Consumer Reports set out to determine the best sleeping pills for insomnia by comparing effectiveness, safety and price of the most common sleep aids.
All the sleeping pills evaluated had to be approved by the FDA for treating insomnia.
You can read their full findings (all nine pages) via the source link at the bottom of this post but here's a general overview.
The best prescription pills for insomnia
Consumer Reports concluded that eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist) are effective but are no better than cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or older and cheaper drugs for insomnia.
The older and less expensive prescription sleeping pills for insomnia include benzodiazepines such as estazolam, triazolam (Halcion) and temazepam (Restoril) and were found to work just as well as the newer sleeping pills.
Antidepressants such as trazodone are also commonly prescribed for insomnia. Studies suggest this drug can help people with depression fall asleep and stay asleep but there is very little evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness in treating insomnia in those without depression.
The best over the counter sleeping pills for insomnia
When it comes to sleeping pills that don't require a prescription, those that contain an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (the active ingredient in Benadryl, Nytol and Sominex) or doxylamine (Unisom) may help for temporary bouts of insomnia.
When people ask me what the best treatment for insomnia is, my answer is almost always the same. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) is the only insomnia treatment that is universally accepted as an effective insomnia cure because it addresses the root cause of insomnia. As a result, the effects are long-lasting.
Sleeping pills should only ever be taken over the short-term. They do not cure insomnia.
My free sleep training course uses CBT techniques to improve sleep. Over 2,500 insomniacs have completed my course and 98% say they would recommend it to a friend.
Source: Consumer Reports
Last updated: April 14, 2015