Wednesday July 30th 2014

How long does Ambien last?

Ambien sedative effects last for about 8 hours after you take the medication. But the half life of Ambien is only 1.5 hours. More on the duration of action and Ambien uses and side effects here. Plus, a section for your questions about Ambien at the end.

Ambien effects on the body and brain

Ambien prescription drug (zolpidem) is used to help relieve the symptoms of insomnia and help facilitate sleep. Ambien is a central nervous system depressant, and its effects on the body include heavy sedation. Ambien can also cause you to act out activities in your sleep, with no memory of these activities the next day. This can include very dangerous activities such as driving. Other effects of Ambien on the body include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • unsteady balance
  • unusual dreams

Ambien duration of action

The half-life of Ambien is only about 1.5 hours. In fact, the main ingredient in Ambien -zolpidem – hits peak levels in the blood after only 30 minutes. This is why it’s important to take Ambien immediately before going to bed. The sedative effects of Ambien can linger for over 8 hours after taking the medication.

Ambien time in the body

After more than a day or two, it’s unlikely that Ambien will still be present in the blood. Ambien will show up on urine screens for 1-2 days, but can stay present in hair samples for 90 days or even longer.

How long do Ambien effects last

The effects of Ambien usually last 7-8 hours, which is why it should only be taken when someone is able to get a full night’s rest. If you take Ambien and don’t sleep, or get up too early the next morning, you may suffer memory problems and drowsiness.

How long does a Ambien high last

Self-reported accounts of getting high on Ambien claim that the length of an Ambien high is about 4-5 hours. However, due to the memory problems and sleepiness caused by the drug, it can be difficult to say exactly how long an Ambien high will last. In addition to increased risk of Ambien dependence, getting high on Ambien can be dangerous, because abusing zolpidem can raise the risk of serious adverse effects.

Ambien high effects

Ambien does have a possible side effect of causing a high. But when taken to try to achieve a euphoric high or for long periods of time, Ambien can become addictive.  In self-reported examples, people have reported some of these effects from getting high on Ambien:

  • drowsiness
  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • numbness

If you like the Ambien high and take Ambien regularly to get high, you can become addicted to Ambien. An Ambien addiction can result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, uncontrollable cravings for the drug, and compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences.

How long Ambien lasts questions

Do you still have questions about the duration of action for Ambien? Are you interested in how long it takes to develop Ambien dependence vs. addiction? Please leave your questions about Ambien below. We are happy to try to answer you personally and promptly. And if we do not have the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: ToxNet: Zolpidem Tartrate
MedlinePlus: Zolpidem

Photo credit: Isobel T

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17 Responses to “How long does Ambien last?
Daniel
11:12 am January 31st, 2013

I have been taking Zolpidem for the last 10 years, 5 mg before bedtime.
I have read all the side effects but i don’t seem to have non of the listed on each web site.
I suffer from insomnia for at least 20 years.
Can you please help me to find the way to get out of Zolpidem?

9:26 am February 1st, 2013

Hi Daniel. Good for you. It can be difficult to get off Ambien. I’d suggest that you consult with your prescribing doctor and ask for a tapering calendar first. Then, you’ll really need to learn how to sleep. There are courses that you can take which involve meditation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, heart rhythm meditation or other body/mind awareness techniques. The point is that in order to sleep better, you need to learn more about the function of sleep (to process and sort out the day’s input) and to learn how to sleep well.

I hope that this helps.

Steve Frazier
12:56 am February 13th, 2013

I have been taking ambien for the past 23 years on a daily basis. If i concentrate on relaxing while the drug kicks in– i get about 4 hours sleep. i am in fear that being on this drug this long will or could harm me. as of yet it is still a God send to me and would get no sleep. It is very harmful for me to get no sleep for prolonged periods of time. i get really messed up in the head. is there something else i could take that would (flip the switch) for me? may i be a case study? i would like help but still want to sleep and be able to go to work.. what do i do???

9:06 am February 14th, 2013

Hi Steve. Sleep disorders can be learned behaviors, but sleeping problems can also be treated using lifestyle changes. Not such a quick fix as Ambien or other hypnotics, but definitely worth the investment of time. I’d suggest that you check out the work of Dr. Rubin Naiman and look into his books and CDs.

ted
4:44 pm September 25th, 2013

Took Ambien for twenty days 10mg a day. Been off of drug for six days, how long before all of the side effects goes away

11:26 am September 26th, 2013

Hello Ted. What side effects are you experiencing? It might take a couple of weeks to work out re-bound insomnia. But there are other techniques that you can use to help yourself get to sleep. Have you looked into meditation or even trying to get into bed at the SAME TIME every night?

Steve Frazier
12:45 pm September 26th, 2013

I have been on ambien for 27 years everyday! I am sure i am addicted to it. It now takes two 10 mg to flip the sleep switch for me. the only problem is now i can only get 1 ambien per night from the V.A. and that means i only sleep every other day. It is just a waste of ambien to take only one– there will be no effect for me! I am working with the doctors to get off ambien– only problem is there is nothing that will flip my switch off– to sleep mode. they say i need a psychological sludge hammer to get to sleep.. once the switch is flipped to off….. i have no problem sleeping through the night… what other drug is out there to get me to sleep besides ambien? any answers will be appreciated.
Sincerely Steve

ted
5:09 pm September 26th, 2013

staying awake all night since I came off drug. This is day 7 and I believe the insomnia is finally wearing off.

10:03 am September 27th, 2013

Hi Steve. I hear your dilemma. Going to sleep is like turning off the switch. What’s helped me go to sleep without the need for Ambien or other sleep hypnotics are a few simple tools.

1. Going to bed at the same time every night.
2. Learning to shut off thoughts that keep you awake (meditation)
3. Melatonin supplements for nights when sleep is difficult

Are you willing to make a lifestyle change?

PHIL
7:25 pm November 1st, 2013

I HAVE BEEN TAKING AMBIEN FOR ABOUT 25 YEARS – I WAKE UP NEARLY EVERY MORNING ABOUT 4 HOURS AFTER GOING TO SLEEP AND USUALLY CANNOT GO BACK TO SLEEP. I TAKE A 10 MG TABLETS AND CUT THEM INTO 21/2 MG PORTIONS. I STAY AWAKE ABOUT AN HOUR AND RETURN TO BED AND SLEEP ANOTHER 3 TO 4 HOURS. I DO THIS ABOUT 2 OR 3 TIMES A WEEK – WHEN FIRST GIVEN AMBIEN I TOOK 10 MG TABLET AND ONLY SLEPT ABOUT 3 HOURS AND COULDNT GO BACK TO SLEEP AND WAS A ZOMBIE ALL THE NEXT DAY – REDUCED THE AMOUNT TO 5 MG WITH THE SAME RESULT – I STARTED TAKING 21/2 MGS WHEN I AWAKENED AFTER 4 HOURS SLEEP WITHOUT TAKING ANY BEFORE GOING TO BED – AFTER AN HOUR OR SO I AM SLEEPY AGAIN AND BACK IN BED FOR ANOTHER 3 TO 4 HOURS WITHOUT BEING DROWSY ALL DAY. I DONT KNOW IF I AM ADDICTED BUT MY DOCTOR SAYS I AM NOT AND NEVER WILL BE!

been on ambrein 6yrs dont no how to get off
5:40 pm December 8th, 2013

Been on ambrein for six yrs trying to get off. but dont know how snd have no ins.

9:51 am December 12th, 2013

Thanks for your question. The best way to get off Ambien is to gradually taper doses with the help of a dosing calendar set up just for you by your prescribing doctor. Seek out medical advice from your doctor directly and ask for tips on how to manage insomnia symptoms after withdrawal. Be prepared for a few nights’ difficult sleep once you’re totally off Ambien, and then have a plan for how to manage difficulty sleeping via lifestyle change in the future.

Ann
11:16 pm February 9th, 2014

My husband passed away 4yrs. With congestive heart failure, after taking care of him years before he passed I lost a lot of sleep crying an worring over him and when he passed I didn’t sleep for a while so my Dr. Put me on ambien to help me sleep, my ins. Co. Is only allowing me 15 per month I tried missing a couple of nights but I had bad dreams of my husband sickness and I would on an off wake all during night with dreams like that, I would wake crying it upset me so bad, I need an alturnitive. Can you help? I want to dream of him is sweet not ones of his sickness and death. PLEASE HELP ME.

10:18 am February 13th, 2014

Hello Ann. Have you tried speaking with a psychologist? I think that you are right in questioning the use of Ambien as a sleep aid. It works as a hypnotic to relax the central nervous system, but it does not address underlying psycho-emotional issues.

The process of grieving can last for years, and with the added trauma caring for someone diagnosed with a long term illness, your situation can be difficult to pass through. I’d suggest that you speak with a licensed clinical psychologist to help you understand the process of grieving more and to get practical, real-life practices for dealing with your thoughts and emotions surrounding his passing. Meditation can help. So can physical practices such as tai chi or yoga. Acceptance is a process that we move through, and it sounds like you can use some guidance. I wish you all of the best.

Kim
8:26 pm June 23rd, 2014

I have been taking ambien on and off ( mostly on) for about 15 years. I am in the process of detoxing from klonapine for anxiety. The dr took me off ambien and put me on trazadone. I ran out early and resumed the ambien. Since then my withdrawl symptoms are extremely worse. Very bad anxiety . Could this worsening be from the ambien?
Thank You

1:01 pm June 25th, 2014

Hi Kim. When tapering off Klonapine, many people who have taken even a single pill of Ambien get similar effects. Some say it even exacerbated the problems they were having in withdrawal in the first place. Many think since it’s not a benzo, it wouldn’t harm them, but that’s so wrong! You should still talk to your doctor and have him prescribe another medication to help you in the detox process.

Kim
12:13 am June 26th, 2014

Thank you! I have an appt tomorrow. I stopped the Ambien 2 nights ago. Still having bad withdrawals but the crying has decreased.

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