Home > Medication > Antihistamines and Over the Counter Medications To Aid Sleep

Antihistamines and Over the Counter Medications To Aid Sleep

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 19 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
Antihistamines And Over The Counter Medications To Aid Sleep

Antihistamines are available from the chemist without prescription. They are commonly used to treat allergies. They also have a sedative effect and can help relax the mind and body enough to encourage an improved night's sleep. Antihistamines are generally considered to be of little value for improving long term sleep and the side effects should encourage users to restrict use.

Insomnia is distressing. Lying awake at night and then feeling tired and irritable during the day it is difficult to think straight...There are many effective ways to resolve sleeps problems but they all take time. Sometimes a little help with a few nights sleep is all that's needed and the high street chemist is a good place to start.

Using Your Pharmacist

There are a number of 'over the counter' remedies available from high street chemists. Pharmacists provide information and advice on medications. Sometimes patients are confused or have forgotten their doctor's advice so the pharmacist is a useful back up. With insomnia, they may even be too tired to take it all in! With the elderly, confusion combined with exhaustion means it’s often difficult to remember all the helpful advice that a doctor or other helpers may have offered.

Pharmacists are highly qualified and have all the up to date information on what's available. They can explain how to use prescribed medication and advise on the different formulations that are available without prescription. There are a large number of medications available which promise to have an effect on sleep - many using herbs and natural products. The pharmacist will be able to give guidance on their suitability and any side effects.

Side Effects

Antihistamines not only cause drowsiness but also have other side effects. As their name suggests they are designed to stop the release of histamine that causes the allergic reaction. They can be taken orally or as nasal sprays or creams. They can irritate or dry the lining of the nose and increased dosage is needed to maintain the effect.

Consulting Your Doctor

Insomnia is such a common problem that many people are reluctant to consult their doctor. Self help is increasingly popular. Information on the net and in the media means that many people are able to find accurate information and advice without consulting their GP. Medication should only be taken after seeking professional advice. Symptoms may require further investigation. Prescriptions for medication should be individually prescribed providing accurate dosage and length of treatment.

Consult your doctor if:

  • Symptoms are severe
  • Sleep is having a negative affect on your life
  • Daytime fatigue and drowsiness persist
  • Breathing disorders are affecting sleep
  • All other non drug treatments have failed

Other Help

Doctors will try to help find a solution that is suitable for each individual. They will be able to assess the physical and mental health of each patient and rule out any other disorders that may be causing insomnia. Most doctors are reluctant to hand out sleeping pills on demand, but will prescribe short term doses when they feel they will be of benefit. They will give advice on how to take medication and will be able to provide up to date information and advice on withdrawal and side effects. They may also be able to suggest other help including counselling to encourage long term relief.

Over the counter medications, including Antihistamines are designed to be safe when used in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions. They should be used for the right purpose - read the packet carefully to make sure they match the presenting symptoms. Never exceed the dosage and always discontinue use and seek medical advice if symptoms persist or there are adverse side effects. Never take antihistamines or any other medication that has been prescribed for another person.

Doctors and patients differ in their approach to sleeping pills. Some people prefer a natural approach and are reluctant to take medication. Others may be keen to take medication. Both have their place in treating insomnia and improving sleep. Current research supports the use of medication for short term relief and advises against long term dependency. A combination of medication and counselling has been shown to produce improvement and long term benefits.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I had a near death head injury 4/22/88....I've had a sleeping problem ever since I moved to Oregon summer of 1990...Sleep aid doesn't help...Once in a while I'll have an excellent night sleep, but it isn't often at all...Frustrated!!! Mr. Kelly
Kelster - 19-Jan-16 @ 10:00 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Geo
    Re: Body Clock and Sleep
    I have the same comments to make that Porge have stated ,is there a way to change the time to later in the evening ,such as 10.30 pm
    26 December 2017
  • Insomniacs
    Re: What Happens at a Sleep Lab?
    Sleepless in Stockpo - Your Question:I have an 8 month old who I cosleep with and since becoming a mum am struggling with…
    7 December 2017
  • Sleepless in Stockpo
    Re: What Happens at a Sleep Lab?
    I have an 8 month old who I cosleep with and since becoming a mum am struggling with insomnia. I feel like I've tried everything!…
    6 December 2017
  • Ruggero
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Causality here can easily trick our minds. An inverse association between thirst and insomnia is known. This does not necessarily mean…
    28 October 2017
  • Lizzy Lu
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    I suffer from pulmonary aspiration and can only handle about a cup of liquids per day. I have been chronically dehydrated since March,…
    28 July 2017
  • princess baby saedie
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    At night I can't sleep. I look up somuch stuff to help. I just got out of a brace about a week ago from spraining my ankle. I've…
    27 July 2017
  • Joiseyg
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Being dehydrated makes me feel exhausted so I usually drink water when I'm at that point. I drink 40-60 oz a day and have had a hard…
    10 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Mary - Your Question:I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of…
    7 September 2016
  • Mary
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of Prednisone, along with other…
    7 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Twisty - Your Question:I have been taking zoplicone for almost. 3 yrs and want to stop how do withdraw from the…
    23 August 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the Insomniacs website. Please read our Disclaimer.