- Over-the-counter sleep aids: Most of these sleeping pills are antihistamines. There is no proof that they work well for insomnia, and they can cause some drowsiness the next day. They’re safe enough to be sold without a prescription. But if you’re taking other drugs that also contain antihistamines — like cold or allergy medications — you could inadvertently take too much.
Older antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to treat insomnia because they change brain chemicals, which can help regulate sleep. These older medications also tend to have a sedative effect or make you sleepy.