Sleeping pills could be composed of Herbal products, chemical compounds or synthesized hormones. Sleeping pills containing herbal ingredients can be obtained over the counter, while hormone replacement pills can be purchased at food supplement stores across the country. Prescription drugs would encompass the range of sleeping aid drugs that contain chemical compounds.
The early chemical compounds used in sleeping pills were barbiturates. Benzodiazepines discovered in 1970’s, shares many features similar to barbiturates. They are addictive and also produce side effects such as memory impairment. Improved Benzodiazepines were developed in the early 1980s. Zaleplon is a benzodiazeipine sleep aid, which leaves the body quickly. This feature is called “short elimination half life”. Persons on this drug are able to sleep quickly and wake up within a few hours.
Short acting benzodiazepines include estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion). Midazolam (Versed) and longer acting benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium, halazepam (Paxipam), lorzepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), prazepam (Centrax), quazepam (Doral), Clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam, and clorazepate. Sleep medications that are gaining popularity over the last year are Ambien (Zolpidem Tartrate) and Lunesta (Eszopiclone).
A number of non-benzodiazepine drugs have also been developed and sold over the counter. The most active ingredient in the over the counter sleep aids is doxylamine succinate. This is an antihistamine. Other antihistamines used in sleeping pills are diphenhydramine HICI and diphenhydramine citrate.
The non-prescription drugs are not as strong as prescription drugs. However, over the counter, non-prescription sleeping drugs also contain active ingredients that alleviate other medical conditions such as pain. These drugs also have inactive ingredients that bind the tablet, coat it or flavor it. These could be sugars, starches, magnesium stearate, artificial colors, cellulose and wax. There are several brands being sold in the market but the formulas used are largely similar and the ingredients are also similar.
There are a number of chemical and synthetic supplements that help induce sleep indirectly. Some of these are Melotonin, Valerin, Relora and L-5 Hydroxytryptophan.
Melatonin is a natural secretion of the pineal gland. It is normally synthesized form a compound called Serotonin found in the human body. Drugs that approximate to hormone melotonin have been invented to act as a supplement for the sleep impaired. It is sold under brand names like MEL, MLT and N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine.
Valerin is a natural herb that is extracted from the valerian plant. This extract has a calming effect on the person and it thereby helps them sleep. However, this product is used largely for long-term treatment, as it is effective only when it is taken over a period of time. There are no side effects associated with this compound.
L-5 Hydroxytryptophan is obtained when amino acid trytophan reacts with serotonin in the human body. It is also naturally available in the seeds of the Griffonia simplicfolia tree. The extract is given as a supplement to those who have a deficiency of this compound. This compound produces relaxation and alleviates insomnia.
Relora is a product that is compound of magnolia officinalis and phellodenron amurense. This extract produces instant sleep without any side effects. It is used for overcoming stress and combating health conditions that are fallout of stress.
Gamma Amino Butyric acid is a compound found in the brains of healthy adults. It is formed from a combination of amino acid glutamine and glucose. Stress reduces the production of this compound and induces sleeplessness. Supplements containing this compound are given to persons who have a deficiency in this direction. There are no side effects associated with this compound.
All these sleeping pills are effective, to a greater or lesser degree, and researchers are currently examining sleeping pills to further understand as well as improve the effectiveness. Several of these drugs are short acting sleeping pills while others are long acting ones. So it is important to get the doctors opinion on the type of sleeping pill that would best suit your condition.
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