Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep presents more than just night time issues. Lack of sleep can have far reaching effects in both professional and personal life, dramatically impacting the quality of life and even having detrimental effect to the immune system and overall health. Many people struggling with sleep issues turn to over the counter, commonly available products like Unisom without taking the time to evaluate the ingredients or understand the types of side effects that these harsh over the counter products can have. Luckily, a wealth of information is available to explain why a gentle, natural herbal sleep aid product is superior in many ways to convenient, inexpensive but ineffective and potentially dangerous products like Unisom.
Even though the body relies on naturally occurring substances like melatonin and 5HTP to fall asleep, Unisom does not take advantage of either of these gentle, natural ingredients. Instead of using the body's normal chemistry to preserve and encourage a natural sleep rhythm, Unisom instead contains the active ingredient Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride, often used as an antihistamine or allergy medication. Already, this should raise red flags with people who are just interested in getting better sleep. Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride is a powerful sedative, forcing the body to sleep and often leaving behind a heavy, hung over feeling.
Unisom does nothing to promote healthy sleep rhythms, but seems only to be concerned with the immediate moment and putting the consumer to sleep immediately. While this may seem like the desired effect, Unisom does not contain 5HTP, which not only helps with frequent waking, but also increases the quality and restfulness of sleep by prolonging REM period of sleep without prolonging sleep time over all. Unisom may work initially in helping those who take it drop off to sleep, but without promoting natural sleep cycles, users of Unisom may find themselves waking up no more rested than when they went to sleep.
The side effects associated with Unisom use are similar to those involved with any over the counter sleep aid. Headache, stomach cramps and upset stomach are common, especially in those sensitive to harsh medications and ingredients. Additionally, since Unisom provides only sleep, but not especially restful sleep, there is often a mentally clouded, heavily hung over feeling left over the next day. Although unlikely, it is also possible for some people to become dependent on Unisom to fall asleep, perpetuating a cycle of poor quality sleep while the user becomes more and more tired every day.
One of the few true benefits of Unisom is the fact that it does not require a prescription or a visit to the doctor. Unisom is available at most drug stores, and often for under $10 per box. Therefore, aside from the time a trip to the drug store takes, Unisom is not a huge financial investment. Occasionally, there may be sales or coupons that apply to Unisom depending on the local store, but in general, there are no discounts available for purchasing a large supply of Unisom at once.
The problem with Unisom is that it does work, if you have an extremely loose definition of what you are expecting from a sleep aid product. Since Unisom contains such a heavy sedative, users of Unisom are almost certain to drop off to sleep directly. The fact that Unisom works so well to put users to sleep is what may cause some people to become reliant on the product to drop off to sleep. This is where the big problem with Unisom comes into play.
While Unisom may put those who take it to sleep, Unisom does not provide restful or rejuvenating sleep, causing many to wake up more exhausted than when they went to sleep in the first place. This begins a cycle of taking Unisom to fall asleep, fumbling through the day, and becoming so exhausted that another round of Unisom is needed to go to sleep again. This is why it is important to evaluate the active ingredients and reviews of any sleep aid product. Unlike all natural, herbal sleep aid products, Unisom does nothing to promote natural sleep or restful sleep cycles. Help with falling asleep, as provided by Unisom, is simply not enough to feel alert and well rested the next day.