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Zaleplon (Sonata) for Insomnia: Dosage, Side Effects & More

Sonata sleep medication
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

According to the National Health Interview Survey [1*] , about 15% of people have permanent trouble falling asleep. Poor sleep for a night or two can make you feel cranky and weary. However, experiencing longer sleep deprivation or frequent awakenings for weeks, months, or years can exhaust you. It can result in severe mood changes and constant negative emotions.

If your insomnia grows into a chronic condition, it increases the chances of developing other mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. So it is crucial to start insomnia treatment at an early stage.

One of the treatment options for insomnia is a sedative medicine called zaleplon (Sonata). Find out everything you need to know about managing insomnia with Sonata sleep aid.

Start online treatment for insomnia at MEDvidi and get your prescription today.

What is Zaleplon (Sonata)?

Zaleplon’s drug class is a nonbenzodiazepine [2*] sedative-hypnotic. It is the active ingredient in Sonata, a prescribed medication. It is one of the “Z-drugs” along with Ambien and Lunesta.

This drug helps people improve their sleep latency and treats insomnia [3*] . It slows down thought processes and relieves anxiety and tension by triggering the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA [4*] ). Its soothing and tranquil effect frequently leads to sound sleep.

Zaleplon Dosage

Sonata medication dosage should be prescribed individually. The usual dosage in adults is 10 mg taken orally. It is recommended to start with 5 mg for some low-weight individuals. The maximum adequately tolerated dosage can go up to 20 mg by mouth and can be prescribed to patients who do not respond to lower doses. However, it is not recommended to prescribe doses above 20 mg.

A Sonata drug should be taken before bedtime, 7 hours prior to the planned awakening. In clinical trials [5*] , its efficacy was proven after taking it from 1 night to 5 weeks. It is a short-term treatment of insomnia, do not take it for longer than 5 weeks without speaking to your doctor.

Consult a licensed mental health specialist and they will prescribe you the most effective dosage for your insomnia.

Zaleplon Side Effects

Common Sonata side effects [6*] are the following:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Muscle aches
  • Numbness, weakness
  • Stuffy or runny nose

Zaleplon can also cause serious allergic reactions. If you notice any signs of an allergy, seek medical help immediately. You can experience:

  • Face, lips, tongue, or throat swelling
  • Difficult breathing
  • Hives
  • Nausea and vomiting

In addition, these side effects need the immediate attention of a doctor:

  • Depression, anxiety, aggression, agitation
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations, confusion
  • Memory impairment
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself

Some patients can be prone to complex sleep behavior. It means carrying out different activities without being fully awake and having no awareness of ever doing so. It can be sleepwalking, sleep-driving, making phone calls, preparing and eating food, etc.

Performing any kind of action while not being fully awake can lead to injuries or death. Therefore, let your doctor know if anything like this happens to you straight away.

If you experience any side effects, get in touch with a certified MD and they will help you.

Zaleplon side effects

Zaleplon Withdrawal Symptoms

It is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Sonata after using it for a few days in a row. Proper termination of Sonata usage needs to be discussed with your MD. They may recommend lowering your dose before you stop using the medication.

Before getting Sonata prescribed, it would be reasonable to let your psychiatrist know whether you have ever been addicted to alcohol, illegal substances, or any other medication.

Warning and Interactions

Avoid taking zaleplon with a heavy and high-fat meal or right after it. It does not affect Sonata’s elimination half-life much, but it decreases the drug’s efficiency by about 35% [7*] . Also, do not use alcohol, as it may worsen some side effects.

Tell your mental health specialist about all the medication you’ve been taking recently. Other prescription, over-the-counter medications, herbs, and vitamins can interact with zaleplon. Especially avoid using other meds that can slow down your breathing or make you drowsy as they can cause serious side effects of death. Consult your doctor before using any other medication.

Misuse of sleep medication Sonata can lead to addiction, overdose, or fatality. So make sure you take it according to your prescription.

Conclusion: How to Get Help?

Zaleplon (Sonata) can show its efficacy immediately and help you fall asleep within an hour after taking it. But always keep your appointments with your specialist to avoid any side effects, withdrawal symptoms, or medication interactions.

Licensed MDs at MEDvidi can prescribe such controlled substances as zaleplon. If you suffer from insomnia, take a free assessment with the help of our SmartCare Checker and evaluate your symptoms. Our professionals are always ready to provide you with care and help online, wherever you are.


7 sources
  1. Sleep Difficulties in Adults: United States, 2020. (2022)
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  2. Nonbenzodiazepine. (2019)
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  3. Benefit-risk assessment of zaleplon in the treatment of insomnia. (2005)
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  4. Physiology, GABA. (2023)
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  5. Clinical evaluation of zaleplon in the treatment of insomnia. (2010)
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  6. Zaleplon. (2023)
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  7. ZALEPLON- zaleplon capsule
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.