Long Term Use Of Zolpidem For Shift Work
Posted: March 13, 2012, 2:36 AM

Posts: 14
Joined: March 13, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I have been using zolpidem for more than 5 years now. I've never had problems sleeping until I got my current job which requires me to work rotating shifts. At first I tried OTC sleep aids, but didn't really seem to help much. I remember one day my body clock was so messed up I didn't sleep for over 24 hous. Then I turned to prescription sleeping aids, and zolpidem worked best for me. The first couple of years I was on it were ok, but then I had to take more than one to fall to sleep. It got to the point where I was taking 30 or 40 mg at a time to fall to sleep. And I can't say that I never enjoyed the euphoric side effects. However the primary reason I used them was for sleep. When I would run out of the pills, I would try to get them refilled early, but was not always successful. When I don't have ambien, I drink to help me fall to sleep. In the last couple of years I have realized how unhealthy this lifestyle is, and even though I like my job and want to stay, I can't do so because I can't work rotating shifts without help of some kind of sleeping aid. So I've decided to quit my job, but I can't until I sell my house. I could forclose, but I don't want to do that. My question to you is whether I should stop taking the zolpidem all together, or continue taking them when sometimes having the pills there makes it difficult not to take more than one if I can't sleep with one. Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Posted: March 13, 2012, 3:51 PM

Posts: 8680
Joined: April 24, 2007

DO NOT stop ambien cold turkey. Many people are regular users, but you have crossed over into abuse if you are running out before the end of your script. Talk to your doctor about weaning off of them slowly, perhaps breaking them in half. In the meantime, there are over the counter items that can help with sleep, and dietary measures that can also help. You can try Passion Flower capsules and L-Tryptophan before bed. You can also take magnesium twice a day which helps keep muscles from tensing up. I have long-standing sleep issues thatw ere regulated by dietary restrictions and the above natural remedies. Tart cherry juice and scottish oatmeal are two examples of foods that aid sleep.

Quitting ambien without supervision can be dangerous...don't.

Peace ~ MomNMore

You will not change what you are willing to tolerate.

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Posted: April 2, 2012, 11:29 PM

Posts: 14
Joined: March 13, 2012

Thank you for replying MomNMore.

I'm afraid to tell my doctor because I think he will stop prescribing them to me, and I don't know how I will get enough sleep without them when I'm shifting my sleep schedule every 3 to 4 days. I've tried every OTC and natural product out there and it doesn't seem to do anything. Alcohol does work, but then I wake up with a headache. I think that my brain has become tolerant of any sleeping med, from melatonin to ambien. Is there a tamper proof pill dispenser I could buy that would only release so many pills per day? Then I wouldn't take more than prescribed. Once I can quit this job, I hope my sleeping pattern will be stable enough where I won't need any sleeping meds.

Posted: April 25, 2012, 7:43 PM

Posts: 3
Joined: April 25, 2012

I am the same way I take way to much at night and I used to take it durring the day. I am striclty taking it at night but 4-9 pills at night which I knows not good. Does anyone have a good way to step it down without anxiety ruling over you ability to sleep? Any suggestions would be very helpful!
Posted: April 25, 2012, 10:40 PM

Posts: 2339
Joined: February 20, 2010

had to look at my rx, it is only 10 mg and sometimes it takes me 2 hours to get sleepy but i sleep well when i do get to sleep i just take it at 9 if i want to sleep at 11 lol every couple of months i go off for a day, dont sleep then start again.just picked up alteril for my hubby, from Walgreens otc, last night he even snored he was sleeping so well, tryptophan, melatonin, chamomile..he also stopped any caffeine by 3 in the afternoon which really helped..our house are all bed swappers at night, hub goes to the couch about 1, the grandson comes in to my bed around 2 with the dog, i get out of bed at 3 and start wandering around cuz my hip hurts, i go to the guest room, gavin find me and switches beds again..good lord we are like mexican jumping beans haha any othrt families like this?
Posted: May 16, 2012, 4:47 PM

Posts: 183
Joined: December 22, 2011

I have no idea why but I am, or.....we are sleep movers as well. I start out in ny big satellite chair and move from there to the couch, then ultimately (hopefully) to bed with my boy dog. Depends though, sometimes he goes to bed early (in MY bed) so I don't have to carry him down the hall (He's a shih tzu). My girl dog isn't a fan of sleeping with anyone but herself so she sleeps in her big, pink pillow dog bed (it's got sides and is shaped like a giant bone) under the window - guarding the house. Lol. Little pipsqueak would warn me if someone was around.

My stepson sleeps like the dead. A bomb could go off in my house and he would not wake up. And he still has that college sleeping til noon thing going on, drives me nuts!! Mostly because I am jealous! lol ;)

He moves around a lot too. Usually its the floor of the living room, to the chair, then to his futon for a while, then he wakes up and has no idea he did all that traveling during the night.

My mom and dad are like this too momg. My mom sleeps on the couch til about 1 a.m., then moves to the bed and my dad goes from the guest room bed to their bed.

I sleep best of course in my bed but for some stupid reason these days, the minute I sit down at night, I am out. Honestly, I have the total opposite problem of the OP. I sleep or want to sleep all of the time. I'm on 40 mgs Prozac per day so yes, I am depressed but it's being controlled.

Everyone has to have the correct "cocktail" when it comes to mental meds. It sometimes takes months to find the drug you ultimately end up responding too. I was so thankful when I tried Prozac this time and it worked well for me right off the bat. I've tried other anti's at other bad times in my life and had some bad reactions. Paxil made me feel like I did an 8 ball of coke. I was paranoid, flipping out and uncomfortable. Never again. It was like taking a pill to make myself have anxiety!! But, I had to endure a lot of trying different drugs til I found one I can stand.

Enuff of my rambling....lol!!


"If some great catastrophe is not announced every morning, we feel a certain void. nothing in the paper today , we sigh.”
Paul Valery

“Self-love, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.”
William Shakespeare

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Posted: June 4, 2012, 3:25 AM

Posts: 14
Joined: March 13, 2012

Would switching medications every 6 months work, let's say, from ambien to lunesta, and then lunesta to sonata, and then back to ambien. I don't know if the brain would see them all as the same thing or would the tolerance problem of ambien go away after no using it for 2 months. I think I may ask my doctor this, since I work rotating shifts and need help adjusting my sleep schedule. Before this job, I didn't have any sleep problems. Any replies and incite are greatly appreciated.


This post has been edited by sleepdeprived on June 6, 2012, 2:15 AM
Posted: August 14, 2012, 11:28 AM

Posts: 10
Joined: August 10, 2012

ambien wont make u tired. thats the point of it. it needs to be taken right before your head hits the pillow. it helps u sleep, not get tired.
Posted: August 20, 2012, 10:12 AM

Posts: 76
Joined: August 14, 2012


This post has been edited by elephantlover on August 22, 2012, 11:51 PM

Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying!

Posted: June 16, 2013, 10:05 PM

I also take too much ambien and the issues are around 1) it is fun to take and stay awake -stress relief 2) I have chronic insomnia. I commonly run out and end up splitting pills in half or combining with anxiolytics to make it to the next refill.. An infant only makes the issue worse - waking 3x a night means pills just get used up way too quickly. I have say though, ambien is the best sleeping pill I've ever had and has enabled me to function.

My suggestion is to get some Lunesta. This stuff only works a few hours so good for people with trouble falling asleep. If you wake up you need more pills unfortunately. The good thing about Lunesta is no euphoria means less abuse potential. You can probably rotate between nights of Lunesta and nights of ambien to get your tolerance down.

Or a little secret for you if you can't get your doctor to prescribe Xanax or Ativan or similar, those usually get you to sleep. Google Etizolam and a couple of these will put you to sleep while your Ambien tolerance drops. Good luck!
Posted: May 23, 2014, 7:12 AM

Posts: 13
Joined: May 23, 2014

A great exchange of information.

Posted: December 29, 2014, 1:05 PM

I was suffering from Migraine. The first stroke of Migraine came when i was in a professional session.
It was scaring and i didn't know what to do. This started getting on my head, and after that i suffered
a major attack. This panic attack seems to have affected the part of brain which controls sleep.
I was a sound sleeper before that, and suddenly after panic attack, i suffered from insomania.
The situation was very hard for me and i was very depressed due to added burden of professional classes,
which was to decide my carrer..

One of my friends suggested that i should take Zolpidem, to recover from insomania , so that i can finish my
professional classes. I started using zolpidem and slowly became addicted to it.
The urge to take Zolpidem was very strong. i have been taking Zolpidem for like 4 years now, and there was not a single day
i slept without Medicine. Now i realize that i was actually coward not to handle pressure.
The sheer thought of me not getting sleep, broke and tortured me that i felt that Zolpidem was the only option.
In order to get away from fear, i would take zolpidem and sleep.

Zolpidem no doubt worked wonders for me as i was able to get few hours of sleep.
But slowly it destroyed my whole life. I joined a very reputed MNC in India. Workpressure was too much,
and zolpidem used to help me deal with it.
But after 1 year of continuous use, i reallized that my life was a s***.
Headaches was something that Zolpidem caused everyday, at the back of my head.
I did things that i shouldn't do under the influence of Zolpidem, like calling few people and telling rubbish to someothers.
Even after 8 hours , my brain was not rested although i had an eight hours of sleep.
This is because Zolpidem doesn't help to go to Stage 4 sleep. I got weird dreams everyday.
Mormning i woke up, and felt myself very tired.
After 2 years of Addiction, i had distant myself from everyone.
i stopped taking calls from everyone. Everything seemed to be a burden to me.
My speech also detoriated, kinda got slurry.
I would learn and work very hard, but i kept forgetting things.
I became depressed and used to fight with everyone. whole life was messed up.
In short, i knew that i was going to be like a drug addict, that i see documentary on TVs.
After 4 years of Zolpidem, i felt myself helpless.
I tried a lot but was not able to quit Zolpidem,

But suddenly something good happened. The Medicine Store guy told me that, in future he will not be able to give me Zolpidem
As his bussinees was suffering and he has decided to put an end to Medicine Store.

I was like shattered, but i started surfing net, (only this time with a determination) to stop taking Zolpidem.
Then i realized that it is not recommended to abruptly stop Medicine, but i had no option.
For first few days, a got panic attacks(minor). It was so bad that i felt like at least i should take alcohol and sleep at least.
But after 2 days, things started becoming normal. I was able to recover from all irregular hearbeats, panic attacks.
I felt so fresh, in morning that i prayed to GOD, and thanked him for this day.
It has been 1 month since i left Zolpidem, and i am ack to normal.
I swtched job, and am earning handsomely in another MNC.
My mind active now, and my judgements are not fogged. I have become confident, feel fit and energetic
and enjoying life never before.

In the ned, i think Addiction is all in your head. If you make determination, then u can anytime quit any drug addiction.
All you need is: 1) Self Belief that u can quit 2) Strict Mind Control 3) Help from your family nad friends, coz you need to tell
them what u are going through and what you plan to do, so that they can shoeyou some better path.

Please feel free to consult me in case of any help.
I will be more that happy to help you guys get rid of Zolpidem addiction.

This post has been edited by moderator on December 29, 2014, 11:59 PM
Posted: April 28, 2016, 11:24 PM

Do not stop taking Zolpidem cold turkey. You have to ease off of it. I had a withdrawal seizure from stopping Ambien cold turkey. I never had a seizure before or since. Now I am off of them but at one point I was taking 20-10mg pills per day. They affected my memory negatively too.
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