Sleeping pill detox

Sleeping pills are commonly used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, many people do not realise that these medications are both physically and psychologically addictive. If you are ready to quit your sleeping pill addiction, navigating the detox and withdrawal phase can be challenging. It is important to prepare yourself for the potential symptoms you may face and learn how to detox from them safely and effectively.


What is sleeping pill detox?

Sleeping pill detox involves removing all traces of sleeping pill toxins from your body, via abstinence from the drug. Sleeping pills work by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This slows down signals in both the brain and central nervous system, which in turn produces feelings of drowsiness and a sense of relaxation.

With frequent use, the brain becomes reliant on these artificial means of inducing sleep and is unable to function properly without sleeping pills. Due to chemical changes seen in the brain, users often experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or reduce their dose. While these drugs will typically metabolise from the body within a day, withdrawal symptoms will persist for longer as the brain tries to adapt to chemical imbalances that have occurred.

What can I expect from sleeping pill detox?

When you arrive at our facility, we will first assess the severity of your dependency and overall health. From there, our medical staff will be able to develop a treatment plan designed to keep you comfortable and safe.

As part of our service, we offer:

A safe and comfortable place to detox…

Our facility is designed to provide a relaxing and supportive environment – perfect for those going through sleeping pill withdrawal.

24/hour medical care…

You will be under the around-the-clock care of our team of experts who will monitor your progress and ensure the detox period remains manageable.

Ongoing treatment…

We offer both group and individual therapy sessions as part of our sleeping pill rehab and detox programme. This provides an opportunity to talk about your experiences and work through any psychological effects of withdrawal.

Our Primrose Lodge client, Ellen, explains how her detox experience helped her through the first stages of recovery:

“Because everything is done for you in rehab, it was good for me. I was a mess and couldn’t put my own socks on, so I needed that routine. Having that space away from life made it an awful lot easier.”

Sleeping pill detox can be an overwhelming and challenging process, but with the right support, it is entirely possible to overcome it quickly, comfortably, and effectively.


What are sleeping pill withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms from sleeping pills can differ from person to person – you should take into account the type of sleeping pill being used, your overall health and the length and frequency of use. All of these factors may influence the severity of withdrawal. However, you can typically expect to see varying degrees of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures

Abruptly halting your consumption of sleeping pills, or going ‘cold turkey’, can lead to more acute withdrawal symptoms. Those with severe dependency can also be exposed to dangerous and even life-threatening symptoms. It is therefore always recommended that you seek the help of a medical professional before undergoing sleeping pill detox and withdrawal, as they will be able to taper your doses and adequately manage any side effects that emerge.

Sleeping pill detox timeline

The timeline for sleeping pill withdrawal will differ from person to person. It is important that you detox under the care of a professional in order to minimise any risks associated with quitting.

One to three days after last use
During the first few days, you can expect symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and mood swings to occur. These are often followed by physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
Five to ten days after last use
Symptoms usually peak within the first ten days, and during this time you may experience continued problems with sleep, increased heart rate, sweating, tremors, and anxiety.
Ten to fourteen days after last use
After day ten, your withdrawal symptoms will begin to significantly decrease. Although you may experience some lingering psychological effects such as anxiety or depression, the physical symptoms will likely dissipate.
Three weeks and onwards
For those suffering from moderate to severe dependency, you may continue to experience anxiety, depression, and insomnia for some time after your last use. In some cases, individuals may experience symptoms lasting months or even years. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a recognised condition that can occur after long-term use of sleeping pills. The persisting symptoms can negatively impact your quality of life, so if you believe you are suffering from PAWS, it is important to speak to a doctor who can help you to manage your symptoms.

While it is tricky to predict an exact timeline for each individual, for most the withdrawal period is short and lasts for only one to two weeks. Keeping this in mind and tackling each day as it comes is important as you go through this stage of recovery.

Do I need to detox from sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills are deceivingly addictive, with dependency often taking hold of the user within as little as seven days. If you have been taking sleeping pills on a regular basis, it is likely that you will have to undergo a drug detox in order to quit.

More often than not, the thought of enduring withdrawal symptoms is enough to put many people off of detox altogether. However, this is a necessary step in recovery and can be made manageable with the right help. Primrose Lodge can help you safely and effectively overcome sleeping pill detox and ensure you remain comfortable throughout the process.

Which sleeping pills require detox?

Most sleeping pills will require some form of detox in order to effectively remove them from your system. This is because, as previously mentioned, they work by changing the chemistry of the brain – something that takes time to reverse.

At Primrose Lodge, we are experienced in treating a number of different sleeping pill detoxes, including:

Zolpidem detox
Zolpidem, also known as ‘Ambien’, is a short-term treatment intended for insomnia sufferers. Research suggests that the risk for dependence increases when Zolpidem is taken at higher doses and outside of prescription guidelines. Zolpidem detox is therefore essential if you have found the drug beginning to take hold of your life, and taking part in an inpatient programme will ensure the best chances of success.
Zopiclone detox
Zopiclone is another short-term treatment for insomnia. It is a non-benzodiazepine sedative that induces a dream-like state that can last for hours. This drug can be particularly dangerous as many users report sleepwalking whilst under the influence, leading to accidents and injuries. Detoxing from this drug is unpredictable and serious withdrawal symptoms can manifest – it is a good idea to undergo Zopiclone detox under the supervision of professionals.

Is it safe to detox from sleeping pills at home?

Detoxing from sleeping pills can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, so it is important to make sure that you are in a safe environment where you can receive the support you need. The effects of sleeping pill withdrawal are potentially dangerous, and in severe cases even fatal. Detoxing at home is therefore not recommended – you should instead consider taking part in a private inpatient facility programme.

Having medical staff on hand to assist you means you can relax and fully focus on your recovery. You will have access to a team of experienced specialists who will be able to safely taper out your sleeping pill consumption and monitor your physical and psychological state throughout.

What are the benefits of sleeping pill detox?

There are a great many benefits that come with completing a sleeping pill detox, not to mention the sense of achievement you will feel after overcoming this milestone. Some of the benefits you can expect to see include:

  • Improved sleep quality: One of the main goals of detox is to help you get back to a healthy sleeping pattern. This can result in improved concentration, energy levels, and mood.
  • A chance to reset your relationship with sleep: Sleeping pill addiction can often be the result of years of poor sleep habits. Detox allows you to reset your relationship with sleep and develop healthier behaviours around bedtime.
  • Reduced anxiety and stress: Many people who take sleeping pills do so because they are struggling with anxiety or stress. Undergoing detox can help to break this cycle and provide some relief from these symptoms.
  • Improved health and well-being: The regular consumption of sleeping pills can lead to a number of negative side effects on your health and well-being. Detoxing from sleeping pills can help to restore your physical and mental health.


There are endless benefits waiting for you just around the corner. If you are ready to take the first step and begin your journey to a life without sleeping pills, get in touch with our team today. The sooner you pick up the phone, the closer you are to attaining a more fulfilling, healthy life.

Next steps

You might feel apprehensive about the sleeping pill detox process, but don’t let your anxiety hold you back. You will be met with nothing but understanding and compassion at Primrose Lodge. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and assisting you in overcoming your sleeping pill addiction.

Frequently asked questions

Will I experience ‘rebound insomnia’ during sleeping pill detox?
‘Rebound insomnia’ is a common symptom experienced by many people who detox from sleeping pills. This occurs because you are so dependent on sleeping pills to fall asleep. The initial insomnia you were trying to treat with sleeping pills may even come back worse than before. Rebound insomnia may last a few days to a few weeks, and then you should begin to see improvements in your sleep patterns.
Does completing sleeping pill detox mean I’m cured?
Sleeping pill detox is only the first stage of recovery and focuses on tackling the physical withdrawal period. The next step is to uncover the psychological reasons for your drug abuse and learn ways to manage these underlying causes. At Primrose Lodge, we offer a comprehensive therapy programme designed to help you maintain sobriety. Although there is unfortunately no ‘cure’, with hard work and determination, you can start to live a more productive life.
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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 9263