Updated at: 19-05-2022 - By: Jane

As a result of the detrimental effects insomnia can have on your physical and mental health, many people turn to alternative methods of improving sleep quality. Medications to aid in sleep may be prescribed by your doctor in severe circumstances.

While these aids are meant to be a short-term fix, what happens when you get dependent on them over time? Experts have warned that taking these tablets could cause major health issues.

We’ll go through how to stop taking sleeping drugs, as well as some tips on how to obtain a better night’s sleep naturally.

Why stop taking sleeping pills?

  • In most cases, taking sleeping drugs on a nightly basis is only beneficial for a short time.
  • Sleeping pills become less effective after a few weeks of use because your brain adapts to taking them.
  • The side effects of sleeping drugs include drowsiness in the morning, dizziness and confusion, memory loss and eyesight issues, and daytime worry (sometimes resulting in broken bones)
  • It is possible to resume taking your sleeping tablet on a more regular basis once you stop taking it every night.
  • hence it makes sense to try to quit taking sleeping medications as they don’t function as well over time and can have serious side effects, so that you can get back into the habit of falling asleep on your own

How You Can Safely Use Sleeping Pills for Insomnia – Cleveland Clinic

How Do Sleep Aids Work?

Drugs to help you sleep don’t all operate in the same way. A few of these will put you to sleep, while others will calm the part of your brain that is still aware.

Over the Counter vs. Prescription

A doctor’s prescription is required for sleep aids, but you can get them over the counter at your local pharmacy. Prescription drugs, on the other hand, are much more potent. Over-the-counter supplements like melatonin and valerian are readily available. Prescription medications include benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and z-drugs like Ambien® and Lunesta®.

Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

The Cleveland Clinic lists the following as possible side effects of sleep aids, including both over-the-counter and prescription options. Supplements are also included in this category.

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Mouth dry
  • Headaches
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Issues with digestion

Long Term Complications

Pill Dependence

Regular use can lead to physical dependence, as it does with many other medications. The same holds true for those that help you fall asleep.


The Cleveland Clinic says that certain prescription medications can cause you to have parasomnia, which are odd or distressing events that occur while you sleep. A few examples of this include z-drugs, which are known to produce sleepwalking and a variety of other sleep-related behaviors. When they wake up, however, most people do not remember these events.

Substance Abuse

Drug misuse is a possible side effect of benzodiazepines, according to experts. The combination of these medicines with other sedatives or alcohol could result in an overdose.

How Long Do Sleeping Pills Stay In Your System?

One of the most commonly prescribed z-drugs is Ambien®. After 30 minutes, the medicine begins to take effect, and its full effect lasts between one and two hours. Using sleeping pills can leave traces in the urine for up to 48 hours and in the blood for 6-20 hours, according to American Addiction Centers. There is also a 72-hour urine and blood retention period for greater doses.

What is Sleeping Pill Withdrawal?

Because of your dependence on sleeping drugs, your body has adapted to their use. As a result, when you stop using them, you may experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. The following symptoms may be present during a period of withdrawal.

  • Body twitches
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for narcotics
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Heart rate rises
  • Tremors in my fingers
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Tips for Sleeping Without a Pill

The Cleveland Clinic’s sleep experts offer the following natural sleep remedies and lifestyle adjustments for those who want to improve their sleep without resorting to drugs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

An alternative to medication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) aims to help you conquer the fundamental cause of your sleeplessness.

The Risks of Taking Sleeping Pills | Everyday Health

Don’t Eat Too Much Before Bed

If you eat a lot of food right before going to bed, you may have trouble sleeping because of the pain. But if you’re a little hungry, have a small snack instead.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Reduce your caffeine intake, especially before going to bed, to help you sleep better. In addition, abstaining from alcoholic beverages is a good idea. Alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but studies have shown that drinking can contribute to a poor night’s sleep and disordered slumber.

Stop Smoking

Your slumber can suffer as a result of smoking in a variety of ways. The nicotine in cigarettes, according to Henry Ford Health System, is a stimulant that may make you feel less sleepy, which can interrupt your sleep. Other health problems, such as sleep apnea, are also increased by smoking.

Find Ways to Relax at Night

Establish a nightly routine that helps you wind down to help you relax. Meditation, reading, or stretching may all be good options for relieving stress.

Create a Good Sleep Space

It is also important to make your bedroom a location that promotes sleep. In order to have a good night’s sleep, make sure the room is quiet, dark, and chilly. Make certain that your mattress and other bedding items are appropriate for your body type and sleeping preferences as well as the environment you live in. Insufficient back support, for example, may cause you tossing and turning at night.


Exercising can help you sleep better, according to studies. First and foremost, it has the potential to elevate your mood, which will put you at peace as the sun goes down. Slow-wave (deep) sleep has been reported to increase after moderate aerobic exercise.

Stick To a Sleep Schedule

Having a regular bedtime and wake-up time each day of the week and weekend will assist your body learn how to fall asleep more effortlessly.

Cut Off Electronics Before Bed

Using your phone or computer late at night can make it more difficult to fall asleep, according to a new study. Blue light from these devices lowers the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is why this happens. As part of your body’s 24-hour rhythm, melatonin is a natural sleep-inducing hormone. Electronics can confuse the body and make you more alert than usual, which is contrary to the pattern of increased production at night.


What is rebound insomnia?

According to Addiction Center, rebound insomnia occurs when you stop taking sleep drugs and your insomnia gets worse. Rebound insomnia, according to this theory, can continue anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Are sleeping pills addictive?

And a lot of folks aren’t even conscious of their dependence on their medications until they are trying to come off of them. Insomnia medication was regularly taken by 9 million Americans in 2013, according to statistics.

How long does it take to get off sleeping pills?

According to Addiction Center, it might take up to 18 days for most withdrawal symptoms to subside. Depression and drug cravings, on the other hand, might continue for months at a time.

Where should I get treatment for a sleeping pill addiction?

An inpatient or outpatient facility is the best option for treatment, according to experts at Addiction Center. Do not hesitate to get treatment if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction.

What is the timeline for sleeping pill withdrawal?

The four stages of sleeping pill withdrawal each have a distinct set of physical and emotional symptoms, and each phase has its own unique set of symptoms. The length of withdrawal symptoms is also influenced by a variety of circumstances. The period of withdrawal is influenced by a variety of factors, including the person’s age, weight, metabolic rate, length of addiction, and any underlying physical or mental health conditions.

Immediately following cessation, phase one begins and lasts for the first three days of a person’s life. Physical symptoms are at their worst during this phase, which can continue up to ten days if the user isn’t given enough support. Phase three is characterized by a gradual easing of physical symptoms, but mental upheaval is possible. For the next two weeks, you’ll be in this phase. Some people may experience occasional cravings or severe depression that lasts for months after they stop using drugs. To remain sober and address any episodes of depression that may arise while recovering from a sleeping pill addiction, people require suitable support systems in their lives. Patients who are depressed run the risk of self-harm or suicide if they are not treated.

What are the physical symptoms of withdrawal?

Withdrawal effects from sleeping pills include the following and can be extremely distressing:

  • Convulsions
  • Pain in the abdomen and nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Heart rate rises

As soon as you stop smoking, you’ll begin to feel the effects within the first few days, and they’ll peak approximately a week later. The effects of sleeping medications might remain for up to three weeks after the last one was taken. Some people may experience anxiety and panic attacks as a result of these physical symptoms.

Are Sleeping Pills Safe? Here's What Research Says | Time

What emotional symptoms occur during the withdrawal phase?

When patients quit taking sleeping drugs, they develop anxiety symptoms, which can progress to full-blown panic episodes. Rebound insomnia will also be a problem for those afflicted. Around three weeks after stopping, people may experience confusion, hallucinations, and despair. People who are addicted to sleeping pills face a high risk of relapse and suicide if they do not seek treatment.

Can someone quit sleeping pills cold-turkey?

Quitting sleeping pills abruptly is not recommended. Because of this, rapid discontinuation might cause withdrawal symptoms to be worse and persist longer if the person is on their own. Aside from that, the emotional and psychological effects of withdrawal can be extremely difficult for family and friends to handle. In a medical detox facility, qualified staff are accessible around the clock for those who are through a sleep medication detox.

The dosage of sleeping tablets can be gradually decreased in a medical detox facility or replaced with a safer drug. Rebound insomnia is less likely to occur if this is done. It’s nearly impossible to cope with rebound sleeplessness, and if it’s not addressed, patients risk relapsing or developing hazardous hallucinations.

What is safe during detox?

During detox, it is safe to gradually decrease the dosage of sleeping pills or switch to a less dangerous drug. There are also anti-anxiety medications and depression medications that doctors can administer to people who are experiencing psychological anguish. For those who need help with emotional issues, rehab facilities have counselor therapists on hand. Additionally, patients can take medication to alleviate stomach aches and nausea.

What isn’t safe during detox?

To quit taking sleeping medications suddenly is not safe, and neither is self-medicating with alcohol or other harmful drugs safe either. Inexperienced people who attempt to stop on their own are more likely to self-medicate their withdrawal symptoms. If this happens, individuals may overdose or have major medical issues.

A competent therapist should be consulted before anyone attempts to stop taking sleeping drugs on their own. Depression is three times as common in patients with chronic insomnia than in the general population. The risk is significantly greater for those who have a sleeping pill addiction. In fact, clinical depression is present in more than half of the patients who seek treatment for drug addiction. Doctors sometimes have a hard time determining whether the depression or the addiction started first. Comorbid mental health concerns will persist unless professional therapists are available.

What happens during the sleeping pill withdrawal process?

A team of experts assesses and monitors patients for underlying health issues during the withdrawal process in a detox facility. In addition, the readings of the vital signs are scrutinized for any indications of illness or injury.

Doctors will first begin a gradual reduction in dosage based on the patient’s medical history and individual needs. They are kept in a peaceful and pleasant setting for the following few weeks as the medication is flushed from their bodies. Therapy and social work services are available to patients who want to work on their psychological problems one-on-one with professionals.

Finding the proper medication for those who are recovering from addiction and have a mental health problem might take some time. There is always a doctor on call for patients in a medical center. Because of this, there is less of a delay in finding the correct dosage of prescription for an individual. In addition, therapists are able to customize treatment plans so that patients have support systems in place when they leave the facility and begin living a sober life on their own. Addiction to drugs can be treated like any other chronic illness. As soon as a diabetic is stabilized, he or she does not see a doctor again for the rest of their life. To keep their condition in check, they must keep returning. Drug abuse and addiction are the same. In the absence of treatment, addicts will continue to battle and suffer.

However, individuals who are serious about getting healthier can find assistance. Please seek help if you or a loved one is afflicted by the disease of addiction. A qualified rehabilitation counselor can help you or someone you care about right now if you contact them.

What do you think?

Rate this post