Advil PM for Sleep: Are you taking Advil PM to fall asleep?

Its 11pm, the next morning is coming quickly and you're still running a million miles a minute. You reach for the Advil PM to try to slow it down and catch some sleep. One pill to quell the nights energy. Five days later, your night is a repeat of the last 4 nights except this time you decide to take 2 pills. Two weeks later, you realize you've been taking Advil PM every night to help you fall asleep. It becomes paramount for your ability to go to sleep and without it, you're afraid you'll be up all night.

Many American's are working longer hours, trying to cram as much into their days as they can, giving way to their health and well being. When it comes to our health, our diet and sleeping patterns are the two biggest elements that can make or break our mood for the day. If we aren't eating right, or sleeping enough, we will be groggy, moody, irritable and just not feel well.

We have a pill for this, a pill for that, do this to help this, don't do this, and on and on. Life is complicated and we often try to take short-cuts. But what if some of these short-cuts are silent killers. Taking an Advil PM in and of itself doesn't seem like much. Taking it every night, now you're starting to sound like there is a bigger problem.

Addicted to Advil PM

Like any drug you become dependent on, Advil PM can cause addiction problems. While the drug itself is not considered to be "addictive", the associations people can form with the drug and its results can create a dependency. If you equate being able to sleep with Advil PM, or if you use Advil PM as a way to "escape" from the night and disappear into an easy sleep, it isn't a stretch of the imagination that people could obsess about Advil PM each night, similarly to other addictive drugs.

Side Effects of Advil PM

Advil PM is a two component drug. Ibuprofin + sleep aid (diphenhydramine citrate) (DC). Side effects of Ibuprofin mainly concern with stomach irritation and bleeding. While DC is what creates the drowsiness.

While primary side effects are not that serious, other side effects could be more severe: such as chest pain, shortness of breath, mood changes, decreased urination, other side effects.

What is most of concern is not the medical side effects, it is the emotional side effects and risk of becoming dependent on the medication. Using the medication to artificially do what you're body isn't doing. If you aren't able to sleep, there may be something more significantly wrong. Taking Advil PM only masks the problem as you begin to trivialize it. If Advil PM can help me sleep, then whatever is wrong, must not be that bad.

Wrong. To make matters worse, one pill may be good for random use, or two pills as directed. But eventually, two pills wont work so you'll try three. Then three pills won't work, and you're taking four. Your body will start adjusting to the medication. Think about it, you're body is wound up and fighting to stay awake. You're trying to turn it off. You start throwing more drugs at it and your body just tries to fight harder. On and on it goes until you're stuck needing Advil PM to sleep at all.

A Perfect Storm: Advil and Coffee

With Advil PM, and possible addiction to the dependency of a sleep aid, comes the morning and the potential caffeine addiction. We knock ourselves out in the evening, then try to perk ourselves up in the am. Over and over again we enter this cycle of drugging ourselves to sleep then drugging ourselves awake. Where does it end?

At some point, your body can only take so much. If you're needing to take an Advil PM at night, followed by caffeine in the morning, chances are you're running on empty. Fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration and other factors become increasingly risky for you.

Alternatives to Advil PM

If you're not sleeping at night, there are plenty of non-drug related solutions. Chances are you're schedule is landing you at bedtime all rushed and stressed. It is important to take some time to ease into sleep. Don't be working on a presentation for work or school at 11pm, and try to turn the lights out at 11:05pm. Chances are you'll be awake till midnight as your body needs to unwind and find its rhythm.

Exercise. Not right before bed, but a few hours before, or during the day. Exercise is good for all sorts of things, but especially for sleep. A sore, tired body will look for rest and if you free up your schedule to ease your mind, you're mind will taken over by the tiredness and ease gently to sleep.

Diet is key. Don't eat a big meal and try to fall asleep. Not only are you fighting a sugar rush, and trying to digest all that new product, it can be uncomfortable if you're full, gassy or bloated. Eat at least an hour or two before bed-time.

How Often Do You Take Sleep Aids?

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  • Once in a while
  • Hardly at all or never
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