Choosing the Right Sleep Aid

Last updated on November 16th, 2023 at 10:10 am

Woman in bed, frustrated because she can't sleep and staring at her alarm clock.

We all know that sleep is extremely important. But, did you know that during sleep, the immune, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems restore themselves? The brain also uses that time to process information and organize memories. Regular, high-quality sleep of adequate length is crucial for the good health of your body and mind.

According to Dr. Christophe Merville, Boiron’s pharmacist, respecting the different phases of sleep is important. If you don’t, it can mess with how you think and remember things, make you feel stressed, and affect how your brain learns new stuff.

But, when sleep is hard to find, which sleep aid is best? Between conventional medicines, herbal remedies, and homeopathic solutions, the right choice for you is not always clear.

Conventional Methods

Many over-the-counter sleep aids employ antihistamines. These medicines provide quick sedation and are helpful when a cold, flu, or allergies are keeping you up.

However, with regular use, you can develop a dependency or tolerance to them, making it harder to find a safe dosage that still provides sleep. These medications can cause side effects such as dizziness and are also known to interact with other medications, so you should always check with your doctor before taking them.

Drug-Free Supplements


Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain that works to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. As a supplement, it can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and lengthen time spent sleeping. For most people, it is a safe option for short term use.

 “Melatonin is most helpful when used in regulating a sleep-wake cycle in those with shifted sleeping patterns, particularly people who have jet lag or do shift work,” says Dr. Merville.

Regular use may cause adverse effects in the body, like headaches, and melatonin can interact with other drugs. If taken for prolonged periods, it can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, causing more sleep disturbances. As with any supplement, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider before use.


The valerian plant’s root has historically been used for a variety of purposes despite its unpleasant scent. It is now used widely as a sleep aid, especially in European countries.

Valerian is generally recognized as safe. Most people can use valerian at recommended doses without getting addicted or having withdrawal symptoms when they stop. Some studies suggest it might make you fall asleep faster, sleep better, and have more deep sleep.

However, it can take weeks before any effect is felt, and valerian is known to have drug interactions. In addition, valerian can also lead to side effects such as upset stomach and sleeplessness.

Homeopathic Medicines

Boiron SleepCalm® offers a reliable, worry-free solution to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. It is available in convenient meltaway tablets for those 12 years of age and older and can be taken for 2 weeks. Its melatonin-free, non-habit forming formula relieves occasional sleeplessness, restless sleep, and intermittent awakening.* With no known drug interactions, its plant-based active ingredients help restore a natural sleep pattern disturbed by nervousness, worries, exhaustion, an overactive mind, jet leg, or night shift work.* SleepCalm is also available in liquid doses and pellets for ages 3 and older.

Merville recommends SleepCalm because it is not a sedative, so you can wake up if you need to. “It respects the brain’s natural processes, giving your body a chance to catch up and resynchronize,” he says.

No matter what sleep aid you choose, make sure to practice good sleep habits so your body gets the most restful sleep it can. Find the SleepCalm that’s right for you at!

*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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2 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Sleep Aid”

  1. Do you have any suggestions on shingles in the mouth? It’s possible it isn’t shingles but the sores have lasted for months!

    1. Hi Mary,

      We are sorry to hear about that. However, homeopathic medicines work best when taken at the onset of symptoms. So, since you have had these sores for months, we recommend seeking advice from your health care professional for treatment and to check to see that they are not symptoms of a more serious condition.


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