How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System? November 11th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System?

Bottle of Ambien pills next to a drawing of the human body to show its effects

Ambien is a prescription, brand-name sleep aid. Many people wonder how long does Ambien stay in your system? Ambien has an estimated half-life of around two-and-a-half hours. It can take several half-lives for a drug to leave the system fully — usually, it takes five to six half-lives for a drug to clear the system. Based on this half-life estimate, Ambien might stay in the system for anywhere from 10 to 14 hours.

What is Ambien?

What is Ambien? Ambien is a brand-name, prescription sleep aid. Zolpidem is the generic name for Ambien. Specifically, Ambien is a treatment for insomnia. Ambien is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows down the functions controlled by the CNS like neural activity in the brain, helping someone fall asleep and stay asleep.

Ambien is a short-term insomnia treatment. In most cases, a doctor won’t advise a patient to take Ambien for any longer than one to two weeks. There is a potential for misuse with Ambien as well as dangerous side effects such as sleep eating and sleep driving. If someone takes Ambien with other CNS depressants, it can lead to more severe side effects and increase the risk of an overdose. Commonly used CNS depressants include benzodiazepines like Xanax, opioid pain medications and alcohol.

Ambien likely affects the gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is a naturally-occurring brain transmitter that helps induce sleep by slowing brain activity.

Ambien Half-Life

The half-life of any substance is a measure of how long it takes a dose to reduce in the body by half. The Ambien half-life is around two-and-a-half hours, on average. This timeframe is a relatively short elimination half-life. The range can be anywhere from 1.4 hours to 4.5 hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Variances in the Ambien half-life can occur because of the dose used and individual characteristics of the person who consumed it.

Based on the half-life estimate, it could take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours for a dose of Ambien to leave a person’s system completely. As with many prescription medications, metabolites may form as the body processes the drug. These metabolites stay in the system longer than the primary drug does.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Urine?

Certain variables affect how long Ambien stays in the system or might show up on urine screenings. For example, hydration is a key factor in how long Ambien stays in urine. If someone is well-hydrated when they take a dose of Ambien, they are likely to have more urinary flow, meaning the Ambien may clear from their system faster. Also, the more acidic urine is, the faster the Ambien may clear the system.

So, how long does Ambien stay in your urine? A urine sample might reveal the use of Ambien for up to 72 hours or three days after the last dose. This estimate includes metabolites left behind as the body processes the Ambien.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Hair?

A hair follicle test isn’t commonly used to detect substances. If one is conducted, Ambien can be detected in hair tests for up to 90 days after the last dose. This timeframe is a similar window of time that hair tests can detect many other drugs.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Saliva?

How long does Ambien stay in your saliva? Ambien use can be detected in saliva around 15 minutes after someone first takes it, and remain detectable for eight hours after use. The detection window in saliva tests is fairly short. If a saliva test is not taken within a day after Ambien consumption, it will probably not detect the drug’s presence.

How Long Does Ambien Stay in Blood?

Peak levels of Ambien appear in the blood within around 1.6 hours after someone takes it. Ambien may show up in a blood test within 30 minutes after it’s used. However, the detection window is short. How long does Ambien stay in your blood? It might only show up in blood tests for around 10 to 14 hours.

Getting Treatment for Ambien Abuse

If you or a loved one live with an addiction to Ambien, consider seeking treatment. At The Recovery Village patients receive safe and professional detox support before moving forward with addiction therapy. Call The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake today to speak with a representative about how treatment can work for you.


GoodRX. “Ambien (Zolpidem).” Accessed April 25, 2019. “What is the half-life of Ambien?” October 2, 2018. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Mental Health Daily. “How Long Does Ambien Stay in Your System?” Accessed April 25, 2019.

Food and Drug Administration “Ambien.” February 2008. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.