- For the state of mind see Hypnosis.
Hypnotic drugs are a class of drugs that induce sleep (which differentiates them from the sedative category), used in the treatment of insomnia and in surgical anesthesia. Often the treatment of insomnia will not begin with drugs at all. Because many hypnotic drugs are habit-forming, a physician will usually recommend alternative sleeping patterns and exercise before prescribing medication for sleep. This is due to a large number of factors known to disturb the human sleep pattern.
These drugs include barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines (not all, hypnotic benzodiazepines are usually more powerful than the others in their group), zolpidem, zaleplon, zopiclone, eszopiclone, chloral hydrate, chlormethiazole or the antihistamines doxylamine, promethazine, and diphenhydramine. Alcohol is also used as a hypnotic drug.