Effect of Zolpidem, Zaleplon, and Ramelton on cognitive functioning after awakening from napping



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Non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics and melatonin receptor agonist hypnotics induce the onset of sleep and are primarily prescribed for the treatment of insomnia. Although, non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic drugs zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien) are not chemically like benzodiazepines, they induce sleep by binding to the same gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the central nervous system. They may be less likely than benzodiazepine medications to disrupt natural sleep rhythm and patterns which may make sleep more restful. Ramelteon (Rozerem) is a new category of sleep medications that bind to the melatonin receptor in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. \r\nCognitive performance following a “full night’s” rest after taking these medications has been more thoroughly studied than performance decrements should return to duty be required. These hypnotics may be used to induce sleep in circumstances not ideal for rest (shift work, noisy environment, short period available during the day, etc.). Because these three drugs have a rapid onset and short half-life (one hour for zaleplon, 2.5 hours for zolpidem and 2.5 hours for ramelteon), they have the potential to be utilized in individuals that need assistance with sleep latency, but might need to wake up before a “full night’s” rest to perform critical tasks.\r\nThis project reviews the literature regarding the effectiveness of zaleplon, zolpidem, or ramelteon in inducing sleep and the effects on cognitive functioning and performance decrements within eight hours after use.