Three Commonly Used Sleep Aids

There are many tips you can try if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep: exercise daily, stick with the same sleep routine, avoid alcohol or heavy meals in the evening, etc. If these tricks do not help you get the sleep you need, there are some sleep aids that can assist:


This is typically sold in the form of tea or topical ointment and is widely available. It is considered safe with typically no side effects, although should be avoided if you are pregnant or nursing.


You can find melatonin supplements in most drugstores. Its effects are usually mild, but it may help you fall asleep faster or recover from jet lag. Side effects can include headache and daytime sleepiness.


This supplement may help you fall asleep faster or simply improve your quality of sleep. It’s meant to be used short term (4-6 weeks) and can cause a headache or upset stomach.

Before you begin using an over-the-counter sleep aid, seek your doctor’s advice. Since sleep aids are not meant to be a long-term solution, he or she will likely attempt to find the underlying problem with your sleeping patterns or give you advice on what aid would be the best fit for you.