1 What is Sonata?

Brand: Sonata

Generic: Zaleplon

Sonata (Zaleplon) is a sleeping pill. Doctors prescribe Sonata to treat insomnia on a short-term treatment basis only. Sonata reduces the time it needs for the person to fall asleep at bedtime.

Sonata is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and it makes you drowsy or less alert. Zaleplon in Sonata is somewhat different compared to other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Sonata requires a prescription. Like many sleeping pills, Sonata may cause addiction, abnormal thinking, unusual changes in behavior, and memory loss especially if the drug is used improperly or with alcohol or other drugs. Sonata may also significantly impair thinking and reaction long after the drug has been taken. Only use Sonata with doctor’s supervision. 

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2 What to Know Before Using

The doctor will consider the following first before prescribing Sonata.


Sonata may cause serious allergies. Make sure to mention to the doctor all of your allergies to drugs, foods, and other substances, and if you ever had sensitivities to Sonata before. You cannot take Sonata if you are allergic to it.

Health conditions

Tell the doctor all of your health problems before taking Sonata. You should not take Sonata if you have any of the following health problems:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea, or other breathing difficulties during sleeping
  • Lung diseases including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD and other breathing problems
  • Having or having history of having depression, or other types of mental illness
  • Having or having history of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Having or having history of alcohol addiction

Alcohol use

You cannot take alcohol if you are taking sleeping pills like Sonata. Alcohol can increase risk and worsen side effects of the drug.

Effects of food

Taking Sonata with a full stomach may reduce absorption and slows down the onset of effects, notably on sleep latency.  

Use of restricted or prohibited drugs

It is very important to tell the doctor if you take restricted or prohibited drugs before taking Sonata. Illegal drugs such as narcotics, MDMA, GHB, hallucinating agents and other drugs may enhance or worsen side effects of Sonata.


You cannot take sleeping pills such as Sonata if you are pregnant. Sonata may cause harm to the unborn fetus when given to pregnant patients.


You cannot do breastfeeding if you are taking Sonata.

Use on children

The effectiveness and safety of Sonata to children or patients below 18 years of age is not yet established. Do not give Sonata to children.

Use on elderly

Sonata can be given to elderly. The recommended dose for Sonata in elderly is 5 mg only. However, they need closer monitoring to prevent falls or other accidents.

3 Proper Usage

Sonata and other sleeping pills require individualized dosage. This mean that you must frequently be seen by the doctor for adjustment of dose based on your body’s response. Make sure to follow the doctor’s prescribed dosage of Sonata.

Sonata is meant for short-term use only. Do not use Sonata longer than two weeks unless ordered by the doctor.

Sonata should be taken only if needed. Sonata is usually taken at bedtime right before sleeping. You must have at least 5 hours dedicated to sleeping when taking Sonata. Take Sonata at least an hour after eating a meal or fatty food.

If Sonata does not seem to work for insomnia, or symptoms seem to become worse, call the doctor right away.

Missing single dose of Sonata is not an issue because you only have to take the drug if needed. Do not take more Sonata to make up for the missed dose.

If you are taking Sonata for several days, missing few doses can cause the onset of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can also occur if you suddenly discontinued taking Sonata.

Overdose can occur if you took too much Sonata. Overdose symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, loss of body coordination, limp or weak muscles, shallow breathing, or fainting. If you took too much Sonata, call emergency medical hotlines right away. 

4 Precautions to Take

Sonata can cause drowsiness, so only take it if you want to sleep. Do not drive or perform dangerous tasks after taking Sonata. Note that you may feel groggy at daytime after taking Sonata.

Sonata can be habit forming. Always observe the proper dosage of Sonata, and do not take more than needed. Do not give Sonata to others. Make sure to store Sonata in a secure place and make sure that every tablet has been accounted for.

Do not take alcohol or prohibited drugs when taking Sonata.

Avoid taking Sonata as a sleep aid when travelling.  

Stopping or discontinuing Sonata can cause withdrawal symptoms. If you wish to stop taking Sonata, call the doctor. Sonata is normally discontinued by tapering the dose, and should be done only with doctor’s supervision.

5 Potential Side Effects

Sonata can cause serious side effects that need doctor’s attention. Call your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Symptoms of severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, skin rash, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, throat, or tongue
  • Bronchospasm symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing
  • Changes in behavior
  • Irritability, aggression, and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucination
  • Thoughts of suicide or actual suicide attempts
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

Sonata may cause minor side effects such as:

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