Over-the-Counter sleep aid options

If you're struggling with getting sleep, you're not alone. Psychologists say the pandemic coupled with our everyday issues may be leading to sleepless nights for many Americans, however there are some things you can do that could help you rest easier.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — When good sleep hygiene isn’t enough, there may be some help with over-the-counter, herbal supplements.

Sleep Aids

Sleep is paramount to your physical and mental health. It restores the body each night and if you’re not getting enough, it can affect your health.

Some turn to prescription sleep medications, which are only intended for short term use. The use of over-the-counter options may help.

Kelli Shaw, Pharm D. at Rushmore Compounding Pharmacy, says,

“We have our phone, we have our tv’s; our sleep/wake balance has definitely gotten a little messed up, and nobody wants to hear that. But the first thing is going to be your cold, dark rooms, get off your phones, things like that. But these are as natural of options as I think you can get.”


There are many factors that may affect our sleep – seasonal chances, stress levels or hormone imbalances. Natural supplements may help replenish what your body is missing.

And old herb that may help is Ashwagandha. Shaw says,

“It’s called an adaptation, so it helps balance your stress level, people have a nice level of sleep it keeps them from waking up so much.”

Kelli Shaw explains OTC sleep aids

Kelli Shaw explains OTC sleep aids

Kelli Shaw explains OTC sleep aids

High dose magnesium chelate which can be used for leg cramps and muscle pain can also be used to help aid in sleep and relaxation. Shaw says watch for blends as they might not be as effective. The chelate blend will be more expensive.

And the older we get, the less Melatonin our bodies make naturally. Melatonin is needed for restored sleep. Kelli says a Melatonin supplement may assist with a deep sleep and won’t throw off your bodies natural Melatonin production, as long as you are taking it properly – at night. And the effectiveness may be based on how you are ingesting it.

Melatonin supplement

Melatonin supplement

Melatonin supplement

Shaw says “Now if you have taken Melatonin and you have taken it orally through the gut, it’s probably gotten dissolved. It’s a fragile hormone, your gut acid will dissolve it, what we want is an under the tongue dissolvable that goes directly into the blood stream.”

Some claim it produces vivid dreams, but if you wake up groggy or with a headache, you have taken too much. Kelli says to start with a low dose and slowly work your way up.

Ask your pharmacist or physician before starting a new regimen.

Shaw adds that essential oils have their place like lavender having a calming effect. Herbal teas like chamomile may also help relax the body. Shaw also stresses the and importance of a bedtime ritual.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News, Wellness Wednesdays