Compare Ambien vs. Sonata

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Ambien
(Zolpidem)

Sonata
(Zaleplon)

Helps you sleep. Ambien (Zolpidem) is good for falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause disturbing side effects.Helps you sleep. Sonata (Zaleplon) helps you fall asleep, but it's not as good for staying asleep. It also interacts with a lot of diseases and other drugs.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.089219330855019Ambien
Reviews for Ambien (Zolpidem)
66%
of people say Ambien (Zolpidem) is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Sonata (Zaleplon)
42%
24% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
24%
26% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
27%
11% vs. Ambien (Zolpidem)
Side effects
AmbienSonata
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Drowsiness 3%
  • Allergy 3%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Lack of energy 2%
  • Lightheadedness 1%
  • Low mood disorder 1%
More Ambien side effects »
  • Headache 7%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Amnesia 3%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Eye pain 2%
  • Menstrual cramps 2%
  • Drowsiness 2%
  • Tingling sensation 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Tremor 1%
More Sonata side effects »
How it works
AmbienSonata
Ambien (Zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.Sonata (Zaleplon) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it interacts with your brain to make you relaxed and sleepy.
Type of medication
AmbienSonata
SedativePrescription only
SedativePrescription only
Available as
AmbienSonata
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
AmbienSonata
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienSonata
  • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Less than 7 hours of sleep
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Liver problems
    • Muscle disease
    • Elderly
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Ambien (Zolpidem) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Women of childbearing age
    • Breast-feeding
    Detailed Ambien (Zolpidem) risks & warnings »
    • Continuous use for 2 weeks or more
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
    • Less than 7 hours of sleep
    • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
    • Taking with alcohol or drugs
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Breast-feeding
      Detailed Sonata (Zaleplon) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      AmbienSonata
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
      • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
      • Sonata (Zaleplon) can be disinhibiting (like alcohol) or cause hallucinations. Tell your doctor if you notice any unusual changes in behavior.
      Food
      • Works best if taken without food.
      • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
      Kidneys and liver
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Ambien (Zolpidem) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Ambien (Zolpidem) if any sleep-related activities occur.
      • Ambien (Zolpidem) make you feel drowsy and sleepy, leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if your older. Falls from sleep medicines like Ambien (Zolpidem) have caused severe injuries such as hip fractures and head injury. You may need a lower dose if you're taking other medicine that affects your nervous system or have issues with falls in the past. Check with your doctor first.
      • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
      • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behaviors so you can sleep better naturally.
      • Doesn't last as long in the body as some other sleep medicines, so it's okay to take it in the middle of the night as long as you enough time to sleep. (But be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.)
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
      • All prescription sleep-aid medicines like Sonata (Zaleplon) have a risk of physical dependence. Dependence means that you'll feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication all at once. Talk to your doctor about natural ways to improve sleep or treat underlying conditions that prevent sleep.
      • Sonata (Zaleplon) increases your risk of performing potentially dangerous activities while asleep, such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating. Talk to your doctor immediately about stopping Sonata (Zaleplon) if any sleep-related activities occur.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      AmbienSonata
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
      • Extended release form is particularly good for staying asleep, and you can use it for longer than the immediate release form.
      • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster.
      • Doesn't last as long in the body as some other sleep medicines, so it's okay to take it in the middle of the night as long as you enough time to sleep. (But be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.)
      Downsides and risks
      AmbienSonata
      • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming.
      • Some people find that it's less effective over time.
      • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, or lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behavior so that you can sleep better naturally.
      • Not typically used for long-term treatment since it can be habit-forming.
      • Doesn't last as long in the body as other sleep medicines, so it's not as good at helping you stay asleep.
      • Interacts badly with many other medications.
      • Not a good option if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
      • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
      • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
      • It's easy to become reliant on sleep medicines. In the long run, it's better to learn good sleeping habits and behaviors so you can sleep better naturally.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      AmbienSonata
      • Very addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, and dizziness.
      • Can cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
      • Works best if taken without food.
      • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Withdrawal symptoms usually resolve in 1 to 2 nights.
      • Report any confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
      • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      • It's very addictive and meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can start to form after using it daily for 2 weeks.
      • Can cause headache, drowsiness, or dizziness.
      • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
      • Withdrawal symptoms usually get better in 1 to 2 days.
      • Tell your doctor about any sudden confusion or changes in thoughts or behavior.
      • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
      • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 7 hours.
      Learn more
      More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about SonataSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert