These are the actual side effects of Ambien

Sleep isn't technically one of them.

sleep bed feet
Ambien doesn't so much help you sleep as knock you out.Pixabay

Ambien is one of the top 20 drugs prescribed in America. You probably know it as a sleeping pill, but it's more accurately classified as a sedative-hypnotic, and doesn't actually induce natural sleep. True sleep stems largely from the thalamus, a brain region that puts out signals to trigger unconsciousness, whereas Ambien mostly acts on your cortex to block neurons from firing. It's not even the first line of treatment for insomnia—cognitive behavioral therapy works much better because it addresses the underlying causes of the sleep issues, rather than sedating you. In many cases, drugs like Ambien don't work better than a placebo.

So the so-called sleeping pill is far from a panacea for the sleepless. But should a physician prescribe you Ambien, however, here are the kind of side effects you might experience:

  • Dizziness

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Muscle cramps

  • Diarrhea

  • Double vision

  • Trouble breathing

  • Slowed response times

  • Impaired judgment

  • Drowsiness

  • Memory loss

  • Disorientation

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Depression

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Hallucinations

  • Confusion

  • Aggression

  • Anxiety

  • Sleep-driving, -walking, -eating, -talking, and having sex while asleep

Since Ambien does put users in something of an altered state of mind, some blame the drug for inducing behaviors they might get in trouble for later. But abnormal thinking is an incredibly rare side effect of sedatives, and users should seek a physician's advice if they think the drug is making them do things they would never otherwise do.

Though you may find yourself rambling on and on to your friends due to lowered inhibitions and lack of judgement, Ambien has not been known to cause hateful feelings toward any particular people. If you’re experiencing thoughts like this, please see a therapist.