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Hypnotics, or soporifics, are a class of drugs which promote and induce sleep. They are the opposite of eugeroics which promote wakefulness.[1] They are commonly distributed in the form of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed to treat insomnia.

They differ from sedatives which are anxiolytic, muscle relaxing, and euphoric.[2] They both often overlap leading to the term "sedative-hypnotics." Many hypnotics such as zopiclone can disturb the first sleep cycle and should not be used as a long-term solution to insomnia for this reason.[3]

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  1. Powered by Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Healthcare Consumers | https://web.archive.org/web/20081211091401/http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_hl_dorlands_split.jsp?pg=/ppdocs/us/common/dorlands/dorland/four/000051451.htm
  2. Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics | Chapter 17. Hypnotics and Sedatives | http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=374&sectionid=41266223
  3. Criteria for selection of appropriate benzodiazepine hypnotic therapy. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1680126