When you have an important event coming up, getting some decent shut-eye can be challenging—the anticipation and excitement can often make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. And you’re not alone—sleep issues nowadays have become increasingly common, affecting around 10% to 30% of the world’s population.
If you’re often losing sleep over everyday struggles, sleep medications like Belsomra or trazodone may be what you need. Combined with tips on non-pharmaceutical methods for proper sleep hygiene, these medications can help you reclaim your nights and finally enjoy a restful sleep.
These medications have distinct mechanisms of action, though. You can learn more about them, as well as some excellent alternatives, in this Belsomra vs. trazodone comparison.
If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, your doctor may prescribe Belsomra. This medication belongs to a drug class called dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA), alongside Dayvigo and Quviviq. DORAs block the actions of orexins, neuropeptides that keep you awake, preventing them from binding to their receptors. As a result, DORAs can reduce wakefulness, helping you fall and remain asleep throughout the night.
Belsomra, whose active ingredient is suvorexant, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014. Various clinical trials confirmed Belsomra’s effectiveness over the placebo.
Belsomra is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it has a low risk for abuse. Trial participants reported no evidence of withdrawal symptoms after prolonged use or once they’ve stopped taking the drug. Still, experts can’t rule out the possibility of psychological dependence on Belsomra, so patients should approach it with caution.
How To Take Belsomra
Always take Belsomra or any other medication as your doctor instructed. They’ll evaluate your medical history and current condition to determine the best dosage for you. The available options are:
- 5 mg
- 10 mg
- 15 mg
- 20 mg
The average starting dose is 10 mg, whereas 20 mg is the daily maximum. You should take Belsomra once a day, 30 minutes before going to bed. If you take Belsomra during or right after a meal, it may take longer before you feel its effects.
Only take Belsomra if you can set aside seven hours of sleep. Otherwise, you may feel excessively drowsy the next day. Give yourself enough time to fully wake up before taking on complex tasks that require focus and precision.
Although Belsomra is safe for long-term use, healthcare providers usually recommend taking it only as needed.
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Who Can Take Belsomra?
Belsomra is intended for individuals over 18 who have trouble falling asleep and maintaining sleep during the night.
This medication is safe for patients over 65, provided they take a lower dose and exercise caution. Older individuals may have a higher risk of experiencing adverse reactions, such as dizziness, which can cause falling and physical harm.
Belsomra also entails a Category C pregnancy risk. This means that it hasn’t been confirmed as safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so doctors typically advise against it.
Patients with any of the following conditions or on any of the following medications may need to take a lower dose or consider an alternative:
To be on the safe side, you should inform your doctor about any conditions you have or medications and supplements you take before starting Belsomra, even if they’re not on these lists.
Belsomra’s Side Effects
Belsomra may cause negative reactions in some users. The most commonly reported side effects of Belsomra are headaches and drowsiness the next day. Other potential negative reactions may include:
- Unusual dreams and sleep behavior
- Respiratory issues
The user should report any side effects to their doctor so they can modify the treatment or help deal with the symptoms.
Sudden changes on the skin, such as swelling and hives or difficulty breathing, could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction to Belsomra. In case it happens, users should seek medical assistance immediately.
Approved by the FDA in 1981, trazodone is a medication used to treat major depressive disorder. It’s an antidepressant, particularly a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI).
Scientists still don’t understand exactly how trazodone works. It’s believed to increase and restore the balance of serotonin, the brain chemical that affects your mood, memory, and various physiological processes.
At lower doses, trazodone may have hypnotic effects and aid with insomnia. It can help you fall asleep and maintain sleep without morning grogginess. Trazodone isn’t a controlled substance, and if used correctly, it’s unlikely to cause physical dependence.
How To Take Trazodone
Trazodone is available in the following doses:
- 50 mg
- 100 mg
- 150 mg
- 300 mg
If you’re sleep-deprived and your doctor recommends trazodone as the solution, you may expect them to initially prescribe 150 mg per day divided into smaller doses. They may increase the daily dosage by 50 mg every three or four days. The largest recommended dose is 400 mg per day.
You should take trazodone after a meal or snack at different intervals throughout the day, following your doctor’s instructions. The drug is designed for long-term use and requires regular administration to remain effective.
Who Can Take Trazodone?
Trazodone is intended only for patients over 18 years old. It’s used primarily to treat depression and anxiety symptoms, but it can also help with insomnia. Individuals over 65 typically take lower doses to mitigate the potential side effects, which can be prominent in this age group.
It hasn’t been confirmed whether trazodone is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, but most doctors will recommend not using it since the risks can’t be ruled out.
Individuals who have any of the conditions or take any medications or supplements from the below lists may not be able to take trazodone.
These lists are by no means exhaustive, so you should make sure your doctor is aware of all your conditions and current treatments before starting trazodone.
Trazodone’s Side Effects
While side effects of this drug are rare if the patient is using it as instructed, users who take trazodone typically do so under the supervision of doctors and family members to minimize the risk of adverse reactions. When taking trazodone, special attention should be paid to changes in mental and eye health.
Trazodone may also have other side effects, including:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Serotonin syndrome
- Angle-closure glaucoma
- Hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood)
The patient should inform their doctor in case of any side effects. If there are signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as facial swelling or breathing problems, they should contact emergency services immediately.
Belsomra vs. Trazodone—Side-by-Side Comparison
The following table sums up the main characteristics of Belsomra and trazodone:
Although Belsomra is a drug designed for insomnia and affects orexins while trazodone is an antidepressant that regulates your serotonin levels, studies suggest that both medications can be an effective sleep treatment.
If you believe you’d be a good candidate for Belsomra or trazodone, consult your doctor. They’ll evaluate your medical history and current condition to decide if you’re eligible.
Can You Take Trazodone and Belsomra Together?
Trazodone and Belsomra may be used together in some cases, but you should be careful if doing so because they can interact. Taking them together may increase unwanted reactions such as drowsiness, dizziness, and focus issues. In elderly users, trazodone and Belsomra may cause an impairment in judgment, thinking, and motor coordination.
If you must take these medications together, you should avoid high-risk tasks that require alertness, at least when starting the treatment.
Alternatives to Belsomra and Trazodone
Instead of trazodone or Belsomra, your healthcare provider may prescribe other sleep medications, such as Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, or Silenor. They may also suggest an antidepressant, antihistamine, anxiolytic, or over-the-counter sleep aids such as valerian or melatonin.
No matter which treatment you’re using, sleep medication is most impactful when combined with psychotherapy and health-oriented lifestyle changes. If you want an all-encompassing and personalized sleep treatment plan, turn to Kick and its expert-designed sleep solutions.
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Kick—The Key to Peaceful Nights and Happy Mornings
Kick is an online performance medicine clinic that can help you optimize your sleeping habits in no time. Unlike traditional doctor appointments, which can be time-consuming, Kick allows you to get in touch with a sleep medicine specialist online within a day.
Once you complete a brief sleep visit and provide relevant medical information, our sleep doctor will create a custom treatment plan for you. They’ll prescribe different sleep medications for trial, which will be delivered to your door or local pharmacy.
Kick offers various sleep medications, including non-generic options such as trazodone and:
Our specialist will check in with you regularly and fine-tune your treatment based on your feedback. To help you adopt healthy sleeping habits, they’ll also provide helpful cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) coaching.
Getting Started With Kick
To try Kick and find out the reason behind its incredible Trustpilot rating and reviews, take these four steps:
- Sign up and begin your 15-minute sleep visit
- Fill in the required information
- Complete the medical intake form that gathers details on your medical history and current health status
- Provide the shipping and payment information
Once you’ve supplied all the necessary information, our sleep doctor will review it within 24 hours and get back to you via text. If they decide you’re not eligible for Kick’s sleep program, you won’t have to pay for the consultation as per our “Doctor Guarantee.” Experience the sleep you deserve with Kick risk-free—and start celebrating your mornings!
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