All sleep medications should take shortly before bed. Do not attempt to drive or perform other activities that require concentration after taking a sleep medication, as the medication will make you sleepy.
Sleep treatments with medcations
- Sleep medications – Benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, Ramelteon, and antidepressants.
- Antidepressant as sleep aids
- Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids
- Hormones Supplements – Melatonin
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Medications should use in combination with good sleep practices or sleep hygiene.
The most commonly prescribed medications for sleeping disorders include two classes of sedative-hypnotic medications: benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine (benzodiazepine receptor agonists).
Sleep medication drugs - Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepine sleep aids are useful for the treatment of insomnia; some common medications are Dalmane (Flurazepam), Doral (Quazepam), Halcion (Triazolam), ProSom (Estazolam), Restoril (Temazepam), Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Xanax (Alprazolam). Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of sleep problems. These medications are generally advisable for short-term use. These medications can cause addiction (when used for long term) and next-day hangover.
Taking benzodiazepines is not advisable if pregnant or breast-feeding, history of drug abuse, depression, or respiratory conditions.
Sleep medication drugs – Non-benzodiazepines
Some of the non-benzodiazepines prescribed for sleep problems are Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar), Eszopiclone (Lunesta), Ramelteon (Rozerem), and Zaleplon (Sonata).
Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar) - Zolpidem is useful to treat insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep). It belongs to a sedative-hypnotics class of medications, works by slowing down the brain activity to induce sleep.
It will make sleepy soon after take it and will remain sleepy for some time after taken the medication. Go to bed immediately after taking zolpidem and to stay in bed at least for 7 to 8 hours. Do not take zolpidem if it is unable to remain asleep for 7 to 8 hours from having medication. It should not take Zolpidem unless able to get a full night's sleep - at least 7 to 8 hours.
Sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after start taking zolpidem. If not or if worsen, then discuss with a doctor. Zolpidem is for short-term treatment only that is up to 2 weeks, after that it may not help or drop in performance.
Taking zolpidem is not advisable if having a history of depression, liver or kidney disease, or respiratory conditions.
Possible side effects of zolpidem: getting out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing, abnormal thoughts and behavior, memory loss, anxiety, severe allergic reactions.
Eszopiclone (Lunesta) - Eszopiclone is useful to treat insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep). Eszopiclone is in a hypnotic’s class of medications, works by slowing brain activity to induce sleep. Do not take eszopiclone immediately after a heavy, high-fat meal, because it may not work as expected.
Eszopiclone should only be taken immediately before bed and able to sleep for at least 8 hours. If not able to get 8-hour sleep, then it may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, hallucinations, coordination, and memory problems.
Sleep problems should improve within 7 to 10 days after start taking eszopiclone. If not or if worsen, then discuss with a doctor.
Taking eszopiclone is not advisable if having a history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, lung disease, or a condition that affects metabolism.
Sudden withdrawal symptoms of eszopiclone are anxiety, unusual dreams, stomach and muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and rarely, seizures.
Zaleplon (Sonata) - Zaleplon is useful for those who have difficulty falling asleep. Zaleplon does not help to stay asleep longer or limit the number of times awaken during the night, because it stays active in the body for the shortest amount of time. Zaleplon is in a class of medications called hypnotics, works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep. This might not be the choice for those who wake during the night.
Taking sonata is not advisable if severe liver impairment, Pregnant, depression, liver or kidney disease, or respiratory conditions.
Possible side effects of Zaleplon are drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, lack of coordination, numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet, headache, appetite loss, vision problems, eye pain, noise sensitivity, smell distortion, painful menstruation.
Ramelteon (Rozerem) - Ramelteon can be helpful who has difficulty falling asleep. Ramelteon is in a class of medications called melatonin receptor agonists, works differently than the others, by targeting the sleep-wake cycle, not by causing central nervous system depression. It works similarly to melatonin, a natural substance in the brain that keeps the sleep cycle. It can prescribe for long-term use, and the medication has shown no evidence of abuse or dependence.
Taking rozerem is not advisable if Pregnant, breast-feeding, kidney problem, respiratory problem, sleep apnea, or depression.
Possible side effects include headache, drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, worsening of insomnia, diarrhea, and depression.