List of effective Sleeping Pills? (Popular Brands)


Sleep is the most important thing when it comes to regulating bodily functions, refreshing your brain, recovering, and elevating your general health and wellness.

What are sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills also termed sleep medicines are sedatives that are sometimes prescribed by doctors if you have difficulty in sleeping or suffer from insomnia. These drugs act as a first aid when insomnia hits.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in getting to sleep or maintaining sleep (waking up at night or early in the morning). Sedative antihistamines can be used as a temporary aid to help with sleeping problems. Many factors can cause insomnia. Some common include stress and anxiety. Changing your sleeping habits should always be considered before trying sleeping pills. There are plenty of online resources, including NHS and Mind websites which offer some excellent tips on improving your sleep.

When and why sleeping pills are prescribed?

Doctors usually avoid prescribing sleeping pills because they have potential risks. Patients could become dependent on sleeping pills or become addicted. However, when stress and anxiety hit you and cause insomnia, doctors may prescribe sleeping pills as a treatment.

Potential Risks and side effects of sleeping pills:

Sleeping pills should only be used when no alternative is present. Most of the patients, more specifically the adults need sleeping tablets because they face insomnia. As we all know that getting enough sleep is the key to a well-balanced and healthy life. Sleeping pills are only as effective when they are used for short terms. Regular or intense use of these medications can cause potential damage and serious harm.

Precautions while using Sleeping pills:

Sleeping pills should always be used when there is no other remedy left. Always use it on a doctor’s prescription and for the minimum number of days possible.

How to use sleeping pills safely

You should always follow a doctor’s instructions for using hypnotic sleeping medication. The instructions are as follows:

  • Never take a pill without a doctor’s prescription/approval.
  • Do not drink alcohol before using the medication.
  • Take the first dose when you have not planned any activities for the next morning.
  • Avoid operating a vehicle or heavy machinery after taking a sleeping pill.
  • Contact a doctor right away in case of any complications.

List of the effective sleeping pills in the UK:

Following different types of sleeping pills are available on prescription in the UK which are effective in their function:


This is the most widely used group of Sleeping pills used all over the globe for sleeping issues.

Mechanism of Action:

Binds to general GABA receptors in the brain. These drugs work through GABA-A receptors to promote sleep by inhibiting brainstem monoaminergic pathways. Actions of Benzodiazepines vary between Sedation, loss of muscle coordination, dizziness, habit-forming Higher (from 4 hours to more than 12)


  • Benzodiazepines are sleeping pills and used in the following conditions:
  • Anxiety & panic
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Night-walk
  • Trouble sleeping

Popular Brands:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
RivotrilClonazepam0.5 mg
XanaxDiazemuls1 mg, 2 mg
RestorilTemazepam7.5 mg
AtivanLorazepam0.5 mg, 1 mg
HalcionTriazolam0.25 mg
ValiumDiazepam2 mg
BensedinDiazepam10 mg


These are the drugs whose mechanism of action is not precisely unknown, but it is believed to interact with GABA receptors at binding domains close to or allosterically coupled to benzodiazepine receptors.


These are much more selective than the older benzodiazepines producing effective relief of anxiety/ panic, anticonvulsant effects.

Different classes of non-benzodiazepines sleeping pills include:

Tricyclic antidepressant:

Tricyclic antidepressants work approximately on five different neurotransmitter pathways to achieve their effects. They block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in presynaptic terminals which leads to increased concentration of these neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft.


These are used in sleep disorders and anxiety conditions.

Popular Brands:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
DesyrelTrazodone50 mg
RemeronMirtazapine15 mg
EffexorVenlafaxine25 mg, 50 mg
FetzimaLevomilnacipran20 mg


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced within the body which helps to regulate the daily body cycles. Slow-release melatonin is licensed to be prescribed for people aged 55 and over as a treatment for chronic insomnia. It is initially given for three weeks and can be given for a further 10 weeks after this if shown to be helpful. Melatonin has been reported with problems such as drowsiness, confusion, and falls.

Popular Brands:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
CircadinMelatonin2 mg
SlynytoMelatonin1 mg
SundrodinMelatonin3 mg


Antihistamines are not technically a sleeping tablet or prescribed as they normally treat allergies such as hay fever, but these can be prescribed or bought from a pharmacist without a prescription to help with sleep problems, as the sedating forms of antihistamines may help cause drowsiness and sleep.

Antihistamines are not as powerful as benzodiazepines and Z-drugs and can cause a ‘hangover’ feeling the following day. If taken for a long time they may also cause rebound insomnia when stopped. So, the current UK guidelines do not recommend these to be taken solely as a sleeping tablet.

There are two types of antihistamines:

Diphenhydramine: These drugs act as an inverse agonist and lastly act as an intracellular sodium channel blocker, resulting in local anesthetic properties.

Popular Brands:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
Nytol originalDiphenhydramine25 mg
Nytol one a nightDiphenhydramine50 mg
SleepeazeDiphenhydramine50 mg


These drugs are phenothiazine (antipsychotics) derivatives with very weak dopamine receptor antagonism. It produces clinically useful anti-emetic and sedative effects.

Popular Brands:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
SominexPhenergan10 mg, 25 mg
Phenergan nightPromethazine25 mg
PhenerganPromethazine10 mg, 25 mg


It is a first-generation antihistamine drug used to treat a sleeping disorder.

Z drugs/Hypnotics:

Z drugs or Hypnotics are a group of sleeping medications only available by prescription. A doctor may prescribe hypnotics to treat several sleep disorders, including insomnia and anxiety.


These medicines can also treat movement disorders that interrupt sleep, such as restless legs syndrome and periodic limb disorder

Popular brands:

The most common hypnotic sleeping pills are:

Brand nameDrug nameStrength 
AmbienZolpidem10 mg 
Sonata Zaleplon5 mg
LunestaEszopiclone2 mg 

Doctors tend only to prescribe hypnotics for insomnia that is long-lasting and bothersome because the drugs can have side effects.


These are the drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates are effective as anxiolytics, hypnotics, and anticonvulsants, but have physical and psychological addiction potential as well.

Brand nameDrug nameStrength
SeconalSecobarbital0,1 g
ButisolButabarbital50 mg
AmytalAmobarbital0.5 g

Tolerance to sleeping products:

Sleeping pills in the UK containing diphenhydramine and promethazine have some role in the short-term management of sleeping difficulties or disorders. However, it has been documented that when used regularly, tolerance develops rapidly after a few days of starting the treatment. In simple words, this means that you are less likely to benefit from the treatment, for example, help in falling asleep when antihistamines are taken regularly.


The above mentioned are the lists for different Sleeping pills in the UK. These drugs have different potential while working as a sleeping pill and have the relative potential of causing side effects and addiction.

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