dreaming mode while the other half was fully awake. While not awful, this was not pleasant either. Melatonin did hasten starting actual normal sleep. But the ugly transition was not worth it. I haven’t used it since.

Waking to a racing mind is usually a sign of stress. Especially if the racing is on a consistent topic. Fix the stress; don’t try to medicate the symptoms. You’ll live longer and healthier that way. Been there; done that. Have the battle damage to prove it.

Likewise for me. 50mg diphenhydramine almost always works. Pleasant and no side-effects as far as I’m concerned. Feel fine the next day.

Available OTC as Nytol in Britain, but not cheap.

Dirt cheap in the US - $0.04 to $0.17 per 25mg (generic diphenhydramine) at my pharmacy depending on the quantity you buy…

I use this Melatoninfrom amazon. I think it helps me. The bottle of 60 (two-month supply) is so cheap, it’s worth trying. Read the reviews.

This seems like IMHO, but anyway–

Surprised no one has mentioned either valerian root or kava tea. Both have been effective sleep aids for me at times. The dosage can vary because they’re not controlled and regulated like medicine, so I noticed for example that with different brands of valerian it could take anywhere from 1 to 4 capsules to send me off.

IANAD, consult with yours about possible effects on your body/interactions with other medicine before taking.

A combination of valerian root and melatonin has worked for me in the past. I found that the valerian root was good at getting my mind to calm down and the melatonin helped me off to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep because you’re thinking to much, try valerian.

Since this involves medical advice, let’s move it to IMHO.

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