Hypnotics and sedatives are two closely related categories of psychoactive drug, collectively referred to as sedative-hypnotic drugs. These drugs have a range of different mechanisms of action in the brain, but all are used to promote a state of calm, generally by relieving anxiety (in the case of sedatives) or inducing sleep (in the case of hypnotics). Most sedative-hypnotic drugs work by facilitating the action of inhibitory neurotransmitters, which are the molecules used by the brain and nervous system to dampen the neuronal signals that cause excited feelings and reactions such as stress, fear, and anxiety. Because of their potent effects on the brain's neurochemistry, prolonged use of some sedative-hypnotic drugs can result in memory loss and impaired memory function.
[P1] Sedative-hypnotic drugs work by blocking feelings of excitement, fear and stress from the brain.