Post # 1
Perhaps those of you with some sort of medical training can help me. Been prescibed a number of sleep meds, such as Lunesta, over the years. They do get me to sleep, but seem to have other side effects, so I try to take as little of these as possible.
Discovered by accident that over the counter Benedryl will put me to sleep as well, as little as half a tablet. Doesn’t seem to cause the mood problems that prescription drugs like Lunesta cause.
It is only once in a while that I have problems, so at most I have taken Benedryl to sleep two or three times a month, half a tablet.
Am I running the risk of hurting myself in some way by doing this? My husband seems to think this over the counter medicine is harmful, but how could it be worse than Lunesta?
Once in a while
Post # 2
If it was that harmful it wouldn’t be availble over the counter.
Post # 3
Anonymous1063: First off, I definitely would not depend on Benadryl to put you to sleep. You can become dependent on medications like this and can end up needing more and more for them to work.
As far as the prescription sleep medicines, that is something to discuss with your doctor. And if you feel like you’re getting nowhere and they aren’t willing to listen to your concerns, I would get a second opinion.
I work night shift so I definitely understand sleep problems. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but try unplugging for a few hours before bed time. No tv, computer, phone, etc. Also, try to avoid caffeine for a number of hours before bed. Make sure that you are sleeping at a comfortable temperature. Often, turning the thermostat down helps you rest a little better.
Have you tried melatonin? It is the only sleep aid I use and I use as little as possible. I often break my 3 mg tablets into 4 pieces and take just one little piece, or none on days I am already really sleepy. Have you tried taking smaller doses of your prescription sleep aids for fewer side effects?
BTW, I respectfully disagree with the PP. OTC does not mean it can not be harmful. We often get people in ICU who are vomiting blood or have bloody diarrhea due to OTC meds like ibuprofen and aspirin. We also have people who have killed their livers with too much Tylenol. I could go on with multiple other medications and the problems that they can cause when not taken as directed. OTC does not mean it is perfectly safe to take whenever. You should take medications as directed and most will say not to take longer than a certain amount of days without consulting your doctor.
Post # 4
Agree that just because it’s OTC doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.
HOWEVER, speaking from a pharmacy point of view, I find it interesting that you were prescribed prescription sleep aids without being asked to try diphenhydramine and/or melatonin first by your doctor.
Taking the Benadryl a few times a month for sleep will not be harmful for you, from a basic pharmacology standpoint. If you take other medications, that might be different. Talk to your pharmacist (your doctor is not the expert in this case, sorry). Do not take both the benadryl and the prescription sleep medication.
Melatonin can be helpful, and I see it in children often. However, it is most helpful in regulating circadian rhythms, so it may or may not work for you. It is mostly proven to be effective in jet lag.
Post # 5
Anonymous1063: Agree with pharmy that your pharmacist is an awesome resource. They do often know far more about medications and how they work than your doctor will.
And yes, it all depends on the frequency in which you are taking sleep aids.
Post # 6
Anonymous1063: It’s fine. You’re not going to hurt yourself with that amount of Benadryl.
Post # 7
Ellie85: Ok, I admit that was probably the laziest and dumbest post I’ve written in a while. But I meant more that low level of benadryl and obviously assuming people are reading the instructions
Post # 8
I use an OTC sleep aid from time to time. I used to use gravol (pretty much anything with an antihistaime will put me to sleep) but then I realized that the extra medication might not be so good for me. I also find that Tazo’s Calm tea blend (it’s a Chamomile blend) is really good at relaxing me before bed.
Post # 9
cpick: I completely understand 🙂 I think I’m jaded by all the people I know personally who really believe this way so I immediately jump in on it.
I will also add in response to the main post, like others have said, if you are taking it occasionally, you should be fine. I just wouldn’t use it every night without talking to your doctor or pharmacist because it can cause dependency. But so can your prescriptions. Not being able to sleep just sucks regardless!
Post # 9
Anonymous1063: I have pretty bad anxiety and a doctor told me that benadryl is the best thing to take to help me sleep if I’m having difficulties.
Post # 11
I’m a nurse practitioner in neurology, and prescribe sleep aids on a regular basis. Benadryl is absolutely the safest sleep aid you can take. It’s not a narcotic, it’s not addictive, and it’s non-toxic to any organ in your body…so much so that it’s safe to use in pregnancy. I would much rather my patients use benadryl to sleep than benzos or ambien, which causes rebound insomnia.
Please get a referral to a sleep specialist (a doctor who specializes in insomnia, sleep apnea, etc) for an evaluation as to WHY you have so much difficulty with sleep. Please also confirm what I’ve offered with your regular provider.
Post # 12
I’m a polysomnographer, and long term use of benadryl for sleep is harmful. Parts of your brain that generate sleep and different stages of sleep rely on histamine. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a medical issue. GP’s tend to use medications as a first line from sleep disorders. If that’s not helping, it’s a good idea to be reffered to a sleep physician. There are many types of “insomnia” and different causes. Sometimes is can be secondary to more serious disorders like sleep apnea etc.
Post # 13
Anonymous1063: it does sound much safer than popping a heavy duty sleeping pill, and without the nasty side effects.
I, on occasional, take an antihistamine (Periactin) that helps me sleep. Bonus when it’s hayfever season because it stops the symptoms for the next day.
If you’re concerned, definitely bring it up with your doctor or pharmacist.