The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep at night. And if you’ve ever tossed and turned instead of drifting off at bedtime, you know how frustrating that can be.

It should come as no surprise that many people turn to drugstore shelves to find a remedy that helps them sleep. There are a number of sleeping medications and “natural” sleep aids that are available for over-the-counter purchase.

“But how effective are these products?” you may ask. “And do they have any effect on my health?”

“Use of sleep aids should not be the first step in the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness or insomnia. A proper sleep history and appropriate sleep testing must be performed prior to use of any sleep aids. 

The use of sleep aids by individuals who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea can result in worsening daytime sleepiness and even have catastrophic consequences, such as acute respiratory failure. Obstructive sleep apnea is the second most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness, and patients may present with complaints of insomnia.”

Jonathan Edelson, MD, FCCP, FAASM

Pulmonologist and Sleep Medicine Specialist , Pulmonary Group of WNY

3 Things to Consider If You’re Using Sleep Aids

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or just hoping to be a little more mindful about these products, here are 3 things to keep in mind.

Talk to your doctor.

Doesn’t matter if it’s “natural” – talk to your primary care provider before adding a sleeping pill to your regimen, especially if you routinely take other medications.

Make time for a sound sleep.

One of the most common effects from a sleep aid is significant drowsiness the following morning. To minimize your reaction, allow yourself 7-8 hours of restful sleep after using these products.

Know when it’s time to see a specialist.

While it may be ideal for those looking to combat jet lag or acclimating to a new shift at work, no sleep aid is intended to be a long-term solution. If your struggles with insomnia are prolonged, it may be time to seek medical help.

Having Your Sleep Patterns Evaluated

If you have concerns that your irregular sleep patterns have turned into a prolonged issue, it’s time to ask for help. Treating a possible sleep disorder early can decrease your risk of developing other medical complications associated with sleep disturbances.

A sleep study will evaluate your REM cycles for a range of sleep disorders. This process requires a physician referral from your primary doctor or a sleep specialist. Visit us online to learn more or call (716) 706-2112 to find a specialist near you.

Find a Sleep Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Sleep Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112