Some people may need medicine for a while to help them
fall asleep. Doctors often prescribe medicine for a short time if other
treatment isn't working. But medicine doesn't work as well over time as
lifestyle and behavior changes do. Sleep medicine can
also become habit-forming. Medicine works best as a short-term treatment
combined with lifestyle and behavior changes.
provide short-term relief from insomnia. These medicines help you fall asleep
and stay asleep. Examples are diazepam (such as Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and quazepam (Doral). Side effects of benzodiazepines can include:
Dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Sleep
problems may get worse when you stop taking the medicine.
drowsiness and dizziness.
Physical problems, such as falling,
especially in older people.
Benzodiazepines make it hard to recall memories. They also
seem to affect how much of the hormone
melatonin your body makes at night. Melatonin helps
you sleep and wake up on a regular schedule.
In rare cases, people taking these medicines have
done activities, such as driving and eating, while still asleep.
Using some hypnotics may actually make
sleep apnea and other breathing disorders
These medicines can cause a
serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).