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Explain more about Ambien, please

Old Aug 18th, 2002, 07:47 AM
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Explain more about Ambien, please

I read on other posts that several travelers recommend Ambien for assisting sleep on the long flight, in order to be better-rested upon arrival. It sounds reasonable, but after viewing info on the Ambien website, I would like to hear more about your personal experience with it.
I am not seeking medical advice here, but will certainly do so before deciding to try it (a necessity anyway since it is prescribed).
Here are the comments from the Ambien site which make me wonder how users actually felt after taking it, espec. for a flight from Eastern US, which is about 5-6 hours of actually potential sleep time.
"Do not take AMBIEN unless you are able to get a full night's sleep before you must be active again. For example, do not take AMBIEN on an overnight airplane flight of less than 7 to 8 hours, since "traveler's amnesia" may occur.
AMBIEN provides a full night's sleep, and has been proven to increase total sleep time. That's why AMBIEN should be taken only when you are prepared to devote a full 7 or 8 hours to sleep."
Old Aug 18th, 2002, 07:51 AM
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Think the website is a bit of typical corporate cautiousness. I always take one Ambien on the night flight going over. I typically take the pill with the entree of my meal, don't drink alcohol and usual nod off part ways through a movie after dinner. You might be a little out of it when you wake up four or five hours later, but I've never had a real problem with it. Also, by the time you land, get to your gate and clear customs, it's 100% worn off. We usually fly biz class and hit the arrivals lounge for a show when we land at the airport and this also helps shake out any cobwebs.
Old Aug 18th, 2002, 07:55 AM
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Ambien is not a total knock-out drug if that is what you are worried about. My husband had a grand mal seizure and fell out of bed and I awoke after having taken an Ambien one hour previously. You won't become a zombie but it does help you fall asleep without any noticeable side effects. I had been taking 1/2 a Unisom caplet and always awoke with a fuzzy head. With Ambien, I'm not any more fuzzy than I am normally.
Old Aug 18th, 2002, 08:40 AM
Bob Brown
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I talked with my pharmacist about the drug, and she told me that after a few doses, you don't get restful sleep.
You think you sleep, but it is not restorative rest.

Last year when I was on prednisone for an extended period, my sleep patterns were altered drastically. I tried Ambien, but did not like the way I felt the next day. Melatonin, at my doctor's suggestion, helped get me back in normal bounds. Melatonin is non prescription, but informed advice on how much to take is beneficial.

Old Aug 18th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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We don't really have much trouble with jet-lag, and never have difficulty sleeping once arrived. We are able to do light sightseeing the day of arrival, going to bed around 10:00, and wake naturally around 6:00-7:00, and the same from that day on. Mostly I am curious about the flight only - we might not feel jet-lagged (ie. disoriented/ off-schedule) but can feel the fatigue from not sleeping enough. No concern about multiple doses or anything like that; it would just be the flight. Thanks for relaying your experiences.
Old Aug 18th, 2002, 09:32 AM
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Bob's doctor sounds like a wise man.
It is not restorative sleep after taking it a few times will fall asleep more easily. As with any drug,your reaction will probably be different from another person's and so you shouldn't place too much important on their reactions to the drug
Get a small prescription (if it's ok'd by your physician), take a HALF of one on a night that you are having difficulty sleeping (if that ever happens) and then you'll know how YOU react to it.
For me, it worked very well the two times I used it. I only took half a pill and it most certainly did NOT knock me out. I felt fine when I awoke and it allowed me to spend the entire day at my destination up and about, instead of sleeping.
Old Aug 18th, 2002, 09:50 AM
A Pharmacist
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There is another drug that people really should talk to your Dr. about. It is called Sonata. It is shorter acting and even if you cannot get the full 7-8 hours of sleep, it is fine. You can take this drug to sleep well for 4-5 hours and still be refreshed when you awake and not drug hung-over.
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 08:42 AM
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Tylenol PM (non-prescription) works for some people. It is just an antihistimine that makes you a little drowsy, but that is enough for me.
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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A coworker told me she uses Simply Sleep (by Tylenol) and doesn't experience any side-effects or grogginess upon waking, so I think we might try that avenue first. Tylenol PM didn't seem to help my husband so Simply Sleep may not, either. Sonata sounds more like what we would want for easing sleep on the plane, and that will be plan b. Thanks for all your suggestions.
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 11:12 AM
tried & true
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Personally I prefer Valium. (1) 5mg when I get on the plane, and maybe 1/2 more after the meal.

I have also used Halycon successfully; a shorter duration fix (4-5 hours) than Ambien.

Old Aug 19th, 2002, 12:03 PM
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The first time I took Ambien was on a flight from New York to Amsterdam. I slept about 3-4 hours and woke up with no problem when we landed.

The most important thing is to try it before you fly so you know how YOU react to it. Some people have no problem, some people get really knocked out.

I would also suggest getting the 5mg tablets rather than the 10mg.

Finally, I am in complete agreement about the restorative quality of the rest gotten -- it is not the same as a good night's sleep. That is why I tell people that Ambien doesn't really make you sleep, it just makes the hands on your watch go around. In other words, you don't feel as if you've had 2 hours of sleep, but suddenly it's 2 hours later.

I don't really like the quality of sleep on Ambien. I still swear by it for long flights, but tend to use melatonin if necessary to get on the local time once I've arrived.
Old Oct 20th, 2002, 06:29 PM
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Old Oct 20th, 2002, 07:18 PM
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After having read about it on this board, I tried it for a flight from Houston to London this summer because I can never sleep on planes no matter what I do. I first took one at home to make sure I had no strange reactions. A week later I tried it on the flight. It knocked me out for the 5 hours left of the flight (I waited until the end of the meal). I'd say I was a little bit more fuzzy than usual for the first half hour to hour. Didn't notice any different quality of sleep than usual.
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 06:46 AM
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Just curious - did you wake up naturally after the 5 hours or did someone (flight attendant or travel companion) have to wake you? I am considering Ambien for my next long flight and am looking for all of the details I can get.

Thank you.
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 06:53 AM
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By increasing your Melatonin and regular vitamin intake starting up to two weeks before you go, should help with any jet lag and tiredness. On my 9 hour to Prauge I was awake the entire time, but excitement reigned so sleep wasn't going to happen whether I had taken anything or not.
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 09:10 AM
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Even if you only have about 5 hours Ambien (5 mg) should be fine. I actually take 2.5 mg since I am on the smaller side of the weight range. If I take it at home, I wake up normally after about 7 hours but on a flight the announcements and activity prior to landing rouse me. I have never noticed any difference in the type of sleep, restorative vs. non-restorative. I just know that otherwise I'm so anxious about trying to sleep that taking it is the thing to do. I usually take it once during the trip and then I'm on local time. I tried Meltonin and it didn't have any effect on me at all.
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 09:23 AM
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I took 5 mg. on a recent flight to Italy. I slept about 3 hrs. and awoke pretty refreshed. It enabled to me to get through a whole day without getting too tired. On the flight home, I took one and unfortunately only slept about 1 hr. It definitely does not "knock you out" and I had no grogginess upon waking.
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 10:00 AM
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People, there is no point discussing back and forth whether Ambien knocks you out or not. Individuals have different reactions to this drug. Some people seem to be more sensitive. 5mg helps me sleep but does not knock me out. The same dose does knock my husband out, although he outweighs me by 50 lbs.

Moral: try before you fly
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