Sorry for the late reply. I was given some sleeping pills (Zoplicone). I, like you, was immediately doubting whether they would actually work. And after 40 something hours of being awake, I took one tablet and I honestly think I was out within a minute!
The problem you may get though, and this is the problem I ran into, is that you may start to worry about not being able to sleep without the sleeping pills. I got this anxiety feeling straight away. I ended up taking a sleeping pill (one day I had taken two) every other night because I couldn't sleep - it was all due to anxiety though.
Then there is the problem that if you rely on them too much, they start to lose their effect. And not only that, but often the side effects and the withdrawal effects are usually rebound insomnia! This hasn't happened to me because I was prescribed just 14 tablets. I only had taken 5 over a period of a week.
If you do decide to take some sleeping aids, try natural remedies first (I take valerian everyday)! Although there isn't sufficient evidence to suggest valerian works, and it certainly doesn't have much of an effect on me other than making me yawn but not actually feel sleepy, it may work as a placebo! Even if you are aware that it could be a placebo effect, it can still work. If natural remedies don't work, and therefore you do decide to take prescription pills, use them as a last resort and intermittently!
I take valerian everyday like I said as well as a tablet with 3 different natural extracts including valerian. I take them because I do think they have a slight effect - but only little. I had some Diazepam left (5x 5mg tabs that I would snap in half to get 10x 2.5mg) that I would take as a last resort (but only to calm down). I would have just half a tab and this would usually calm my anxiety down to the point where I would doze off purely because I am not panicking as much. I still have the Zopiclone left that I will use as a last resort (but I haven't needed to take one for about 3 months).
Be very careful with sleeping aids. Especially if you use Benzodiazepines. You really do need to be very conservative with them. In the worse case scenario, do what I did; take them every other night if you cannot get any sleep at all. So, for example, if you don't sleep Monday night, take a pill Tuesday night. If you don't sleep Wednesday night, wait until Thursday night to take the next pill. And so on and so forth. However, if you manage to get some sleep on one of the nights that you didn't take a pill, don't take one the following night. Try again without a pill. But if you don't succeed, wait until the following night to yet again take another one.
For example, let's say you don't get any sleep Monday night at all; take a pill on the following Tuesday night. Then if you sleep without a pill on Wednesday night (even if it is as little as 2 hours), try again to sleep without a pill on Thursday night. If you didn't manage to get any sleep Thursday night, then take another pill on the Friday night. So basically, every night that you don't get any sleep, take a pill the following night to make sure you get sleep. But for every night you do get some sleep, even as little as 2 hours, then refrain from taking another pill the next night and try again without a pill.
Sorry for the massive replies but as you can tell, I take this serious. This is my method of using sleeping aids and I find this to be the best method. It also puts my mind at rest a little when I don't sleep because I feel confident in that I will sleep the following night because I feel I have the pills to rely on. But 9 nights out of 10, I don't need to take the pills. So they usually last a long time. And I think this is partly because of the feeling of safety I get because I know I have the pills there to take. And like I said, the placebo effect works wonders - especially if the insomnia is anxiety related.
I hope you sleep well ;)