Sominex Herbal is a sleeping pill that’s made and sold in the UK, and is available over the counter without a prescription.
In this review, I’ll be discussing the herbal version, which contains valerian, hops, and passionflower. It’s not to be confused with the antihistamine version of Sominex, which contains promethazine instead of herbal ingredients.
Please remember that this article represents just one person’s experience of how the sleep aid works. As you’ll see from the comments below, readers have had very different experiences.
So as well as talking about my personal experience, I’ll also provide some additional useful information to consider before taking Sominex, and how it compares to other herbal sleep aids.
I could probably sum up Sominex Herbal in six words: pretty packaging, strong taste, light sedation.
What immediately stood out for me is the smell and taste, which I assumed the valerian was responsible for. Valerian is notorious for being strong in both departments, so I washed the two pills down as quickly as possible when I took them.
As briefly unpleasant as the taste is, it’s a small price to pay for a natural ingredient, and you’ll find the same with other brands containing valerian, such as Nytol Herbal.
Talking of Nytol herbal, the two sleeping pills look pretty much identical on paper, so it makes sense that I had a similar experience with both of them.
A mild sedation
I took Sominex Herbal every night for a week, and although I wouldn’t describe it as strong, I do think it had a sedative effect.
After that first week, I experimented with taking it on an occasional night over the next couple of weeks and found there was a noticeable effect each time.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to tell if there’s a placebo effect at work or not. Knowing Sominex Herbal has the same ingredients as another sleep aid that had previously worked for me might have influenced my expectations too.
Having said that, there is some research evidence that valerian has sedative properties. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to conclude that valerian will definitely help everyone sleep, but there is at least some research that gives room for optimism.
No side effects
Although some people might react to the ingredients, I had no problems at all. I felt physically fine during the time I took Sominex Herbal and had no morning grogginess.
That’s one of the important benefits of herbal sleep aids, even if they aren’t so strong. I sometimes get side effects from antihistamine sleeping pills, such as a fuzzy head, dry mouth, or a mild headache.
It made a welcome change not to wake up feeling like I needed twice as much coffee to get up to speed even after sleeping soundly, which is how I sometimes feel after stronger sleeping pills.
Would I recommend it?
If you’re looking for a strong sleeping pill to switch your mental lights out, you probably won’t get that, unless you’re particularly sensitive to the ingredients (or the placebo effect works its magic!).
However, if you’d prefer to take a pill containing natural ingredients rather than a powerful pharmaceutical sleep aid, and just need a little help to relax at night, Sominex Herbal might just do the trick.
The patient information leaflet that came with the pack I bought listed the ingredients of each tablet as follows. The first three on the list are the active ingredients that are meant to help with relaxation and sleep.
- Hop strobile extract 34 mg
- Valerian root extract 30.8 mg
- Passionflower extract 15.2 mg
- Calcium hydrogen phosphate
- Microcrystalline cellulose (E460)
- Colloid anhydrous silica
- Stearic acid
- Magnesium stearate
- Hypromellose 4500
- Polyethylene glycol 400
- Iron oxides (E172)
- Titanium dioxide (E171)
I originally wrote this article in 2020 when I took Sominex Herbal for the first time. I bought some again in 2022, and the ingredients listed were the same.
Is it suitable for you?
According to the patient leaflet, you shouldn’t take Sominex Herbal if you fall under any of the following categories:
- Allergic to any ingredients.
- Under 18 years old.
- Already taking any medication for anxiety or insomnia.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Intolerant to sugars (contains glucose).
- You shouldn’t mix it with alcohol.
- Don’t drive or operate machinery if drowsiness persists the next day.
I also think it’s wise to discuss taking any sleeping pill with your doctor first, especially if you’re taking any other medication. And if you’re an older adult, I recommend checking with your doctor first before taking sleeping pills.
Possible side effects of Sominex Herbal
The ingredients would suggest that Sominex Herbal should be safe for most people. The leaflet does warn of some possible side effects though, and advises that you stop taking it immediately and consult a doctor if you experience any of them.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and stomach cramps.
- Rarely: hypersensitivity or increased heartbeat.
If you have any other new symptoms after taking it, don’t take any more and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Can you take a different dosage?
Technically, the dosage is two tablets according to the instructions. I think it’s fine to take just one if two seems too strong for you though. I wouldn’t advise taking more than two without first consulting your doctor.
Interestingly, I’ve seen reports that valerian can take two to four weeks to build up in your system and work properly. For that reason, the manufacturer advises taking it for that long to get the best results. However, they also say you should speak to a doctor if your sleep problem lasts longer than four weeks.
A common piece of advice about taking sleep aids in general is that you should consult your doctor if symptoms persist after a week or two. That leaves a bit of a conundrum then when taking valerian if it really does take two or more weeks to work to full effect…
As I said at the start, I felt some sedation when I first took it, and it didn’t seem any stronger to me after two weeks. Perhaps the hops and passionflower also had a role to play then. Either that or the placebo effect is my friend when it comes to insomnia!
Where to buy Sominex Herbal
I bought mine on Amazon, but it no longer appears to be sold there at the time of writing this. I’ve seen it in a couple of supermarkets in the UK, such as ASDA. I’ve also seen it being sold by independent chemists, both online and in shops. I prefer not to recommend any in particular, but if you search for Sominex Herbal online, several pharmacies will come up.
Have you tried Sominex Herbal before? If you have, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below, and I know readers always appreciate hearing different points of view too.
Hi, I have taken Sominex (non herbal) as a sleep aid on and off for a few years, but felt that I should stop and find a more healthy substitute, so am trying Sominex Herbal. I find it helps me to fall asleep very well but I wake up very early and cannot fall asleep again (between 4am and 6.30am). I have been taking Sominex Herbal for 2 weeks and read that it might take 2-4 weeks for the Valerian to take full effect, so I’m hanging on in there, hoping that it will resolve itself. I am pleased with the help it seems to give me with falling asleep. Would you advise me to go on trying with it, or try something else?
Thanks for sharing your experience. Because I’m not a doctor, I try to avoid giving specific advice to people about their own sleep aid regimen. If someone says they have bad side effect, then I’ll suggest not continuing. But in your situation, it’s not really for me to say what would be best. I can understand the confusion though, as the idea that it takes time to work properly doesn’t always inspire confidence if it’s not working out right away! I guess you have to ask how much of a problem your current sleep is, and if it’s worth hanging in there, or if the early waking is causing you difficulties right now that you didn’t have before.
Interesting that it is a mixture of three herbals, but you only mention Valerian root which I agree is likely all that works and only slightly. The exception is the one person with experience with zopiclone and an antihistamine; she claims Sominex herbal works better than other herbals. Well they’re all either this mixture or just Valerian root extract.
Thanks for your comment. I do think valerian is likely the main ingredient working, but the other two herbal ingredients are mentioned in the article too. I’m not sure which other ones you’ve looked at, but there are some other mixes out there beyond these three or straight up valerian. Valerian does seem to feature very often though.
My pharmacist recommended these as an alternative to stronger sleeping pills which had unpleasant side effects. These have helped a bit, have just finished first packet and have purchased a second. How long can I take them for?
I think herbal sleep aids like this usually have less side effects in the long-term. Still, sleep experts usually repeat the same generic advice to try not to take any sleep aid for more than a couple of weeks. But if your doctor says it’s fine to continue, I would go with their advice.
I had been taking these for maybe 2 years until a few weeks back. Usually 1 & half a night but not weekends. Have stopped completely as I no longer feel the need. I do wonder though whether they have been the cause of my Tinnitus? its a brain noise, (not in the ears). Never goes away…
Thanks for your comment. I haven’t heard of these causing tinnitus. Have you asked a doc about that?
Towards the end of 2019 , the doc recommended stopping the use of these….just as a precaution. Tinnitus has various causes. the ageing process is one, ‘brain noise’ in the sense of tiny nerves, the thought process, stress. Either way, its best not to fall back on tablets everyday…
I’d definitely take the doc’s advice in that case!
Took my first ever sominax herbal tablet, just one being cautious. Woke only once went back to sleep quite quickly, I usually take two hours to get back to sleep. Very pleased with the effect, only side effect was a slightly dry throat, and small price to pay for a good nights sleep.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s good that they helped you. I’d keep an eye on the side effects as they usually get worse over time in my experience.
Hi, I was recommended these sominex by a young lady in Asda as I was searching the shelves and not being able to decide which to try. I suffer from anxiety and occasional depression and sometimes can’t sleep which really makes an impact on my mood and anxiety. I have had prescribed pills but only take perhaps one a month. Will these work on odd occasions or do I have to take them regularly. I’d rather take natural than prescribed but only when needed.
Thanks for your comment. There is an argument that valerian takes time to accumulate in the body and work best. But personally, I think the placebo effect on its own can go a long way to helping, along with perhaps the effect of the valerian on an occasional basis. I guess it depends on just how bad your sleep is, and how you react to the feeling of taking a sleep aid as well as the ingredients.
Hi is it suitable for diabetic people? I mean my mum is a mild diabetic patient
I’m not sure to be honest. I had a look online at some health and diabetes sites and can’t find any obvious repeated warnings. But that doesn’t mean to say there aren’t any potential issues. I’d discuss this with your doctor to be sure.
I have suffered from insomnia for years tried all sort of sleep aids from Kalms from various pillow mist. Nothing seems to help. I have epilepsy with no fits for 27 years controlled by Phenobarbitone. Would this be okay to try Sominex
I would discuss this with your doctor – they are the best person to advise you on this particular question.
Are there any calories in Sominex herbal
Stupid I know
But please give me an honest answer?!
I don’t know to be honest! If there are, there probably aren’t many – it doesn’t say anything about calories on the label, presumably because it isn’t a food product.
I tried these last night and I didn’t sleep at all, in fact I became very ill with stomach cramps and headache
Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that – I would mention it to your doctor and not take them again, which I imagine is already on your mind.
I’m days away from being 18 taking 1 doesn’t really help that much anymore. I have been taking them for a few months? Would it be safe for me to take 2?
Thanks for your comment. If the specific pack says 2 is ok, then you could try. But if you’d like to be totally sure it’s ok, ask your primary care doctor for their advice.
I have been taking sominex for a week and they work pretty well. I did notice that I get a good 7-8 hours sleep and my arms and legs were “heavy” upon waking but this wears off
Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience – it’s very helpful to hear from readers who’ve tried it.
Is it safe for glaucoma patients?
The patient leaflet says nothing about glaucoma interactions. But if you’re worried about the valerian content, you could talk to your doctor about it to get their advice.
I am a 74 year old lady, with Type 1 Diabetes, treated with Epanutin for long standing Epilepsy (well controlled). Are Sominex Herbal tablets safe for me to take? Following the death of a Partner 18 months ago and a break up of a lovely friendship recently, I have’t had a decent nights sleep for a very long time. Advice please. Jean
Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry for your loss. To be honest, I don’t know if they are safe for you to take. I image they would be, but it’s probably best to check with your doctor first to ensure there aren’t any possible interactions.
My husband has a tough time sleeping and found this product while on a trip to the UK. So far, I have not been able to locate a supplier for it. I cannot find this product in the United States and the companies that sell it online (that I have found), will not ship it to the US. Why is that? Any ideas would be most appreciated!
Thanks for your comment. I think it’s probably because it’s a UK based product and for whatever reason they haven’t expanded their market to the US yet. It’s also very cheap, so perhaps companies don’t send it because of the postage costs? I’m not sure though! But really, you could probably try a different OTC sleep aid with similar ingredients and it might have the same effect.
I have been taking these for two weeks. I found they work really well within the first hour after you have taken them. But the problem is they make me sleep way longer than usual and I constantly feel sleepy during the day.
Maybe I’m abit too sensitive with these.
Thanks for your comment. It could be that you’re sensitive to the ingredients. Have you tried taking less than the recommended dose?
I have taken Sominex Herbal for 4 nights after mentioning to my 27 yr old daughter that I was waking at 2, 3 or 4 with my mind racing and lying awake for up to an hour at a time. She is into herbal remedies and said they made her feel sleepy. I am impressed in as much as although I have woken during the nights I have taken them I have gone back to sleep almost immediately and not ‘worried’ my way through an hour. In my opinion they are ‘settling ‘ my brain which is good. I take 2 as I switch off at 10 to 10.30 and wake naturally at 5.30 to 6 with no effects of drowsiness. I must add I have not tried anything else as a sleep aid so not able to compare. ( I am a 53 yr old full time special needs teacher and busy Grandmother to a 3 year old. I went through the menopause 4 years ago with little side effects).
Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience with Sominex herbal. It’s great that you found something which has helped you so effectively. It may be precisely because you haven’t previously taken anything stronger that this is working well for you. If you have problems with a busy mind, I would also recommend having a look into mindfulness techniques. It’s a great way, in my opinion, to tackle a worrying mind with self-help.
I have switched from using Zopiclone and over the counter Sominex to using these herbal Sominex. I have had insomnia for years. These herbal tablets do work and much better than the other herbal varieties out there. I would recommend these to other sleep starved people out there.
Thank you for sharing your experience with Sominex. It’s great you’ve found a herbal alternative to stronger sleeping pills that works for you.