Published on 04 October 2022

Sonata Vs Ambien: Which Is Better For Insomnia?

Zopiclone (Imovane) sonata-vs-ambien
Table of Contents

Insomnia (or sleeplessness) is Americans' most widely reported sleep disorder. Nearly 50-70 million Americans suffer from this disorder. Though insomnia is described as disruptive sleep or the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, it's much more. Its symptoms are far-reaching and can impact nearly every part of your life.

Throughout the years, many medications for insomnia have appeared on the market, but Ambien (zolpidem) and Sonata (Zaleplon) have become popular choices because of how well they seem to work. A non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotic is prescribed to treat insomnia.

Sonata is a brand name for Zaleplon. It sits among the popular prescription "Z-Drugs," including Lunesta and Ambien, as a prominent sleep aid in America. So how do you choose between them? Let's take a look.

What is Sonata?

Sonata (Zaleplon) is a short-term medication prescribed primarily to treat insomnia. It treats sleeping problems and makes you feel relaxed to sleep longer.

How does it work?

It is classified as a sedative-hypnotic drug and works similarly to benzodiazepines, i.e., It acts on the GABA neurotransmitter and slows down the central nervous system. This medication is intended for short-term usage only as there is a risk of dependence because of its potential to become habit-forming.

Sonata is a Schedule IV drug as per the Controlled Substances Act. Sonata has accepted the therapeutic benefits, which can lead to psychological or physical dependence.

It is strongly advised not to take Sonata without a prescription or use it in any way other than prescribed. Sonata should be prescribed to most patients for no more than ten days to reduce the risk of Abuse and dependence.

What is Ambien?

Ambien is a sedative/hypnotic drug prescribed to treat insomnia. Its immediate-release formulation helps to fall asleep when you first go to bed, while its controlled-release form, Ambien CR, dissolves quickly to help you fall and stay asleep.

How Does It Work?

It acts on the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain and slows down the central nervous system. Ambien is prescribed for short-term use only. Check with your doctor if your insomnia symptoms do not improve or worsen after using this drug for 7 to 10 nights. Do not take this medication for longer than 4 or 5 weeks without your doctor's recommendation.

Ambien may be habit-forming. Its misuse can cause addiction, overdose, or even death. Giving away or selling this drug is strictly against the law. Abuse of this medicine can result in harmful side effects. Do not share this drug with others, even if they have similar symptoms. The doses of Ambien might not be the same in men and women, and this drug is not approved for use in children.

Your doctor will determine which dosage of Ambien is best for you. Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Comparative Assessment of Sonata v/s Ambien




Brand Name



Drug class

Non-benzodiazepine sedative

Non-benzodiazepine sedative

First Approval

December 16, 1992

August 13, 1999

FDA Approved indications

Short-term treatment of insomnia, generally for sleep-onset insomnia

Short-term treatment of insomnia

Treatment duration


Few days to weeks


Recommended daily dose is 5mg or 10mg at bedtime

Recommended daily dose is 10mg or 20mg at bedtime

Dosage Form

They are produced as oral tablets. Sublingual tablets or oral spray

Available as an oral tablet and can also be given intranasally

Oral bioavailability



Elimination half-life

2.6 hrs

Drug elimination through kidney and feces

1-1.5 hrs

Drug elimination through the kidney (renal elimination)




Pregnancy category

Category C

Category C

Doses And Overdoses

Why is a perfect dosage necessary?

While taking drugs, the dosage is the critical factor determining your health and ability. Taking medicine with the correct dosage and frequency will help the medication to work effectively for a particular treatment. Always follow your doctor's instructions when it comes to drugs.

What happens if you take more than recommended?

Taking drugs, frequently changing the dosage as per your wish, will stay in your system over an extended period and end up with severe side effects which are harmful to your health in some cases, leading to organ failure.

Dosage of Both Sonata and Ambien

The dosage may differ from one to another; before starting any drugs, consult with your doctor or pharmacist. Read the following given label instructions and use the drug in the correct period.

Dosage of Sonata

Adults: 5 or 10 mg once a day during bedtime; your doctor may determine the perfect dosage for you, Do not take more than 20mg daily.
Older adults: 5 mg once a day during bedtime.

Dosage of Ambien

Adults: 6.25mg for women, 6.25mg or 12.5mg for men.
Older adults: 6.25mg once a day during bedtime.
Children: not recommended.

Side Effects Restoril v/s Ambien

Sonata (Zaleplon) may cause a severe hypersensitive reaction. See medical help immediately if you observe any sign of an allergic reaction, such as nausea, swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat, hives, difficulty breathing, nausea, and vomiting.

While taking this medicine, many people might get engaged in an activity while not fully awake and later have no memory of it. This includes driving, walking, or making phone calls. Severe injury or death may occur if you walk or drive while not fully awake.

Ambien carries a risk of side effects and has been known to have lingering effects the following day. Seek medical attention if you experience any sign of a hypersensitive reaction. Be sure to inform your doctor of all other medications you're taking, prescription or otherwise.



Memory Problems Lightheadedness
Anxiety Drowsiness
Depression Diarrhea
Hallucinations Nausea
Dizziness Memory Loss
Weakness Anxiety

Bring into your doctor's knowledge if you experience any of these symptoms. The risk of these side effects is increased if you consume alcohol or certain other medicines while taking this drug.

It should be noted that the mentioned list is not exhaustive. You should discuss all possible side effects with your doctor and review your treatment plan once prescribed Ambien. Your doctor might adjust your dose or choose an alternative treatment to alleviate these symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both drugs are classified as hypnotic, belonging to the same class. They work similarly and are recommended for treatment, but their working ability may differ from one to another.
While consuming Sonata will make you fall asleep, it won't make you stay asleep for longer or wake you up at midnight. But Ambien will make you sleep for extended periods, but you should use only a limited dosage to avoid side effects.
Yes, using over a more extended period than recommended frequently, the high dosage will develop withdrawal symptoms and lead to nausea, seizures, and irritability. You should consult with your doctor and use a drug for not more than two weeks.

Between Sonata And Ambien, Which Is More Effective?

When comparing both drugs, Ambien is more effective. It works up to 3 times longer than the drug Sonata and is effective in treating insomnia; healthcare providers choose ambient over Sonata because it makes you sleep longer than Sonata and is long-lasting in the body, for over a more extended period whether Sonata does not. So comparatively, the Sonata is compelling.

Study Link

The study was taken between the Sonata and ambien following an administration of 5 to 2 hours before awakening. The study aims to compare the duration of hypnotic and sedative effects of both drugs.

Sonata 10 mg and Ambien 10 mg were administered to 36 healthy individuals in six periods of a crossover study. Their residual wash effects were demonstrated on Sonata 10mg. But ambien 10mg shows a more significant residual effect after administration up to 5h before waking.

In the results, Ambien had more potent effects on the overall objective and subjective measurements when the drug was administered at night.

Precautions needed to be taken

Why Are Precautions Needed

Precautions are the steps that will help you to avoid some dangerous Side Effects. Drugs can interact with one another, but correctly using a cure will be able to prevent the side effects of a particular medicine, so be aware of the precautions before consuming.

Precautions Of Sonata

  • Sonata should be used during your bedtime, before going to sleep.
  • If you are allergic to the drugs, you should inform your doctor before using them.
  • Do Not overdose on your medication at the same time. It will lead to severe effects of nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.
  • Do Not use this drug for a more extended period of more than two weeks; you should follow your doctor's order.
  • Stop immediately and consult your doctor if you face any unusual things while using the medicine.

Precautions of Ambien:

  • Using this medication during pregnancy will cause danger to the Unborn baby, so check with your doctor about your pregnancy.
  • Discuss it with your doctor if you have been using Ambien for more than 7 to 10 days.
  • It may cause severe allergic reactions and lead to life-threatening conditions. You face trouble breathing or swallowing, so inform your doctor immediately.
  • This medicine will help you sleep and not be able to remember the following day, so avoid car driving or any activity.
  • This medication causes older persons to become more Drowsy, light-headed, clumsy, and unsteady, so older people should use only the lesser dosage.
  • Do not change your dose or stop suddenly unless your doctor consents because you will develop withdrawal symptoms and may face side effects like vomiting, seizure, nausea, and nervousness.

Drug Interactions

Why Should People Know About Drug Interactions?

Everyone should be aware of drug interaction; a drug interaction describes interacting with one or more drugs simultaneously. While interacting, your potential drug may lose its ability to work unexpected reactions due to the particular exchange of the drug. Before interacting with any medicine, you should be aware of the drug and consult with your doctor.

What Are The Drug Interactions Of Sonata?

Aldehyde oxidase-inhibiting medications:

It is a protein in the liver that helps you break down Sonata. You might suffer from side effects if you take a drug like Benadryl that prevents the inhibitors from working as effectively.

CYP3A4-influencing medications:

It is also another protein in the liver that helps break down Sonata. If you take a drug that prevents CYP3A4 from working as effectively, then you are at a higher risk of side effects.

Sleep-inducing medications:

Taking another sleep medicine at a time has common side effects like drowsiness and severe side effect of abnormal behavior and thoughts. It leads to the worsening of your condition.

What Are The Drug Interactions Of Ambien?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:

Ambien can interact with the SSRIs group of drugs but will increase the risk of Ambien causing side effects.


While interacting with Ambien. You may have a higher risk of side effects from both the group of drugs; if you take Ambien and benzodiazepine, it can increase the CNS side effects and show some symptoms.

Interacting with herbs and supplements:

Before interacting with certain herbs and supplements, you should consult a doctor.

Avoid interacting with alcohol. It will lead to severe drowsiness and worsen your condition.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

If any person struggles with any sleep disorder or insomnia associated with falling or staying asleep, he needs medication to get relief. It is advised to take treatment after consultations with the concerned healthcare professional. The medical practitioner would recommend the best-suited drug based on the person's age, medical history, body composition, and other factors.

The side effects of both medicines are comparable. However, Ambien can work thrice as long as Sonata and probably do a more efficient job of keeping and staying asleep. Healthcare providers tend to recommend Ambien over Sonata for this reason. Ambien works quickly enough to put you to sleep but may be better at increasing your total sleep time.

In either approach, seek consultation with your healthcare professional to ensure the treatment is tailored to your needs.

  • Avril, Tom, "Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta get stronger warning from FDA" (2019). Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center in the News. Paper 12. Obtain On 04/10/2022
  • Guzzo, Peter R. "GABAA Receptor Agonists for Insomnia: Zolpidem (Ambien), Zaleplon (Sonata), Eszopiclone (Estorra, Lunesta), and Indiplon."The Art of Drug Synthesis (2007): 215-223. Obtain On 04/10/2022
  • Leger, D., and B. Poursain. "An international survey of insomnia: under-recognition and under-treatment of a polysymptomatic condition."Current medical research and opinion 21.11 (2005): 1785-1792. From
  • On 04/10/2022
  • Cysneiros, R. M., et al. "Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between zolpidem and caffeine."Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 82.1 (2007): 54-62. From
  • Hesse, Leah M., Lisa L. von Moltke, and David J. Greenblatt. "Clinically important drug interactions with zopiclone, zolpidem and zaleplon."CNS drugs 17.7 (2003): 513-532. From Obtain On 04/10/2022