Sleep aids, which are a nice term for sleeping pills, do indeed help many people sleep at night, and often a doctor, when told a patient is having trouble sleeping, will prescribe a sleep aid or recommend a store-bought remedy.
Sleep aids that doctors recommend via prescription come in two types, benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines. The latter are really just newer versions of the former without all the side effects.
There are also over-the-counter sleep aids that often consist of an antihistamine such as Benadryl, or a combination of an antihistamine with a pain killer such as cetominiphen (Tylenol PM, for instance).
Natural sleep aids usually rely on Melotonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Some people report success with Melotonin, but it is not for everyone, including pregnant or nursing women, people with cancer, and people with autoimmune diseases. Doctors also will probably advise against taking Melotonin if you are on any other prescription, if just for precaution’s sake.
Warm milk, or a turkey dinner (it is said at Thanksgiving), also induces sleep because of its inherent l-tryptophan.
Now, while all these types of aids have been known to help people sleep, they have their drawbacks. First off, they tend to lose their effectiveness once a person’s body gets used to them. And in the case of prescription sleep aids, they can cause both physical and psychological dependence.
The biggest downside, though, is that just going to sleep more quickly or seemingly more soundly than usual doesn’t necessarily counteract the effects of snoring, especially if the snoring is chronic or is caused by obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. In fact, daytime sleepiness is often reported as a side effect or prescription sleeping pills, with or without snoring.
While light snorers can be helped by learning to sleep on their sides and not their backs, chronic snorers and sleep apnea sufferers are often in line for more serious problems down the road, including hypertension, irregular heart beats, type 2 diabetes, chronic heart disease and stroke.
So, no, sleep aids don’t cure your snoring problem if it’s chronic or severe enough.
That’s why your best step is to consult sleep professionals such as found at The Snoring Center. There’s no reason to get hooked on sleep aids — or fooled by their promise — when a quick diagnosis and often a quick in-office treatment can get your snoring under control for a truly restful night’s sleep.