Best Over The Counter Sleep Aids: Peaceful Nights To Prepare you Better For Your Busy Days

Balancing a busy work and family life along with the need for some physical activity can often leave you physically and mentally stressed at the end of the day. Your body may be exhausted but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

Over the years, I have experimented with a lot of natural herbs and sleep medicine to help me with sporadic sleep problems, and that has ultimately led me a set of go-to products.

If you struggle with getting enough rest, then definitely give some of the below products a try. You’ll avoid the groggy feeling and blurred vision that comes with medication, and at the same time improve your recovery time after training.

Our Top 5 Best Over The Counter Sleep Aids Recommendations

ProductFeatureRating
#1 - PowHer Down
  • Made in facilities approved by the FDA.
  • Made from natural sources.
  • Effective in helping you to sleep without heavy dosages.
5.0 stars out of 5
#2 - Stress-Relax Chewable Tranquil Sleep
  • Non-addictive, so no worry about withdrawals.
  • Nice flavor that makes them attractive to kids.
  • Effective in enhancing sleep quality.
4.5 stars out of 5
#3 - Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets
  • They are highly affordable.
  • Users state they are effective and help you get to sleep quickly.
  • Most people said they didn’t feel any side effects from using them.
4.0 stars out of 5

1. PowHer Down

Created for women, PowHer Down is specially formulated for women’s needs. Whether you’re an active athlete who needs to wind down at night or find yourself dealing with work and life stress, PowHer is created with top ingredients that may promote better sleep at night. 

Designed to regulate sleep habits and easy to use by taking two capsules before bedtime, many users appreciate the effectiveness of this sleep aid. You want to be sure that what you’re taking is safe, and so far, reviewers consider this to be a good option—especially as it’s been made in an FDA registered facility. 

With the proper dosage, you don’t have to worry about overdoing it. Made from natural sources, you won’t be putting harmful ingredients into your body. While this product is a bit pricey, the results and effectiveness make it a favorite for many women. 

Pros:

  • Users like that they are made in facilities approved by the FDA. 
  • Made from natural sources, making them safe for consumption.
  • They can be effective in helping you to sleep without heavy dosages. 
  • Reviewers liked that it was simple to use. 
  • Women appreciate that they are designed specifically for females.

Cons:

  • The bottle of pills doesn’t last as long as some other options. 
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2. Stress-Relax Chewable Tranquil Sleep

Non-addictive, these chewable tablets make it easy to get to sleep when you need a bit of help, without them being something that you always have to depend on.

Users like that they are gluten-free and that they may be effective in helping them fall and stay asleep. Reviews state that it doesn’t leave you groggy the next morning, which is a big yes factor when taking sleeping pills. 

The taste is fruity, which makes it easy for kids to take them if that’s who you’re shopping for. The downside to these, noted by some reviewers, is that they have sugar, which isn’t the best if you’re taking them every night. 

Some people don’t like how high the dosage is, while others like how effective they are.

The fact that they are non-addictive make them a favorite for people who don’t want to take them regularly. The price is reasonable as well, so a good night rest won’t break the bank. 

Pros:

  • Users like that these are non-addictive, so no worry about withdrawals.
  • They have a nice flavor that makes them attractive to kids. 
  • Reviews state they are effective in enhancing sleep quality. 
  • People like that they don’t leave a next-morning groggy after-effect. 
  • They are decently-priced, so you won’t have to spend too much on otc sleeping pills. 

Cons:

  • They contain sugar, which may increase blood glucose. 
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3. Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets

Made with melatonin and very affordable, these can be a quick go-to tablet for those who want to get to sleep quickly. It’s a drug-free product, so you don’t have to worry about drowsiness the next morning or to get an addiction to them. 

The strawberry flavor is tasty, which is a repeated comment in reviews. Those who take these tablets mentioned that it was easy to stay asleep all night when taking them. Reviews state that it’s best to take them a couple of hours before bed, so you avoid grogginess in the morning. 

People mention that they like how quickly they dissolve, and they don’t leave a chalky after-taste. They also don’t leave you with common side effects like many prescription sleeping pills.

I would recommend that you should work up to the 10mg dose and not start off with the highest dosage right away, to avoid waking up sleepy. 

Pros:

  • They are highly affordable. 
  • Users state they are effective and help you get to sleep quickly.
  • Most people said they didn’t feel any side effects from using them. 
  • They dissolve quickly and don’t have a nasty after-taste. 
  • Reviews mention how they help you stay asleep all night. 

Cons:

  • If taken less than 8+ hours before you have to wake up, you may experience minor drowsiness in the morning. 
  • It contains grain fillers, which can be a problem if you’re gluten intolerant. 
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4. DREAMRITE Natural Sleep Aid

Made with natural ingredients, you won’t need to worry about nasty side effects that can happen with prescription drugs. Unlike many sleeping aids, the DREAMRITE option helps you to get a good night of sleep without waking up groggy in the morning. 

The natural blend of herbs is safe for use, so you don’t have to worry about side effects that accompany other options with too many fillers. Decently priced, you won’t be spending an arm and a leg for the rest you need. 

Those who typically deal with anxiety found that this option may be effective in calming their minds and getting them to relax at night. It’s easy to take and starts working right away, so you can simply take it before bedtime. 

Some people with serious insomnia or apnea found that this option was a bit too light for their needs. Otherwise, for those who simply wanted a sleep aid to help them go to sleep right away, this was ideal. 

Pros:

  • Many reviews stated that it is effective.
  • Most people like that it doesn’t leave them drowsy in the morning. 
  • Users like how reasonably priced this product is. 
  • It is made from natural ingredients to increase product safety.
  • Users like that it doesn’t have heavy side effects. 

Cons:

  • It may not be strong enough for some people with serious anxiety or insomnia. 
  • Some reviews stated that they didn’t stay asleep throughout the night with this product. 
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5. Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime

For something quick and affordable, this over-the-counter option can be used by those with minor insomnia. Whether you have recently found that it’s been a challenge to get to sleep or have a stressful situation in your life, consider taking this liquid sleeping aid for better rest.

Users like that it contains diphenhydramine, which keeps it from becoming addictive.

While some people don’t like how it tastes, they do like how effective it is to take. Be aware that many people considered the taste way too sweet. 

Reviews like that it doesn’t leave them having nightmares as some prescription options do. Many people commented that it’s best to take this at least 8 hours before you have to wake up so that you avoid over-sleeping or grogginess. 

Pros:

  • The price is ideal, so you don’t have to spend a lot to sleep at night.
  • It’s easy to take and works right away.
  • It is non-addictive, so you will be able to stop taking it when you want without problems. 
  • Reviews state that it is effective and helps you to sleep through the night.
  • It doesn’t cause you to have bad dreams or odd ones.

Cons:

  • It may not be strong enough for those who have issues with chronic insomnia. 
  • Some reviewers mention that when they can’t get to sleep on it, they feel very groggy instead. 
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Natural Ingredients That Help With Sleep

Some of these options have natural ingredients that are known to improve sleep. Whether you take a product above or want to understand the top ingredients better, take a look at these common ingredients found in many sleep aids. 

Melatonin 

Your body produces this hormone naturally. It’s the hormone that tells you it’s time to get to sleep. This is why melatonin supplements are big and why many sleep aids focus on it as an active ingredient [1].

Whether you are having issues with jet lag or have sleeping disorders, it’s known to be a safe ingredient to use for getting to sleep. Many people will take it between 30 minutes to 60 minutes for better quality sleep. 

Valerian Root

You’ll also find that many pills and sleep supplements contain valerian root. In fact, some people simply take valerian root on its own. It is said that it reduces anxiety and also helps people to regulate their cycles [2].

Although some people have reported dizziness when taking valerian root, others found it to be helpful for sleeping. About 400 to 900 mg is suggested for being able to get to sleep in 20-30 minutes sooner than normal. In comparison to many prescription pills, valerian root’s side effects are minor. 

Lavender

Lavender is not only a pretty plant—it’s also been known to benefit people for a multitude of reasons. Quality of sleep is one such way that it helps us, as it has been reported that using aromatherapy oils made from lavender are very helpful in getting you sleepy.

Lavender does cause upset stomachs for some people, so although it is found in some sleep aids, you may want to make sure that you don’t have an intolerance to it. 

Magnesium 

Reported to be good for your brain function and the body, magnesium is often used to calm stress and anxiety—a subsequent result of this effect can be that you get to sleep more easily.

If your insomnia is due to stress or anxiety issues, you could very well benefit greatly from taking magnesium, so that you can relax and get to sleep much sooner than you would otherwise [3]. 

Glycine

Although there is much research that still needs to be done on glycine, you should consider that many reports state that glycine helps to lower the body’s temperature in the evening, helping you to get sleepy and ready for bed [4].

It can be taken in a supplement or even found in some healthy foods like beans and fish, spinach, and more. 

Do Sleep Aids Have Side Effects?

Sleeping is important and can keep you from getting sick, gaining weight, and so much more. Yet, before you take prescription sleeping pills or just any over-the-counter aids, you need to understand any side effects.

There have been known to be a few: 

  • Issues with breathing: If you have asthma, sleep apnea or other respiratory issues, some sleep aids interfere with your breathing and can be harmful to you. While this isn’t the case for everyone, those with lung issues and breathing problems should consider this before taking any. Talk to your medical provider when in doubt.
  • Dry mouth: You get a good night of sleep, but then you wake up with dry mouth? There are worse things than this, but it is definitely an annoying side effect. 
  • Weird dreams: Again, not the worst possible side effect, but some people have really vivid, strange dreams on sleeping pills that can be off-putting for them. Some people dislike these dreams so much, they’d rather stay away from sleeping aids.
  • Drowsiness the following day: So, you slept well, thanks to your sleeping supplement, but how do you feel the next day? Drowsy and sleepy, and unable to function well.

    This can happen due to ingredients found in your sleep aid, but it can also happen due to taking your sleeping supplement a little too late at night and waking up too early [5].

    For example, a sleep aid may help you to be able to get a full 8 hours of sleep, but if you take it at midnight and need to be up by 6, you may find it very challenging to wake up.

    To safeguard against this, take it a bit before your actual bedtime and try to get to sleep sooner so you can wake up without drowsiness. 
  • Confusion and memory issues: Some people who take sleep aids have found that they often feel a bit confused or out of sorts the next day and have trouble remembering important details. This may be due to heavy doses or products that are not natural and drug-free.
  • Withdrawal issues: Those who regularly take sleeping pills or sleep aids may find that they have some type of withdrawal when they stop taking them. This isn’t always the case but can happen with some strong supplements [6].
  • Stomach issues: Some people have reactions to sleeping pills that affect their stomach, whether by giving them diarrhea or constipation. Sometimes this could happen for those who have a gluten intolerance, and their sleeping supplement contains grain fillers. Do your research on the ingredients found in the supplement before buying it. 
  • Sleepwalking, driving, and more: One of the more serious side effects is behaviours that you would usually do while awake but doing them while half asleep. From walking to driving, this side effect is definitely one that you want to watch out for. 
  • Allergic reactions: You may not always pay attention to the full list of ingredients in your sleeping pill. Some of these pills could contain ingredients that you have an intolerance or reaction to. Always pay attention to what is inside of your sleeping

    aid. 

These are only some of the side effects that have been associated with sleeping pill use. While most over-the-counter sleep aids aren’t that strong and won’t cause these issues, you may be sensitive to some of them. Do your research and consider if the sleep they provide is worth the potential side effects. 

What Can Cause Restless Sleep?

Before you start popping OTC sleep aids, consider a few things that could be causing you to have a restless sleep. It could be that you can fall asleep faster if you pinpoint the issues that are causing you restless nights.

The following issues are often behind a lack of sleep:

Stress

Do you have a lot going on in your life? Stressful situations that are weighing you down? It can be hard to get to sleep if you start thinking about all of the things you need to work out when it’s time to sleep.

Many people with sleep disorders tend to have high levels of stress in their lives. Combatting stress through exercise and other relaxation methods can go far in helping you to calm your mind and body [7]. 

Anxiety

Related to stress but often not related to actual issues that need your attention, anxiety can be a big reason why you’re not able to sleep. If you feel anxious during bedtime, it can be hard to calm your mind or breathing enough to drift off.

If you find that you’re often anxious, speak with your therapist about ways that you can manage your anxiety so you can get the sleep you need [8]. You could also consider practicing certain techniques before bed to calm your mind, such as yoga or reading, etc. 

Eating Too Late

Do you find yourself eating dinner late? Perhaps your insomnia is actually due to your late-night meals. It could be what you’re eating, as well. Maybe you have some type of intolerance to the foods you eat or get heartburn from one of your favorite dinner foods.

It’s important to pay attention to the time you’re eating before bed and what you eat. If you tend to eat junk food before bed, the sugars and carbs could be keeping you from drifting off to sleep. 

Exercising Too Late

Exercise is a great mood booster. Releasing your endorphins can get you feeling more energetic and even happier. Unfortunately, this isn’t what you need right before bed. While your schedule may be challenging, and night seems to be the only time you have to work out, consider how this may be affecting your sleep schedule. 

Distracting Noises And Lights

Light: we have it in the day when we get things done, and it helps us to wake up. So, imagine trying to go to sleep with light at night. While some people may be able to sleep at night with nightlights, consider light if you’re having trouble sleeping.

For example, the light from your internet modem? It could be affecting your sleep. A light from outside peeking through the curtains? The long minutes spent trying to get to sleep could be due to the little lights you aren’t paying attention to. Beware of noises as well, such as the ice dispenser in the fridge in the kitchen or a branch hitting a window. All of these minor noises could be contributing to your lack of sleep. 

Sometimes you don’t even need a sleep aid—you simply need to make some lifestyle changes to start resting better. Better sleep is important for your overall health, so it’s important to take your time to rest well, whether through changing habits or using supplements. 

FAQ

Is there a safe over the counter sleep aid?

Yes, there are many safe over the counter sleep aids and the important thing is to look out for natural herbal ingredients. PowHer Down is one of those products that may help you to get much better sleep.

What is the most effective natural sleep aid?

The most effective natural sleep aid is melatonin. This simple hormone increases in your body throughout the day and ultimately triggers sleepiness signaling that you should be going to bed.

Is it OK to take melatonin every night?

Yes, it is OK to take melatonin every night as long you don’t take excessive doses. It’s a completely natural hormone and if you’re not producing enough then supplementing with small doses may work quite well.

How much melatonin should I take for sleep?

You should take between 0.5 and 3 mg of melatonin to help you fall asleep. When you first take it, try a lower dose and gradually increase it until you get the best results.

Conclusion: Which Sleep Supplement Should You Try

While all of the above sleep supplements are relatively safe and helpful for your sleep quality, PowHer Down is definitely a top pick.

This is because it is made from natural sources that are known to help you get to sleep quickly without any harmful side effects. 

Made in an FDA approved facility, you can be sure that you are getting a safe supplement that has been made cautiously with users’ safety in mind. It’s also a supplement that doesn’t require high dosages for you to get to sleep, so you don’t have to worry about grogginess. 

Sandra Ryan

Hey everyone, I’m Sandra Ryan and I’ve been contributing to this website for almost a year now.

My professional background is in finance where I work at a small bank outside Austin, TX, as an accounting technician. I’m still gradually working towards becoming an accountant by attending night classes, but my real passion is sport.

I’ve been involved in martial arts since I was about 8 years old when I had to figure out ways to outdo my 3 older brothers who were in constant WWE style fights. Nothing ever happened more than bruises and the occasional cut, but once I started Taekwondo I just couldn’t get enough.

I have won many state championships over the years, but have started to take a bit of step back from competitive fighting. Mainly down to a few leg strain injuries that basically mean that I cannot perform at my absolute best anymore.

My hunger for competition has been replaced by running marathons and in the past 2 years also competing in triathlons. So far I have completed 7 marathons and 2 triathlons and my aim is to complete an Ironman in the next couple of years.

When the opportunity came up to contribute to a website with training tips I immediately loved the idea. You’ll see a lot of my blog posts on triathlon training, and if you have questions, just leave some comments.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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