How it Works

Dr. Nisha Rana, featured in the video to the left, explains how Ambien affects the brain:

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the brain. "Neurotransmitters control communication along neighboring brain cells, causing increased or decreased electrical activity," according to Ambien's official Web site. When Ambien enters the brain, it binds to a receptor on GABA, creating a powerful sedative effect that induces sleep.

It's believed that GABA dampens electrical activity in neighboring brain cells, according to the Ambien Web site. Ambien then works with GABA to reduce electrical activity in select brain cells, thus creating a "hypnotic" effect.

Supposedly Ambien's ability to be selective in which brain cells it works with is what sets it apart from older sleep medications.