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Ten Safety Tips for Taking Sleeping Pills for Insomnia

Filed in
  • Treatments
  • Sleep Disorders

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Jan 10, 2013
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The most effective treatment for chronic insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I). However, medications can be helpful for some people who have insomnia. Follow these tips to make sure that you use sleeping pills safely and properly to treat insomnia:

1. Never take a sleeping pill without first getting approval from your doctor.

2. Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medications that you already take.

3. Notify your doctor if you have any other medical problems such as high blood pressure or liver problems.

4. Carefully read the package insert that comes with your medication.

5. Follow your prescription. Do not take more than the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

6. Never drink alcohol near the time when you take a sleeping pill.

7. Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time to get plenty of sleep. (Most sleeping pills, such as Ambien or Lunesta, should be taken at least seven to eight hours before you need to wake up. You can take Intermezzo in the middle of the night if you have at least four hours of bedtime left.)

8. Try to take the first dose on a night when you don't have to go anywhere the next morning.

9. Never drive a motor vehicle after taking a sleeping pill.

10. Contact your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any problems while taking a sleep medication.

WARNING: Complex sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking or sleep driving can occur when you take a sleeping pill. Read this Consumer Update from the FDA to learn about these safety risks. 

Contact an accredited sleep center to get help for insomnia or another sleep problem. Find a behavioral sleep medicine provider who can offer CBT-I.

Updated May 3, 2019


  1. 1 American Academy of Sleep Medicine 22 Feb
    Hi Amelia, for questions about medication recommendations, we recommend speaking with your doctor or pharmacist.
  2. 2 Amelia Buling 19 Feb
    Doc pls.advise me if its ok taking XANAX .5mg for 24 days..and then change to take ZOLPIDEM 10mg for my sleep disorder. ACTUALLY, I had taken ZOLPIDEM 10mg just for 4 nights only..I understand that these two sleep pills should not be taken together at the same time coz its bad effects..I JUST WANT TO ASK YOUR ADVISE IF ITS OK THAT I GO BACK TAKING XANAX .5mg BACK AGAIN..THANK YOU FOUR YOUR ATTENTION AND HELP FOR MY INSOMNIA PROBLEM.
  3. 3 kanchan 26 Dec
    Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. This is really a great stuff for sharing. Keep it up
  4. 4 kanchan 12 Dec
    The article is very nice, thank you for sharing it! I'm not fully through yet (it is extremely long) but it seems well researched and detailed.
  5. 5 Pradip retharekar 17 Jul
    I used to take sliping tab for since last 8 years, i am 55,  but इ stop taking sliping tabs  & i go to sleep at 3 an every day that is not helping me pls tell me which other tab should i take to help me releiving those sliping tabs
  6. 6 Ivy Baker 23 Apr
    I have been having a hard time relaxing over the past few months. It tends to get really bad at night and has prevented me from getting sleep. Thanks for pointing out that I will want to consider talking to a doctor about using sleeping pills. Also, It might be best for me to talk to a doctor about other medication I can use to relax. 
  7. 7 Helena 18 Apr
    I am 61 still working but is si tired it makes me emosional sleeping tablest does not work for me ..please help me 
  8. 8 American Academy of Sleep Medicine 03 Apr
    Hi Rachel, our recommendation is to speak with a physician or a sleep center near you. 
  9. 9 Rachel 03 Apr
    Hi ... I just want to ask it's almost 2days that I can't sleep .. I'm thinking of taking a sleeping pills .. What pills could you suggest to me??? I'm a lactating mom .. I have 7months old baby ..
  10. 10 Nicole 18 Mar
    I like to sleep in daytime. When or what time can I take those pills?
  11. 11 Johan 18 Dec
    Hi I have great experience with belbien tablets just one tablet and the effect is amazing. I also suffered from insomnia because I had a day and night change as I work overnight. I was afraid of the effect but on one page I found tablets without a prescription and after consultation with a doctor I dare to order them and I am very happy if you would like to see sleeping
  12. 12 American Academy of Sleep Medicine 03 Dec
    Hi Rachel, there are treatment options for insomnia. We recommend contacting an accredited member sleep center in your area for more information. You can find a listing of these centers at
  13. 13 rachel frampton 02 Dec
    I am having a hard time sleeping at night and I am considering to take a pill for insomnia.  I'll keep in mind not to drink alcohol near the time of taking the sleeping pill. If only there's a sleep disorder treatment that I can have to put an end to this misery.
  14. 14 Luke Smith 11 Nov
    I agree that a person who's prescribed to take sleeping pills should follow the schedule and dosage religiously. My cousin, who used to work at night, finds it hard to sleep during night time since her working schedule shifted. I believe that bringing her to a specialist can help her resolve her problem as well as make sure that the sleeping pills that she plans on taking are highly recommended by the specialist.
  15. 15 raquel 22 Mar
    joe Collins. how long u been taking zopiclone?..
  16. 16 joe collins 19 Oct
    I take one zopiclone tablet every night one hour before I go to bed it works wonders
  17. 17 Riaz 23 Sep
    I eat 10tablets bromazepam 3mg daily. How can I forget this medicine. 

  18. 18 Ethan Chong 22 Dec
    Thank you for these interesting tips! Safety pills was never an option for me when I had insomnia. I read that it has adverse side effects after use so I choose to use a much more efficient method of curing my insomnia.
  19. 19 Sarah Hobock 03 Feb
    I'm 67 years old.  I take one Alprazolam, Generic for Xanex).5MG, oneTrazodone 100 MG, two Acetaminophen PM and 2 tablespoons of Z-Quill, and still I can't sleep! We have a history of insomnia in my family