Ambien is a prescription sedative given to treat insomnia. Due to the negative side effects of Ambien, doctors rarely prescribe the drug for long periods lasting beyond 4 weeks. Learn more about how Ambien affects the body and brain and how to improve the effects for medicinal purposes.

How it Works

Insomnia occurs when an individual either has difficulty falling asleep or wakes up repeatedly during the night. Ambien allows the brain and body to relax and works by slowing activity in the brain. Depressant qualities of Ambien result in:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unsteady balance
  • Unusual dreams

Ambien Effects

Ambien affects the central nervous system as a depressant which slows brain activity. Most central nervous system depressants affect the brain in the same way. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) occurs naturally in the brain by sending messages between cells (neurotransmitters). GABA works by slowing down brain activity. Different classes of CNS depressants work in unique ways which increases GABA activity, producing a drowsy or calming effect. Ambien can also have disturbing side effects. It may result in memory problems or cause people to act out everyday activities in sleep including driving, cooking and walking.

Rapid Work

Ambien is incredibly fast working, seeing peak concentration in the blood occur within only 30 minutes from time of ingestion. Due to rapid onset of effects, it is important Ambien be taken immediately before bed and not any earlier. The strong sedative is dangerous to attempt to perform physically-demanding activities while on Ambien.

Why it Works

The drug Ambien works better when a person can get a full 7-8 hours of sleep in a night. People have reported memory problems after taking Ambien and waking early. It may take longer for drowsy side effects to wear off so it depends on the individual. Ambien is not the right medication for everyone. It is not recommended for those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse. In some people, Ambien may cause severe side effects or dangerous behaviors. People who experience problems while taking Ambien should talk to a doctor immediately about discontinuing medication. There are addictive properties to Ambien that must be addressed for individuals who may struggle with previous addictions or are susceptible due to the length of time a prescription runs.

When an individual is prescribed Ambien, it is important to keep track of the amount of drug taken and make sure signs of abuse and addiction do not pop up. It is easy to abuse the drug over time as tolerance builds but with support an individual can kick the habit and be drug free and healthy.


Hired Power supports individuals who struggle with addiction to Ambien or other prescription drugs. Call us to find out how we can help you recover from prescription drug abuse or other forms of addiction.

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