Substance Use

How Does Ambien Affect Your Sleep?

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Ambien Sleep Effects

Ambien has become a popular prescription medication for individuals with insomnia and other sleep disorders. Ambien (zolpidem) is a non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic that slows down activity in the brain to allow for sleep. Although Ambien is generally effective and well-tolerated, there are potential side effects and risks associated with this medication.

What Is Ambien?

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic medication used to treat insomnia. Zolpidem, zaleplon (brand name Sonata), and eszopiclone (brand name Lunesta) are generic non-benzodiazepine prescription medications known as “Z-drugs.” All three are CNS depressants categorized as schedule IV drugs, which means they have the potential for abuse and dependence.

Ambien is an FDA-approved sleep medication intended for short-term use only. Long-term use of Ambien or any other Z-drug can lead to serious side effects and health complications, including:

Dependence: People who take Ambien for extended periods may develop a dependency on the drug. They’ll need to keep taking the drug to feel normal and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Tolerance: Over time, people who take Ambien may build tolerance to the drug and need to take larger doses to get the same effect.

Addiction: People dependent on Ambien may also develop an addiction to the drug, characterized by compulsive drug use despite negative consequences.

If you or a loved one has been taking Ambien for an extended period or think you may be dependent or addicted, reach out to Zinnia Healing today for help. Call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to get started.

How Does Ambien work?

Ambien works by depressing the central nervous system (CNS) and slowing down brain activity, making you sleepy. The medication is thought to work by binding to GABA receptors in the brain and increasing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA. This action results in a sedative effect.

There are two types of Ambien: fast-acting and Ambien CR (extended-release). The fast-acting type helps you fall asleep, while the extended-release has two layers. The first layer helps you fall asleep quickly, while the second layer increases sleeping time.

How Does Ambien Affect Your Sleep?

Ambien is intended to directly impact the sleep cycle by helping people fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. For people with insomnia, Ambien can help them get the restful sleep they need.

Like many other sleep aids, Ambien is a short-acting medication, and the effects typically last four to six hours. This means people who take Ambien may wake up a few hours after taking the medication, which can lead to difficulty falling asleep again. However, the effects may last longer depending on the dose and individual, and it’s recommended to take the drug 7-8 hours before your planned time of awakening.

Ambien has similar effects to melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Ambien and melatonin both work by depressing the central nervous system, leading to drowsiness and sleep.

Can You Combine Ambien With Other Sleeping Pills?

When Ambien is taken with other substances, such as benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, marijuana, or alcohol, it can cause cognitive and psychological side effects. Combining Ambien with any other substance is not recommended, especially if you’re not under the care of a sleep specialist.

If your healthcare provider prescribes Ambien for you, tell them about any other medications or substances you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, and illegal drugs. Drugs and substances, even herbal preparations, may interact and cause unintended side effects that can be serious and even life-threatening.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Ambien?

There are many possible side effects from taking prescription drugs for sleep problems. Side effects can be short or long-term, and can occur throughout the night, the next day, or potentially long-term. Side effects can be worse when taking Ambien with other CNS depressants, such as opioids, alcohol, and other Z-drugs.

If you’re taking Ambien and are experiencing side effects but having trouble stopping, reach out to Zinnia Healing for assistance. We offer addiction treatment and supportive care and can help you or someone you love. Call us at (855) 430-9439.

Side effects of Ambien:

After taking Ambien, some people may experience the following:

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleepwalking
  • Sleep driving (driving while not fully awake)
  • Inability to sleep with Ambien
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Stomach cramps
  • Unusual dreams

Side effects of Ambien the next day:

You should be aware of the potential next-day side effects when taking Ambien. Some symptoms include:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Impairment
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with coordination

Is Ambien Addiction Common?

Dependence on Ambien may develop in as little as two weeks. Substance dependence means someone requires a substance to feel normal, has intense cravings for it, and continues to use it despite adverse consequences.

While addiction is not as common as dependence on Ambien, it can occur. Compulsive drug-seeking behavior characterizes addiction. In addition, some people who become addicted to Ambien may start taking higher doses or taking it more often than prescribed.

Signs and Symptoms of Ambien Addiction

Addiction may be challenging to identify at first, as it often starts with a legitimate need for the drug. However, some warning signs may indicate someone is struggling with an Ambien addiction, including:

  • Cravings for Ambien
  • Taking Ambien more often than prescribed or in higher doses
  • Going back to using Ambien after quitting
  • Continuing to use Ambien despite negative consequences
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking Ambien
  • Prioritizing Ambien use over other obligations and activities

What Should You Do if You’re Dependent on Ambien for Sleep?

Ambien has been proven effective in individuals having trouble sleeping. However, it can quickly become habit-forming and lead to severe side effects. It’s essential to be aware of these before starting Ambien or any other sleep medication.

If you think you’re addicted to Ambien, many therapies and treatments can help you. Zinnia Healing offers a wide range of addiction treatment services to help you on your journey to recovery, including:

  • Medical detox
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Aftercare and alumni support

If you or someone you know is struggling with an Ambien addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact Zinnia Healing by calling our 24/7 helpline at (855) 430-9439 or send us a message. We’re here for you.

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