Ambien for sleep

jennFebruary 7, 2005

Has anyone successfully tried Ambien for sleep? A friend recommended it to me.

I haven't had a good night's sleep for more than 5 weeks and I am almost beside myself with sleepiness and poor concentration. I fall asleep OK but then I wake up about 2 AM or later and then just toss and turn for the rest of the night. Usually I start to doze again but then the slightest noise wakes me up. I always used to be a very heavy sleeper all night but now I'm getting about 5 hours sleep every night it is starting to take its toll (I need at least 7 on most nights). I have a mental, detailed job that requires my brain at full capacity.

It improved earlier last year and then the poor sleep resumed late last year. Before, I would eventually be tired enough to sleep all night but I'm still waiting for that night to come. My body is starting to move slowly and I am sleepy even during my morning commute to work (NEVER been like that before) and let's not even talk about how I feel on my way home from work in the evening. My eyes look tired.

I don't drink coffee or tea, I don't exercise late, I don't eat late, the room is cool and quiet, I take calcium supplements, etc. etc etc. I exercise in the morning and take short walks at work throughout the day (getting from office to office).



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I have used it for a few months with no dire affects. It's not great though. I was given 5mg and after about a week I was sleeping well. I then lowered it to 1/2 and seemed to work for a few weeks then the sleeplessness came back. What I find with it is it helps you fall asleep fast, but you wake in a few hours. I doze and then keep waking up. I don't know if a stronger dose would work, but I don't like taking pills, but I couldn't function with no sleep. I was thinking a sleep clinic, but that seems to be for sleep apnea not for insomnia. Give it a try. Some people swear by it. Jane

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 1:38AM
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Have you had a good check up lately? The reason I ask is because I started having insomnia when my blood pressure started going up. Not much, not enough to say I really had high blood pressure, but some. Since then, everytime I start with sleepless nights, I have noticed that it's elevated a little. So I watch my salt intake, take my pills and get it back down. THEN I can sleep.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 8:15AM
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I noticed you said you are taking Calcium supplements. I just found out that most of us have a magnesium deficiency. Calcium makes your muscles contract and the magnesium releases them......without the magnesium, we are all contracted and stiff. *this is how it was explained to me* Take your hand and clench it into a fist, this is what calcium does. Now relax the hand and let it come out of a fist to a relaxed hand, that is what magnesium does.

My husbands aunt told us about this stuff called Natural Calm.She gets hers from the chiropractor. It's a powder you dissolve in hot water and drink as a tea at night. Within 20 mins, it makes me sleepy and I stay sleeping all night long. I was also waking several tiems a night and not able to fall back to sleep, like you.

I found this product online -just do a google search for Natural Calm Magnesium.

To address Ambien...... I won't take that ever again, it made me hallucinate which is one of the side effects. It was horribly scary. My father took it and also hallucinated.

Take care and I hope you try Natural Calm.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 12:21PM
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PB - I have low blood pressure. Last time it was taken (last year), it was about 100/60. But perhaps it has risen a little. I will check that out.

Jane - I think Shaun's report of hallucinations has scared me away from Ambien. I tend to be medication-sensitive anyway. But thank you for your comments.

Shaun - I will check out the Natural Calm. Your mention of hallucinations made lack of sleep seem pretty appealing, in comparison. =8-0


    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 2:44PM
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Ambien has given me nightmares in the past. But then so has Benadryl. As with any sleep medication, it most likely loses its effectiveness when taken for long periods of time. And there is the issue of dependency, since it is a controlled substance.

My FIL used this for years and years (and he's a physician). He recently took himself off of it because he was noticing how his reflexes deteriorated, especially when driving. Although he still has occasional sleep problems, he feels much better and more alert during the day.

I would get checked out. Sometimes sleeplessness can be a sign of deeper problems. Hope you can figure something out.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 10:07PM
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I am equally afraid of taking pills. I have never experienced hallucinations or nightmares with Ambien. I have the smallest dose 5mg and I usually break it in half and as I stated it helps me fall asleep but isn't effective in keeping me asleep all night. I've tried the whole 5mg. and it does the same. No grogginess or nightmares. I'd never use it if it did. It's the most widely used sleeping pill and I would think if it caused those sort of problems I would have heard it. There is nothing worse then laying awake all night staring at the clock. Jane

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 2:38AM
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Jane, I'm glad it has worked for you. But since people here have reported first-hand experience with hallucinations or nightmares, I will stay away from it.

I have no trouble falling asleep.... it's staying asleep for more than 5 hours that's the problem. I need at least 7 hours every night.

I think I will go in the direction of the magnesium.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 3:15PM
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Jen I hope you come back to let us know how you do on the magnesium. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 4:33PM
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I have trouble going to sleep, reading usually helps. If I have 3 or 4 nights laying awake until 2 in the morning, I take a tranquilizer the next night. I will take one each night for no more than 3 nights. It seems to break the cycle and I sleep well. My doctor is cautious and only gives me 30 pills, they last waaay past the expiration date. If I had a bedroom to myself I would just read until 2 AM, but with my husband, I feel guilty keeping him awake.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 11:41AM
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Jonesy brings up a good point. It's the idea we have that married people must sleep in the same room. Most of us will sleep much better in a room and bed that is just exactly the way we want it. We have not shared a room since the children left home for good. And there is a well worn path that leads back and forth between rooms. My husband and I have widely different needs for covering. I like to go to sleep with music on the tape player. He likes to read in bed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 11:12AM
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My one and only experience with Ambien was horrid. I had heard that others had successfully taken it in order to sleep during a trans-Atlantic flight, and as I was flying to the UK, I asked my doctor to prescribe it for me as well. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to do a "trial run" prior to the trip, and took one Ambien at bedtime about a week prior. I really wasn't sure how quickly the effects would hit me, so I immediately crawled into bed after taking it and started watching tv. 25 minutes later, I felt nothing. 30 minutes later -- BAM! It hit me. Not only double, but TRIPLE vision -- everything I looked at, there appeared to be THREE of. And then I just completely blanked out, although I was apparently still awake, as my husband told me that every other word coming out of my mouth was "f*ing" this, and "f*ing" that ... and that's certainly not the way I ordinarily converse! I have absolutely NO recollection of any of that. I did sleep after my little profanity outburst, but I felt terrible all the next day.

I will never again take Ambien ... in fact, I'm getting ready to board a plane for a long flight again, and I think I'll have to settle for a Tylenol PM, which probably won't help me to sleep much at all.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 12:51PM
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Aunt Jen, that's exactly why I am VERY conservative about taking any medications at all. If I have a bad headache, I take 1 aspirin and that's all it takes to kill the headache -- probably because that's all I ever take. (The brain can become dependant on outside sources of pain relief, not the same as physical addiction.)

An update on the magnesium and my sleep:
Though I was taking calcium-magnesium supplements at the time of my first posting, I started to remember that I was taking a different brand last year and when I started taking them I started sleeping again and when I ran out, I stopped sleeping. The brand is Nutrilite (sold by Amway) and it is their Cal-mag w/D combination. Well I bought a bottle (my dad is a distributor) about 2 weeks ago and within a few days I started sleeping better. Last night I slept a solid 7 hours which is the best night I've had yet. When I took this brand last year, I noticed improvement within days also.

Prior to taking this brand I was taking the Trader Joe's brand and after many weeks of taking it, it did NOTHING for my sleep. I know this sounds like hocus-pocus but both times I've taken the Nutrilite brand I have slept better and not just better, but all night. When I ran out last year, I stopped sleeping.

For now, I will continue with this regimen. I take 3 tablets with dinner.

Aaaahhhhhh.... sleep! :-)


    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 3:19PM
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I used Ambien successfully. I asked my doctor for a prescription during a period where I couldn't get to sleep or stay asleep, which is very unusual for me. I took Ambien for about two weeks, had no side effects, and it enabled me to sleep again. I would use it again, if necessary.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 5:23PM
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Sleeping pills are a joke. Melatonin is the natural hormone that your pineal gland releases in your brain to put you to sleep. You say you tried that well if you took a pill that will not work take sublinguel. Than take as much as needed. Dr Donsbock suggests 3 mg is average but you may need more. He takes 9 mg I use 6. When a patient has cancer 50 mg is needed. Lack of proper rest is an invatation to develop cancer.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 12:26AM
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I too, had good luck with the Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc combination for sleeping, and for leg cramps.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 10:05AM
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Melatonin works extremely well, but is short lived. That is its major drawback.

Ambien does have definite bizarre side effects. One fellow got a plane to the UK, after taking an Ambien, woke up and had no clue where he was and what he was doing there. It can cause hypersexuality, which could be a problem for most (OK, teenage boys would love it, but not a good idea for them either). It cab cause midnight eating during which the pill taker is unaware of getting up to eat.
It can cause sleep walking, which can be very dangerous. I suggest you check out the side effects of this pill. Of course, millions of people take this pill with no problems at all. And likely we count among that group. But I wouldn't want to be in side effect group.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 12:52AM
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If your doctor is reluctant to prescribe this excellent sleep medication (I used it for primary insomnia for a period of about 6 months, sporadically and only as needed for sleep at the prescribed dosage of 10mg at bedtime) or under-prescribes the amount you may want to take a look at some of the sedating medicines offered on just do a search on ambien and remember that before ambien, which I believe is just as habit forming as the benzodiazepines which came before it there were medicines such as valium and ativan, which if taken for no longer than 10 days will work wonders for sleep and not build up your tolerance.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:21PM
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A great place for ambien is where discretion is the name of the game. Ambien is highly effective when used in the short term. However, over the long term (greater than 6 weeks) the body can produce tolerance to the effect and leave only the side effects such as sleep-walking, sleep-eating, sleep-driving, and sleep-crashing your car into a tree while driving to the store for doughnuts and toiler paper at 3am (the last side effect, unfortunately, I have experienced).

In the short term I would beg to differ with the majority of commentary here. It is extremely safe when used properly (e.g.-NO alcohol or other sedatives mixed with it) and under a doctor's supervision, and only as needed.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Hi I'm so glad to know I'm not alone in this.
I've been struggling with insomnia for a very long time, and I have always though that's it's anxiety related, however I have been seeing a psychiatrist for about 6 months now. my anxiety got under control, but the insomnia didn't. I am now drinking ambien for 5 months (10 mg), however it wasn't long before 10mg would only keep me sleeping for about 4-5 hours! I read about the safety of upping my dose and decided to try 15mg. Works like it did the first few months, the problem is that I only have 4 pills for 8 days!! I recently forgot my pills at home when going out of town and so I skipped a night, I didn't sleep but I also didn't have any other withdrawal, I will speak to my doctor about getting ambien ER. Until then I will only be drinking ambien every second night, is this safe to do?? Thanx a lot.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 8:41AM
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I have always had trouble falling asleep and it has gotten worse with age, but it only comes in cycles. I kept a tranquilizer around for years and it just took one taken at bedtime to break the cycle. Then I would be okay for 3 or 4 weeks. Doctors are not near as trusting these days with dispensing tranquilizers and I don't want to fight the battle, so I just stay up late don't nap in the afternoon.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Some people have no tolerance for medication, others have quite a bit. I take 5mg Ambien, as needed, but I need to have it within 10 minutes of going to bed. No hallucinations, just the "burning sensation" a the tip of my tongue but I find it happens less when I brush my teeth before taking the medication (I think it makes you zone out when brushing your tongue. LOL) Melatonin does nothing for me. Alcohol works, but is hard on the liver. Sometimes just a Bendryl works, usually when barometric pressure is shifting. It also depends on whether your mind is quiet or not at sleep time - if your mind is running like mad, make a to-do list, do some yoga, that often helps. Mind running like mad, for women, is usually hormonal and afflicts us in our 30s. Exercise can help all sleep issues - get a good hour of activity in each day. Vitamins have not done anything for me.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I used to take Ambien for about a year. At first it was pretty effective, but still did not allow me to sleep a whole 8 hours. I had to keep upping the dose to get the same effect. I was all the way up to 20mg just to get 4 hrs of sleep, which I had increased on my own without consulting with my doctor. I was not having any side effects on that high a dose that I remember. Then I had to unexpectedly go in for surgery for something and of course they ask you about any meds you take. The nursing staff was horrified that I was taking 20mg of it, which I didn't realize was a problem. Since I was still only getting 4 hours of sleep, I thought it was time to come off it. Which I did, cold turkey. I felt better after I was off it. I still had trouble sleeping and tried Melatonin after a period of time and that worked very well for me. I only took a small 1mg dose. I discovered about 6 months later, taking some blood work, that I had a build up of Melatonin in my body that was way too high. So I had to stop taking that too. I still would use that in an emergency and have no problem with using it occasionally, but haven't had to.

I sleep better now than I did then, which was about 10 years ago. I take some supplements for other reasons and I exercise more which has helped a lot. I think I was under more stress then. I still rarely get even 7 hours of sleep, but when I am doing well, I will consistently get 6 hours straight with no help. I feel that is very good after many years of a lot less.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:48PM
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