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Belsomra for Sleep—Can It Give You a Good Night’s Rest?

Belsomra for Sleep—Can It Give You a Good Night’s Rest?

If you’ve ever found yourself lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and counting the minutes until your alarm goes off—you’re not alone. Sleep problems are common these days—an estimated 50 to 70 million U.S. adults struggle with chronic sleep disorders.

If you’re experiencing insomnia, your doctor may prescribe Belsomra for sleep. This article explains its mechanism of action, recommended dosage, and side effects, so you can be informed in deciding whether it may be suitable for you.

What Is Belsomra?

Belsomra is a prescription drug used to treat sleep disorders in adults. It helps you fall and stay asleep by blocking the production of orexins, the chemicals in your brain that signal wakefulness, keeping you awake.

Belsomra is the first FDA-approved orexin antagonist drug. It was released in 2014 and became publicly available the following year. At the moment, this medication doesn’t have any generic versions.

Source: Karolina Grabowska

Here are some important details about Belsomra:

Drug Characteristics


Active ingredient


Drug classification

Dual orexin receptor antagonist

Date of FDA approval




Drug form


Average dose

10 mg per day

Maximum dose

20 mg per day

Suitable for children


Suitable for pregnant women


Average cost


How Does Belsomra Work?

Belsomra belongs to the group of drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs), and its active ingredient is suvorexant.

Suvorexant affects the brain’s orexin receptors. Orexins are neuropeptides that regulate your sleep-wake cycle and induce wakefulness. Suvorexant promotes sleep by targeting and blocking the orexin receptors, decreasing the activity of orexin-producing neurons. DORAs can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

A recent study showed that participants who took Belsomra fell asleep up to ten minutes quicker than those who didn’t and stayed asleep for up to 31 minutes longer. The treatment group demonstrated significant improvements compared to the control group that was given a placebo.

How Is Belsomra Dosed?

Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya

Belsomra comes in tablet form with the following doses available:

  1. 5 mg
  2. 10 mg
  3. 15 mg
  4. 20 mg

The average dosage of Belsomra is 10 mg, and the maximum daily intake is 20 mg. Belsomra is typically not taken every night—in most cases, it should be taken only as needed.

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage they deem suitable for you, and they may try an increased dose if appropriate.

How To Take Belsomra

You should take Belsomra 30 minutes before going to bed. Take it only if you expect to sleep for at least seven hours. Otherwise, you may experience a lack of alertness that can make activities that require sharp focus challenging. If you forget to take your dosage 30 minutes before, you can still take Belsomra right before you go to bed if you can allocate seven hours to sleep.

Don’t cut Belsomra in half or crush it—this may interfere with your prescribed dose, so make sure to take the whole tablet.

How Long Does It Take for Belsomra To Work?

Belsomra should take effect about 30 minutes after taking the tablet. Consuming Belsomra with food slows down absorption, so it may take an hour to be effective.

Doctors typically ask that you try the medication for seven to ten days to gauge the effectiveness before changing the dose or recommending an alternative. In clinical studies, participants were given the drug for up to three months, but in most cases, it’s prescribed for a shorter time.

How Long Does Belsomra Stay in Your System?

The amount of time your body needs to eliminate half the dose of a drug is called half-life. The half-life of Belsomra is typically 12 hours, but it varies based on numerous factors. For instance, one study found that, on average, suvorexant remained in the body slightly longer in women (14.4 to 15.8 hours) than in men (12.1 to 14.5 hours).

Typically, your body takes four to five half-lives to eliminate a substance from your system, so Belsomra should no longer be present in your system within two to three days after the last dose. In most cases, Belsomra isn't known to cause the "hangover effect" associated with many other sleep medications.

Is Belsomra Addictive?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies drugs into five categories or Schedules based on their medical use and abuse potential. Belsomra is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it has a low risk of misuse and dependence.

In clinical studies, participants showed no signs of addiction after prolonged use of the drug. They also didn’t report any withdrawal symptoms after discontinuation.

Still, caution is advised—some users may develop psychological dependence, feeling like they can’t fall asleep without the drug. If you notice such symptoms, let your healthcare provider know as soon as possible.

What Are Belsomra’s Side Effects?

How you react to Belsomra depends on various factors, primarily your age, medical conditions, and other drugs you’re taking. Read the provided instructions and familiarize yourself with potential side effects to know what to expect before taking Belsomra.

In general, driving or engaging in activities that require alertness isn’t recommended for at least 8 hours after the last dose. Belsomra can interfere with your ability to safely operate a vehicle or heavy machinery.

Side effects of Belsomra may include:

  • Drowsiness the next day
  • Strange dreams
  • Headaches
  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and other types of parasomnia
  • Temporary muscle weakness
  • Sleep paralysis before falling asleep or after waking up
  • Mood changes
  • Allergic reactions

If they occur, the milder symptoms usually go away on their own after a few days. In case symptoms linger or become more intense, the doctor may recommend a different dosage or switch you to another drug.

Acute or life-threatening allergic reactions to the drug are uncommon. Seek immediate medical assistance if you have difficulty breathing or notice swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Who Is Belsomra For?

Belsomra is intended to help treat sleep issues in adults dealing with insomnia. It may be particularly helpful if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  1. Difficulty falling asleep
  2. Difficulty maintaining sleep throughout the night
  3. Waking up too early in the morning
  4. Poor quality of sleep
  5. Accompanying issues affecting sleep, such as stress, mood shifts, and impaired cognitive function

Who Shouldn’t Use Belsomra?

Although Belsomra is recommended for anyone over 18 years old unless pregnant or breastfeeding, some cases require more caution. Older people over 65 can experience dizziness and be at risk of falling, so they should take a lower dose.

The drug should also be approached with caution by those suffering from specific medical conditions as it may worsen their symptoms. These conditions include:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Cataplexy
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Breathing problems

Let your healthcare provider know about any medical conditions or symptoms you may be experiencing. They can determine whether Belsomra is the right choice for you or if an alternative is more suitable.

Source: Marcus Aurelius

Which Medications Interact With Belsomra?

Belsomra can interact with some medications and supplements, so it’s best to avoid taking them together. These medications include:

  • Opioids and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants
  • Heart medication
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antiseizure medication
  • Some HIV drugs
  • Some infection medication
  • Other sleep or anxiety medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antihistamines
  • St. John’s wort

Notify your doctor of any drugs or supplements you’re taking, even if they’re not on this list.

You shouldn’t mix Belsomra and alcohol. They’re both CNS depressants that slow down brain activity. Combining Belsomra and alcohol can lead to drowsiness and a heightened risk of injury. If you’ve consumed alcohol, it’s best to skip Belsomra that day.

What Are Some Alternatives to Belsomra?

As an alternative to Belsomra, your doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Dayvigo (lemborexant)
  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Lunesta (eszopiclone)
  • Sonata (zaleplon)
  • Trazodone
  • Vistaril (hydroxyzine pamoate)
  • Benzodiazepines (lorazepam, diazepam, etc.)
  • Quviviq (daridorexant)

They may also suggest using an over-the-counter medication and supplements like:

  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCl)
  • ZzzQuil (diphenhydramine HCL)
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Unisom (doxylamine)
  • Valerian root
  • Melatonin
  • Lavender

Belsomra is a highly effective sleep medication, but it’s not necessarily a long-term solution. You should also develop healthy habits through sleep therapy or psychotherapy to overcome sleeplessness.

Kick—Your Best Night's Sleep Designed by Experts

If you’re struggling to find a sleep doctor or psychiatrist in your area, a telemedicine platform like Kick may be just what you need. With Kick, you can connect with a sleep specialist within a day, get expert advice, and have sleep medication shipped right to your door or local pharmacy.

Kick is not your conventional, one-size-fits-all sleep solution—our specialists will recommend several personalized fast-acting sleep aids for you to try. Based on your progress reports, our doctors will further personalize the treatment until you reach all your sleeping goals.

We prescribe less common, off-label sleep medication, regularly checking in with you and rotating the treatment to determine what works for you best. You’ll get continual support, including expert advice on sleep hygiene and effective CBT-I techniques to help you adopt healthy sleeping habits.

In case our specialists determine you’re not a good fit for the service, you’ll be advised to visit your primary care physician for further help, and according to our “Doctor Guarantee,” you won’t have to pay for the consultations.

How Kick Works

Source: Meruyert Gonullu

To give Kick a try, follow these five easy steps:

  1. Go to our signup page to get your same-day online sleep visit, which takes only about 15 minutes
  2. Fill in the required information
  3. Fill out the medical intake form that gathers medical history and relevant information about your condition
  4. Choose between mail-order medication or local pharmacy pick-up, which is often available the same day
  5. Provide shipping and payment information

With glowing reviews on Trustpilot, Kick has a track record of excellence. Don’t let occasional sleeplessness hinder your day-to-day performance—opt for Kick’s physician-approved sleep solutions and start waking up energized!

Featured image source: Ron Lach