A list of common sleeping medications includes ramelteon, sold under the name brand Rozerem, zaleplon, the generic form of Sonata, and zolpidem, the generic form of Ambien, explains WebMD. Eszopiclone, the generic form of Lunesta, and doxepine, sold under the name Silenor, are other examples.
Unlike sleep medications that depress the central nervous system, ramelteon helps normalize the sleep-wake cycle, according to WebMD. Doctors can prescribe remelteon on a long-term basis to patients who have trouble falling asleep because there is no evidence of abuse or dependence issues.
Zaleplon remains active for a shorter period of time compared to many other sleeping medications, so patients are able to take it well into the night when they are unable to sleep, without worrying about residual drowsiness in the morning. However, zaleplon does not work well for patients who tend to awaken in the middle of the night due to its short active period, explains WebMD.
When it was first released, Ambien was effective at helping patients fall asleep, but some people reported waking during the night after taking it, notes WebMD. As a result, an extended-release variation called Ambien CR was released. A similar option for treating insomnia is Zolpimist, an oral spray containing the active ingredient in Ambien.