Ambien and insomnia

I ran out, and had to go cold turkey, didn’t sleep at all. I wonder how long the titration period would need to be after being on the medication for 10+ years? It is not really effective as my body as built a resistance to it. I went off it before to “reset” my body to make it work again. Can’t afford to be a zombie for a month, while i wean off of it. I was going to discuss it with my GP during my physical next month.
Anyone on this stuff, or tried to go off of it?
I used to rely on Melatonin, one endocrinologist had me on 20mg a night of the time released version.
One thing I noticed, I was not groggy this morning when I woke up at 5;30am, but I wasn’t refreshed either. Can’t expect to much, haven’t had a refreshing sleep for years.


Ambien in a single dose stays in the system approx 14 hours (detectable levels). The thing is, it also accumilates in the body so the longer you use it the longer your body “stores” it in general. There’s no way to know how long or how much your body stores as everyone is different. I’m not saying this is harmful, I’m just saying after 10 years you probably have a certain amount built up in your system that you’ve adjust to which is why it hasn’t been as effective.

Your problem is going to be not getting correct sleep because your body is dependent on ambien. Based on the idea that one dose is completely out of your system in 14 hours I would think you’d be back to normal non-ambien levels very quickly, a few days, a week at most. The problem is you may or may not be sleeping during that time.

Melatonin has no clinical data that it helps insomnia or sleep in general. It only works in some limited cases for jet lag or the occassional shiftwork disorder, so, chances are you’re wasting your money taking it every night. It definitely has no clinical data as a daily sleep aid.


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Hi Jon. I suppose the question I’ve got is why have you needed Ambien for so long?

I’m no stranger to insomnia and know how grim it can be. I’ve tended to think mine was linked to undiagnosed PsA in some way. But I am very sure that it was also linked to overwork and needing to hit the ground running early each day in a job I kind of enjoyed but which also led to a lot of inner conflict. In recent years, without that particular responsibility, I’ve discovered sleep again.

Is it pain that keeps you awake? Or insomnia of unknown cause or both? I’m not questioning your insomnia, heaven knows lack of sleep is a big issue that affects many and it can be difficult to tackle. Perhaps I should have taken sleep meds back then, I don’t know.

Is there possibly another way for you? What would happen if you did go down the zombie route for a while in order to reset your sleep clock? This might sound like a really dumb question but I have to ask. I guess I’m used to functioning okay after very little sleep, not sure how bad the zombie effect would be with withdrawal in the mix but perhaps it might be one option?


On a serious note I take over the counter sleep aids and have done for years. I take a half dose as I’m sure it’s more of the placebo effect than anything else that does it for me. My problem is always getting off to sleep.

On a completely less serious note I hope you’re not on twitter Jon :joy:


LMAO! Even though it took me a few seconds to get your punchline!

The condition I have has been going on for over 30 years, it might have to do with fibromyalgia or maybe my adrenal cycles. I get chronic fatigue in the early evening, I can’t get to sleep until about midnight, then wake up at 3am, getting back to sleep around 5am.
Pain is another issue, or “Pain-somnia” Pain from neuropathy usually is strongest at night, latrly my cubital entrapment hurts also at night, along with both wrists, then their is the finger joint pain…
I started taking Ambian for shoulder pain pre and post surgery, I would switch off with Eszopiclone, another similar sister to Ambian, both hypnodrugs.
I suppose I should see a sleep specialist, to suss out what is causing this. I have just had more pressing problems. I don’t have many side effects to this except being groggy in the morning.

I will try to avoid posting anything while on it!
Had a grulling day yesterday, went to my Mom’s (5 hour roundtrip) to see my brother who has cancer, he wanted to meet the family before starting chemo and radiation treatments. It was a nice visit, concidering the situation.

Glad you saw your brother and mother - it must be fairly tough presently especially on your brother.

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Yes, I am still flaring after the trip…

Hi Jon, I’ve had sleep problems for years and years. At the start, a doctor told me to avoid caffeine after 2:00 p.m., later I was told to stop it after 12:00. I took Tylenol pm for several years. It seemed to work for awhile, but became ineffective so I switched to Unisom (otc sleep aid). I took that for a couple months and it never seemed to keep me asleep all night.
I think I’m just an antsy person and it’s not easy to fully relax.
I finally gave up on everything, and actually I’m now sleeping better than ever! I did reduce coffee to no more than two cups in the morning before noon, and I also started taking a small dose of Sertraline, which may be helping, too.
Maybe being off the Ambien will be a good thing for you! Hang in there!

I think insomnia is quite common, at least with Fibromyalgia, probably just a autoimmune disease problem, but it will take years for the Rheumy’s to agree on anything.

For everyone with sleep problems — do you meditate? Learning to meditate is simply a way to turn off your mind and relax, there’s nothing wrong with meditating yourself to sleep.

You don’t have sit in an uncomfortable lotus position or chant some stupid nonsense, you can lay comfortably in bed and meditate into a relaxed state that (hopefully) leads to sleep. It takes practice, but it might be a good tool to learn.


I used to be on Ambien for two years until I moved back stateside and was forced off it when I became a patient at the pain clinic (they make you sign a contract to not take sleeping aids, muscle relaxers, etc. while on a narcotic. I get it and know there are some people who may take too much at the same time or who abuse the drugs, but I have fibromyalgia, PsA, anxiety, and a lot of pain. I was offered a solution of taking Lyrica (small dose) at night to address the sleeping issue. While it was not a fun transition, I am better off with the Lyrica than the Ambien… I was sleep eating and freaking my kids out with my lack of coherence so it was a good change. I’ll take the little victories. Just thought I would share how I addressed the issue. Good luck!

I have been meditating regularly for 42 years. I also lead meditaions. Funny you should say about sleeping, that is what happens to a lot of people that practice meditation, I call it “bobbing for apples”…

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I do meditate, both for sleep and general wellness, though I do use a specific sleep routine at night if I’m having trouble dropping off (falling asleep in the middle of a non-sleep directed meditation almost defeats the purpose - though when I was very fatigued I often couldn’t avoid it!).

I do use melatonin - although the evidence is poor for it as a sleep aid in general population, there are a number of small studies that indicate the melatonin system is disrupted in psoriasis patients. I found it very effective for jet lag, so decided to try it for regular sleep. Even if it is just the placebo effect, it is not terribly expensive, and I have no side effects, so at $1 a day, I’m happy to continue.

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The compound pharmacy sustained release melatonin, worked well but was a little pricey, the “doctor” would let you go up to 20mg a night!

I realise that sleep problems can be awful, as I’ve had them myself, linked with bipolar. But 10 years? I have to beg with my GP to get a week’s worth. And even the guidance leaflet says don’t use it for more than six weeks, IIRC. Surely there is a better option than a sleeping pill for ten years in today’s modern medicine and knowledge - and surely a doc should/could have relayed that to you at some point?

Yes, it was just that there were other conditions that took the spotlight… I get my physical next month, I will be bringing that up with the GP, maybe a sleep specialist?

I have tried melatonin, and I didn’t really notice that it helped me to sleep. But I began to realize that if I took melatonin about an hour before my 10:00 bedtime I would get a headache around 4:00 the next afternoon! So I have stopped using it. We are all different.

So true NancyJ!