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Have Trouble Sleeping? Proper Sleep Hygiene Can Help

Expert Contribution by Frank Iannarone, Madison Pharmacy/Iannarone Inc.

It is estimated that as many as 40% of the population experiences some sort of insomnia in their lives. Insomnia is defined as having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Not having a good night sleep (7-8 hours) can lead to health issues such as hypertension, weight gain, and depression, just to mention a few. Drug therapy does not always have to be the answer for insomnia. Sometimes just making some minor lifestyle changes can help.

Proper “sleep hygiene” when followed consistently can help with insomnia. The word hygiene here does not pertain to showering and brushing your teeth before bed…….although brushing your teeth is important! This entails developing good habits or improving your existing habits, which can result in better sleep and overall health. Some of these may seem obvious, but they are worth visiting. Here is a chart of “Good Sleep Habits” published by Pharmacist’s Letter.


• Stick to a regular sleep schedule---even on weekends.

• Get regular exercise---avoid exercise in the late evening.

• Go to bed only when you are sleepy.

• Put your worries away when you go to bed.

• Do something relaxing and enjoyable before bedtime.

• Make your bedroom quiet and comfortable.

• Avoid large meals just before bedtime.

• Use your bedroom only for sleep and intimacy.

• If you do not fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up and go to another room. Return to bed only when you feel drowsy.

• Remove your clock from sight.

• Do not nap during the day. If you must nap, do so only for 30 minutes in the early afternoon.

• Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

• Avoid frequent use of sedatives.

• Spend time outdoors at the same time each day.

• Have your pharmacist check your medicines, in case any of them keep you from sleeping.

• Avoid bright lights from the TV, computers, video games, etc. before bed.

Adapted from Jermain DM. Sleep disorders. PSAP. 1995:139-154.

These good sleep habits should be followed regularly. If after a few weeks they are not effective in helping with better sleep than drug therapy (otc/rx) may be needed. In this case, it is important to remember to continue to follow the “Good Sleep Habits”. There are some very effective non-prescription products to help with insomnia.


This product has been used successfully for years to treat insomnia. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by our bodies. This can positively affect our circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) helping us fall asleep up to 25 minutes sooner. This product is also favored because it does not have a hangover effect (drowsiness) the next day. Melatonin is available in multiple strengths usually from 1mg-10mg and can be taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

CBD (cannabidiol)

These products are marketed everywhere these days to treat pain, depression, insomnia, etc. CBD products are made from the Hemp plant and contain 0.3% or less of THC. This ensures they are legal and that there is no “high” after using these products. CBD has been used successfully to treat insomnia. They can be started at 5mg about 30 minutes prior to bedtime and increased by 5mg increments every few days if needed to improve effectiveness. This product also does not have a hangover effect the next day. There is even a product available that combines both CBD and melatonin together.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Sominex, etc)

A common ingredient in many OTC sleep-aids. These products use the drowsiness side effect of diphenhydramine as the sleep aid. These products, however, have many potential side effects and drug interactions such as:

-increased eye pressure can affect glaucoma patients-urinary retention can affect patients with prostate issues

-dizziness/falls when used with many anti-depressants and pain medications

In summary, if you are experiencing trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try changing your sleep habits by practicing good sleep hygiene. If you are still having issues with sleep, stop by Madison Pharmacy and we will be glad to help.

CBD PM SLEEP AID - A unique combination of CBD and Melatonin available at the Madison Pharmacy

The Madison Pharmacy

66 Main Street Madison, NJ | T: 973-377-0075 F: 973-377-1960 | www.MadisonPharmacy.com