How To Use Your FSA for Sleep Aid
January 31, 2024
Sleep is not the most exciting thing we do every day, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most important things. With an increasing number of adults reporting a decline in their sleep quality or regularly reporting insufficient sleep, it’s time to re-evaluate our approach to tucking ourselves in.
Your FSA is intended to be used for healthcare-related purchases, and sleep is vital for your health. The rules surrounding using FSA funds for sleep aid products are somewhat nuanced. Here’s what is and isn’t covered and how to talk to your doctor about making special purchases that may improve the quality of your sleep.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Sleep needs vary from person to person, but every adult should be getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. Some adults may require as many as 9 hours a night for optimal function. If you’re getting a full seven hours of sleep per night and you still feel tired when you wake up, it’s likely you need more sleep.
Approximately one third of all American adults report having sleep trouble at least occasionally, with nearly half of all adults admitting that they take at least one unplanned or unexpected daytime nap per month to help ward off fatigue.
If you feel like you’re missing out on quality sleep, you’re not alone. It’s extremely common to have difficulty sleeping. Lifestyle factors, schedules, and even diet can contribute to difficulty falling asleep. You may need some help to get back on track.
The Importance of Sleep for Your Health
The body needs sleep to perform essential functions. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop certain health issues than people who regularly get sufficient sleep. Failing to get to bed on time, or having trouble falling asleep, can have serious long-term consequences for your overall well-being.
Sleep for Body Recovery
When you’re asleep, it looks like your body is completely inactive. What’s actually happening is that your body slows down your other processes to direct its energy to restorative processes, like healing and maintaining essential systems.
While you’re sleeping, your body is healing injuries, fighting off bacterial invaders, and repairing wear and tear to your vital organs. Sleep is a slow refreshing process that works bit by bit each night to keep your body in an optimal state.
If you don’t sleep enough or frequently have low-quality sleep, your body will struggle to perform these vital tasks throughout the day while you’re using your energy for other things. You may notice that your immune system seems slower or that you’re prone to experiencing muscle soreness or fatigue easily.
Sleep for Mental Acuity
Your body uses a sleep state to convert short-term memories into long-term memories. This isn’t just for recording the events you experienced throughout the day — it’s also vital for helping you learn new skills and keep track of your schedule.
If you don’t sleep enough, you may feel forgetful throughout the day. It may be difficult to concentrate on important tasks, from your work responsibilities to driving your car. Loss of mental acuity from sleep deprivation can lead to serious accidents.
Can You Use FSA for Sleep Aid Prescriptions?
FSA funds are intended to be used to cover things like doctor appointments and prescription copays. You can even use your FSA funds to pay for a sleep study if your doctor recommends one.
If your doctor writes you a prescription for sleeping pills or sedatives, you can use your FSA funds to pay the copay. You don’t need any special authorization to pay for prescriptions with FSA funds because prescriptions are written by a doctor.
Can You Use FSA for Sleep Aid Over the Counter Medicine?
You can use your FSA funds to buy nearly any kind of over-the-counter medicine, including sleep aids. Most over-the-counter sleep aids utilize an active ingredient called diphenhydramine, which is known to cause drowsiness or sleepiness. Any over-the-counter medicine containing this active ingredient is FSA eligible.
Can You Use FSA for Sleep Aid Alternatives or Homeopathic Remedies?
Many people turn to natural sleep aids like melatonin, valerian root, lavender, and chamomile to help them get a good night’s rest. The idea behind using a natural sleep aid rather than a conventional drug is that natural sleep aids work to support and encourage the body’s processes rather than override them.
Unfortunately, FSA funds only cover medications. You can’t use your FSA for natural sleep aids without a doctor's approval. You’ll need a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor to confirm that the use of a natural sleep aid like melatonin is necessary for the treatment of your sleep-related issues.
Can You Use FSA for Sleep Aid Devices?
Special pillows or mattresses and sleep-tracking technology can be very valuable for people who have trouble sleeping, but they aren’t ordinarily covered by FSA funds. You may be able to obtain special bedding or sleep tech with a Letter of Medical Necessity if a doctor feels that these devices or products are necessary to improve the quality of your sleep or track vital data relating to your sleep health.
How To Get a Letter of Medical Necessity for Sleep Aid Purchases
Some sleep aid purchases don’t require approval from a doctor. If you want to purchase special bedding, a sleep device, or a natural sleep aid, you’ll need to obtain a doctor's approval first. There are plenty of reasons why the ability to track data related to your sleep would provide highly valuable information to a medical professional. There are also circumstances where prescription sleep aids may not be a safe or viable option for people who need help getting to sleep.
A Letter of Medical Necessity will allow you to bypass normal restrictions on what’s ordinarily eligible for FSA coverage. If a doctor agrees that a purchase is necessary, that purchase becomes a medical necessity.
Asking Your Doctor for a Letter of Medical Necessity
You can ask your doctor for a Letter of Medical Necessity for sleep aids at your next appointment. If your doctor agrees that sleep aids are medically necessary for you, they will prepare a letter you can use to justify certain sleep aid purchases to your FSA custodian and to the IRS.
If you have an appointment soon, it may be worth the wait. If it could take you months to see your doctor, you can’t afford to go without sufficient sleep until your appointment. Truemed’s alternative solution can help you get a Letter of Medical Necessity much sooner.
Using Truemed for a Letter of Medical Necessity
Truemed’s quick and easy evaluation process can match you with a healthcare provider who will review your eligibility for a Letter of Medical Necessity. The quick evaluation process is affordable, and you can utilize FSA funds to pay for the evaluation. If you’re eligible, you’ll be issued a Letter of Medical Necessity you can use to purchase things like sleep support supplements or sleep tracking tech.
Where To Buy Sleep Aids With FSA
Most retailers don’t accept FSA as a direct form of payment for sleep aids. You’ll need to purchase sleep aids with your personal funds and reimburse yourself from your FSA. Keep your receipts to make sure you’re reimbursing yourself the correct amount.
The reimbursement process can be a hassle. You aren’t required to immediately reimburse yourself after every purchase. You can reimburse yourself at the end of the year before your FSA funds expire.
If you’d like to skip the reimbursement process altogether, you can shop with a Truemed integrated retailer. Truemed makes FSA payment processing easy for retailers. You’re able to use your FSA-linked debit card to make a purchase directly from your FSA account. It’s as quick and easy as making any other purchase online. Just select “Pay with Truemed” at checkout.
Sleep Can Be the Most Important Medicine
With so many people failing to get enough high-quality sleep, it’s crucially important that we reevaluate our habits and prioritize bedtime. You might need a little extra help to fall asleep and stay asleep, and that’s where your FSA funds come in handy. Truemed makes it easy and affordable to manage your sleep health. Get what you need to catch some Zzzs and give yourself a much-needed recharge.
Both Duration and Timing of Sleep are Important to Memory Consolidation | Sleep Research Society | National Library of Medicine
Melatonin: What You Need To Know | National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health