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Guard Your Health is a resource for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members. Find health-related tools and information. Hear from fellow Soldiers and Families. Make medical readiness part of your personal mission.

I have a lot of trouble falling asleep. I’m thinking about taking an over-the-counter sleeping pill. Is it safe?

 

 

The quick answer is: it depends. Over-the-counter sleeping pills can be safe if taken for two weeks or less. But they can cause unpleasant side effects—making you groggy, interfering with thinking or driving—and they can dangerously interact with your other prescriptions.

Sleeping pill must dos and don’ts

  • Follow the instructions. Take only as prescribed.
  • Don’t combine with alcohol. The combination increases the sedative effect of the sleeping pills and can cause death.
  • Use sleeping pills sparingly. It’s easy to get addicted. Over time, you may not be able to fall asleep without them.
  • See a doctor. If you have sleeping problems for more than two weeks, get help.

Try natural methods before skipping straight to pills. Activities like taking a warm shower, listening to light music, reading, or sketching can help.

Want more?

Learn more about tips for better sleep and how to safely use sleeping pills.