How To Get Off Sleeping Pills? Tips for Sleeping Without a Pill Update 07/2024

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. In extreme circumstances, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help you fall asleep.

What happens if, despite their intended use as a short-term fix, these medications become habit-forming? This medication could cause major health issues, according to doctors.

We’ll talk about how to come off sleeping drugs, as well as tips on how to obtain a good night’s sleep without taking medicine.

Why stop taking sleeping pills?

  • For the most part, the benefits of using sleeping medications on a nightly basis are short-lived.
  • Sleeping pills lose their effectiveness after a few weeks of use because your brain becomes accustomed to the medication.
  • Morning fatigue, disorientation, and confusion can all be signs that you’ve taken too many sleeping drugs.
  • These side effects might also lead to accidents and falls (sometimes resulting in broken bones).
  • if you stop taking your sleeping pill on a regular basis, you’ll find that it works far better when you take it sometimes.
  • because sleep aids lose their effectiveness after a few weeks and are associated with unpleasant side effects, it makes sense to discontinue their use and retrain yourself to fall asleep on your own.

How Do Sleep Aids Work?

Not all sleep aids function in the same manner. A few of these will put you to sleep, while others will calm the part of your brain that is still aware.
How Do You Get Off Sleeping Pills? - Symptoms & What To Expect

Over the Counter vs. Prescription

You can buy sleeping aids over the counter at your local drugstore, or you can get them prescribed by your doctor. Contrary to popular belief, over-the-counter drugs have a higher potency. Supplements such as Melatonin and Valerian can be purchased over the counter. Prescription medicines include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and z-drugs like Ambien® and Lunesta®.

Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

Over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids may cause the following side effects, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Also included here are supplements.

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Digestive issues

Long Term Complications

Pill Dependence

Regular use can lead to physical dependence, as it does with many other medications. The same is true for those that are intended to aid with sleep.


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. z-drugs, for example, have the potential to awaken you from your slumber and allow you to perform everyday activities such as walking, talking, eating, and driving. When they wake up, however, most people do not remember these events.

Substance Abuse

Benzodiazepines have the potential to lead to substance misuse, according to experts. Mixing these medicines with other tranquilizers or alcohol can lead to an overdose, which is very dangerous.

How Long Do Sleeping Pills Stay In Your System?

One of the most commonly prescribed z-drugs is Ambien®. After 30 minutes of action, this medication is fully effective, lasting between one and two and a half and three hours. After taking a sleeping pill, the drug can be found in the system for six to twenty hours, according to the American Addiction Centers. Higher doses can be found in urine for up to 72 hours and in blood for 48 hours.

What is Sleeping Pill Withdrawal?

Because of your dependence on sleeping drugs, your body has adapted to them. It is therefore possible to experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop using these substances. During a withdrawal, you may encounter these signs and symptoms.

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body spasms
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium
  • Anxiety
  • Drug cravings
  • Irritability

Tips for Sleeping Without a Pill

Experts at the Cleveland Clinic offer the following natural sleep therapies and lifestyle adjustments for those who want to achieve a better night’s sleep without the use of drugs.
Melatonin for Sleep: Does It Work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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

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. A light snack can be a good substitute in the event that you’re feeling hungry.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Reduce your caffeine intake, especially before going to bed, to help you sleep better. You should also abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages. 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. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is a stimulant that may make you feel less weary, according to the Henry Ford Health System. As a result of smoking, you are more likely to suffer from conditions such as sleep apnea.

Find Ways to Relax at Night

To help you relax at night, make a bedtime routine a part of your life. Meditation, reading, or stretching may all be good options for relieving stress.

Create a Good Sleep Space

In addition to being a comfortable place to sleep, your bedroom should promote restful sleep. To get the best night’s sleep, make the room quiet, dark, and chilly. As a final precaution, make sure that your mattress and bedding materials are tailored to your own preferences and requirements. For example, if your mattress doesn’t provide enough back support, you may find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night.


Exercising before bedtime can help you sleep better, according to studies. As a first step, it can boost your mood, making you feel more at ease when the clock strikes midnight. The second finding is that moderate aerobic activity boosts slow-wave (deep) sleep duration.

Stick To a Sleep Schedule

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

Cut Off Electronics Before Bed

In the evening, using your phone or laptop for late-night social media browsing or work can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Blue light from these devices lowers the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is why this happens. The sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is naturally produced by your body on a 24-hour cycle. At night, production tends to rise, but technological devices might confound the body and keep you awake.


What is rebound insomnia?

According to Addiction Center, rebound insomnia occurs when you stop taking sleep drugs and your insomnia gets worse. Return insomnia might linger from several days to several weeks, experts warn.

Are sleeping pills addictive?

Yes, and many people don’t know they’re hooked until they try to stop taking their medication. There were an estimated 9 million Americans who took sleeping medication on a regular basis in 2013.

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. But sadness and drug cravings 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, according to the experts at Addiction Center. Don’t be hesitant to get treatment if you or a loved one is battling with addiction.

What is the timeline for sleeping pill withdrawal?

There are four distinct stages in the sleep medication withdrawal process, each with a distinct set of physical and emotional symptoms. Additionally, there are several variables that can influence how long a person is in withdrawal. As a person’s age and physical and mental health conditions affect the length of withdrawal, so does their weight, metabolic rate, the length of time they’ve been addicted, and the severity of their addiction.

Immediately following cessation, phase one begins and lasts for the first three days of a person’s life. A week to ten days will pass between the onset of the second phase’s physical symptoms and the user’s greatest risk of relapse if they don’t have enough assistance throughout that time period. Phase three is characterized by a gradual easing of physical symptoms, but mental upheaval is possible. It will take another two weeks for this step to complete. Intermittent cravings or severe depression may continue for months after the cessation of the drug use in phase four. In order to stay sober and treat any spells of depression, those in recovery from a sleeping pill addiction require proper support. Depression can lead to self-inflicted damage or even suicide if it is not treated.

What are the physical symptoms of withdrawal?

These are some of the more distressing physical signs of sleep aid withdrawal:

  • Convulsions
  • Stomach pain and nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate

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. Sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms might extend for up to three weeks following the last dose. Some people may experience anxiety and panic attacks as a result of these physical symptoms.

DORA-22: Sleeping pill that promises no side effects and targets root cause of insomnia | Daily Mail Online

What emotional symptoms occur during the withdrawal phase?

When patients quit taking sleeping drugs, they may feel generalized anxiety and even full-blown panic attacks. Rebound insomnia will also be experienced by patients. Confusion and hallucinations may develop, and sadness may start to appear roughly three weeks following quitting. If people don’t get therapy for their sleeping pill addiction, they can endure deep, clinical depression, placing them at-risk for relapse and suicide.

Can someone quit sleeping pills cold-turkey?

Quitting sleeping drugs abruptly carries a high risk of withdrawal symptoms. However, rapid discontinuation might lead to more severe and longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms for the individual. This is especially true if they are on their own. Families and friends may also have a difficult time dealing with the distress that comes with a person going through a withdrawal. 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. Doing so reduces or prevents the occurrence of rebound insomnia in patients. Patients suffering from rebound insomnia may experience hazardous hallucinations or a relapse if they do not receive the right treatment.

What is safe during detox?

During detox, it is safe to gradually decrease the dosage of sleeping pills or switch to an alternate prescription. There are also anti-anxiety medications and depression medications that doctors can administer to people who are experiencing psychological anguish. As part of a rehabilitation facility, therapists are on hand to help patients overcome emotional obstacles that may arise. Additionally, patients can take medication to alleviate their stomach discomfort and nausea.

What isn’t safe during detox?

To abruptly quit using sleeping pills or to self-medicate with alcohol or other harmful drugs is not safe. Those who attempt to quit smoking on their own, without the help of a professional counselor, run the risk of self-medicating the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Overdosing or developing major medical issues are also possible outcomes if this occurs.

People should not attempt to stop using sleeping drugs on their own, without the assistance of a licensed therapist. Depression is three times as common in patients with chronic insomnia than in the general population. The danger is significantly greater for people who are dependent on sleeping pills. In reality, more than half of all patients who enter drug rehabilitation are suffering from clinical depression at the same time. Doctors sometimes have difficulty determining whether the depression or the addiction arrived first. However, individuals will continue to battle with co-occurring mental health difficulties unless they receive treatment from qualified therapists.

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. Additionally, the patient’s vital signs are monitored for indicators of illness or injury.

Doctors will first begin a gradual reduction in dosage based on the patient’s medical history and individual needs. During the time it takes for the medicine to leave their system, they are kept in a quiet and pleasant atmosphere. To address existing and unmet psychological needs, patients may also interact with counselors, therapists, or social workers.

Finding the proper medication for those who are recovering from addiction and have a mental health problem can be a lengthy process. Patients in a health care center have access to a doctor at all times. When trying to locate the proper dosage or drug for a certain person, there is less waiting and less inconvenience. In addition, therapists are able to customize treatment plans so that patients have support systems in place when they leave the institution and begin living a clean life. Drug addiction, like any other chronic illness, can be successfully managed. 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 under control, they must return to the hospital frequently. Addiction to drugs and alcohol follows the same path. Addiction is a sickness, and sufferers will continue to struggle and suffer as long as no therapy is provided.

Those who are serious about their recovery can, nevertheless, find assistance. Do not hesitate to get treatment if addiction is plaguing you or someone you care about. If you or a loved one is in need of help, contact a licensed rehabilitation counselor now.

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