What Over The Counter Sleeping Pills Can You Get in the UK?

what are non prescription, over the counter sleep medications available in the UK?

What’s covered?

sleeping pills and sleep aids without a prescription

There is much to say about over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills that promote restful sleep. However, it is essential to learn about over-the-counter sleeping pills that promote a good night's sleep and are available without a prescription in the UK.

There is often a lot of discussion about what sleeping pills are best, but you should take precautions before buying OTC sleeping pills.

The Z drugs

They are sleeping tablets that do not contain benzodiazepines and are used to treat severe insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep) and is considered effective as a sleeping aid. Because their generic names start with the letter 'z,' they are commonly referred to as the Z medicines.


Antihistamines make up most of the over-the-counter sleep aids sold in the United Kingdom. You may have relied on antihistamines in the past to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever or pet allergies. Antihistamines are effective because they prevent the effects of histamine. This substance is produced by the nervous system and is responsible for uncomfortable allergy symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose.

However, this act of inhibiting histamines frequently results in drowsiness. It is a fascinating paradox. Because of this property, antihistamines are known to aid sleep and alleviate sleep problems.

However, you should be aware that certain antihistamines, such as Loratadine, are meant to be "non-drowsy." If you want an easier time falling asleep, you should avoid taking antihistamines that fall into this category.

Two primary types of "drowsy" antihistamines are available over-the-counter (although you can also buy them with a prescription):

  • Diphenhydramine tablets

  • Tablets containing promethazine

You'll find that over-the-counter tablets sold under brand names for sleeping aids like Nytol and Benadryl contain diphenhydramine, whereas Avomine and Sominex contain promethazine.

Both the Original Nytol and the One-a-Night Nytol are available

It's likely safe to say that Nytol is the over-the-counter sleep aid brand with the most name recognition. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride is the active component that can be found in Nytol.

Both the original form of Nytol and One a Night can only be purchased through pharmacies.

Two types of Nytol can be purchased:

  • Nytol Original: The active ingredients in Nytol Original include diphenhydramine hydrochloride, and each tablet has a dosage of 25 milligrams.

  • Nytol One a Night: The active ingredient in Nytol One a Night is diphenhydramine hydrochloride, and each tablet has a dosage of 50 milligrams.

There are age limits and limits on how long users can take Nytol.

Both children and adults aged 16 years and older are eligible to use Nytol Original and Nytol One Night. Taking Nytol for longer than two weeks is not recommended without first consulting a medical professional since it might result in severe allergic reactions. Click here to read more about what Nytol does

Is it safe to use Nytol while pregnant? What about while breastfeeding?

The use of Nytol is not suggested for women who are pregnant. Diphenhydramine is known to be excreted in breast milk; however, it is unknown what effect this has on newborns. Consumers who are breastfeeding and want to use Nytol must consult their primary care physician before beginning treatment with Nytol.

Phenergan 10mg and Phenergan 25mg

Tablets of 10mg and 25mg of promethazine are marketed under the brand name Phenergan. Promethazine, at a dosage of 10 mg per tablet and 25 mg per tablet, is the primary active component in both drugs.

Both items are pharmaceuticals that can only be purchased from pharmacies.

There is a possibility that not all pharmacies will have Phenergan 10mg or 25m on display. If you desire to purchase this item, you might be required to speak with a member of the pharmacy staff to have it retrieved from the dispensary.

Phenergan versus Phenergan Night-Time

Your initial thought could be, "What is the difference between Phenergan and Phenergan Night?" Both products are sold under the brand name Phenergan. The same active component is present in both products.

The following are some of the ways the items differ:

  • Use with a license (what conditions can be treated)

  • There are age requirements to use.

  • There are time limits placed on the use of the product.

  • Price per unit of pills contained in a box.

Do I Need to Take Sleeping Pills?

you should speak to your doctor if you have a sleep disorder

It's possible that some people would benefit from using sleep aids as a short-term solution to their short-term sleep problems. The safety of a sleeping medication - whether herbal or OTC sleeping tablets - over the long term has not been verified, which is why there are restrictions on how they can be used. Before you start taking an OTC sleeping pill or other natural sleep aids, there are a few essential things to keep in mind, including the following:

  • What exactly is it that keeps you up at night?

  • Have you considered modifying your sleeping habits?

  • Do you often find yourself unable to sleep?

  • Do you use any other medications besides this one to treat insomnia?

  • Do you suffer from any other conditions that run deeper than having a poor sleep?

  • Are you familiar with the fact that sleeping drugs and other medicines can sometimes induce additional adverse effects?

  • Do you frequently take other medication to help you fall asleep?

Final words

Although sleep disorders can affect our mental health, we should be cautious in taking sleeping pills, regardless if they are herbal remedies such as herbal sleeping pills or the best OTC sleeping pill.

Counter sleeping aids will make you feel drowsy and offer calming effect, especially for most adults. However, you should make it a habit to consult a doctor for the best sleeping pill or counter-sleeping tablets to avoid untoward health risks.

To learn more about improving your sleep or view our range of sleep aid products, see our information page here.

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