April 24, 2007
Ambien Goes Generic as Crowds Cheer
So the FDA just approved generic Ambien and a lot of folks are going to be saying hooray! Crabby has noticed that the drug is extremely popular among many of her friends and loved ones--particularly the go-getter types who work long hours and get sent all over the world for their jobs and have to sleep on bouncing planes or in noisy hotels in weird time zones.
It's actually kind of cute: they hoard their pills and count them and fuss over them. They worship those little magic beans that can turn a miserable red-eye flight into a peaceful trip to dreamland. Crabby knows a lot of people who use the drug this way: occasionally and sensibly. She makes no judgements about that.
Actually, she has no judgements, either, about those who use drugs every night for long periods of time. Chronic insomnia sucks. Getting more and more exhausted, depressed, sick all the time, cranky; trying everything you can think of but nothing works? Sounds awful. (Crabby, being lazy, gravitates naturally to low-energy states. Sleep is not a problem unless it's her own damn fault, and when it is, she knows how to fix it if she's not being stubborn. More on this, perhaps, at a future time).
There are any number of articles like this one that must drive people who have insomnia crazy. They always make it sound like making a few simple changes in your routine is really all it takes. Sure, all that stuff helps. But for those who just seem to have the wrong biology for easy sleep, it doesn't fix it. They still mostly can't sleep.
So resorting to nightly medication is understandable. But as you may have heard, if you use drugs like Ambien for extended periods of time they may produce some, well, inconvenient side effects. Like "complex sleep-related behaviors which may include sleep-driving, making phone calls, and preparing and eating food (while asleeep)."
Gadzooks! None of these are behaviors Crabby would want to engage in while asleep.
While not as bad as killing yourself or others while behind the wheel, or alienating all your loved ones by phoning them in a psychotic dream state, eating while asleep strikes Crabby as pretty darn unfair in its own right. All those real calories actually count when you could be consuming dream calories free of charge?
(There are also tales of people making cigarette sandwiches and other nasty midnight snacks while asleep, but Crabby couldn't substantiate these with any links. But she swears she heard it was true.)
So no easy answers here on the insomnia question. Do any of you have trouble sleeping? What do you do about it? Crabby will share her methods in a future post, because they work for her, but any true insomniac would just laugh.
Bunnygirl has posted an awesome, articulate comment below challenging the very way we frame discussions of insomnia. Do any insomniacs (or friends of same) take issue with this? Please weigh in.