Zolpidem (Ambien) is a sleep aid that helps people with insomnia fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s also used to treat other sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome, sleepwalking and night terrors.
It’s usually taken 30 minutes before bedtime, but it can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Some patients may find that taking it at bedtime helps them fall asleep faster, while others may find that taking it one or two hours before bedtime works better for them.
You should take Zolpidem exactly as prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better. Don’t stop taking Zolpidem without talking to your doctor first. If you suddenly stop taking Zolpidem, you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like dizziness and nausea.
If you miss a dose of Zolpidem, take it as soon as possible unless your next scheduled dose isn’t for another 4 hours or more—then skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Don’t double up on doses if this happens; there’s no need to compensate for a missed dose by taking two doses together at once.
The recommended dose of Ambien depends on the age and health condition of the patient. It is usually taken just before bedtime, but can also be taken earlier if needed for an afternoon nap.
What are the side effects of Zolpidem (Ambien)?
Zolpidem (Ambien) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia and has become one of the most common sleeping pills prescribed in the United States.
Unfortunately, it also carries some potentially serious side effects. These include:
- abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- dizziness or trouble walking straight
- double vision or blurred vision
- depression or suicidal thoughts
How do Zolpidem (Ambien) work?
Zolpidem (Ambien) is a sleep-inducing drug that works by binding to brain receptors that regulate sleep, effectively modifying the way we think about and interact with our environment. In particular, zolpidem affects GABA receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating certain functions like muscle tone, motor control, and cognitive function.
The drug does this by binding to GABA-A receptors in the brain and blocking their ability to transmit messages between nerves in an area called the thalamus. The thalamus is responsible for relaying sensory information from your body—such as light or sound—to your brain’s cortex so that you can interpret what’s happening around you. By blocking this connection between nerves in the thalamus and cortex, zolpidem helps slow down activity in these areas of your brain so they don’t respond as much to outside stimuli.
This helps promote relaxation and calmness while you’re sleeping so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than usual.