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Restoril (Temazepam) Side Effects, Withdrawal and FAQs

Restoril (temazepam) belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, which are the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.
There are over 60 benzodiazepines on the market. Tolerance to Restoril can occur very quickly, leading to harsh side effects and debilitating withdrawal adverse effects.
Before deciding to start or discontinue a benzodiazepine drug such as Restoril, one would be well-advised to learn as much as possible about expected outcomes, how long the drug should be taken, and how to deal with any health issues or risks should they arise.

The information given here may help to learn more about side effects, safe withdrawal, and other topics related to Restoril.

What is Restoril (Temazepam) Used For?

Restoril (temazepam) is prescribed for insomnia and other sleep issues such as SOL, the term for sleep onset latency. Restoril has a fast onset effect that slows the central nervous system causing extreme drowsiness, and thus, may help with falling asleep.  That would be a reduced SOL.

Fascinating sleep studies have been done on SOL. One such study suggested that the body keeps track of sleep debt, and that sleep deprivation reduces SOL in a somewhat predictable ratio. (1).

Restoril should only be used a maximum of 7 to 10 days or less to reduce SOL.

Restoril (Temazepam) Alternative Names and Slang

Some stimulant type drugs are nick-named GO-pills. Restoril, in contrast, is sometimes called NO-GO pills, due to the CNS dampening effects.

The generic drug name for Restoril is temazepam.

Restoril (Temazepam) Side Effects

One of the most concerning side effects of sleeping medications, including Restoril is that a person may do things while asleep that they do not have any recall of.

This can include sleep-driving, sleep-cooking, sleep-shopping, or other activities that one cannot remember doing the next morning. This may not happen to everyone, but a cautious and prudent approach would entail having someone to monitor overnight activity to avoid accidents or injuries to self or others.

Another tip is never to take Restoril before sleeping when the sleep window is not sufficient, for example, seven to eight hours. If one takes Restoril but only intends to sleep five hours, there may be considerable difficulties on awakening, as the drug will still be active in the system and the person will still be subject to sleep-walking or other cognitive impairment or unusual thoughts and behaviors.

One certainly should never drive or operate machinery in such circumstances.

Side effects from taking Restoril can vary from person to person. As the period of time that a person should take the drug is limited to a week or so, the side effects that are encountered should be monitored to ensure no health risks occur over that period of time.

Other commonly reported side effects can be mild to moderate or more severe, and include:

  • A feeling of euphoria
  • Headache
  • Blurring of vision
  • Vertigo or dizzy feeling
  • Feeling drowsy during normal waking hours
  • Numbness or tingling skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling irritable
  • Increased anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Amnesia
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst

There can be some other side effects that tend to be quite severe, and if these should present, immediate medical intervention may be required to prevent a life-threatening situation:

  • Unusually shallow breathing, difficulty breathing
  • Tachycardia, fast heartbeat, pounding heart, irregular heartbeats
  • Slurring of speech
  • Behavior that seems strange or unusual
  • Thoughts that seem unusual or disturbing
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thinking about self-harm
  • Restlessness that becomes intolerable
  • Repetitive movements of muscles, tongue, jaw, neck, eyes, etc.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Clay colored stool
  • Dark or painful urination
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Allergic reaction including fever, chills, unconsciousness, raised welts, crusting or weeping sores on the skin, in the mouth or other mucous membranes.
  • Signs of jaundice, yellowing skin or whites of the eyes may signal the need for medicatl attention without delay.

Generally, a person who is considering a sleeping aid such as Restoril will likely already be in a sleep-deprived state, and this can cause accident-proneness, drowsiness, and errors in judgment or spatial perception. Take care not to ask too much of yourself work-wise or even socially, until the sleep debt is more in control and the mind is refreshed and ready to take on more difficult cognitive tasks requiring alertness.

A word of caution when taking Restoril or any benzodiazepine drug, mixing it with alcohol, opiates or any other substance which slows the CNS can be fatal. Avoid this practice at all costs.

In 2011, the DEA reported an astounding 300,000 emergency hospital visits linked to benzodiazepines such as Restoril. Be responsible and vigilant in your use of any sleep medication for the sake of your safety and the safety of others. (2)

Restoril (Temazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms

Restoril withdrawal symptoms may not occur where the drug is only taken for a night or two. But the longer the drug is in the system, the more likely it is that Restoril withdrawal symptoms will occur on cessation.

Here are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms reported:

  • Seizures
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling like a hangover
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hallucinations
  • Altered perceptions
  • Mood swings
  • Crying spells
  • Nightmares

Discontinuing/Quitting Restoril (Temazepam)

Never abruptly stop taking a drug on which you have become dependent as to do so can be a resounding shock to the body and central nervous system. It is even possible to go into a seizure and potentially die from suddenly stopping Restoril or other benzodiazepines.

Speak to your doctor first so that a workable strategy such as a gentle tapering off can be planned to ensure your safety and comfort. The best way is to plan ahead so that the effects of cognitive impairment do not cloud your ability to navigate through this period correctly.

Restoril (Temazepam) FAQs

Here are some additional points frequently asked about taking Restoril, how it works, and other topics important to your health and safety when taking a prescription drug for sleep issues.

How Does Restoril Work?

Restoril is a benzodiazepine. How this class of drugs works is not completely known. However, the consensus is that the drug acts upon a certain type of neurotransmitter and receptor called GABA. GABA is an inhibitory transmitter. It is a CNS depressant.

When GABA is present, it has the characteristic of slowing down the CNS and calming the various systems in the body, including brain activity, heart rate, breathing rate, etc. Restoril allows more GABA to be active and enhances these effects more than usual.

This is why alcohol or opiates or other tranquilizers must never be mixed, as the additive effects can slow the CNS down to a point where a person may stop breathing, the heart may stop beating, and coma or death may result.

What’s the Difference between Restoril and Xanax?

There are similarities and differences between Restoril and Xanax.

  • Both of these drugs cause euphoric effects.
  • Both are Schedule IV drugs, meaning they are prone to abuse, addiction and dependence.
  • Xanax taken in .5 mg dose is approximately equal to a 15 mg dose of Restoril.
  • Xanax is sometimes taken a few times over a day. It is a shorter acting drug, and the effects wear off more quickly. Xanax is effective at reducing anxiety and tends to do so without also causing severe drowsiness, though it may cause a degree of drowsiness. Restoril is ONLY taken just before bed at your regular bedtime as it has a profound, some say heavy-handed tranquilizing effect.
  • Sudden cessation is dangerous; both drugs should be tapered gently.
  • Both drugs should only be taken for short duration.
  • Both drugs have a history of being used as date-rape drugs, typically mixed into an alcoholic drink, used to knock out the memory and resistance of the unfortunate victim.

Dosage Differences:

Xanax taken in a 5 mg dose is approximately equivalent to a 15 mg dose of Restoril.

Purpose of Use:

Xanax is sometimes taken a few times over a day. It is a shorter acting drug, and the effects wear off more quickly. Xanax is effective at reducing anxiety and tends to do so without also causing severe drowsiness, though it may cause a degree of drowsiness. Restoril is ONLY taken just before bed at your regular bedtime as it has a profound, some say heavy-handed tranquilizing effect.

Half-life:

Xanax has a much shorter half-life than Restoril, meaning that Xanax leaves the body much sooner than Restoril. Due to this reason, Restoril (temazepam), at times, is used to help bridge people off of Xanax in withdrawal efforts. The Restoril is considered slightly easier to taper off of than Xanax due to the fact that Restoril is longer acting.

Can You Overdose on Restoril?

Yes. Restoril is a drug which has a depressive effect on the central nervous system. If too much of the drug is taken, or if it is mixed with other CNS depressants, the overdose could result in coma or death. (3)

How Addictive is Restoril?

Benzodiazepines like Restoril are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.  Addiction or dependence is an unfortunately common outcome of using these drugs for anything beyond a week or so, and will require careful monitoring when it comes time to stop taking the medication.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be debilitating, and the reactions can be nearly impossible to tolerate without a well planned cessation strategy and proper support throughout the process. Coming off Restoril can be eased significantly with slow and gradual tapering and having resources to hand for support.

Abruptly coming off Restoril or any similar drug is not recommended, as the results of a poorly executed cessation can be deadly. Especially concerning would be the possible rebound insomnia effect. Withdrawal effects such as rebound insomnia can linger for months and even years.

Treatment for Restoril (Temazepam) Abuse and Addiction?

When a person is looking at reducing benzodiazepine usage, there can be complications that can make the process stretch out much longer than necessary. Without a proper strategy, withdrawals can be excruciating, lasting for an inordinate length of time in some cases.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we work with each individual, taking into account their history and unique needs, designing a program that will end the pain and suffering of after-effects of drugs such as Restoril. Likely if Restoril was taken, there was a sleep issue, but just as likely, no investigative work was done to find the correct cause for it before prescribing a sleep aid.

Oddly, some reports of suffering from insomnia, are correlated to having a toxic heavy metal burden of Mercury and it is possible that Mercury debilitates the serotonin-melatonin conversion. (4)

Routinely, at the Alternative to Meds Center, we do the detective work using proper testing methods to find the reasons for such imbalances, and program the corrections that need to take place to normalize neurochemistry, such as removal of heavy metals or other neurotoxins which may have been interfering with sleep or causing other unwanted symptoms.

Many of our past clients suffered for many years and their lingering withdrawals caused significant malaise and terribly debilitating effects.

Our goal is to provide a pathway, in a reasonable time period, back to sustainable natural mental health, and that includes correcting sleep issues without the use of drugs. Please contact us for more information concerning the possible benefits you could experience from our program of drug cessation and recovery, in the fullest sense of the word.


This content has been reviewed, and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Michael Loes, M.D.

Dr. Michael Loes is board certified in Internal Medicine , Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally he is a well published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.

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