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Ambien: a sleeping pill

Sleeping drugs are the drugs allowing you to fall asleep quickly and have а long and deep sleep for a certain period of time. This is a whole group of drugs, which differ in their mechanism of action and composition. Some of them are available without prescription, while others can have severe side effects, due to which they should be used under strict medical supervision.

Before looking for effective sleeping pills, you need to understand the cause of the disorder. Thus, sleep disorders can appear in the following cases:

Sleeping drugs are often prescribed to the elderly people, since sleep disturbances only increase with age. As a rule, sleeping drugs are prescribed for a short period of time because they are highly addictive. And only if the precursors of the disorder are unknown, a long-term treatment with a replacement of the drug may be required.

There are three types of sleep disorders:

Accordingly, the sedative for insomnia is selected based on its ability to fight specific disorder.

The modern classification of sleeping pills implies their division into groups depending on the chemical structure of the main component:

  1. Barbiturates (phenobarbital, cyclobarbital, sodium thiopental, etc.)
  2. Mix of barbiturates with other components.
  3. Benzodiazepines (nitrazepam, flurazepam, oxazepam, etc.)
  4. GABA receptor antagonists (zopiclone and zolpidem).
  5. Aldehyde derivatives (chloral hydrate and dichlorphenazone).
  6. Histamine antagonists (diphenhydramine and doxylamine).
  7. Other sleeping medications.

In addition, drugs for chronic insomnia differ in their mechanism of action. These can be the drugs of narcotic (barbiturates and aldehydes) and non-narcotic action.

Another classification divides the drugs for depression and insomnia based on the duration of their action, namely:

  1. Short-acting — 1-5 hours (thiopental, melatonin and zopiclone).
  2. Intermediate-acting — 5-8 hours (oxazepam and diphenhydramine).
  3. Long-acting — over 8 hours (nitrazepam, phenobarbital, etc.)

Many believe that the best drugs for insomnia are some group of modern drugs. In fact, each case requires the use of a specific drug. For examples, barbiturates are intended for the treatment of severe sleep disorder. But you should remember that the patient may start having vivid dreams and even nightmares.

Benzodiazepines are safer in terms of side effects, but they cause addiction quickly

The same happens when you take the sleeping pills from the aldehyde group. GABA receptor antagonists cause significant inhibition. This leads to an increased duration of period and allows you to fall asleep faster. At the same time, sleep phases remain within the physiological norm. No other severe side effects are observed. This is one of the safest groups of sleeping drugs.

Any simple drug for insomnia inhibits the processes of excitation in the cerebral cortex and enhances the inhibition processes. However, some drugs are more focused on the inhibition of agitation processes, while others work to enhance inhibition. As a result, all medications have different focus and duration of action.

Short-acting sleeping drugs significantly inhibit the agitation processes. This leads to the natural activation of inhibition. At the same time, sleep phases don’t change, so after taking the pills or drops for insomnia, a person wakes up feeling rested and recovered, and not lethargic. It is better to take such drugs in case of sleeping disorder, so that the patient falls asleep as soon as possible and doesn’t feel weak in the morning.

These hypnotics simultaneously suppress agitation and activate the inhibition processes

Due to this, their hypnotic effect is more pronounced. Therefore, these drugs are prescribed for the treatment of disorders characterized by superficial sleep and regular awakenings.

These drugs partially suppress agitation and significantly increase inhibition. They are necessary for those people who wake up early every morning and can’t sleep any longer. Thanks to the use of these drugs, sleep time increases significantly. However, they can be used for the treatment of other sleeping disorders as well.

First of all, you need to understand that sleeping pills should be taken until the causes of insomnia are unclear or if they can’t be eliminated. The treatment course should be short, since hypnotics often have pronounced side effects and are highly addictive. Herbal remedies for insomnia can be an alternative, but they are less effective.

North Carolina Association for Hospital Central Service Professionals
Secretary – Sacha Galloway
813 Durwood Drive
Fayetteville NC 28311