One of the most common types of insomnia is the inability to stay asleep all night long. For some sufferers, there isn any problem getting to sleep. It the staying asleep that is difficult. This often means waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get to sleep again for an hour or two, or you wake far too early and never get back to sleep at all. If you are looking for sleeping aids to help you sleep through the night, most of the medications available for over the counter use aren going to be of much help.
While someone who has trouble falling asleep might be able to resolve their problems by taking a Benadryl or another over the counter sleeping pill, these pills don help the person who falls asleep, but then doesn stay asleep. So you want to talk to your doctor about your prescription medication options. Thankfully, you have a few different options when it comes to prescription sleep aids. I going to talk about the two most popular.
Lunesta, or eszopiclone, is a prescription sedative marketed by Sepracor. Sedatives are also frequently referred to as hypnotics and Lunesta is actually helpful both for trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep. There currently isn a generic version of the medication.
The funny thing about Lunesta is that no one knows precisely how it works. Most sleep experts believe that it interacts with GABA, which is a brain chemical that has something to do with our brain activity. Presumably Lunesta interacts with GABA in such a way that it helps calm the brain activity that can make it difficult for some people to get to sleep or stay asleep.
For the purposes of staying asleep through the night, you can expect that Lunesta will help you sleep for at least seven hours. In fact, you should not take Lunesta before going to bed unless you will be able to stay in bed for at least 7-8 hours, so it is not suitable for short naps or an abbreviated sleep schedule. If you have to be someplace at 6 a.m. and can get to bed before 10 p.m. you shouldn take the medication.
When it comes to Ambien, which is made by Sanofi Aventis, we first need to know what version we are talking about. There is Ambien, its generic version zolpidem, and then there is Ambien CR which has no generic version at this time. The formulations are quite different and if you need a sleep aid to help you stay asleep, it is probably Ambien CR that is going to be the most useful to you.
Ambien CR is another sedative, aka hypnotic. It is a dual-layer extended-release drug with one layer designed to help you to get to sleep quickly and the other designed to help you stay asleep through the night (or at least allow you to get back to sleep quickly if you are woken). Like Lunesta, it should allow you to stay asleep for at least seven hours and again it is important that you only take Ambien CR if you have at least 7-8 hours sleep time available.
Which sleep aid is right for you?
Whether you decide to take Ambien CR or Lunesta is something for you to discuss with your doctor. You want to make sure you doctor knows about all of the medications you are taking as some of them may interact negatively with either drug. This includes any herbal medications you are taking, so if you have been trying some natural sleep remedies like Valerian or St Johns Wart, please be sure to tell your doctor.
You also want to discuss possible side effects. Both drugs are usually contraindicated if you have a history of depression. Ambien is not recommended for use if you have a history of liver, kidney or respiratory problems. Lunesta is not recommended for use if you have a history of metabolic disorders or drug and/or alcohol abuse.Your doctor should be able to determine what the best and safest choice is for you, so just be sure to discuss the medications in detail before making a decision.