I am a new member who came across this site while researching sleep aids for an upcoming transatlantic flight.
Let me start by saying that I am a very nervous flyer; I absolutely hate flying. But I have always wanted to go to Europe and we are leaving in June from Charlotte, NC to CDG. The return trip will be from Athens, Greece to Philly. I honestly don’t know how I will be able to take these flights without something that will just knock me out for a good period of time.
The info on this site was very helpful but I am still unsure whether I should go with a sleep aid like Ambien/Lunesta or something that will calm my nerves and possibly help me to get to sleep - which I guess would be a benzo like Xanax or Valium?
If I am all nervous and worked up, will Ambien be enough to get to me to sleep or do I need something with more of a “hammer” effect that will just knock me out. I am fearful of ending up in a zombie “sleep-like” state if I take the Ambien and am to nervous to fall asleep. If the flight is calm, I should be able to relax, but once the plane starts bouncing around, I go into freak-out mode. I have taken Xanax in the past on shorter flights, but it really didn’t do anything for me (I can’t remember what the dosage was though). Any help is greatly appreciated, because I am already stressing about this trip. Thanks.
I am also a notoriously nervous flyer and have been for quite sometime. I would recommend Xanax over Ambien, although both are a little hardcore for me. I go with Dremamine (sp?) because it helps the nausea from turbulence with the added plus of making you sleepy. I have a IAD-LAX flight coming up which I am dreading because it's a) during the spring/summer storm season and b) during the daytime.
Sounds like something you should discuss with your doc. Everyone's
different. For me, when I was a somewhat nervous flyer with a
tendency to motionsickness (1960s-70s), a small dose of Benadryl or
other antihistamine was enough to do the trick, but it sounds as
though my case was small potatoes compared to yours.
all I can say is NO you don't want to take anything that will make it difficult for you to wake up if need be.
Just immagine you pop your pill and for some reason your aircraft needs to return to the gate. They will either not get you awake you you will be like a zombie and that might not be good for you.
Talk to you dr. about that anxiety and not something to put you to sleep.
You might want to consider one of those courses - they are very much better than "fixing" your body with chemicals becuase the pills do nothing for WHY you are afraid. The courses "treat" the problem. Sure they are expensive but you will not regret it.
I am definitely going to discuss this with my doctor. But I just figured I am not the only one who has considered taking a sleep aid or anti-anxiety meds to relax or get some sleep on a plane. I just wanted people with some real world experiences to help me out and hopefully tell me if Ambien or Benzos worked better. Thanks.
Having read up on Ambien, and also hearing about experiences from a family member with it, I would not suggest it. In fact, it's not something I would ever take. The side effects are a bit extreme. I had a brief period of flight anxiety in the past, and took Ativan to counteract it. It worked fine, and you have plenty of time to get it out of your system before landing in CDG. I would maybe start with a very small dose of whatever you do end up taking, several days prior to your flight, to see how you react to it. Good luck!
I had no problem with Ambien. Talk to your doctor about it and see if they recommend. I'm also a nervous flyer and the thing about Ambien for me is: even if I don't fall asleep with it -- I don't care about anything, nothing bothers me. So bring on the turbulance, crying babies, guy snoring next to me, bad food, bad movie...
I would recommend doing a trial run of whatever you plan to take before you get on the plane.
Ambien: If I just want to sleep, several hours. Period. Valium: For high-anxiety situations like long, uncomfortable flights on LCC's and for turbulence. Dramamine: If turbulence is expected and if I don't want the additional drowsiness I get from Valium. Benadryl: If I'm fighting allergies and want to get sleepy onboard.
I've pretty much stopped using Ambien due to its high cost, and because I really prefer to stay awake during long flights, esp. since I've been fortunate enough to fly lots of first class lately.
.25 of Alprazolam (Xanax) has always worked fine for me. While it doesn't completely knock me out, it does take the edge off quite a bit. Steer clear of Ambien as it has been known to knock people out cold (something you do not want to happening on board an airplane!)
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In a pinch, Excedrin PM can work pretty well. The last time I took it (a PHX-EWR redeye), I slept the whole flight, most of the taxi to the gate, while people were deplaning, then for an hour at my connecting gate.
And you may ask yourself...well...how did I get here?
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Years ago a doctor prescribed Valium for an upcoming flight to Madrid. He said less after affect than a sleeping med. Later I used 1/2 Ativan (don't rememeber the strength) at home for sleep until a doc re-routed me to Restoril, then another doc claimed that to be bad and gave me Ambien. Now everybody is down on Ambien.
Point is, they all worked fine for me, but I'd go with the Valium/Ativan to take the edge off, which Ambien doesn't do. These days I'm no longer afraid of death and the dull roar of the engines often puts me to sleep before takeoff, so I don't use any meds.