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There are a number of sleep sleep medication that can help with insomnia, but they can have many side effects. They are often best used short term and only under the direction of a medical provider or sleep specialist. It is important to let your provider know other medications and supplements you are taking, as some can have dangerous interactions with sleep drugs. It is also important to tell your medical provider if you have any known allergies.

Benzodiazepines (emazepam, Restoril), triazolam (Halcion) and other older sleeping pills are used for insomnia, but have been associated with dependency and addiction. They can also cause memory problems, and can lead to dangerous actions like driving or cooking while asleep. The newer medication ramelteon (Rozerem) works in the same area of the brain as the natural sleep regulation hormone melatonin, and has less risk for physical dependence. It can still cause some next day drowsiness, however.

Sleep Medication 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Types, Benefits, and Risks

Melatonin, a natural hormone that increases at night and decreases during the day, can improve sleep quality and is often prescribed for people over 55 with insomnia. However, it can have side effects such as morning drowsiness, and it may interfere with some blood pressure medications or some antidepressants.

The long-acting sleep medicine zolpidem (Ambien) is the most effective for staying asleep, and is sometimes recommended for those with insomnia and other health problems including depression. This medication can be habit-forming, and can also interfere with the breathing mechanisms of some patients, so it is usually only prescribed to those who need it for severe insomnia.

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