Safer Alternatives to Ambien for Insomnia 

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Getting a Good Night’s Rest: Alternatives to Ambien for Insomnia

Ambien is narcotic that is prescribed for people with sleep disorders, but as a sedative, it can be abused. Zolpidem is the active ingredient found in Ambien, and by 2015, an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States were abusing it. In an effort to avoid abuse of the addictive drug, what are the alternatives to Ambien for insomnia?  

We will explore the use of a natural sleep aid and take a look at what alternatives to Ambien for insomnia there are.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can be one of the effective alternatives to Ambien for insomnia. These drugs usually contain antihistamines which help to bring about sleepiness. Some of the downsides of using this type of medication for insomnia are that the antihistamines found in the drug can cause the person to feel drowsy the next day, and prolonged use can prove to be less effective as a tolerance starts to build.

Prescription Drugs

Alternatives to Ambien for insomnia include other prescription drugs since Ambien is only meant to be prescribed in a short term period. A prescription for Ambien will usually only last for around 10 days before the user risks becoming dependent on the drug. Some of the other drugs available include Rozerem, Sonata and Lunesta, which are non-benzodiazepine drugs.

Benzodiazepine medications are generally riskier but can be a solution for the short term. They work by depressing the central nervous system, which also helps to treat anxiety along with insomnia. Some of the benzodiazepine medications include Halcion, Klonopin and Xanax.

Natural Sleep Aid

Of course, a natural alternative to Ambien is available. Melatonin is one such substance, which is a hormone the body creates to help regulate your sleep pattern. It comes in a supplement and is often used to treat jet lag or insomnia.  

Further options for a natural alternative to Ambien include chamomile and valerian root. Both of these natural substances have similar effects to benzodiazepines by suppressing the nervous system, which is why they should not be taken with other sedatives as the effects can be excessive and lead to medical complications. One can find chamomile and valerian in tablets, teas, extracts and in tincture form. 

Changes in Lifestyle

Ultimately, in order for a person to properly deal with insomnia in the long term, there needs to be a lifestyle change so that medications are no longer necessary. With a few adjustments to your behavior and lifestyle, it can bring about positive changes to your sleep every day.  

One of the ways that can help to return your body to a natural sleep rhythm is following a routine. Your routine should start with waking and sleeping at the same time every day. This helps your body to recognize when it’s time to sleep so that natural processes can take over.  

Eating large meals close to your preferred bed time can cause problems with sleep. Additionally, drinking caffeine in the hours leading to your sleep time can cause problems. Changing your bedroom décor to something inviting and cozy can also help.  

Another behavioral change that can lead to a better night’s rest includes doing something to help you unwind and relax before attempting to go to sleep. These activities include reading a book, taking a hot bath or by making use of meditation and deep-breathing exercises. The act of doing the same relaxing thing before you sleep every night can help prepare your mind and body for a good night’s rest.   

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources: 

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648222/