Best prescription sleep pill

Medications That Can Help You Sleep

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In some cases, doctors will prescribe drugs for the treatment of insomnia. All insomnia medications should be taken shortly before bed. Do not attempt to drive or perform other activities that require concentration after taking an insomnia drug because it will make you sleepy and can increase your risk for accidents. Medications should be used in combination with good sleep practices.

Here are some medications that can be used to treat insomnia.

  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressant drugs, such as trazodone (Desyrel), are very good at treating sleeplessness and anxiety.
  • Benzodiazepines: These older sleeping pills -- emazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others -- may be useful when you want an insomnia medication that stays in the system longer. For instance, they have been effectively used to treat sleep problems such as sleepwalking and night terrors. These medications have some serious downsides. They can cause addiction and dependence. Dependence means that you have physical withdrawal when you stop them, which you can have in the case of benzos. Also, there is a black box warning against their use with opioids, because both depress respiration and increase your risk of overdose.
  • Doxepine (Silenor): This sleep drug is approved for use in people who have trouble staying asleep. Silenor may help with sleep maintenance by blocking histamine receptors. Do not take this drug unless you are able to get a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta): Lunesta also helps you fall asleep quickly, and studies show people sleep an average of 7 to 8 hours. Don't take Lunesta unless you are able to get a full night's sleep as it could cause grogginess. Because of the risk of impairment the next day, the FDA recommends the starting dose of Lunesta be no more than 1 milligram.
  • Lemborexant (Dayvigo): This drug is approved for people who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. It works by suppressing the part of the central nervous system that keeps you awake. It may cause you to feel sleepy the next day.
  • Ramelteon (Rozerem): This sleep medication works differently than the others. It works by targeting the sleep-wake cycle, not by depressing the central nervous system. It is prescribed for people who have trouble falling asleep. Rozerem can be prescribed for long-term use, and the drug has shown no evidence of abuse or dependence.
  • Suvorexant (Belsomra): It works by blocking a hormone that promotes wakefulness and causes insomnia. It is approved by the FDA to treat people that have insomnia due to an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. The drug may cause you to feel sleepy the following day.
  • Zaleplon (Sonata): Of all the newer sleeping pills, Sonata stays active in the body for the shortest amount of time. That means you can try to fall asleep on your own. Then, if you're still staring at the clock at 2 a. m., you can take it without feeling drowsy in the morning. But if you tend to wake during the night, this might not be the best choice for you.
  • Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo): These medicines work well at helping you get to sleep, but some people tend to wake up in the middle of the night. Zolpidem is now available in an extended release version, Ambien CR. This may help you go to sleep and stay asleep longer. The FDA warns that you should not drive or do anything that requires you to be alert the day after taking Ambien CR because it stays in the body a long time. You should not take zolpidem unless you are able to get a full night's sleep -- at least 7 to 8 hours. In rare instances, these medications have been known to cause injuries because of behaviors while asleep or partially asleep such as sleep walking and sleep driving, among others. The FDA has approved a prescription oral spray called Zolpimist, which contains zolpidem, for the short-term treatment of insomnia brought on by trouble falling asleep.
  • 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.

If these medications don’t work for you, your doctor may suggest something off-label. These are medications used to treat conditions they weren’t originally made for. 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. They include:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron SolTab, Remeron)
  • Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
  • Trazodone

The FDA issued warnings for prescription sleep drugs, alerting patients that they can cause rare allergic reactions and complex sleep-related behaviors, including "sleep driving. " They also warned people that taking sleeping medication at night can impair their ability to drive or be fully alert -- even the next day.

Keep in mind that sleep drugs are not for long-term use. Talk to your doctor if you’re still having trouble sleeping after 2 weeks.

Common and Potentially Harmful Side Effects

Written by Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD

Between a third and half of Americans have insomnia and complain of poor sleep. Perhaps you're one of them. If so, you may be considering taking a sleeping pill.

A sleeping pill can help your sleep problems for the short term. But it's important to understand everything you need to know about sleeping pills. That includes knowing about sleeping pill side effects. When you do, you can avoid misusing these sedatives.

What Are Sleeping Pills?

Most sleeping pills are classified as "sedative hypnotics." That's a specific class of drugs used to go to sleep or stay asleep. Sedative hypnotics include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.

Benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Librium, Valium, and Xanax are anti-anxiety medications. They also increase drowsiness and help people sleep. Halcion is an older benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic medicine that has largely been replaced by newer medicines. While these drugs may be useful for the short term, all benzodiazepines are potentially addictive and can cause problems with memory and attention. They are usually not recommended for long-term treatment of sleeping problems.

Barbiturates, another group of drugs in this sedative-hypnotic class, depress the central nervous system and can cause sedation. Short- or long-acting barbiturates are prescribed as sedatives or sleeping pills. But more commonly, these hypnotic drugs are limited to use as anesthesia. They can be fatal in overdose.

Newer medications help you fall asleep faster. Some of these sleep-inducing drugs, which bind to the same receptors in the brain as do benzodiazepines, include Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. They are somewhat less likely than benzodiazepines to be habit-forming, but over time can still sometimes cause physical dependence. They can work quickly to increase drowsiness and sleep. Another sleep aid, called Rozerem, acts differently from other sleep medicines. It affects a brain hormone called melatonin, and it's not addictive. Belsomra is another unique sleep aid that affects a brain chemical called orexin and is not addictive. Another sleep medicine that is not addictive, Silenor, is a low-dose form of the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin.

What Are the Side Effects of Sleeping Pills?

Like most medications, sleeping pills have side effects. You won't know, though, whether you will have side effects with a particular sleeping pill until you try it.

Your doctor may be able to tell you about some side effects if you have asthma or other health conditions. Sleeping pills can interfere with normal breathing and can be dangerous in people who have certain chronic lung problems such as asthma , emphysema, or forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Common side effects of prescription sleeping pills such as Ambien, Halcion, Lunesta, Rozerem, and Sonata include:

  • Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Impairment the next day
  • Mental slowing or problems with attention or memory
  • Stomach pain or tenderness
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Unusual dreams
  • Weakness

It's important to be aware of possible sleeping pill side effects so you can stop the drug and call your doctor immediately to avoid a more serious health problem.

Sleeping Pills and Older Adults

If you’re 65 or older, experts suggest that you avoid all sleep aids. This includes over-the-counter drugs and the newer “Z” drugs like eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien).

Compared to younger people, older adults have a greater chance of health problems on sleep meds. When you’re older, sleeping pills tend to stay in your system longer. Drowsiness can last into the day after you’ve taken them. Confusion and memory problems are also a known side effect. For older adults, this could result in falls, broken hips, and car accidents.

Other symptoms of some over-the-counter sleep medications can be especially hard for older adults to handle. Your mouth may be dry. You may also be constipated and find it hard to pee.

Before you decide to take sleeping pills, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a medical exam to help you figure out the cause of your sleep problems, like depression, anxiety, or a sleep disorder.  Your doctor will also suggest ways to treat sleeplessness without drugs.

Are There More Complex Sleeping Pill Side Effects?

Some sleeping pills have potentially harmful side effects, including parasomnias. Parasomnias are movements, behaviors, and actions over which you have no control, like sleepwalking. During a parasomnia, you are asleep and unaware of what is happening.

Parasomnias with sleeping pills are complex sleep behaviors and may include sleep eating, making phone calls, or having sex while in a sleep state. Sleep driving, which is driving while not fully awake, is another serious sleeping pill side effect. Though rare, parasomnias are difficult to detect once the medication takes effect.

Product labels for sedative-hypnotic medicines include language about the potential risks of taking a sleeping pill. Because complex sleep behaviors are more likely to occur if you increase the dosage of a sleeping pill, take only what your doctor prescribes -- no more.

Can I Be Allergic to Sleeping Pills?

Yes. People can have an allergic reaction to any medicine, which could be related to either the active ingredient of the medicine itself or to any of its inactive ingredients (such as dyes, binders or coatings). People who have an allergic reaction to a specific sleeping pill should avoid it. It's important to talk to your doctor at the first sign of these serious side effects, including:

  • Blurred vision or any other problems with your sight
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Feeling that the throat is closing
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Vomiting

In addition, a serious -- even deadly -- side effect of any medicine someone is allergic to is anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an acute allergic reaction. Another possible effect is angioedema, which is severe facial swelling. Again, discuss these possibilities with your doctor if you are at risk of allergic reactions.

When Do I Take a Sleeping Pill?

It's usually recommended that you take the sleeping pill right before your desired bedtime. Read your doctor's instructions on the sleeping pill prescription label. The instructions have specific information regarding your medication. In addition, always allow ample time to sleep before you take a sleeping pill.

Is It Dangerous to Combine Sleeping Pills and Alcohol?

Yes. Mixing alcohol and sleeping pills can have additive sedating effects from both drugs, and the combination can cause someone to stop breathing, which could cause death. Sleeping pill labels warn against using alcohol while taking the drug.

Also, you should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking some sleeping pills. Grapefruit increases the amount of the drug absorbed into your bloodstream and how long it stays in the body. That can cause over-sedation.

Can I Become Dependent on Sleeping Pills?

For short-term insomnia, your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for several weeks. Yet after regular use for a longer period, some sleeping pills such as benzodiazepines or benzodiazepine agonists such as zolpidem or eszopiclone may stop working as you build a tolerance to the medication. (However, tolerance has not been shown with non-habit-forming sleeping pills like Belsomra, Rozerem, or Silenor.) You may also become psychologically dependent on the medicine. Then the idea of going to sleep without it will make you anxious.

Without the sleeping pill, you might find it difficult to sleep. If that happens, it could be a sign of a physical or emotional dependence or both. Some studies show that long-term use of sleeping pills actually interferes with sleep. The best way to avoid developing a physical or emotional dependence on sleeping pills is to follow your doctor's instructions and stop taking the drug when recommended.

The best fast-acting sleeping pills and dietary supplements - article on the site Aptechestvo, Nizhny Novgorod

People of all ages may experience insomnia regardless of gender. In young years, the reason is hidden in chronic fatigue and a fast pace of life, psychosomatic disorders. In old age, sleep problems can be normal. The best sleeping pills will solve the problem.

Depending on which active ingredient is used in the drug, the following classification has been developed:

  • short-term effect lasting for 3-4 hours. A fast-acting sleeping pill that reduces nervous excitability. Active substances do not change the structure of sleep and only help the body fall asleep. With awakening one feels full of energy;

  • average action within 5-8 hours. Compared to the first category, it affects the original structure of sleep. The person stops waking up in the middle of the night;

  • long-term effect up to 12 hours. It is a strong, fast-acting prescription sleeping pill, accompanied by inhibition processes. Although effective, it causes negative side effects.

Before you buy a drug against insomnia, you need to consult with your doctor.

Indications for use

The most common reasons include:

  • Parkinson's disease;

  • stressful state;

  • age-related dementia;

  • sleep-wake disorder;

  • type 2 diabetes and prediabetes;

  • post-stroke state.

When sleep problems arise in an adult, his sleep becomes more sensitive. If the causes of insomnia are not established, you need to contact your doctor for diagnosis and examination.

List of the most effective drugs

The best is a drug that does not cause side symptoms. Below is a list of drugs that can be purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription:

  • Relief fees. The composition contains only components of plant origin. They have a mild sedative effect and help you fall asleep. Produced in the form of filter bags for the preparation of infusions.

  • Persen nocturnal. Available in the form of drops. Contains a complex of plant extracts that reduce nervous excitability. Facilitates the process of falling asleep.

  • Afobazol. It is not a sleeping pill or sedative. Removes anxiety.

  • Chemical analogue of the natural sleep hormone melatonin. Contributes to the normalization of night sleep, facilitates adaptation when changing time zones.

  • Novo-Passit. Contains a complex of plant extracts that have a calming and anti-anxiety effect. Available in the form of a solution and tablets.

  • Valocordin. A combined drug with a sedative and mild hypnotic effect. It is also used as a first aid for heart pain and tachycardia. Available in the form of tincture and tablets.

These drugs can be purchased at pharmacies without a prescription. But even expensive drugs have side effects. In the presence of chronic diseases, you must first contact your doctor for advice and selection of a suitable drug.

top 5 rating according to KP

A person spends about a third of his life in a dream. It is at this moment that his brain is restored and his body rests. But poor-quality, intermittent, short-lived sleep leads to big problems. Lack of sleep accumulates, efficiency decreases, a person becomes distracted and irritable.

It is impossible to endure such a state for a long time. It is necessary to consult a doctor to find out the cause - both serious heart disease and psychological problems can cause insomnia. And in parallel, you can alleviate your condition with the help of light over-the-counter drugs. If more serious treatment is needed, a doctor will write a prescription for the medicine.

Light sleeping pills are sold freely because they rarely cause serious side effects. Their inhibitory effect on the nervous system is rather weak, but with mild sleep problems this is enough. If the reason lies in simple anxiety, jet lag, you can find the best pills for insomnia without prescriptions, and they will help.

One should not expect an immediate strong effect from such drugs, they do not contain such substances. The action is usually cumulative - that is, the reception should be long and regular, and only then you will notice improvements.

Top 5 rating according to KP version


Lotosonic Lotusonic

Combined herbal medicine. It has a mild sedative, hypnotic effect. It is produced in Vietnam, so its recipe contains components that are widely used in traditional oriental medicine. It consists of extracts of seeds and embryos of the walnut lotus, seeds of thuja orientalis and Chinese dates, rhizomes of Dioscorea, mulberry leaves and erythrina, as well as the fruits of euphoria longana.

When taking other hypnotics, sedatives, as well as antihypertensives and analgesics, the dosage should be adjusted, as the drug enhances their effect. The effect of Lotusonic is cumulative, as with most herbal preparations.

helps restore normal sleep; additionally has anti-stress activity; herbal composition based on recipes of traditional oriental medicine; not addictive; low price

not allowed under 18; can not be pregnant and lactating; allergic reactions are possible; during the period of treatment should refrain from driving.


Herbal sleep aid

Combination medicine Lotusonic helps fight insomnia and has a mild sedative effect. It contains herbal ingredients used in traditional oriental medicine.

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2. Calm formula Tryptophan capsules

Calm formula Tryptophan caps. Photo:

The drug is based on the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for complex biochemical reactions in the body. As a result, the hormones serotonin and the "sleep hormone" melatonin are synthesized. Tryptophan is not produced in the body, but comes only with food. Its deficiency can cause a violation of the synthesis of essential hormones. The capsules also contain vitamins B5 and B6, which help the amino acid to be absorbed faster.

The drug improves the general condition, not just sleep. It has no side effects and is not addictive, it is considered a rather "soft" medicine.

improves sleep quality; accelerates falling asleep; builds emotional stability; positively affects mood; practically no side effects

not allowed under 18 years of age; can not be pregnant and lactating; rather high price


Sleepy pills Sleepy+ tab. Photo:

Plant-based tablets containing motherwort, lemon balm, hops and chamomile. The effect of the drug is cumulative, it does not appear immediately. But the natural composition provides a mild effect and a stable result.

The tablets also have a mild analgesic effect and relieve spasms. Therefore, the drug is especially effective if the cause of insomnia was also covered in physical discomfort.

makes falling asleep easier; improves the quality of sleep; struggles with the feeling of "brokenness"; natural composition; practically no side effects; low price

not allowed under 18; can not be pregnant and lactating; contraindicated in diabetes

4. Passambra Edas-360 syrup

Passambra Edas-306. Photo:

Homeopathic remedy, one of the "softest" in our ranking of the best pills for insomnia. Often prescribed for children with increased excitability and nervousness. The medicine contains a lot of sucrose in the composition. This should be kept in mind for people who control their blood sugar levels.

There is no addiction to the drug, but there may be a temporary worsening of insomnia during administration. Almost all homeopathic medicines differ in this way. If this happens, you will have to temporarily stop taking it and consult your doctor about the dosage.

improves sleep; can be for children from 1 year; natural composition; not addictive; practically no side effects; low price

recommended to refrain from driving; there may be a temporary worsening of insomnia; can not be pregnant and lactating; a lot of sugar in the composition

5. Velson tablets

Velson tab. Photo:

A drug based on the hormone melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. It affects the synthesis of other hormones, providing a sedative and hypnotic effect. It is effective in various forms of sleep disorders, including with a sharp change in time zones.

Tablets should not be taken with contraceptives, and alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided. They reduce the effectiveness of the drug. The drug causes a weak contraceptive effect, which may be important for women trying to get pregnant while taking it.

normalizes the biological rhythms of sleep; accelerates falling asleep; adapts to changing time zones and weather conditions; has a positive effect on mood

not allowed under 18; can not be pregnant and lactating; undesirable for people with kidney and liver diseases; not compatible with some drugs; may cause drowsiness; possible side effects; rather high price

How to choose pills for insomnia

It is important to take insomnia as a serious problem. It can be both temporary and indicate a disease. Often insomnia is caused by vascular diseases, problems with brain activity, and breathing disorders during sleep. Even if the cause of sleep disorders is obsessive thoughts, stress, nervousness, you need to understand that sleeping pills alone may not be enough. You may need psychotherapy.

Sleeping pills should not be drunk uncontrollably. They are also prescribed to children under 2 years of age only as a last resort, no matter how restless the child is. At this age, the risk of death during sleep is high, since the respiratory center is not fully formed in children.

Start with mild remedies for insomnia. Try to follow the ritual before going to bed, physical activity, ventilate the room, exclude gadgets. Sometimes this alone is enough. If this does not help, you can try light drugs. Going straight to "heavy" is not worth it, because they are addictive, and falling asleep without a pill will be even more difficult. Such drugs do not cure problems, but abruptly put you to sleep. Few people actually need such measures.

Homeopathic preparations and herbal tablets are rather weak. But they work very gently, usually without causing addiction and side effects. Their action is complex. Such pills not only fight insomnia, but also improve the general condition, have a general strengthening effect. Some of the drugs can be taken even by children.

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