Eye Care: The Wonders of Technology

Sleep Medications For Those Concerned About Addiction

by Stella Robinson

When you're struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep night after night, your quality of life is likely to decline. You may be thinking about taking a sleep medication, but perhaps you've heard that a lot of them are addictive. It is true that some sleep medications can be addictive and habit-forming. However, there are some sleep medications worth trying that do not have these addictive qualities. Take a look.


Melatonin is not so much a medication as it is a supplement. Your body makes melatonin naturally. It kicks up its production of melatonin when it's time for you to sleep—or at least, it should. If you are struggling to sleep, it could be because you're not making enough melatonin. You can purchase melatonin pills over the counter at most pharmacies and health food stores. Start with a small dose, which is typically one pill, taken about a half hour before bedtime. This should help you drift off to sleep and wake up feeling rested the next morning. And, as long as you're careful not to use more than is recommended on the bottle, melatonin is really safe and not addictive.


Diphenhydramine is another medication that is sold over-the-counter as a sleep aid. It is also sold as an allergy medication since it's known to have antihistamine effects. This medication is the active ingredient in the "PM" versions of a lot of pain medications. But you can also find it sold on its own without added pain meds. If you take a dose about a half hour before bed and then spend that half hour doing something relaxing, like reading, you should have an easier time drifting off. Diphenhydramine, thankfully, is not known to be addictive.


Ramelteon is a prescription sleep medication that you may want to talk to your doctor about if melatonin and diphenhydramine are not doing enough for you. This medication works by encouraging your body to produce more of its own melatonin. It tends to be a good option for those who don't absorb melatonin supplements well through the digestive tract. You take ramelteon about a half hour before bed. For best results, it should not be taken with fatty foods. The medication will be slowly released throughout the night, helping you stay asleep.

Sleep medications can be life-changing when you're struggling to sleep. Try one of the non-addictive medications above for best results. If you're having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about which sleep medicine you should try.