You’ve got an important meeting in the morning but you just can’t find a way to get some sleep. Now, a solution may be on the way: according to reports, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new type of sleeping pill that could help insomniacs get a full night’s rest.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that prevents people from falling or staying asleep. Stress, illness, and medications can all cause insomnia. The condition affects many Americans, with the National Sleep Foundation estimating that roughly half of all adults experience insomnia a few nights each week.
Help may be on the way in the form of a new sleeping pill from pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. The firm recently received the FDA’s approval to start selling Belsomra, which temporarily blocks the chemicals that can keep people awake at night. Specifically, Belsomra targets orexins, which control the sleep cycle and have been known to keep people from falling asleep. The medication will be available in four different strengths.
Tests have shown that people taking Belsomra fell asleep 17 to 23 minutes faster than people taking a placebo. Those patients taking Belsomra also remained asleep for between 11 to 23 minutes longer each night.
However, like other sleep medications Belsomra does have side effects. For example, those taking the maximum dosage, 20 milligrams, experienced drowsiness the following morning and had trouble reaching full alertness.
It’s expected Belsomra will be on store shelves in late 2014 or early 2015.