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Hi, I'm so sorry to hear about your difficulty sleeping.
Ambien (also called zolpidem) is a prescription medication that can be used to help patients fall asleep, and is usually taken at doses of 5 to 10 mg. It is very helpful for a lot of patients with insomnia.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone our bodies produce that you can buy over the counter and some patients find this incredibly helpful for falling asleep.
Benadryl does cause sedation but does not contribute to healthy sleep patterns so I agree with not using this medication for that purpose.
Also "sleep hygiene" can be extremely beneficial: keep your room as dark and quiet as possible, and avoid large meals, caffeine, exercise, or television in the few hours before bed. Try to go to bed around the same time every night. Get exercise during the day.
No, neither of these medications should do any permamanent damage and should be cleared from your system completely in a matter of days.