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.
Benzodiazepines 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.
- Daytime drowsiness and dizziness.
- Physical problems, such as falling, especially in older people.