Drug vs Drug

Restoril vs. Ambien:
Which Is Better?


Read our guide on Restoril vs. Ambien to learn more about these drugs and how to choose between them.

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Restoril vs Ambien

In the United States, about 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. Not only does lack of sleep make you grumpy, but it can also increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.

To help patients fall asleep, many healthcare providers prescribe medication. In this article, we’ll compare two short-term insomnia treatment options: Restoril and Ambien. Read on to learn more about the difference between Ambien and Restoril and how a DNA test can help you decide between them.

Restoril vs. Ambien: What Are They?

Ambien and Restoril are drugs designed to help people with insomnia, a disorder that makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep. While they have similar outcomes, these drugs work in different ways. Let’s take a closer look at Restoril vs. Ambien and how they help foster sleep.


Restoril is a branded version of a drug called temazepam. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which work by impacting neurotransmitters in the brain. More specifically, they increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down the central nervous system and encourages the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Calmness
  • Sleepiness


The sedation effects of Restoril can also be used to promote muscle relaxation and treat symptoms of anxiety and seizures.


Ambien is a branded version of a drug called zolpidem, which belongs to a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics. Like benzodiazepines, Ambien works by altering the levels of GABA, which helps reduce the following insomnia symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Feelings of restlessness before/after sleep


While Ambien and Restoril both affect GABA, they do so in different ways. The central difference is that Restoril can be used to treat other conditions (like anxiety) while Ambien is solely used for insomnia.

Restoril vs. Ambien: Side Effects

Whether you take Restoril or Ambien, there’s always the possibility of experiencing side effects. Consult the chart below to see which side effects are common for Restoril, Ambien or both.

Restoril Ambien
Lethargy Yes Yes
Headaches Yes Yes
Nausea Yes Yes
Dizziness Yes Yes
Constipation No Yes
Allergy symptoms No Yes
Nightmares Yes No
Blurred vision Yes No
Depression Yes No

Restoril vs. Ambien: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about Restoril and Ambien.

Is temazepam stronger than Ambien?

When deciding between these drugs, many patients wonder if one is more effective than the other. Ambien (zolpidem) tends to be slightly stronger than Ambien (temazepam), which is why it’s generally prescribed at a lower dosage. The recommended starting dosage for Ambien is just 5 mg (compared to 15 mg of Restoril).

Can I use antidepressants as a sleep aid?

Some antidepressants, such as trazadone, have mild sedating effects and can be used as sleep aids. In fact, trazadone and Ambien are often compared to each other — there are many “trazodone vs. Ambien for sleep” guides that extensively measure these treatment options.

It’s important to note that antidepressants are not safe for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about trazadone vs. Ambien for insomnia, talk to your healthcare provider.

Should I take temazepam or Ambien?

Now that you better understand the differences between Restoril (temazepam) and Ambien (zolpidem), you might be wondering: which one should I take? The answer varies depending on each individual.

In past years, the only way to determine which medication worked best was by trying both. Doctors would prescribe one drug, wait to see the effects, then either adjust the dosage or switch the drug. If this process sounds troublesome to you, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there’s a better method now for drug selection — pharmacogenetic testing.

ClarityX: DNA Testing

Pharmacogenetic testing, also called genetic or DNA testing, is an innovative way to learn how your body interacts with certain medications. It examines cytochrome P450, an enzyme responsible for metabolizing the majority of clinically used drugs. After taking the test, you’ll discover whether a medication will:

  • Be ineffective
  • Be too strong
  • Interact negatively with other drugs


With this information, you and your healthcare provider will know whether you need to increase your dosage, lower it or switch to a new medication.

If you’re interested in trying DNA testing for yourself, ClarityX has you covered. We offer two types of tests: the Mindwell test (which covers mental wellness conditions like depression and ADHD) and the Max Rx test (which covers mental wellness conditions and 16 additional fields). Take our questionnaire today to get started!

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