Finding Mr. Sandman With Mr. Benadryl

I have trouble falling asleep. I often find myself staying up very late into the night, or not sleeping at all, because of anxiety or tangential thoughts. My mind won't turn off, and sometimes the only way to unwind is just to zone out in front of the television.

But, there are nights when I just can't wait and I know I need to crash for a good ten or twelve hours. So, in the course of finding Mr. Sandman, I've tried Benadryl (or Diphenhydramine) and thought I'd share that experience (you can also find my review of Valerian under the appropriate section).

Benadryl or Diphenhydramine: Don't let the brand names fool you. Unisom, Sominex and Benadryl all have the same active ingredient, diphenhydramine. The trouble is that supply and demand makes it so that the sleep medicines are more expensive. So, go for the generic allergy medicine form, and you'll get the most bang for your buck. I usually throw in a Tylenol for good measure. These are the active ingredients in Tylenol PM (500 mg acetominophen, 25 mg HCL diphenhydramine). Want it really cheap? Buy diphenhydramine in caplet form, and acetominophen gelcaps. Done. If all else fails, 50 mg of diphenhydramine will usually make me crash in under 45 minutes.

The side effects are usually grogginess in the morning if I'm unable to get less than 8 hours of sleep. I've researched several sites on the long-term effects of diphenhydramine use for insomnia. The results have been inconclusive. Most people report that they have memory problems, or fatigue during the day -- most of which can be avoided by a good night's sleep after taking the medicine. Essentially, it's allowing the medicine to take its course, and not forcing yourself to wake up sooner than your body does.

PatientRapunzel PatientRapunzel
31-35, F
8 Responses Feb 7, 2006

I also take benydryl every night 5o mg -2 caplets of generic. I can go to sleep, but wake up after 2-3 hours and can't go back to sleep-mind in full gear-benydryl helps me drift off when I wake up in the middle of the night, but I am a bit groggy in the AM but a couple of cups of coffee fixes that. Told my MD and he didn't seen to think there would be any issues. No desire to try Ambian, etc with those suicidal side effects-chep generic benydryl works for me.

Use melatonin instead its a no brainer

You seem to have found a solution that works for you. Have you looked into the causes of your anxiety and mind-racing thoughts? A long term and safer solution might be found there.

I have sleep problems too, but I've never like Benadryl. It knocks me out, but then I wake hours later and I don't feel refreshed.

I'm partial to tryptophan and melatonin.

I've found taking 75 mg of benadryl 2 hrs before bedtime is about perfect. I have just started on Xanax for anxiety and it seems to work at a low doseage. It may be safer in the long run. I am fixing to find out.

I've also tried Klonopin before and it helps too. How is the benadryl working out for you Patient Rapunzel?

I've just about had it with Ambien, have had it since Jan 2009.. I'm going to try benadry tonight, I've been getting over a sinus infection also....thx for posting!

OH, thank you so much for the advice. I've been taking Xanax when I have insomnia, but I don't like to do that. Ambien is way too expensive. I will try your suggestion tomorrow night.