Is Ambien the Problem or am I Depressed?

Posted by celticxian @celticxian, Oct 21, 2023

I stopped being able to fall asleep on my own a long time ago. It started with Tradozone and now I’m taking 5 mg Ambien. My mornings are nonexistent. I pray to God that I wake up in the mornings and that does not always work. Most of the time I don’t get get out of bed until 11-2 PM in the afternoon. This has been my new normal but I don’t like it at all! I go to bed at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30 or 11. I have a friend that takes the same thing I do and wakes up at 5 am every morning. I’d rather have that than too much sleep. It has always been one extreme (no sleep) or the other (too much sleep). I have tried antidepressants but they cause Restless Leg Syndrome which is awful when you are trying to go to sleep. I’m taking Iron for that. Any ideas?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Sleep Health Support Group.

Have you seen a sleep medicine doctor? Seeing one and a sleep therapist finally helped me find strategies and medication that works for me. I too didn’t know if I had depression or sleep deprivation.


The only way to be sure if Ambien is the root of your problem would be to desist from taking it for a few days at least, say 3-5, and see if your mornings return to you. I say this with some trepidation because you may end up under stress due to the changes that follow, not least of which might be a great less quality sleep. It seems you can't have your cake and eat it. But stopping the purported progenitor of your problems, as you suspect, is about the only way to definitively answer your own question.

I take it that you get regular aerobic exercise? Do you have otherwise good sleep 'hygiene'? Do you snack later, say within a couple of hours of bedtime? Or, are you going to bed hungry and find that it takes longer to fall asleep as a result? Again, each of those last two can interfere with sleep, but the former is not good when you are overweight, particularly if you prefer carb-laden snacks...which most awful sleepers do if they snack late.

Have you tried melatonin? Not only is it (from what I read a few months ago) about the best ingestible anti-oxidant, but it's a powerful hormone for helping with sleep onset. It normally doesn't extend sleep the way you have been experiencing, although to be truthful I find that the odd time I take it makes me a bit sleepy next morning for a couple of hours. But, it can also extend my sleep by about a full hour, which for me is important due to how little I get some nights. Also, while some take melatonin every night, I have read that the body can become dependent on it the same way one does nicotine. So, I only take 3mg sub-lingual about every third to fifth night, depending on how sleep deprived I get in between. Some weeks are much better without melatonin, for me, but some days I need it more often. I just resist taking it on successive nights.

Lastly, and here I'm well out of my depth: I have resorted to Zopiclone in the past, although not for several months now. Briefly, I have atrial fibrillation which was evolving rather quickly to flutter and becoming persistent. Over eight months I had two catheter ablations to isolate the area around the pulmonary vein ostia, at the back of the left atrium where the spurious signals issue and make the atrium beat erratically. I needed two ablations because the first didn't quite fully isolate the electrical impulses, and my fibrillation continued. And continued to get worse! The point is that my sleep suffered for at least a full year, especially around the times of diagnostics such as an angiogram, but also waiting for and following the ablations to see if they had worked. My GP reluctantly prescribed three small blue tablets. My pharmacist kindly suggested to me, leaning over the counter and speaking quietly, to cut them in half because of my sleep apnea. I did, and that worked nicely. My GP now prescribes me 14 tabs every six months, but I don't really use them much, if at all. The melatonin works because I use it sparingly.

I have posted a lot, probably more than you'd care to know, but something of what I relate to you may help...I hope.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.