What type of sleeping aid?

Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:52 PM
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What type of sleeping aid?

I already suffer from insomnia...which I treat sometimes with melatonin (though it gives me too vivid dreams), or antihistmine or something like unisom.

I usually can't sleep on a plane, or when I ge tired enough to sleep, then it is time for my arrival!

What are some good sleep aids that you all use for flights that are 8 hours in length?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:05 PM
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There is no one single answer, and understanding your medical history and circumstances is surely a worthwhile step towards coming up with an answer for you. You may find that discussing choices with a pharmacist is a worthwhile first step before asking a physician (preferably one who knows you well).

Ambien, and its longer-acting new cousin Ambien CR has been much discussed here. Likewise, several of the benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and other choices perhaps more appropriate for short term sleep aid, though less well known). There is also merit in asking about preparations that contain diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylamine (found in Unisom, more). And I don't know so much about the newest drugs: Lunesta and Sonata.

I'd start with reading http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleeping-pills/SL00010

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:30 PM
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My husband & I are on expat assignment in Baku, Azerbaijan (Caspian Sea area). We fly home to Alaska twice a year. Flight time is ~24 - 26 hours with a 13 hour time difference. After suffering a couple of trips, we now fully support Ambien! As soon as we board the plane, we change our watches to the new time zone and pop a pill (or two) and sleep like puppiew with full tummies. Arrive feeling half way decent!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:54 PM
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There was a thread regarding this topic with numerous responses a few months ago. Try searching topics for sleeping on planes.

I have prescribed Ambien (for Migraines)but I try not to take sleeping pills unless absolutely necessary because of the potential for addiction. My friend takes Tylenol PM on a plane.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 09:50 PM
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Rozerem is a prescription sleeping pill that is not controlled like the others -- i.e. Ambien, Xanex, Sonata, Lunesta. Rozerem works with Melatonin (I'm not a pharm. so I don't know how) and doctors seem more comfortable prescribing it as it's considered less/non-addictive. It's not as effective for me as the other pills although you might like it if melatonin works for you.

Lunesta produces a strong bitter taste in the back of your mouth although it works really well otherwise. (But I don't want my taste buds to be off when I'm in Italy or France... I usually won't take it when traveling). Sonata leaves your system in a few hours, has a very short half life and you're supposed to feel fine even if you only have four hours to sleep. Personally, I felt a little drugged five hours later but it knocked me out very quickly. My favorite is valium -- even if in the worst case scenario I don't get any sleep, I still feel great because I'm not stressed out about it, the next morning is lovely. Ambien is very popular - it's not my favorite, I've managed to stay awake after taking it. These affect everyone differently so I would try these at home before taking anything on the plane. Sonata, Ambien and Lunesta seem to be distributed heavily as samples (to my doctors, anyway) so you could ask yours and see what s/he has on hand. After you try a few and see what works for you, then get a scrip since none of these are cheap...
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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I use Valium at my doctor's recommendation (which is technically an anti-anxiety not a sleep aid but works nicely).
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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I'd been having trouble sleeping through the night, and my doc suggested benadryl, which is an antihistamine, I believe. It's for allergies, anyway. It's worked very well for me. I generally have a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep after I take it, so I'm going to try it on my next trip.

I usually take 2 tranquilizers--can't recall whether they're valium or librium--but they really don't do much good. I do wear an eye mask and ear plugs, both of which help, and I just got an inflatable neck pillow for which I have high hopes. Usually my head flops around a bit and wakes me up periodically, which constantly wakes me.

My sister/travel companion likes to hit the road running when we get off the plane, so I'm determined that on this trip I'm going to get some sleep.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 07:23 PM
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Don't ask for laymen's opinions, consult your physician. This is nothing to play with.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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I use restoril, but it is prescription only. I have trouble sleeping not only on planes, but at home too. Nothing worse than getting up and feeling awful, whether going to work or on vacation.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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I guess it is very common now to take some kind of medication when flying to Europe. I never have. Well actually I don't take any medications at all, and thankfully do not need any.

I don't sleep well on planes but the thought of taking any medication that would "put me to sleep" or make me groggy while on a airflight is not something that I would want to happen.

Rex, I would be most interested in your thoughts regarding this subject. I know you have posted on this thread but my question is what are your thoughts about the abundance it appears of flyers taking medications while travelling. Do you? Is it as common as it seems? Is it worthwhile? The pros and cons? Thanks.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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The OP wouldn't be able to access most of these drugs witout talking to a doctor. So it's a given that she would speak to a physician about this...

In my experience, it's actually the OTC meds -- Tylenol PM, benadryl, etc. -- that make me so groggy (benadryl also makes me nausous) that I can't even drive in the morning. I would consider these unsafe for me to take on a flight.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:17 PM
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Now that LoveItaly mentioned it, it does seem that more and more people are posting with the virtues of sleeping pills, with Ambien being the drug of choice these days. I sure hope no one sitting in the exit rows are taking these meds to sleep better!!!

OTOH, if it keeps the rowdy and the drunks asleep, then I'm all for it!
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:37 PM
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I would like for Dr. Rex to say a few more words about Ambien. Based on articles I have read, my understanding is that it can induce hynotic type of sleep. People get up in the night, eat a lot, and have no recall of it.

Taking Ambien with alcohol is very dangerous according to the literature.

It is also habit forming and addiction clinics are seeing more people with Ambien dependence in the extreme.

Of course if you are going crazy from insomnia, the risk may be worth the rest.

For trans Atlantic flights, I just tough it out. I usually keep going the next day until normal bedtime new time, and then try to zone out.

I do fine coming home from Europe, until the next day when I am like a robot for the next 3 or 4 days.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:39 PM
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I was a pharmaceutical sales rep and sold some of these products. Benadryl can be very drying to your eyes and nasal passages, which can already be a problem on a plane. I cannot stand to take Benadryl on a plane for that reason; I'm sure other people may not have that problem.

It is also good to know that the ingredient in Tylenol PM that makes you sleepy is the same ingredient that is in Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCl). If you don't have any pain there is no need to take the Tylenol (acetaminophen). Just take the Benadryl alone; you can also buy it as generic allergy relief tablets- diphenhydramine HCL.

I choose a low dose of Xanax to help me sleep on a plane because it doesn't dry me up and relaxes me enough to sleep.

I agree with Rex that discussing this with a physician who knows you would be the best choice.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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wine
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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Ambien for the plane and possibly the first/last night.
Another Rx in the benzodiazepine class (of which valium is also one) that helps some people with sleep as well as anxiety is Ativan (Lorazepam). But Ambien is the best short acting one I've tried. Rapid onset and clean finish, without the grogginess. Benadryl is what I'd use for "ordinary" insomnia but it does seem to lead to grogginess on wakening. I've read that most of the people with the dramatic sleep-walking etc. with Ambien had sleep disorders earlier in life.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:03 PM
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Hi bob_brown, you sound like me! I too just "tough it out" when flying to Italy. And thankfully I don't have too much jetlag when I arrive there. I don't go to sleep until the nightime of the day I arrive. When I fly home I am sort of in a daze for a few days, but I am home so it is not a problem.

mcnyc, LOL, my thinking too. I sometimes wonder if the aircrew isn't pleased that a good amount of their passengers are doped up.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:04 PM
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Oh no, here I go again. I'm big, 6'3" amd 230 lbs., and drugs usually have less effect on me than on many others. Having said this, I flew to China last and took an Ambien and drank two glasses of wine, sitting in a tight and uncomfortable coach seat. I slept beautifully, which is something I haven't done on trans-Atlantic flights for a long time. However, I'm not recommending this to anyone else.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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Joe18, I know you don't need anyone to remind you that mixing alcohol with prescription drugs could be hazardous to your health, regardless of your size? [-(
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:14 PM
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OK,another question. We all have read about the danger of getting blood clots while flying long distances and the importance of doing some kind of excersize (as though we can in a coach seat). If one is conked out because they have taken some kind of sleeping aid and consequently sitting in one position for hours would not the chances of getting a blood clot be increased?

I always get an aisle seat and at least stand up and move around once every hour (well at least when the carts are not in the aisle blocking the way etc). Again, it seems to me (but I am no medical expert) that being on any kind of drug would not be a good thing if there was an emergency (although I admit if the plane is going to crash midflight I would rather be asleep), sitting in one position would not be good etc. A bit of jetlag and being tired for a day or so would seem to me be the better trade off.
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