How Long Do Sleeping Pills Stay In Your System?

The length of time that sleeping pills stay in a person’s system varies greatly depending on the prescription drug. For example, Xanax typically leaves the body within three days, while Valium can stay in your system for several weeks after your last dose. Other sleeping medications, like Ambien, have a short half-life and are usually eliminated within 16 hours. The length of time sleeping medication remains in the body also depends on a variety of factors, including genetics, age, overall health, and liver and kidney function.
Sleeping Pill How Long Does It Stay In Your System?
Sleeping pills fall into the broad category of sedative-hypnotics and are used to treat sleep disorders. The most commonly prescribed sleeping pills include barbiturates, benzodiazepines and hypnotics. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and include brands like Valium, Xanax, Librium and Ativan. Newer types of sleeping pills, such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata, are less habit-forming than benzodiazepines but have been known to cause dependencies.

Common Sleeping Pill Side Effects:

  • Appetite changes
  • Tingling limbs
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pains
  • Fatigue
According to Addiction Center, sleeping pills are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. In 2013, there were almost nine million people in the United States using sleeping pills. There were also over 30,000 hospital visits in 2011 related to Ambien misuse. Because certain types of sleeping pills are highly addictive, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acted to help curb sleeping pill misuse. This includes lowering the dosage for women by half for medications like Edluar, Zolpimist and Ambien.
Sleeping Pill How Long Does It Stay In Your System?
The most commonly used sleeping medications include Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Sonata (zaleplon). People who are prescribed these medications for sleep treatment often use them in combination with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants and painkillers. Mixing alcohol and sleeping pills, meanwhile, can result in a fatal overdose. Despite these warnings, many people use alcohol in conjunction with sleeping pills to increase their potency, which often leads to dangerous consequences.
Sleeping pills that belong to the class of sedative hypnotics work by slowing down the nervous system. More specifically, these medications target Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors inside the brain. These receptors are responsible for managing relaxation and alertness. Although this method is great for promoting sleep, it comes with some pretty serious side effects. This includes memory issues, hallucinations and even behavioral changes close to bedtime. They are also highly addictive and are generally recommended for short-term use.
The half-life of sleeping pills varies widely by brand and active ingredient. Some sleep medications have short half-lives, like Ambien (3 hours), while others, such as Valium, have half-lives that range between 20 and 80 hours. The half-life of the drug has a direct impact on how fast the substance leaves the body. The shorter the half-life, the faster your body eliminates the drug.
There are a few factors that influence how long a sleeping pill remains in your system. Setting aside the different types of sleeping medications, how quickly your body eliminates the drug depends on genetics, age, liver and kidney function, and overall health. How long you have been taking the medication and the level of dosage also plays a part in how your body processes it. When quitting sleeping medication, it is generally recommended to gradually taper off the drug instead of stopping all at once. This helps alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms many people experience after they stop taking sleeping pills.
You can multiply the half-life of your medication by a factor of five to determine how long the drug will remain in your system. Certain types of sleeping aids will leave your body within hours after the last dose, while others can stay in your urine, hair and blood for several weeks after quitting. In general, there should not be any traceable amounts in your system after a month of recovery.

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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.