Sleep Medications and Supplements to Treat Insomnia


Insomnia is a prevalent lifestyle disorder that significantly impacts quality of life. Identifying the underlying causes of insomnia is often challenging, yet essential, as sleep is crucial for growth, development, energy, immunity, and mental well-being. Conversely, sleep deprivation can lead to compromised immunity, anxiety, irritability, stress, and possibly depression. This article aims to provide an overview of supplements and medications commonly used to treat insomnia, emphasizing the importance of consulting a healthcare provider before initiating any treatment.

Supplements for Sleep


Magnesium plays a pivotal role in relaxing the central nervous system. Research indicates that a 500 mg dose of magnesium can help the elderly fall asleep faster, increase melatonin levels, and reduce nighttime awakenings. The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 350 mg1.


Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is naturally produced by the body in response to darkness. Exposure to light, particularly from cell phones, can reduce melatonin production. Aging also decreases melatonin levels. Studies have shown that melatonin supplements, typically in the 1 mg to 5 mg range, can promote sleep and are generally safe for short-term use2.

Valerian Root

Valerian root, a herb native to Asia and Europe, has been found to improve sleep quality and treat sleep disorders. Although more research is needed, doses between 300-600 mg have shown effectiveness in some individuals3.


Glycine, an amino acid vital for the nervous system, has been found to improve sleep by lowering body temperature, signaling that it is time to sleep. Effective doses range from 3-5 grams4.


Studies suggest that 1 gram of the amino acid tryptophan taken before bedtime can reduce the time taken to fall asleep in individuals with insomnia5.

Prescription Medications to Help You Sleep

Prescription sleep medications should be used with caution due to their potential side effects and habit-forming nature. Always consult with your Family Physician before purchasing any of these. A through evaluation should precede the use of these medications

Common Categories of Prescription Sleep Medications

  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Nitrazepam, Estazolam)
  • Non-benzodiazepine Sedative Hypnotics or “Z-drugs” (e.g., Zolpidem, Eszopiclone)
  • Melatonin Receptor Agonists (e.g., Ramelteon)
  • Orexin Receptor Antagonists (e.g., Lemborexant)
  • Low-dose Antidepressants (e.g., Doxepin)

Common Brand Names for Sleep Medications (Indian Pharmacopoeia)

  • Nitrest (Zolpidem)
  • Estazolam (Estazolam)
  • Flurazepam (Flurazepam)
  • Triazolam (Triazolam)
  • Temazepam (Temazepam)
  • Zaleplon (Zaleplon)
  • Eszopiclone (Eszopiclone)
  • Daridorexant (Daridorexant)
  • Lemborexant (Lemborexant)

Side Effects

Prescription sleep medications can cause a range of side effects, including potential for abuse and habit formation. They are not recommended for long-term use and should never be taken without medical advice. These medications have hypnotic and opioid properties and should not be used while driving.


While an occasional bad night of rest is normal and part of the human condition. No one should learn to live with chronic fatigue or chronic sleeplessness. Talk to your Doctor. Get help. It does wonders.



  1. Magnesium and Sleep
  2. Melatonin Use for Sleep Disorders
  3. Valerian Root for Sleep Disorders
  4. Glycine and Sleep
  5. Tryptophan and Insomnia