Best sleeping pills for anxiety

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: nine0003

  • 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; nine0003

  • long-term action 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: nine0003

  • Parkinson's disease;

  • stressful state;

  • age-related dementia;

  • sleep-wake disorder;

  • type 2 diabetes and prediabetes;

  • nine0002 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: nine0003

  • 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.

  • nine0007

    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. nine0003

  • 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. nine0003

List of the best sleeping pills without a prescription

Good sleep is the key to the normal functioning of the body. His disorders provoke the development of oncological diseases, cause such serious disorders as reduced immunity and hormonal disruptions. If insomnia is chronic, then only a doctor can treat it. But with short-term sleep disturbances, you can try to help yourself by taking natural sleeping pills.

Only with short-term sleep disturbances, you can try to help yourself.

When using them, you must adhere to the following rules:

  1. Take the drug regularly, not from time to time. Sleeping pills based on natural ingredients often show their effect not immediately, but as the active substances accumulate in the body.
  2. Do not combine the selected medicine with other sleep aids. nine0010
  3. Use the drug only when attention is not required. It is also prohibited to drive a car during this time.

We've put together a list of non-addictive drugs with natural ingredients. You can buy them in pharmacies without a prescription.


This drug, due to its mild effect, is considered one of the best sleeping pills of natural origin. According to patients, it perfectly fights nervous tension and provides sleep of normal duration. A similar effect is achieved thanks to herbal ingredients:

  • elder flowers;
  • hawthorn;
  • passionflower herb;
  • hops;
  • valerian.

Available in tablet and liquid form (syrup). Novo-Passit can be used as a natural sleeping pill for children, but only for those who are already 12 years old.

Contraindications to taking the drug are depression, epilepsy, bradycardia. Also, the use of the drug should not be combined with the intake of alcohol. nine0003

Valemidin Plus

This is a sedative that improves sleep at the same time. Has a plant composition: contains valerian, hawthorn, cyanosis, mint. Therefore, Valemidin Plus is considered as a natural sleeping pill.

Also contains magnesium, the most important mineral, without which the normal functioning of the body, including the central nervous system, is impossible. Its presence in the composition of the drug helps to reduce irritability and anxiety. Produced in the form of syrup.


  • causes rapid falling asleep and normalizes sleep;
  • eliminates night awakenings;
  • reduces irritability, restlessness and anxiety;
  • results in normal A/D and heart rate.

The medicine should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation, children under 14 years of age.

Most preparations are available in the form of tablets, but some may be in the form of drops, powders, granules, etc. nine0094


The active ingredient of this drug is a synthetic analogue of the hormone melatonin, a substance that promotes normal sleep. This is a natural sleeping pill without getting used to it.

Its use:

  • accelerates falling asleep and prevents nocturnal awakenings;
  • improves sleep.

Taking the drug does not cause a feeling of lethargy and weakness in the morning. It is recommended to improve the quality of sleep and as an adaptive remedy for rapid jet lag. nine0003

One of the disadvantages of Melaxen is a fairly large list of contraindications. Among them: leukemia, lymphoma, diabetes, pregnancy.


According to patients, this is one of the best natural sleeping pills. Its action:

  • soothing;
  • antispasmodic;
  • mild sedative.

Makes it easier to fall asleep and does not cause drowsiness the next day. A similar effect is provided by extracts of valerian, lemon balm, mint. nine0003

Persen is a natural, non-addictive sleeping pill that does not cause withdrawal symptoms after treatment is completed. The drug should be taken with caution in severe violations of liver function and cholelithiasis. When taking the drug, you should refrain from drinking alcohol.

Motherwort forte

The main active ingredient is motherwort extract. In addition to the hypnotic effect, it has a sedative effect, normalizes blood pressure and has a beneficial effect on cardiac activity. Not addictive. It has practically no contraindications, except for allergies to the ingredients of the product. nine0003

The disadvantages of Motherwort forte include a long cumulative effect.

Most drugs should be taken with caution or not at all during pregnancy.


It has many advantages, as it solves important tasks related to the normal functioning of the brain and central nervous system. The drug is an essential amino acid Glycine, the daily requirement of the body for which is 3 g.

In addition to facilitating the process of falling asleep, Glycine:

  • reduces internal stress;
  • improves mental performance;
  • eliminates manifestations of vegetovascular disorders;
  • reduces cravings for alcohol.

For insomnia, 1 or 2 tablets should be taken half an hour before going to bed.

The drug has not shown any side effects. It should be used with caution only during pregnancy and lactation. nine0003

The natural composition does not mean the complete harmlessness of drugs to improve sleep. Like any drug, they can be taken only in accordance with the instructions. And before use, it is advisable to consult a doctor. In addition, if insomnia arose suddenly, the necessary remedy may simply not be in the home first aid kit. In this case, natural sleeping pills will help to defeat sleep disorders.

Helps to cope with insomnia:

  1. Cherries and cherries - berries contain melatonin - a hormone that controls the body's internal clock and promotes sound sleep. For insomnia, it is recommended to eat a handful of berries before going to bed. nine0010
  2. Milk with honey - can be considered a classic remedy for insomnia. Stabilizes the mental state, acts as a sedative.
  3. Chamomile tea - occupies one of the first places among natural soothing drinks. It has a mild hypnotic effect, helps to relax the body.

We should not forget that chocolate, energy drinks, smoked meat, alcohol can provoke sleep disorders.

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