My insomnia issues have been pretty well-documented throughout my life. My parents sought out every solution possible to help me sleep. It was worse when I was a kid, and over time I've learned to cope and find ways to deal with the issues that trigger my sleeping problems. It's stress-driven, mostly, but sometimes life's troubles just can't be managed. I've been dealing with some pretty rough stuff personally in recent days. My grandma is sick, in and out of the hospital. As much as I remind myself that she's lived a full and healthy life and will be in a better place when she goes to meet God, I feel sad. Memories and thoughts and desperate solutions tumble through my brain in the middle of the night. It's those times when nobody else is awake that I feel alone, with this lump in my throat.
Not everything in life has a quick fix.
It hardly seems fair. I've finally gotten Some Boy into his big boy bed, Sidekick in his crib, yet my nights are filled with blinking and hollow wondering. I've tried prescriptions to help me sleep in the past, but it's not worth the effort to schedule an appointment with my doctor (she won't see me sooner than a month out for these “non-emergency” issues). Natural solutions help to some extent, but they aren't always effective and can become habit-forming. I just wanted an over-the-counter medication to help get me through a rough patch.
Help Me Sleep, NOW!
I've heard really good things about Answers at Walgreens. You can speak with a pharmacist either directly in-store at Walgreens or through the online #WalgreensAnswers program 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They offer recommendations for issues like sleep, pain management and similar things that aren't critical enough to warrant a trip to Urgent Care, but can't wait for a visit to the doctor. I did a quick online chat with the pharmacist and she recommended a store brand sleep aid.
When I asked her if the nighttime sleep aid she recommended was habit-forming, the online pharmacist mentioned that the active ingredient in it was Benadryl. Once I got to Walgreens I compared and – lo and behold – the active ingredients in Walgreens' “Sleep II” and “Wal-Dryl” (generic Benadryl) were the same: 25 milligrams of Diphenhydramine HCI. I remember a nurse friend of mine once mentioning that sleeping pills are basically just Benadryl, so I saved myself a little bit of money and went with the Wal-Dryl. Bonus points for deductive medical research.
I've been popping back these pills (using half the recommended dosage because I'm quite susceptible to any form of medication) and it's working like a charm. As much as I seek out natural solutions whenever possible (and Walgreens had a TON of great natural sleep remedies), I try to remind myself that it's totally reasonable to need a little help to get through conditions like this and surgeries. It's important not to be too stubborn to recognize when you need to treat an issue before it becomes truly severe.
Have you ever decided to forego the doctor and get help online or from a pharmacist? How did it work for you?