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) aids in falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause 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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.1Ambien
Reviews for Ambien
67%
of people (All ages) say Ambien is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
1375 reviews
Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Sonata
42%
+25% better vs. Ambien
23%
+27% better vs. Ambien
27%
+11% better vs. Ambien
175 reviews
Have you used Sonata (zaleplon)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AmbienSonata
  • Drowsiness 3%
  • Headache 1%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Allergic reactions 3%
  • Sinus infection 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Lack of energy 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Ambien side effects »
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Drowsiness 1%
  • Eye pain 2%
  • Tingling sensation 2%
  • Menstrual cramps 1%
  • Amnesia 1%
More Sonata side effects »
How it works
AmbienSonata
Ambien (zolpidem) is in a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. 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
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AmbienSonata
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
Used for
AmbienSonata
Risk factors for serious side effects
AmbienSonata
  • Continuous use of Ambien (zolpidem) for 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medications that make you less alert
  • Less than 8 hours of sleep.
  • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
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
Detailed Sonata (zaleplon) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Interactions
AmbienSonata
No interactions related info.
  • Interacts badly with many other medications.
Alcohol
AmbienSonata
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
  • It works best if taken without food and avoid taking it with alcohol or drugs.
Kidneys and liver
AmbienSonata
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, 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.
Sleep
AmbienSonata
  • Ambien (zolpidem) makes you feel drowsy and sleepy, potentially leading to falls and severe injuries. This is especially a risk if you're 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 medications that also cause drowsiness. Check with your doctor first.
  • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 8 hours.
  • 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, or dizziness.
  • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster.
  • People have sleep-walked, sleep-driven, and sleep-eaten while on Sonata (Zaleplon).
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.
  • Generic is available.
  • 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 Ambien (zolpidem) becomes 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, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
  • 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
  • Take 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.
  • Only take it if you have time to sleep for at least 8 hours.
  • Can be addictive. Meant for short-term treatment. Dependence can form after daily use for 2 weeks.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when taking Ambien (zolpidem).
  • Withdrawal symptoms can occur if you abruptly stop the drug and you've been regularly using it. The 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.
Learn more
More about AmbienSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SonataSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Sonata (zaleplon)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it