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The Insomniac Files: Thanks for the memories, Ambien

Part three in a series in which I desperately seek slumber.
While on some hypnotic sleep medications, you can walk, talk, eat drink, have sex... iStock

Continuing my search for sleep, I tried melatonin. I tried sun lamps on timers upon waking. I tried yoga, tying my worries to imaginary balloon strings and letting the balloons lift my mental woes away. I tried various chemical methods, including a suggestion by a friend to drink a glass of red wine really fast and then lie down. (She is not a doctor).

Therapy has helped and, at the risk of going all “Valley of the Dolls,” I tried Xanex, Ativan and even the mother of all sleeping pills, Ambien.

The trick with Ambien is to take it and lie down immediately so you’re asleep before the hypnotic effect takes place, but when washing your face and getting in PJs makes you anxious every night, you might “out awake” your pretty little pill much like I did and discover — upon waking — that the chicken nuggets you were going to take to work for lunch are mysteriously missing from the refrigerator.

A few years ago, I found myself taking a 3 a.m. jog — in my nightgown — through the Upper East Side.

A few years ago, I found myself taking a 3 a.m. jog —in my nightgown —through the Upper East Side. If you know me, you know there could be a rabid Doberman behind me and I wouldn’t run. Cujo could be ready to pounce and laziness would overtake my fight or flight response and my “OK, dog. You got me,” response would win.

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And when the doctor says, “No alcohol with Ambien,” believe it. Remember my friend (the one who isn’t a doctor)? Let’s just say allegedly drinking a glass of red while on Ambien only makes you forget you drank that glass so you (allegedly) pour another. Or so I’ve been told.

There are other options for those of us who have a hard time switching our brains off and none of them involve a 3 a.m. pajama-clad run.

Next week, we’ll talk hypnosis. I tried a pocket watch-less session with a hypnotherapist in Manhattan. Did it work? Check back next Tuesday!

 
 
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