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Difficulty falling asleep, frequent nocturnal or early morning awakenings, light and irregular sleep: all these disorders, very widespread and sometimes concomitant, characterize insomnia. This is therefore not defined by the number of hours of sleep that can vary from one individual to another, but by the resulting problems of alertness, performance or mood.
Its causes are innumerable and allow us to differentiate temporary or occasional insomnia (due to stress, a change in the rhythm of life, excessive consumption of alcohol or coffee, etc.) from chronic insomnia (connected for example with certain psychic pathologies or physical). The advice of a pharmacist is justified only for the former.
The therapies for sleep disorders make use of various behavioral measures (improvement of food and lifestyle hygiene, relaxation, etc.) and, if these prove insufficient, drugs available on prescription or on free sale. Among the first, we find benzodiazepines, very effective, but which have several side effects, in particular the much feared drug addiction. For this reason they should only be used for short periods and after medical consultation.
The drugs available without prescription are both herbal specialties that have neither side effects nor contraindications (passionflower, valerian, hops, lemon balm, etc.), and the more powerful molecules called antihistamines, such as doxylamine and diphenhydramine. The latter has sedative properties that facilitate drowsiness and prolong the duration of sleep by just shortening the dream phases.
Diphenhydramine has numerous advantages: a rapid absorption that induces a therapeutic response 15 to 30 minutes after taking the drug, a transformation in the body into inactive products after 4 – 6 hours that ensures easy awakening, good tolerance and a minimal risk of abuse. This substance offers real effectiveness in case of temporary insomnia, but, like other sleeping pills, it should not be taken for a long time.
A diphenhydramine-based specialty is on sale, available in tablets and, recently, in drops, which are easier to use and which allows you to better adapt the doses. For any inquiries, we recommend that you contact your pharmacist or to a health specialist.
Sarah is part of the Team ELC and she helps people discover what makes their life happy, meaningful, and full of ease. She is a writer, meditator and loves painting, an art she happily gets to practice a lot in her spare time.