Published on 20 September 2022

Does Ambien Cause Headaches?

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Nearly 90% of people face headaches worldwide, but you probably have a headache disorder when it repeatedly occurs over time.

Headaches can be said to be painful sensations produced in the parts of the head. The pain may be sharp to dull, which everyone experiences sometimes. Some causes are drinking alcohol, stress, skipping meals, not getting enough sleep during the night, or environmental exposure. In the USA, millions of people suffer from chronic headaches.

You might have ambien for insomnia, but it is essential to know its side effects and does the drug ambien affect you with a headache. Know more in detail.

What Is Ambien? 

Ambien  is an imidazopyridine non-benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia in adults. Ambien is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substance Act. It has a rapid onset of action and short elimination half-life, rendering it ideal sleep aid. It tends to work within 30 minutes. 

It is mainly recommended for people who have insomnia. Apart from that, it is also used for neurological conditions, migraine headaches, and relieving stress. 

How Does Ambien Work?

Zolpidem interacts with the GABA-BZ receptor complex and shares one of the pharmacological properties of benzodiazepines. In contrast to benzodiazepines, which non-selectively bind and activate all three Omega (w) subtypes, Zolpidem in vitro preferentially binds with the (w 1) receptor. 

GABA suppresses brain activity and reduces the neurotransmitters, a calming effect produced in the brain, which allows the working of the drug zolpidem to make you feel drowsiness and a feeling of sleepiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

It Depends on the time you are taking, dosage, and frequency you are using the drug; Ambien will cause significant side effects such as headaches. In some cases, it affects a person's next day's morning activity.
Some remedies to eliminate the headaches, like a cold compress, applying heat bags, dimming the lights, etc. For extreme pain, You can use pain relievers to treat the headaches.
Ambien has a characteristic of relaxation properties that, means treating difficult sleeping people, but it does not mean it will help treat headaches.

What Is Headache?

According to World Health Organisation: A headache is a pain in any part of the head. In addition to being located on one side of the head or both sides. A headache may feel like a dull ache, a sharp pain, or a throbbing sensation.

Recurrent headaches are the hallmark of headache disorders, which hurt the quality of life, disability, and financial means for individuals and society.

The most often reported complaint by people in primary care settings is headaches. They may be due to anxiety, stress, and a long list of pre-existing medical disorders. People tolerate headache pain for weeks, months, or even years before seeking medical attention.

There are two basic categories of headaches: primary and secondary, and their severity, frequency, and length can vary substantially.


These are unrelated to any underlying medical disorders, such as tension-type headaches or migraines. It accounts for 90% of all headaches.
The Primary Headaches

  • Migraine
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalgia
  • Other primary headache disorders 


Other medical disorders, such as infection or increased pressure in the skull by a tumor, illness, etc., can cause these headaches. Only 10% of people have secondary headaches.
The Secondary Headaches may be due to

  • Trauma or injury to the head or neck
  • Cranial or cervical vascular disease
  • Non-Vascular intracranial disorder
  • A substance or its withdrawal
  • Infection. Disorder of homeostasis
  • Disorders of the skull, neck, eyes, ears, nose, or other facial or cervical structure
  • Psychiatric disorder

Does Ambien Cause Headaches?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the effects of Ambien include drowsiness, headache, and dizziness. Ambien is only for treating insomnia and not for maintaining sleep. 

Headaches are a common side effect, but they have much more to do with the sleep duration and the stage during which one awakens. High doses of Ambien can cause severe adverse effects such as sedation, loss of coordination, headache, nausea, loss of balance, muscle weakness, and confusion. High doses can make people groggy in the morning. 

Combining Ambien with alcohol or other sedatives may also increase the intensity of your Headaches and other side effects. 

Studies Related To Headaches Caused By Ambien

A study by Priyanka Teckchandani, the most commonly reported side effects are dizziness, headache, nausea, and tiredness.  

One of the medications approved for sleep initiation and maintenance of sleep was zolpidem-CR (Ambien-CR®). It has a rapid onset of action. Side effects reported include unpleasant taste and headache. 

How Long Does Ambien Affect Headaches?

Any medication you consume, its effects would last for a stipulated period. It all depends on various aspects, such as the time you are taking, dosage, and frequency you use. The drug Ambien will cause significant side effects to a person; some of the frequent side effects might be headaches. In some cases, it starts to affect the next day's morning.

Tips For Managing Headaches Caused By Ambien

Ambien-induced headaches are preventable, and therefore, the emphasis should be on educating patients on the importance of appropriate medication administration and the risks of its side effects. 

  • Only take a sleeping pill when you have at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Never mix Ambien with alcohol or other sedative drugs.
  • Start with the lowest recommended dose.
  • Avoid frequent use of Ambien.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques that can relieve stress and help you sleep - meditation practices, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and deep breathing.
  • Turn off screens at least one hour before you sleep.
  • Regular exercises during the day can help your sleep at night.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)- Focuses on increasing your understanding of the role of cognitions (thoughts) in stress responses and the relationships between stress, coping, and headaches.

Dosage Of Ambien

It is always essential to take the perfect dosage suggested by your doctor. If you consume less, your sleep problem will not cure, and if you take more than recommended, Ambien might cause headaches.

It is available in several preparations:

  • Zolpidem: (5 mg/spray oral spray),
  • Ambien: (5- and 10-mg tablets), and  
  • Ambien C.R.: (6.25- and 12.5-mg tablets).

Possible Side Effects Of Ambien

Side effects are widespread among all drugs and usually take one or three days to affect your body. If you have had side effects for over a week, kindly check with your doctor.

Common Side Effects

Severe Side Effects

Sleepiness or drowsiness



Slowed or compromised breathing


Memory problems.

Unusual behavior.

Loss of consciousness.


Inability to Concentrate.

The side effects mentioned above are not on the complete list. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from other side effects and get the necessary solution.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Discuss the side effects with your healthcare provider before starting Ambien. If you have trouble sleeping and are considering sleeping aids like Zolpidem, check in with your healthcare provider first.

Zolpidem is very effective in treating insomnia; you have to be safe while using it because there are side effects present in the drug. To avoid side effects, ask your doctor the preventive measures. Do not overdose on your medication. If you find any unusual changes in your behavior, kindly visit the healthcare professionals immediately and seek help.