The authors found that many common insomnia drugs had no proven effectiveness or long-term safety data, and that popular treatments such as melatonin had little clinical evidence of effectiveness.
"We have studied all published and unpublished information — in magazines and online media — to get a complete picture of all available data," said Andrea Chipriani, the head of the study.
The work included data on 154 double blind randomized controlled studies involving more than 44,000 people.
The final results point to two specific drugs that had the most effective treatment profiles: lemborexant and esopiclon.
More common insomnia treatments, such as benzodiazepines and zolpidem, have proved useful in the short term but have no evidence of long-term effectiveness or safety.
Lemborexant and Ezopiclon have not yet been approved in the EU; in particular, lemborexant is a new form of insomnia drug approved for use in the United States only in 2019.
Only 16 per cent of patients benefited from the H-rays, long-term data were also lacking, and melatonin did not show any significant benefits: only 18 per cent noticed improvements and four out of 10 reported side effects.