Sleeping aid for overseas flight

Aug 21st, 2005, 02:05 PM
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Sleeping aid for overseas flight

Posted on airlines with no response. Anyone used Melatonin to get some sleep on overseas trips. When do you take it, dose and how do you make out the next day after arrival in Europe in A.M.?
picky is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 03:30 PM
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there are some pretty lengthy threads here from previous discussions on our favorite sleep aids. Try typing in "Melatonin" or "Ambien" in the search field. I personally love Ambien and a 5mg pill will give you 4 solid hours of sleep and you wake up totally refreshed. We've used it several times and I won't travel int'l without it.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 07:33 PM
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I am a pharmacist and used melatonin on an overnight trip to Italy and again to Scotland. As suggested, search "melatonin jet lag" and you will get advice on dose and use. I found it helpful, although you need to take it at bedtime a few days each way, and one of the side effects is vivid dreams ...Other very helpful advice I got from websites were: avoid caffeine day of flight, use a travel pillow, bring or wear warm clothes (esp socks) as the cabin gets cold on overnight flights and the blankets provided are puny, get sunlight asap on your face upon arrival and do not nap for more than an hour the day you arrive. There were 4 of us traveling and these tips probably helped more than the melatonin. Even if you get 4 hours of sleep on the plane, you will be tired your first day so don't plan to do a lot and go to bed fairly early.
mmartin598 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 07:50 PM
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I flew to Beijing from Washington D.C. in July. I got a 5 mg Ambien (actually two, one for each way) from my doctor. I had two glasses of wine and the Ambien and got 4 hours uninterupted sleep. I normally can never sleep on flights.
Joe18 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Then again, you could read the thread about a woman in first class who woke up with a figure up her 'whatsit' and decide for yourself whether you want to take a sleeping aid or not.
icithecat is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 08:46 PM
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Hi icithe cat, good grief!!! I was going to post my thoughts about not wanting to be drugged or knocked out while on a flight but decided not to. But after your post (good heavens, the poor woman!) I am. I do NOT want to be in a groggy stage while on a plane.
I would just rather deal with whatever jetlag I have after arriving at my destination.
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 10:26 PM
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Take my advice! World traveler that I am!
Test it before going to work or spending a day when you need to be alert!Then you will really see the results! Even a large dose of Melatonin will make you drowsy.
Took Halcyon years ago for a flite from Argentina to Miami and don't remember customs in Miami! Thank goodness I was with family!!Ambian, that I took at home under doctor's orders, sent me on a "trip" that gave me
vertigo and knocked me out for over 8 hours with a hangover for several more! I weigh 115lbs. an am obviously very sensitive! Yeah! 1/2 a Unisom gives me a relaxing 7 hours airplane sleep with ear plugs and my never to be ignored ALLERGY FACE MASK available in all pharmancies. why the mask? germs and the never available moisture needed to keep the nasal passages moist and germ free. Moisture sprays are also invaluable as are eye drops. LaST WORD OF ADVICE...DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL AND TAKE A SERIOUS SLEEP RX. If you are not sober in customs on landing... jail is a great hotel!!
Now think about it!!
delor is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 10:36 PM
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Hi Picky

I will top a couple of threads on jetlag, sleeping etc. I swear by melatonin but the previous poster is right. Test any preparation before flying.

Good Luck & Sweet Dreams
Sarvowinner is offline  
Aug 21st, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Hi, I read this advice regarding Melatonin and am going to try this regimen for an upcoming trip.

Melatonin usually comes in 2-3 mg tablets. But for jet-lag 1/2 mg is sufficient, so you would have to cut the tablet.
You should take one 1/2 mg dose on the day _before_ departure at the same time you will take it on the day of departure.

So, for example, if you are leaving on a 7p.m. flight and want to feel sleepy by 8p.m.--- The day before departure and the day of departure you would take a 1/2 mg dose 3 hours prior to the time you wish to feel sleepy which would be 5p.m.

Daylight exposure is important as well so when you arrive make sure you are exposed to sunlight at the right time. The evening of your first day abroad, you can then take a full 2-3mg dose at bedtime in the new time-zone.

lvs2wander is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Just a word of caution ... that recent Air France accident in Toronto has caused many travellers to realize that they need to be alert and responsive when landing. I guess the ideal thing is something that will help you sleep en route but that will no impair reaction time on arrival. I haven't tried melatonin; it may not affect how you feel when you wake up.

On the topic of jet lag on arrival, when we fly overnight to France,my treatment is a warm bath or shower on arrival, some easy walking, and like mmartin598, as much sunlight as I can get. (I believe sunlight helps re-set the body clock.)

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 05:53 AM
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That's why I like melatonin as I go into a fugue like state which I can snap out of at anytime - feeling very refreshed.
I had a friend who took a sleeping tablet when he got on the plane in LA flying to Sydney. He promptly fell asleep and woke up several hours later - looked out and the plane was on the tarmac. Fantastic he thought - That's the best flight I've ever had.
He was then asked to disembark - still in LA.
There had been a problem with the engine & hadn't left LA. He had slept through five hours of repairs. That would worry me that a drug could knock me out like that.

Sarvowinner is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:44 AM
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The thing about I dislike about Melatonin is that, like many over the counter supplements, it may or may not be what it claims in terms of strength, safety and efficacy.It doesn't fall under the rules/reg's of the FDA. I think a few people here are misrepresenting Ambien. It gets into your system quickly,helping you to fall asleep easily (for most) and has a short half-life, which means it gets out of your system quickly with fewer side effects than other sleep aids like narcotics or antihistimines (NyQuil, etc.) I usually take 10 mg, though I'm a small woman. My husband can only take 5, but it helps him. Believe me, I can wake up on it when needed. My husband took 10 mg the first time, fell asleep in hotel room and didn't know that there were 4 men in the room having to knock a door down to get my child out of the bathroom, LOL! So DO test it before flying. I think I would much rather rely on a well-tested drug and that I would be a lot safer driving when I get there with adequate rest. Read this about melatonin, especially the bottom part.
LLindaC is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 10:07 AM
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rather than full-fledged "sleeping pills" some people use an anti-anxiety such as valium or xanax. this allows easier relaxation but does not give you a hangover or put you in a state you can't snap out of if need be.

as above test anything you are planning to use several times at home before the trip.
suze is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:58 PM
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I do have a medical background and I don't agree with taking Valium for sleep. It is especially dangerous to drink and take Valium. Ambien, Sonestra and the other new sleep drugs on the market work on the sleep centers in the brain. They are not muscle relaxants, narcotics (opiates) or antihistamines. Please talk to a doctor or pharmacist about various choices. Do not be scared of a "sleep drug" like Ambien and it's recent cohorts, because they are completely different than sleeping aids of yesteryear .Many years ago, a sleeping aid was a strong narcotic such as phenobarbitol, which had many side effects and was highly addictive. If you use a sleeping aid only for travel, you are better off using a drug that is specifically designed for sleep.
LLindaC is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 09:27 PM
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Again on Ambien, I was told by a relative that she took an Ambien, before bed while she was sitting on her sofa (at home at sea level!), and shortly after called a "friend" and told her point blank what she really thought of her.(!!! )
A time later, she learned of this call that she did not remember...and suffered for it!
Try that in customs!
Think about it!!!
And how many arrests have you heard about for folks "under the influence" in flight? Were they all alcohol or were sleep aids a consequence?
At over 30,000 feet altitude, you are equivilent 10,000 on land (thanks to artificial air pressure and not much oxygen!). This is not a situation that tolerates substances from the bar or the drug store!
Bon Voyage!
delor is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 09:47 PM
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Melatonin is not used as a sleeping pill. It is used to help your body re-set its inner clock to a new time zone. You have to take it a little before what will be your new bed time. Its effectiveness depends on timing. I tried it on one or tow trips, but I don't know whether it helps. Around the same time, I tried the sunshine-and-staying-awake method: exposing myself to as much sunshine as possible the day I arrive, and being active the first day, and going to bed at a normal bedtime for Europe, i.e. night-time. I think that's what helped re-set my body clock, not the melatonin.

The only thing I've used as a "sleeping pill" is Benadryl, but I'm a little afraid to use it because it makes me so groggy that I might be too stupid to get where I need to go once I arrive.
cmt is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 10:46 PM
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Cocktails, Dinner and a Ambien..
Have 2-3 bottled waters stashed for now and later..
It's worked for me and my husband for years on overseas flights..
Good Luck Picky!
Aug 22nd, 2005, 11:23 PM
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What delor said is really important. I took Ambien on an airplane going to Europe and started having vivid hallucinations that lasted for hours. It was very scary. I hadn't had a thing to drink -- it was just the Ambien. And, I had taken Ambien before uneventfully. My husband stayed awake watching me because I was so disoriented. I know two other people who have had similar experiences. My doctor told me that he wasn't surprised by my reaction, and he said that hallucinations, confusion, and other wierd behavior are known side effects of Ambien.

I have been taking Sonata on airplanes with great success. I like Sonata for a few reasons. One, it helps you fall asleep quickly. Two, it has a sedative effect for only one-three hours, so you can take it on an airplane and still be alert on landing. Three, even though it successfully helps me fall asleep, it is mild enough that if there is an emergency and I need to be alert and responsive I can be.

Melatonin doesn't do anything for me.
Xanax works fine, but unlike Sonata, it makes me feel groggy on arrival. Also, mmartin's suggestions for sleeping on airplanes are good ones.
Eleni is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 10:22 PM
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To your sleep aid (not to mention alcohol as a chaser),Add over 35,000 feet altitude, not much oxygen and a waiting customs agent on your landing in a "no pity for drunks" country and you adventurers have a SITUATION!
Know before you go..and Bon Voyage!!!
delor is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 11:24 PM
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Oh gads delor, your poor relative. That would be a tad embarrasing to put it midly (or was she glad to get rid of the friend, LOL). But seriously, that is scary.

I have a couple of glasses of wine on the flight to Italy but I do not take anything else. And I don't at home. The only meds I have at home is Advil Liquid Gel, and I do take some in my carryone (in a small Adivl container) but that is it. As I have posted before, taking meds and flying really scares me. Guess because I don't handle medications well.
LoveItaly is offline  

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