How Can I Sleep Without Prescription Medications?

in Addiction
Published May 7, 2021
sleeping pills

Sleeping pills, such as Ambien, are sometimes prescribed to patients who have insomnia and other sleep disorders. While these can certainly be effective for some people, they may come with some unpleasant side effects. Some patients may prefer alternative methods of treatment that do not include prescription medication. Luckily, there are natural methods and helpful practices that can be utilized to ensure a good night’s sleep without using prescription drugs.

What Is Ambien?

Ambien is the brand name of the drug Zolpidem, and it is within the drug class referred to as sedative-hypnotics. This medication requires a prescription to be obtained. Because it can be habit-forming, it should be taken exactly as instructed. Ambien helps people sleep by slowing the activity in the brain, which in turn relaxes the body. It comes in tablet form that is swallowed or an oral spray.

Ambien goes into effect quickly, and an individual may begin to feel themselves getting drowsy even within minutes of taking it. Thus, it is crucial that it is taken directly before the individual plans to go to bed. Depending upon the dosage and form of Ambien prescribed, an individual will need to remain in bed for a specific number of hours before the effects of the drug wear off. Getting out of bed and operating a vehicle too soon after taking Ambien can be very dangerous.

Over time, an individual may become dependent upon Ambien and experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it suddenly.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Ambien?

Some patients that are prescribed Ambien may experience side effects ranging from mild to severe. Some mild symptoms of Ambien use may include:

  • Drowsiness lingering into the next day
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Muscle Aches
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Parasomnias (sleep walking, sleep eating, sleep driving)


Some severe side effects of Ambien could include:

  • Changes in heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of throat closing up


If a patient experiences any of these side effects while taking Ambien, they should consult their doctor. Alcohol should not be used while taking this medication. Using alcohol or other drugs in conjunction with Ambien can lead to dangerous side effects.

What Are Alternative Sleep Aids Available?

There are over-the-counter sleep aids available that do not require a prescription. One of the most commonly used natural sleep aids is melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that already exists within the body. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and provide consistent sleep. Melatonin supplements can be taken before bed to help ensure quality sleep. Melatonin supplements can help those with sleep disorders, individuals adjusting to working a night shift, or those that are traveling and adjusting to a different time zone.

Another popular sleep is an herb named chamomile. Chamomile is often consumed in the form of tea before bed but can also be purchased in capsule form or used as an essential oil in a diffuser.

The lavender plant is another popular sleep aid that is known for its calming effect. It is available in the form of tea or as an essential oil that can be diffused or applied to one’s pillow before bed.

What Can I Do to Sleep Better Without Sleep Aids?

While natural sleep aids can be helpful to induce quality, rejuvenating sleep, they are not necessary. There are simple practices an individual can incorporate into their day-to-day life to help them sleep better at night.

Perhaps the most crucial step to ensure quality sleep is to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. The longer this schedule is maintained, the more the body will become adjusted, and the easier it will be to fall asleep at night.

It is essential to avoid naps throughout the day, especially in the late afternoon or evening. Even a short nap can throw off one’s sleep schedule and make it more difficult for them to sleep that night.

It is helpful to avoid technology like cell phones and television right before bed. The light from these screens awakens the brain, making it more difficult to fall asleep. In fact, some studies have shown that the light from these devices can even suppress melatonin.

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed is also essential. While alcohol may help an individual fall asleep, they are much more likely to wake up throughout the night and experience low-quality sleep. In one study, participants were administered 400 milligrams of caffeine at three points prior to usual bedtime. The study found that doses even six hours prior to bedtime significantly disturbed sleep. The study also found no difference in total sleep time between the conditions where caffeine was taken immediately before bed or 3 hours prior to bedtime. In conclusion, feeling tired in the morning leads to high caffeine use, which in turn is associated with impaired sleep patterns; also known as a “coffee cycle.”

Prescription sleep medications such as Ambien can effectively treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. However, these medications may lead to unpleasant side effects. Luckily, there are alternative sleep aids available that are natural and do not require a prescription. Melatonin supplements are commonly used before bed to help induce sleep. Other natural sleep aids like lavender or chamomile can also be very effective. An individual looking to experience quality, rejuvenating sleep should ensure they stick to a regular sleep schedule and avoid naps throughout the day. They should also avoid using technology or consuming alcohol or caffeine before bed. If you believe you are dependent on prescription medication for sleep problems, there are resources available that can help. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we have helped thousands of patients obtain a happier and healthier life without substance dependency. We also offer a detox treatment specifically for Ambien dependency. Call us today at (866) 296-5242 to learn more.