Belsomra: What You need to know

Table of Contents

A woman peacefully sleeping on a bed with a comfy pillow.

Sleep is a fundamental part of our lives, but for some people, it’s a nightly struggle. Insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, affects millions globally. For those grappling with this issue, the quest for a good night’s sleep often leads them to explore various treatment options. One such option is Belsomra.

Belsomra is a prescription medication specifically designed to help adults who have trouble falling or staying asleep. It offers a targeted approach to sleep regulation, offering potential relief for those suffering from insomnia.

What is Belsomra used for?

Belsomra Tablet

The active ingredient in Belsomra is suvorexant. Known as an orexin receptor antagonist, suvorexant works in a unique way compared to other sleep medicines. It targets specific chemicals in the brain known as orexins that promote wakefulness.

Orexins play a key role in regulating sleep-wake cycles. By blocking these orexin receptors, Belsomra helps promote sleepiness and improve overall sleep quality.

How does Belsomra Work?

In the world of regulating sleep-wake cycles, there are special chemicals in the brain called orexin receptors that are really important. They control things like how awake or hungry we feel, and where they’re found in the brain (the hypothalamus). There are two types of these receptors — Orexin-A and Orexin-B — and they help keep us alert during the day and settle us down for sleep at night.

Now, here’s where Belsomra comes in: it’s what we call an orexin receptor antagonist, which basically means it stops those orexin chemicals from doing their job. When Belsomra connects with those receptors, it tells our brain to calm down and get ready for sleep.

Most other sleep medicines make us sleepy by slowing down our whole brain, but Belsomra takes a different route. Instead of forcing us into sleep by making us tired, its main job is to quiet down the part of our brain that wants to stay awake during the day.

This special way Belsomra works can be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping. Rather than making us tired right away, it helps reduce how awake we feel and lets our body naturally get ready for sleep.

Some people find that Belsomra works really well for them, improving both falling asleep and staying asleep. For others, it might work better for just one of those things. So it’s important to know how this medicine works before deciding if it’s right for you.

Can I buy Belsomra over the counter?

Belsomra is classified as a controlled substance (Schedule IV) in the United States due to its potential for abuse and dependence. As such, it can only be obtained with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. Your doctor will evaluate your specific condition, medical history, and potential risks before prescribing Belsomra.

If you believe Belsomra might be an appropriate treatment for your insomnia, consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your situation, discuss the potential benefits and risks, and provide guidance on safe usage. Never attempt to obtain Belsomra without a prescription, as using it without proper medical supervision can be dangerous.

How should I take/use Belsomra?

When it comes to using Belsomra effectively, understanding the right dosage and how to take it is crucial. The correct dose of this medicine may vary depending on your needs and how well you can tolerate it. Remember that it’s usually best to start with the lowest effective dose.

Dosage Options

Belsomra is available in different strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg. Most people begin with a lower dose, usually 10 mg, which may be adjusted based on how they respond to it. However, the maximum recommended dose is 20 mg per day.

Tips for Taking Belsomra

Here are some important things to keep in mind when taking Belsomra:

  • Take it only once every night.
  • Try to take it within 30 minutes of your planned bedtime.
  • Make sure you have at least seven hours set aside for sleep after taking the medication. This can help prevent potential side effects like feeling sleepy or less alert the next day.

Remember, following these instructions exactly as directed is essential for getting the best results from Belsomra. If you have any concerns or experience any side effects, talk to your doctor right away.

The next part of this guide will explore the possible side effects of Belsomra, the risks of taking too much, and how it may interact with other drugs.

How Long does Belsomra take to work?

Belsomra typically begins to work relatively quickly after ingestion:

  • Time to Take Effect: Most users report that Belsomra starts to take effect within 30 minutes to an hour after taking the medication. This timeframe can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, overall health, and whether the medication is taken on an empty stomach or after a meal.

  • Peak Levels: The medication reaches its peak concentration in the bloodstream approximately 2 hours after ingestion. This is when it exerts its strongest effects on promoting sleep.

If you find that Belsomra is not working as expected, or if you experience any adverse effects, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your situation, provide guidance, and adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

What are the Side Effects of Belsomra?

Like any medication, Belsomra has potential side effects alongside its benefits. It’s essential to be aware of these adverse effects for safe and effective use.

Common Side Effects

Many Belsomra users report experiencing some side effects. These typically include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

It’s important to note that these commonly reported side effects are usually mild and tend to diminish as your body adjusts to the medication.

Serious Adverse Effects

While rare, some serious side effects can occur with Belsomra use. These include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal thinking or behavior changes
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

If these or any unusual symptoms occur after taking Belsomra, it’s crucial to contact a healthcare professional immediately.

In addition to side effects, it’s essential to understand the risks associated with overdose and interactions with other medications.

Overdose Risk

Taking more than the recommended dose of Belsomra can lead to overdose, characterized by severe drowsiness that can put the user at risk of accidents. In severe cases, an overdose can lead to coma or even death. Therefore, it’s vital always to take the prescribed dose and seek immediate medical help if an overdose is suspected.

Drug Interactions

Belsomra may interact negatively with other medications. Such interactions can increase the risk of serious side effects or alter how well the medications work. For instance, combining Belsomra with other sedatives enhances the sedative effect, leading to severe drowsiness or slowed breathing. Always inform your healthcare provider about all other medications you are currently taking.

While considering these potential risks might seem overwhelming, remember that doctors prescribe Belsomra because they judge the benefits to outweigh the potential risks. Understanding these aspects helps in making informed decisions about your health and promotes safety while using Belsomra.

How long does Belsomra stay in your system?

The elimination half-life of Belsomra (suvorexant) is approximately 12 hours. This means that after 12 hours, the concentration of the drug in the bloodstream will be reduced by about 50%.

For complete elimination, it generally takes about 5-6 half-lives for a drug to be completely eliminated from the body. Based on Belsomra’s half-life, it can take approximately 60-72 hours (2.5 to 3 days) for the drug to be fully cleared from the system.

Due to its relatively long half-life, Belsomra can cause next-day drowsiness or impaired alertness, especially if taken at higher doses or if the individual is particularly sensitive to the drug. If you experience significant next-day drowsiness or other residual effects, it is important to discuss these symptoms with your healthcare provider. They may adjust your dosage or suggest a different treatment approach.

What are the precautions I need to take?

Belsomra is different from other sleep aids because it is classified as a controlled substance. Specifically, it is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it has a lower risk of being misused or causing dependence. However, there are important safety guidelines to keep in mind:

Safety Precautions

  • Be aware of the potential for abuse: Although the risk is low, using Belsomra in the wrong way can lead to addiction, overdose, or even death.

  • Follow the prescribed dosage: Only take the amount that your healthcare provider has instructed you to use.

Alcohol Precautions

When taking Belsomra, it’s crucial to be cautious about consuming alcohol. Combining alcohol with this medication can increase the chance of experiencing side effects such as:

  • Feeling extra tired or dizzy
  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Being more likely to engage in activities like sleep-driving without remembering them

To ensure your safety, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol while you’re on Belsomra. If you have already had alcohol, it’s recommended to skip your dose to prevent any harmful interactions.


There are certain situations where using Belsomra may not be safe for you due to existing medical conditions or other medications that you’re currently taking. It’s important to always share your complete medical history and list of medications with your healthcare provider before starting this treatment.

By following these precautions and understanding any contraindications, you can use Belsomra responsibly and effectively in managing your insomnia.

Lifestyle Changes for Improved Sleep Quality

A happy family embraces tightly in a cozy room.

Insomnia often stems from daily habits and routines. Adjusting lifestyle choices is a critical step in improving sleep quality. Adopting sleep hygiene practices can significantly enhance the effectiveness of medications like Belsomra.

Key sleep hygiene practices include:

  • Set a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

  • Create a restful environment: Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Use comfortable bedding and minimize potential disturbances.

  • Limit exposure to screens before bedtime: The blue light from phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that signals your body it’s time to sleep.

  • Watch your diet: Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine can also disrupt sleep patterns.

  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. However, avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it may increase alertness.

  • Manage stress: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga to unwind before bed.

By integrating these habits with Belsomra use, individuals may find an improvement not just in the quantity of their sleep but in its quality as well. It’s essential to remember that while medication can aid in addressing symptoms of insomnia, a holistic approach that includes lifestyle modification often yields the best results for long-term sleep health.

In pursuit of better rest, it’s worthwhile exploring how Belsomra pairs with these changes for each unique individual.


Choosing the right insomnia treatment is a personal decision that requires guidance from a healthcare provider. Belsomra, with its active ingredient suvorexant, targets the sleep-wake cycle uniquely and can be an effective option for adults struggling with sleep onset and maintenance.

Here are some important considerations as you explore treatment options:

  • Consult a healthcare provider: Before starting Belsomra, it’s crucial to have a conversation with your doctor. They can help determine if this medication aligns with your specific health needs and insomnia symptoms.

  • Address underlying causes of insomnia: It’s not just about taking medication. Understanding and treating the root issues contributing to sleep problems can lead to more sustainable results.

  • Adopt a comprehensive approach: Combining Belsomra with positive lifestyle changes can enhance sleep quality significantly. Practices like maintaining regular sleep schedules, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and managing stress are key components of this holistic strategy.

Remember that managing insomnia often requires both medical and non-medical approaches. By working closely with your healthcare provider and making informed decisions about your sleep habits, you can find a balanced solution that works best for you.

As always, please consult your local doctor for more information!

Read More: Dayvigo Sleep Medication: What You Need to Know Before Trying It

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Belsomra and suvorexant used for?

Belsomra is a medication used to treat insomnia, while suvorexant is the generic name for Belsomra. It belongs to a class of drugs known as orexin receptor antagonists.

How does Belsomra work in the body?

Belsomra acts on orexin receptors in the brain, which play a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. By targeting these receptors, Belsomra helps promote sleep onset and maintenance.

The proper dosage of Belsomra should be determined based on individual needs and tolerability. It is important to take Belsomra within 30 minutes of bedtime for optimal results.

What are the potential side effects, overdose risks, and drug interactions associated with Belsomra?

Common side effects of Belsomra may include drowsiness, headache, and dizziness. There are potential risks associated with overdose and interactions with other medications. Serious adverse effects linked to Belsomra should be identified and managed promptly.

What safety precautions and contraindications should be considered when using Belsomra?

Belsomra is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance with low potential for abuse or dependence. Precautions should be taken regarding alcohol consumption while using Belsomra.

How does Belsomra compare to other insomnia medications, including suvorexant?

Belsomra’s mechanism of action sets it apart from other commonly prescribed drugs for insomnia, including suvorexant. It is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment option.

What lifestyle changes can complement the use of Belsomra for improved sleep quality?

In addition to medication, incorporating evidence-based sleep hygiene practices can contribute to better sleep quality. Lifestyle habits play a significant role in promoting healthy sleep.

How should individuals approach the decision to use Belsomra for insomnia treatment?

It is recommended to consult a healthcare provider to determine if Belsomra is the right choice for addressing insomnia. It is important to address underlying causes of insomnia and consider a comprehensive approach to sleep management, including both medication and lifestyle modifications.

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Deepsomnia Team

We are a team of dedicated "sleeperts" who are here to help you and your loved ones sleep better. Sleep Well, Live Well!

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