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Melatonin and melatonin receptor agonists function by altering the circadian clock to promote sleep.Over-the-counter melatonin and prescription Ramelteon are examples.In modern medicine they have been largely replaced by the benzodiazepines, primarily because they can induce tolerance, physical dependence and serious withdrawal symptoms.
The representatives of this group are: Herbal sedatives have been used all over the world to treat insomnia and anxiety for thousands of years.
Many current over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids have wide-reaching sedative effects and sometimes cause confusion, next-day drowsiness, worsening of sleep apnea symptoms, and an increase in the risk of falls.
Orexins work on a targeted chemical system—one that is mainly involved in arousal.
Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics also affect the chemical GABA, but are more targeted and affect only specific parts of the GABA receptor.
Examples of non-benzodiazepine sleep aids are zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon.
The representatives of this group are: Benzodiazepines are the most widely used group of sedative drugs.