Cons: High dose. Cut the pill in halves or quarters.
As I sit here in front of my laptop, willing myself to type, all my body wants is sleep. Fifteen hours ago, I dutifully swallowed a tiny blue pill thirty minutes before bedtime, just as the label directed. I could feel it when the pill kicked in because I was wide awake. My limbs felt disconnected somehow. My head felt swimmy, but not sleepy. My breathing felt labored, as though I needed to concentrate deeply to get enough air. When I finally drifted off a couple of hours later, it was a nervous, restless sleep.
Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid
Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid is a store brand substitute for Unisom, with 25 mg of the active ingredient doxylamine succinate. Doxylamine succinate (dox-IL-a-meen SUK-sih-nate) is a sedating antihistamine; it treats allergies as well as sleeplessness. Over the counter dosages range from 6.25 to 25 mg. Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit about NyQuil? A guy takes NyQuil in the spring and wakes up with a long beard on a snowy day. NyQuil has 6.25 mg of doxylamine succinate. Keep that in mind. If NyQuil knocks you out, Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid has four times as much of the same active ingredient.
Like most things at Costco, Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid is packaged for the long haul. There are two bottles in a package, with a total of 192 pills. I've used about six of them, and I will never swallow another one whole.
I am not a hardcore insomniac, but when I do have trouble sleeping, it perpetuates. My body quickly gets used to staying up late, and it's difficult to get back on schedule. I use a sleeping pill to get my body back on track only, and rarely use them for more than two nights in a row. NyQuil works very well, but I don't like to use cold or cough medicine when I don't need it. Lunesta has worked wonders for me, with the lone side effect of having a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth the next morning. Lunesta's expensive, though, and there won't be a generic version for about three more years.
The Morning After
I tossed and turned a lot last night, not quite asleep, yet deeply drowsy. It reminded me of the miserable, drugged feeling I experienced when I came out of general anesthesia after surgery a few years ago.
I got out of bed eleven hours after I took Kirkland Sleep Aid, and fought my body's every impulse to get right back under the covers. This is not a good thing. My mind is alert, but every other part of me is listless. I can't get enough water; dry mouth is a common side effect, but my entire body is parched. I haven't experienced any of the other common doxylamine side effects, which include headache, constipation, upset stomach, blurred vision, and decreased coordination. For a full list of side effects, check out WebMD, drugs.com, or even wikipedia.
I've tried this sleep aid six times over the past two months to give it a fair shake and perhaps get past a low tolerance for the active ingredient, but my body's reaction has been consistent. Before you try it, consider how strong it is. Does NyQuil knock you out? Does it leave you feeling hung over the next morning sometimes? If it does, a stronger dose will likely affect you as it does me. 25 mg is a lot of doxylamine succinate. Why not cut the pill in half? And then cut those halves in half? That's the only way I'll ever use doxylamine succinate again. And hey, that gives you 768 doses for the same $10 or so.
Now if you'll excuse me, my doxylamine-addled fingers need a nap.