T Nation

Sleeping Pills

I have problems sleeping and take 1-2 Unisom a night. Should I be worried that the pills will interfere with my body recovering?

I had great results dumping the sleeping pills and taking ZMA and Melatonin.

Unisom and any OTC sleep aids are crap. IF you really have trouble sleeping I highly suggest having your doctor give you a prescription. You’ll feel a hell of a lot better.

I take Trazodone every night and it works great and I feel fine the next day. I personally don’t like Ambien because it made me feel like I was on acid for the few minutes before passing out.

I’ve never tried Lunesta so I couldn’t say one way or the other on that one.

-DT

[quote]davidtower wrote:
Unisom and any OTC sleep aids are crap. IF you really have trouble sleeping I highly suggest having your doctor give you a prescription. You’ll feel a hell of a lot better.

I take Trazodone every night and it works great and I feel fine the next day. I personally don’t like Ambien because it made me feel like I was on acid for the few minutes before passing out.

I’ve never tried Lunesta so I couldn’t say one way or the other on that one.

-DT [/quote]

Before you all go jumping to the doctor to get prescription sleep aids- it might be good to try and figure out why you’re not sleeping well. My mom almost got a prescription a few months ago before I reminded her that diet coke has caffeine in it. Now she buys the non-caffeine version and has no trouble sleeping.

You might also try giving Valerian a shot. Its helped my wife and I both get to sleep and to have a solid night of sleep.

We originally bought some cheap version at Walmart that smelled horrible, but seemed to work pretty well. Then we found a coated higher potency version at a health food store and started using that instead to skip the foul odor of the regular stuff. We also tried a cheap version at Target and it didn’t seem to work very well.

[quote]CaseyH wrote:
I have problems sleeping and take 1-2 Unisom a night. Should I be worried that the pills will interfere with my body recovering?[/quote]

Most OTC sleeping aids do negatively affect the circadian rhythm our bodies have. And in time you will cause great harm to this balanced cycle. Eventually you won’t be able to get to sleep at all or your sleeps will be of such low quality that you will be forced to take prescriped sleeping pills just to be able to sleep normally.

Most people cannot sleep because thier minds run rampant as they lay down. If this is so limit your exposure the last 2 hours before bed to stimulating things (such as TV, reading tense books, talking about financial matters, a late night cardio session or workouts, etc).

Secondly, an exhausted body, a tired body can rarely be kept awake by a noisy mind. If you start your day early with an intense workout, not only are you working out when testosterone levels are at thier highest but you have difficulty to actually stay up late anyway.

Valerian root at 500mg (or 2 x 500mg if needed) is excellent. In near all cases it is side-effect free and is the most widely tolerable sleep aid, even compared to melatonin.
It works simply by calming the central nervous system, hence making the body relaxed and able to sleep. It works best by taking 500mg with dinner, and another 500mg 1 hour before bed.

Should you have trouble getting a sound sleep (eg. deep and frequent REM sleep cycles) I would suggest also taking 5-HTP (I like NOW Foods brand) at a 50mg dosage (low dose). 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP for short) is the direct precursor to seratonin in the brain(the relaxing hormone) and as seratonin peaks just before bedtime to help naturally produce melatonin (the hormone that puts us to sleep) it is a more natural pathway to getting a person to REM sleep. Oh, and studies show that 5-HTP helps get people to stage 4 (the deepest) REM sleep faster, and keeps them their longer. This means a 6 hour sleep feels like a 9 hour sleep.

I have been using this valerian-5-HTP combo on and off for 6 years for sleeping problems when they occur. When your symptoms wain, go off the products. During times of stress in your life they may return, go back to the herbs until you get things under control again.

Research both herbs before trying them.

Oh, an no matter what brand of Valerian root you buy it smells EXACTLY LIKE DOG SHIT.

I’m dead serious. It’s just the way the herb smells. Live with it. I don’t know how people drink valerian root tea. That would be disgusting. Take it in pill form (just don’t get a whiff of the bottle)

Again though, I prefer NOW foods brand (bright orange bottles)

[quote]CaseyH wrote:
I have problems sleeping and take 1-2 Unisom a night. Should I be worried that the pills will interfere with my body recovering?[/quote]

That reminds me of a joke.

John had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work. His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it.

So John went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed. John slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.

“Boss”, he said, “The pill actually worked!”

“That’s all fine” said the boss, “But where were you yesterday?”

[quote]davidtower wrote:
Unisom and any OTC sleep aids are crap. IF you really have trouble sleeping I highly suggest having your doctor give you a prescription. You’ll feel a hell of a lot better.

I take Trazodone every night and it works great and I feel fine the next day. I personally don’t like Ambien because it made me feel like I was on acid for the few minutes before passing out.

I’ve never tried Lunesta so I couldn’t say one way or the other on that one.

-DT [/quote]

The active indredient in Unisom is the same as Benadryl and has a serum half life of 9 hours, which means it may leave you groggy in the am.

Tazadone works well. Plus it helps you get an erection. We’ve used it a lot in depressed patients with sleep disturbances, especially those with sexual side effects of the depression.

I usually use Ambien though.

[quote]AllTraps wrote:
Oh, an no matter what brand of Valerian root you buy it smells EXACTLY LIKE DOG SHIT.

I’m dead serious. It’s just the way the herb smells. Live with it. I don’t know how people drink valerian root tea. That would be disgusting. Take it in pill form (just don’t get a whiff of the bottle)

Again though, I prefer NOW foods brand (bright orange bottles)[/quote]

Yeah, the odor is pretty f’ing terrible. You’ll need to wash your hands afterward. But, if I could remember the brand we use, i’d tell you because its actually odorless and more potent. Also, its around $13 while the cheap stinky version is only $4.

The brand we have is Nature’s Way Valerian Nighttime.

Ingredients:
Valerian Root Extract (4:1)(standarized to .2% Valerenic acid) 160mg, Lemon Balm Extract (5:1) 80 mg.

[quote]Plisskin wrote:
The brand we have is Nature’s Way Valerian Nighttime.

Ingredients:
Valerian Root Extract (4:1)(standarized to .2% Valerenic acid) 160mg, Lemon Balm Extract (5:1) 80 mg. [/quote]

Nature’s Way makes some great herbs. Good quality. Would put it on par with NOW Foods products for sure.

[quote]eengrms76 wrote:
Before you all go jumping to the doctor to get prescription sleep aids- it might be good to try and figure out why you’re not sleeping well. My mom almost got a prescription a few months ago before I reminded her that diet coke has caffeine in it. Now she buys the non-caffeine version and has no trouble sleeping.[/quote]

I concur wholeheartedly. Sleep is a foundational function of life. Taking an artificial means of inducing it should be done as almost a desperation move in my opinion.

I can tell you that wal-mart has a generic sleep-aid that is 2.00 for a months supply. The active ingredient is diphenydramine hydrochloride. I can also tell you that it does NOT work. A benadryl is abetter sleep aid.

I have thought about taking two pills instead of one, but I get worried when overdosing on sleeping pills. A man could wake up dead, you know.

[quote]BarneyFife wrote:
I can tell you that wal-mart has a generic sleep-aid that is 2.00 for a months supply. The active ingredient is diphenydramine hydrochloride. I can also tell you that it does NOT work. A benadryl is abetter sleep aid.

I have thought about taking two pills instead of one, but I get worried when overdosing on sleeping pills. A man could wake up dead, you know.[/quote]

2 OTC doses of diphenydramine hydrochloride aren’t going to kill you, but you may feel a bit groggy the next day. (yes, I’ve done it, but not recently) My problem with these types of things is that who knows what’s happening to your recovery with a chemical like this running through your blood. Maybe nothing, but I would just look for other ways first.