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How effective are over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If a good night's sleep is still elusive after trying self-help remedies for your sleep problems, it might be time to try a sleeping aid for a short time. Although not a long-term solution to your problem, a sleeping aid may the best choice you can make at the moment, because a chronic lack of sleep is so harmful for your physical and mental well-being.

Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids, which often use antihistamines to promote sleepiness. They are good for an occasional sleepless night, but they lose effectiveness the more often you take them, and they can leave you groggy and fuzzy-headed the next day.

Talk to your doctor before taking any OTC sleep aid if you are taking any medication for depression, any psychiatric condition, or Parkinson's disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.