A lot of things can cause insomnia: jetlag, stress, a cold and even the menopause! …read moreSee less
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What is insomnia?
Insomnia just means that you regularly have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep.
Lots of people have the occasional sleepless night, but if you struggle to get to sleep quite often you could be suffering from insomnia.
Insomnia doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be lying there staring at the ceiling all night long, you could get a few hours of sleep but find that you wake up in the night and struggle to get back to sleep.
When your alarm goes off in the morning and you still feel exhausted and stumble through your day like a zombie with a migraine, you know that all of that interrupted sleep has started to catch up with you.
If all of these things sound more familiar than you’d like them too, you could be suffering from insomnia.
What are the best sleeping pills?
It can be frustrating when you can’t sleep - tossing, turning, and becoming stressed about how much sleep you can get before that dreaded alarm clock sound.
Sleeping medication can come in the form of herbal remedies and over-the-counter medicines.
Herbal treatments include valerian root, hops, and passionflower, which work by providing a natural sedative by relieving feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
Over-the-counter treatments may include the active ingredients diphenhydramine and promethazine, found in Phenergan, Nytol, and Sominex.
There are also a range of prescription-strength sleeping pills such as Z-drugs and benzodiazepines if other remedies haven’t relieved your insomnia.
Why is sleep important?
Having the odd night of inadequate sleep can make you feel tired and a little cranky, but it won’t have a serious impact on your overall health.
However, regularly not achieving a decent amount of sleep can have a huge effect on your health and put you at risk of developing severe medical conditions, as well as having a negative influence on your body, thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
For most people, it is recommended to achieve at least eight hours of good quality sleep to allow us to function at our best, with the importance placed more on the quality rather than the hours of sleep.
If you are waking up tired and spending the day feeling sleepy, chances are you’re not getting the correct amount or a decent quality of sleep which, over time, can have serious implications including:
- Increased risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – it can even take time off our life expectancy
- Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
- Weight gain due to lower levels of leptin (the chemical that makes us feel full) and higher levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates hunger).
Just goes to show, waking up on the wrong side of the bed can cause more issues than a grumpy mood!
What is the usual diphenhydramine dosage for sleep?
If you’re taking diphenhydramine for short-term insomnia, your tablets will either be 25mg or 50mg in strength. You should take a tablet 20 minutes before you go to bed.