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Top Prescription Medications for Insomnia

Most effective prescription sleeping pills
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Insomnia is one of the most common issues reported to primary care due to psychological or physical reasons. And since quality sleep is crucial for a person’s overall health, there have been developed different ways of treating this condition. The most popular and effective options for the treatment of insomnia are psychotherapy and sleeping medicines.

In this post, we will take a look at commonly recommended sleep medications that can help to overcome challenges posed by sleep maintenance insomnia and other types of this condition.

Note: Only qualified physicians can recommend the optimal treatment for your illness. The following list of sleep aids is provided for informational purposes, so consult with your healthcare provider who will choose the most suitable treatment considering your individual needs.

Get in touch with qualified professionals and learn whether you need prescription medications. Click the button below!

Prescription Sleep Medications: Are They Good?

If you regularly have problems sleeping, it’s a sign that something is amiss. It could be as simple as consuming too much caffeine, or it could also indicate a medical or psychological issue. Whatever the cause is, medicines for sleep can be prescribed to fix it. Still, a few factors explained below should be taken into consideration.

First, sleeping medications are a band-aid solution. They are most helpful when taken short-term for transient conditions [1*] like crossing time zones or recovering from a medical procedure. Although you can notice the effect quickly, you might need extra changes in your sleeping habits to get long-lasting results. 

Second, sleeping tablets may become addictive, which will exacerbate sleeplessness over time. To minimize dependence and tolerance, your healthcare provider may recommend taking sleeping pills solely on an “as-needed” basis, especially in the case of long-term treatment.

When Sleep Medications Are Prescribed?

A clinical sleep medicine is often recommended for people who struggle with chronic sleep issues, most commonly insomnia, that substantially interfere with their day-to-day functioning. Healthcare professionals also frequently advise behavioral therapies and lifestyle modifications, sometimes referred to as “sleep hygiene,” before prescribing medicine or in addition to it. If non-pharmacological methods fail, the possibility of using medications may be considered. 

Sleep difficulties can also be caused by underlying medical or psychological disorders, such as depression or anxiety, which may require medication to treat. Moreover, short-term stressors or acute medical conditions might also prompt the short-term use of sleep medications to manage temporary sleep disturbances.

A patient’s health history, the type of sleep disturbance, and possible adverse effects all play a role in the medicine selection process. Evaluating the risk-benefit ratio is essential, taking into account probable rebound sleeplessness, dependency problems, and adverse effects.

Effective management of sleep issues with medication also necessitates regular follow-up visits. A patient and healthcare provider can monitor the results or inefficacy of treatment, modify the regimen if necessary, and discuss any arising questions and concerns.

Types of Medications Prescribed for Insomnia

Medication for insomnia is generally divided into several categories. Your medical history and symptoms will determine the kind of medication you need.

Below are the categories of medications used to treat insomnia. 


By enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), these medications work on the central nervous system to promote sleep and relaxation. Although they work effectively, they have the risk of dependence [2*] and are usually only recommended for brief periods of time.

Non-benzodiazepine Sedative-Hypnotics (Z drugs)

These medications function similarly to benzodiazepines but often have a shorter duration of action. It makes them more appropriate for patients who have trouble falling asleep. However, they also carry a risk of dependence. 

Melatonin Receptor Agonists

These medications function similarly to the melatonin hormone, which controls the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Their rates of dependence are often seen as lower, but their effects may take longer to manifest. 

Orexin Receptor Antagonists

These medications inhibit the activity of orexin receptors, which help to induce wakefulness. They aid in promoting and sustaining sleep by suppressing orexin. 

Antidepressants With a Sedating Effect

For people who experience depression and insomnia, taking a sedative antidepressant [3*] can be a reasonable option. Due to antidepressants’ ability to calm the nervous system and encourage sleep, sedation may be helpful for depressed people who also have insomnia. The sedative effects may be due to their influence on neurotransmitters and histamine receptors.

Two antidepressants that help people fall asleep and enhance their sleep overall are mirtazapine and trazodone. The sedative effects of mirtazapine, however, are stronger at smaller doses (15 mg and below), therefore it might not be able to treat depression. 

Trazodone can be effective for both depression and insomnia, but patients should be aware of possible side effects. They include daytime fatigue, decreased recovery rates from depression (a paradoxical phenomenon observed in teens), and dry mouth, which can interfere with sleep. Its calming effects tend to wear off with time.

Do you have difficulty sleeping? Consult with our qualified clinicians and obtain an online prescription for sleep medication if deemed necessary.

Top 10 Sleep Meds List

Not all kinds of insomnia can be treated without medication, and here we will observe some of the most effective prescription sleeping pills you may be prescribed. Doctors commonly recommend sleep aids from the following medication list:

  1. Doxepin (Silenor): Doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant. At lower doses, it is commonly used as prescription medication to help sleep. Its main function is to block the histamine receptors in the brain, which induces drowsiness and promotes uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. Silenor [4*] is often prescribed to individuals who experience difficulty staying asleep.
  2. Eszopiclone (Lunesta): Eszopiclone [5*] , which is sold under the brand name Lunesta, is a hypnotic sedative used to help people fall asleep and remain asleep. It can improve the length and quality of sleep by interacting with the central nervous system. Under the supervision of a medical practitioner, Lunesta may also be recommended for various problems in addition to insomnia.
  3. Estazolam: Estazolam [6*] is a type of short-acting benzodiazepine and a popular sleep medication. It works by influencing the brain’s chemistry to calm the nervous system, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, Estazolam is generally recommended for short-term use only because there is a possibility of addiction.
  4. Lemborexant (Dayvigo): Specifically formulated to address symptoms of insomnia, Lemborexant [7*] is a prescription sleeping pill that falls within the orexin antagonist class. It can be taken either on its own or in conjunction with other medications.
  5. Ramelteon (Rozerem): Rozerem [8*] belongs to the class of CNS depressants, which slow down nervous system activity to help induce and sustain sleep. It helps control the sleep-wake cycle by acting on melatonin receptors.
  6. Suvorexant (Belsomra): Adults who have difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep can consider using Belsomra [9*] , a member of the orexin antagonist class. It works by inhibiting particular neurotransmitters involved in the waking process. Belsomra is considered a good sleeping aid for adults but not advised for use by those who are younger than eighteen.
  7. Zaleplon (Sonata): Sonata [10*] is a sedative-hypnotic medicine for insomnia that works by binding to GABA receptors in the brain to make you feel sleepy. Because it acts quickly, it is usually given right before bed. However, it may not be effective enough for those who wake up frequently during the night or in the early morning.
  8. Zolpidem (Ambien): Zolpidem [11*] is intended to help people fall asleep faster and lessen the chance of nighttime awakenings. It has a rather quick beginning of effect. It is exclusively available with a prescription and is usually provided for brief periods of time, usually up to four weeks.
  9. Triazolam (Halcion): A benzodiazepine Triazolam [12*] helps people sleep by lessening the frequency of their nightly awakenings. It is often advised for brief treatment durations, typically ranging from one to two weeks, because of its comparatively short duration of effect.
  10. Temazepam (Restoril): One short-term therapeutic option for people who have trouble falling asleep is Restoril [13*] . It usually takes 1 to 2 hours to start working. It is a member of the benzodiazepine class and calms the central nervous system.
Only a qualified healthcare provider can prescribe you the right medication for insomnia. Contact our professionals and receive a treatment plan online.

Are Sleeping Pills Dangerous? Common Side Effects

Prescription medication for sleep disorders can have side effects specifically if used for the long term. People may experience drowsiness [14*] , confused thinking, dizziness, and balance issues. These effects can continue during the day and, in some cases, can damage your ability to perform daily activities. 

However, that does not mean sleep medications are dangerous. Taking your sleeping pills as per the clinician’s prescription can significantly decrease your chances to experience adverse effects.

Common side effects of strong sleeping pills include:

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach problems
  • Muscle weakness

Who Should Avoid Taking Sleep Medications

Prescription sleep aids can help treat some sleep disorders, but certain people should take caution when using them or avoid them at all. It’s crucial to remember that decisions about the usage of medications should always be discussed with a healthcare provider.

The following individuals may need to avoid medication for staying asleep or use them with caution:

  • Pregnant or nursing mothers: Because there may be safety concerns, women who are expecting or nursing should speak with a doctor before using sleep aids.
  • History of drug abuse: People who have previously misused drugs or alcohol may be more prone to developing a habit and need to be properly watched while taking medications for insomnia.
  • Elderly population: The effects of sleep aids may be more noticeable in the elderly, increasing the risk of side effects, disorientation, and falls.
  • Other medical conditions: Sleep aids should be used carefully if a patient has liver or kidney impairment, respiratory issues, myasthenia gravis, or other medical conditions. Share your health history and any underlying conditions with your clinician when discussing treatment for insomnia.
  • Using other medications: If a patient takes any other medications, they should let their doctor know about that in order to prevent any interactions that can cause side effects or decreased efficacy.
  • Allergic reactions: People who have previously experienced allergic reactions to any of the ingredients in some sleep aids should stay away from those medications.
  • History of sleepwalking: When using some sleep aids linked to sleepwalking or other sleep-related disorders, people with a history of these behaviors should exercise caution.

Safety Considerations When Taking Sleeping Pills

When taking sleeping pills it is important to exercise caution to minimize the possibility of associated risk.

Following safety precautions can make your treatment with sleep medications less stressful:

  • Get a medical evaluation and inform your doctor about any other medications or health conditions.
  • Follow the prescribed dosage only.
  • Use sleep medication only for the prescribed duration.
  • When on sleep medicines, avoid alcohol as it can intensify sedative effects and interact with sleeping pills, causing severe adverse reactions.
  • Familiarize yourself with the potential side effects of these medications.
  • Schedule regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider.
  • When thinking about quitting the sleep medications, discuss it first with your physician to avoid any complications.
Go through an online assessment and receive a personalized treatment plan for insomnia.

Bottom Line

Sleep medications are the ultimate solution for many to improve both sleep onset and ability to sustain sleep. Nevertheless, you should consult your healthcare provider before using a sleep aid. MEDvidi provides personalized insomnia treatment to its patients: you can get in touch with our qualified team of healthcare providers to get your symptoms checked and receive an online prescription if medication is deemed necessary. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A few prescription sleep aids, such as suvorexant (Belsomra), are not as likely to cause addiction as earlier medicines. However, talking to a healthcare provider about your concerns is essential because everyone responds to the same medications differently.
For severe insomnia, prescription sleep aids are generally thought to be stronger and may work better. For minor sleep problems, over-the-counter remedies like melatonin or diphenhydramine may be appropriate. A healthcare professional’s advice can help direct the decision based on your unique symptoms and needs.
Certain antidepressants or non-benzodiazepine hypnotics like zolpidem (Ambien) are commonly considered as the first-line option. The first-line medication for insomnia is determined by a number of factors, including the type of insomnia, the patient’s health, and any possible underlying conditions.
Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics such as Zaleplon (Sonata), Eszopiclone (Lunesta), and Zolpidem (Ambien) are frequently used for insomnia. Unlike conventional benzodiazepines, these medicines work on the brain to promote sleep through a distinct mechanism, which may lower the likelihood of dependence. However, the choice for the right medication can vary according to individual circumstances.


14 sources
  1. Medications for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview
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  2. Long-term use of benzodiazepines in chronic insomnia: a European perspective
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  3. Antidepressants for insomnia in adults
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  4. Silenor
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  5. Eszopiclone
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  6. Estazolam
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  7. Lemborexant
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  8. Rozerem
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  9. Belsomra
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  10. Sonata
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  11. Zolpidem
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  12. Triazolam
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  13. Restoril
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  14. Residual Effects of Sleep Medications Are Commonly Reported and Associated with Impaired Patient-Reported Outcomes among Insomnia Patients in the United States
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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