ClickCease

How Long Do Sleeping Pills Stay in Your System?

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: December 7th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

It’s estimated that around nine million Americans are using sleeping pills to get some rest, but many aren’t aware of how long the substance stays in their system.

The problem is that these pills aren’t as benevolent as they sound. They are often needed and can helpful in the short-term, but can also lead to a substance use disorder. Granite Recovery Centers has helped people fight this disorder and move forward with their lives.

 

How Long Do Sleeping Pills Stay in Your System?

Every medication and drug that a person takes stays in their system for a significant amount of time. The problem is figuring out how long the drug is going to stay in the body, which is a harder question to answer, but we’re going to do our best to explain how long something like a sleeping pill will stay in your system.

The first thing you should know is that the amount of time a sleeping pill stays in your system slightly depends on you.

Your body can sometimes determine how long something will stay inside you. For example, your health could play a part, and so could your age. A person’s ability to get rid of toxins could also play a part, and this affects many other factors. For a body to get rid of toxins, it needs good circulation, a properly hydrated self, and exercise, and the body shouldn’t be suffering from chronic stress.

Of course, it’s easy to see why each person’s ability to get rid of a drug varies, just like a person’s reaction might vary.

Still, there are a few standards worth mentioning. The following are a few sleeping pills that people take and how long they might take to leave your body:

  • Xanax, one of the most popular sleeping pills, can take about three days to leave the body.
  • Valium, another popular sleeping pill, has one of the longest staying times. This particular medication could stay in the body for weeks before the body can get rid of it.
  • Ambien, and other similar medications, have a shorter half-life, which means it should go away within 16 hours.

 

Half-Life of Sleeping Pills

The half-life is something you want to pay attention to when you’re prescribed a sleeping pill. The shorter the half-life, the faster your body can get rid of it.

Ambien has a three-hour half-life whereas Valium could have anywhere between a 20- to 80-hour half-life. If you take any of these medications, find out how long the drug is going to stay in your body. Other factors that could affect how long a sleeping pill stays in your system are your liver and kidney health. These are vital organs that assist in cleaning up your body. If these organs aren’t doing too well, your body is going to have a harder time getting rid of this drug that you’re taking to get a good night’s sleep. The dosage prescribed to you could also be a factor. Ideally, you’ll get by with the smallest dosage available, but that depends on the severity of your sleeping problems.

There’s one more thing you should know regarding the amount of time that a sleeping pill is going to stay in your system. If you need to take them or if you’ve been taking them, the content of these sleeping pills can go beyond your bloodstream. When someone is trying to taper off a sleeping pill, they are trying to get it out of their bloodstream, but the content can move elsewhere in the body.

For example, the content of the drug could get into your hair and it can stay there for at least 90 days.

Sleeping pills can also absorb into fat tissues, which preserves the contents of a sleeping pill. If this happens to you, then you’ll be able to detect the contents of the sleeping pill you were taking in your saliva or even in your urine. Normally, the content of the sleeping pill you’re taking doesn’t make its way into your fatty tissues, but it can if you’ve been taking this pill for a long time.

Normally, though, you can’t detect any traces of the sleeping pill you were taking after about a month of quitting, except for those few exceptions we mentioned when the contents made their way into your hair or your fatty tissues.

 

Help For Those in Need

Part of what we do at Granite Recovery Center is to help people expel the drugs they’re using.

We use our evidence-based treatment options to help people get back to a life they recognize, and we can do that for you if you give us a chance. It may be difficult to imagine someone developing a substance use disorder linked to sleeping pills, but it is possible. One factor that could explain this phenomenon is the amount of time that the drug can stay in your system.

As mentioned earlier, you need to find out the half-life of any sleep medication you’re taking.It is also a good idea to find out how long you need to take this medication. Learn how you can get past your sleep issue and someday function without the medication. You might need it now to deal with a sleeping disorder, and that’s a priority since a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health. A good night’s sleep has been linked to better mood control, a stronger immune system, and even helping with memory retention.

We take great care when creating a treatment plan for someone with a sleeping pill substance use disorder. The human body can very easily get used to the substance. Sometimes the amount of time a sleeping pill stays in the body can connect to how long a person has been taking it.

 

Dealing With Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting when it’s become a substance use disorder isn’t easy. It’s something we have seen countless times. It requires specialized assistance and plenty of patience.

Once a person has become dependent, that person has to slowly get off the medication. Tapering off the sleeping pill is the best way to reduce some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with this issue.

The following are a few examples of the withdrawal symptoms we’ll help you avoid or reduce:

  • Body spasms
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea/vomiting

You can see why we take extra precautions when building a treatment plan. At Granite Recovery Centers, we know the difficulties people face when they stop taking sleeping pills, especially if that cessation is not planned correctly.

We’re ready for any of the withdrawal symptoms possible and do our best to help your body get rid of the substance. We may have a general idea of how long that process might take, but we can’t be certain.

Part of the reason we make it a point to interview you and to get to know your specific situation is so that we have a better idea of what to expect

 

How to Beat Insomnia and Get More Sleep

We know why people use sleeping pills. As we mentioned, we know how important sleep is, but we’re also not blind to the sleeplessness epidemic hitting many people in this country.

Many people are suffering from insomnia. Some people can’t sleep because of the chronic stress that they’re dealing with. This stress could come from anywhere. Some are dealing with stress because of work. Others are dealing with financial stress.

People can take steps to improve sleep before it becomes a big problem and sleeping pills are necessary.

The following are some things you could do:

  • Creating and sticking to a sleep schedule
  • Turn off electronics a half hour before sleep
  • Use a white noise machine to help drown out noise
  • Ensure your bedroom is dark
  • Exercising more during the morning so that your body is ready to rest by the time you go to bed
  • Keep the temperature in your room cool
  • Consider soothing scents in your room like lavender or vanilla

If you or your loved one is ready to address a sleeping pill substance use disorder, then we urge you to talk to us. Granite Recovery Centers has compassionate people ready to guide you or your loved one to a better place. It’s going to be challenging, but we have been successful before, and we can help you or a loved one.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.