I have been on ambien for 7 months now and am trying to stop using it. I am seeing a sleep/addiction doctor and its just been hard. Ambien makes me feel sick to my stomach even when I think of it. It used to make me feel great, now I feel anxious all the time and sleep is constantly on my mind - or lack of sleep - I should say. This is night number 4 of trying to reduce my dosage and feel better. Obviously I am up right now but I have to say I feel better knowing I have only 2 mg of that in my system and I took it 3 hours ago when I first tried to go to bed. People say its hard to break this habit of using a pill to go to sleep but I am so game. Any advice of what people do during the middle of the night that helps them? Any advice on what other natural methods people use? I work out in the morning and work all day. I am not sure I will go to work tomorrow since I may be up all night. I hear its hard to stop taking this drug. I hear that all the side effects though will go away after it gets out of your system. I have not set a "cold turkey quitting" timeline, yet am doing it gradually. I found that I was stock piling up ambien - probably had about 400 pills - so I would always have them and (so I thought) never have sleep issues again. I flushed all but 20. I am ready to make a change. I think to myself - I used to sleep like a normal person, lay my head down on the pillow and be out. What happened to that? Ambien. You go a couple of days without sleep and you think the world is going to end. Ambien helps with that but I will say for me, I am addicted. I think its possible to gain that natural sleep cycle back without being on a substance and am more than willing to try. If anyone has gone through this and had advice, I would greatly appreicate that.
Hi sarajustine, I took Ambien for two weeks. The reason I took it was I cold-turkeyed off of prescribed Oxycontin... now that will give you major insomnia! I started using melatonin for sleep, after the ambien. Melatonin is a natural product, not addictive. You can purchase these pills at any drug store or health food store. Also, you may want to try Sleepy Time Tea... tastes like crap, but perhaps if you add enough honey you can gag it down! I couldn't drink that tea, quite yucky, but I hear good things about it. Good luck to you!!! sweetlemon
Hi I know you posted this Ambien question a long time ago but I wonder if you succeeded in getting off it. I have been on it for 13 years and am trying to taper off it. At one stage I was using between 50 - 60mg a night. I did nothing bizarre on it just used it for sleep but obviously it stopped working - tolerance and I just had to use more. How was your sleep and how long did it take before your natural sleep cycle returned. I am deperate my last c/t off it resulted in 21nights of zero sleep and I caved. Thank you.
This isn't an answer. I have a question about getting off Ambien as well. The nights that I started not taking it, I woke during the night with chest/abdominal pain radiating down my arms. I panicked thinking I was having a heart attack. My legs were also "jumpy". I hadn't been on Ambien all that long--less than a month, and since I have been having "digestive" issues and am going through all that testing, I assumed it was that. When I wake up with the above symptoms and not being able to go back to sleep, I finally take an Ambien and am able to sleep the rest of the night. I'm not sure if these symptom are "digestive" or withdrawal. Anyone have any similar experiences?
Hello! I've never responded to one of these before so I'm not sure this will help. However, I've been in your position (very recently actually) so I feel almost obligated to TRY and lend some helpful advice... no guarantee tho. ☺️
At the age of 18 I was put on 5mg of ambien, I took that for about 9 months, after 9 months my dosage was upped to 10mg because I wasn't responding to 5mg.
Ambien used to help me A LOT but over time I developed a "need" for it. What I mean is I started taking it as close to the Acceptable bed time as possible... instead of taking it to help sleep I took it because I thought that otherwise I wouldn't sleep.
I wish that I could pin point when it was no longer helpful but I just realized that I was complaining about it more and feeling poopy all day.
But after a while I started to notice two things happening: I would either take the ambien and not be able to fall asleep for a long while, so by the time I did fall asleep it was into the early morning and I felt pretty awful all day. Or I'd try taking it and wake up around 2:00 or 3:00 am feeling like I needed another to fall asleep.
I am 24 years old and In the past I had tried to quit taking it multiple times. I tried weening off of it by lowering my dose, I tried not taking it but always wound up caving when I wouldn't fall asleep, and I tried taking natural supplements to sleep cuz they had worked for people I know.
About a month ago I didn't refill my script and had no refills on the bottle, it was a Saturday so my doctors office was closed. This particular weekend was an extremely busy one, the first night I crashed at a friends and was baffled that I was able to sleep! I went two days at home without the ambien, it wasn't easy but I survived and new I would get my script soon.
On Tuesday I picked up my script and took 1 to sleep that evening. I felt like crap the whole night after I took it and even worse in the morning. I had been on it so long that I didn't realize that feeling like that when you wake up IS NOT NORMAL!!! I did the same thing the Next night and felt just as awful. Finally I decided to get rid of my script and not have access to it. And so far so good.
I wish I could tell you that you feel like a million bucks and all your sleep issues will be solved!!! But that's not the case... it took me 6 years to get off ambien. But I am still a young person and I decided I was tiered of a silly pill running my life. I am so glad I stopped taking it. It's still early for me, but I honestly feel so much better... especially when I decide to go to bed, it's not about taking that pill it's about actual sleep and the sleep us so much better without it. You actually feel rejuvenated in the morning.
I really hope it this helps and I hope it doesn't take you as long as me to come to this realization... it can kind of take over. I wish you the best!
(Sorry this is so long and rambley)
This is more a question. I started using Ambien 5mg 15 years ago. It’s gotten so bad that now I have to take 30 pills of 10mg a day. When I try to stop I get seizures and I end up in the hospital. But, at this point nothing works.
I’ve been taking ambien for over15 yrs, yes that long. At times taking xanax with it. I decided it’s enough. I’ve been off ambien and xanax for 3 weeks now. I am STILL not sleeping. It’s so hard to go to bed toss n turn, mind racing, brain keeps telling me I won’t sleep cause I’ve not had ambien. I’ve tried OTC notnwork for me, Benadryl didn’t either. Dr said to take yoga. Melatonin did nothing for me, warm milk nothing. I found that a diffuser with young living peace n calming oil put me to sleep. Well I only had it one night but it’s on order. Can’t wait for it to come in. So I know your pain. It may take months before you get good night sleep. Good luck to you
I know your struggle. I have been on Ambien for years. I have tried many times to get off Ambien. Believe me you will experience many sleepless nights... not just a few. I haven't taken it for 2 weeks and still can't sleep. It is horrific. I had 2 nights of unbelievable night terrors after stopping it. I don't have any good advice for you other than DO NOT increase dose you are on. The weaning off is much worse. I just want you to know you are NOT alone.
I’ve lost track of how long i have been cutting my 10mg ambien in half - it’s either 4 or 5 years. I’ve always gone to sleep within 15 minutes or so of taking the pill and I thought it was no big deal. Turns out it is a big deal. I panic without it and can’t go anywhere over night without pills in hand. What’s worse, my wife and I have been trying to have a baby this whole time and we (she) thinks it’s the ambien reducing my sperm count and messing things up. So i decided to read up on ambien and I’ve found hundreds of posts like this one, and it scares the hell out of me. If I couldn’t go to sleep before without ambien, what makes me think I can get off it now almost 5 years later and actually sleep without it? I’ve got to peer through though and give myself the best shot i can for making this baby with my wife and getting off ambien once and for all. I’ll try yoga, salads, counseling, or ballet to get off it...
tonight I’ll start cutting my pills down and when they run out, I’ll see how far i can go without them. Wish me luck!
Whelp, somehow I did it. I got off of ambien and did it pretty quickly this time... it’s been two weeks and I haven’t had any pills and I’ve been falling sleep just fine. I’m going to create a video and explain how I did it. Post here later this week.
I take Ambien CR 12mg and if I want to get off of it, I just take 1 Dream Water. It usually takes me about 3 days to adjust to not taking the pill. I keep coming back to it because it's convenient. Any product that has GABA in it works fine for me, but Dream Water seems to do the trick.
I have been prescribed Ambien 10 mg since I was 20 years old, I’m now 31. I have stopped taking it many times in the past especially throughout both of my pregnancies and never had any issues or withdrawals. I don’t know if that’s because my body was producing hormones (oxytocin) that calmed me and helped me sleep but it was great. I wish I did not begin taking them again but with a new baby sleep is hard to come by so I took the easy way out. Every night before I go to bed I break my 10 mg Ambien in a half and take one half. If I still have trouble falling asleep 45 min later, I take the other half. Really just depends on the day if I need more. However, unlike most people, my tolerance never increased and 10 mg or less has always been sufficient to put me to sleep, even after 11 years. Anyways, I decided I needed to stop taking Ambien for good because I’ve started having some neurological issues such as short term memory loss, irritability, tremors, etc...
I also take .5 mg of Xanax for my anxiety about every 3-4 days depending on the severity which I am also quitting. It’s hard to tell which withdrawal symptoms are which. Is it a good idea to stop both at once or should I quit Xanax first and then Ambien after because I can sleep without it if I absolutely have to. I have had success with using a pill called Midnight. You can find it on amazon, it’s melatonin and chamomile, I dunno what it is about that combo but melatonin on its own does nothing for me and these always put me to sleep! Hope this helps!
I took Ambien for over 15 years. my usual dose was 10 mg.
Although I was a surgical technologist, I am retired and driving a school bus now. I've always had sleep problems. However one thing that helped was I've always had a natural high energy level. I have over three years been trying to get off this Ambien and it is tough. I've tried the step down method a few times with no success. If I take it at all then I don't want to stop taking it oh, so 15 days ago I decided since it's Christmas vacation and I have two weeks off, I'm going cold turkey. Now if you see a lot of advertisements that cold turkey is dangerous, I can't dispense medical advice however I can tell you I have had no problems going cold turkey other than I can't sleep.
The first few nights were very hard and I laid in my bed quietly did not think about it, I would listen to YouTube videos with the screen blacked out on my favorite relaxing topics and I would drift off for about 20 or 30 minutes. The next few nights I had more of the 20 to 30 minute intervals of unrestful sleep. Now two weeks into this, I am getting to where I can sleep but only when I'm exhausted. So, LOL, I have been doing a lot of work physical work I should say around my house such as cleaning and when the weather is permitting yard work. That helps and since our weather has been weird, with my allergies I find taking a dose of nyquil will also help me relax and get some sleep. it's worth it to get off this stuff and never get on it again. I'm sure and 6 months I will feel so much better and I'll be saving a little bit of money. About $120 a year. Best of luck.
Sleeping pills are highly habit forming/addictive. Ambien is not supposed to be prescribed for more than 14 day.
Once the brain is used to the drug higher doses are often required.
The best way to get off is a slow taper.
Try cutting the dose in half for 3-4 days. If you can’t go to sleep or have serious rebound take a %25 dose unless it’s within 4hrs of getting up. With Lunesta be careful bc it has a longer half life.
You may have to put up with difficulty sleeping soon after cutting doses. Your brain will eventually respond well to the lower dose.
Make a taper schedule based on how motivated you are(willing to put up with not sleeping well) and how long you have been taking sleeping pills. If you have been taking these for over a year then plan on a slow taper. To me a slow taper would be four weeks.
I would drop the dose every week. Each time you go down in dose expect sleep to be more difficult. During the first few days of dropping the dose do everything you can to get good sleep hygiene.
Make sure you got up on the early side and on time every morning. Absolutely no naps. eat some food an hour or so before going to bed. There are tons of information available on good sleep habits but you can look up on your own.
Standard stuff includes exercise, meditations, sleep apps, completely dark room etc. etc.
Take the sleeping pill right before you go to bed then turn off the lights with your eyes closed waiting for the pill to kick in.
Never take the sleeping pill while fully awake doing things like watching TV or being on the computer waiting for it to work before trying to sleep. This is especially true when cutting down the dose.
It becomes more difficult when you get to 25% of your initial full dose. at this point it becomes more important to instigate exceptional sleep habits because you’re a lying less and less of a sleep aid.
Continue cutting those darn pills into smaller and smaller pieces.
When you’re down to 1/8 of a pill it’s pretty hard to physically cut them smaller.
Try going without the sleep aid for the first 2-3 hrs. If you’re still awake three hours after you went to bed with lights out then take the 1/8 dose.
Eventually you’ll fall asleep without the medication at at that point you’re done.
You were most likely have sleep issues like you did when you asked for the prescription in the first place.
During the time of weaning down after medication is the time to learn all of that things that help improve sleep habits that you have not been doing previously.
Keep a journal and make a list of all the things you can and have done to help with sleep. Again, things like exercise, meditation, consistent hours of getting up in the morning and going to bed, limiting screen time a few hours before bedtime, using sleep aid apps, Timing and amount of food before sleeping etc. etc.
Expect some bumps along the way and try not to relapse back to higher doses if you’re suffering during the time of reducing the dose.
- Ambien Information for Consumers
- Ambien Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Ambien (detailed)
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