Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's not me, it's the Ambien

Sleeping is not the most important thing in life, right?  It rates below breathing and not passing on secrets.  I get around, but I have never heard of anyone dying from lack of sleep. You just think you will.

There is something as bad as not sleeping - taking Ambien.  You might most heartily dislike the common side effect of getting up and doing things in a sleep daze - in my case, eating in a kind of helpless way.  This morning I got up and put the Lay's potato chip bag, and the rest of the chips, in the trash.  That won't solve the sleep-eating problem, but should cut down on the salt.  And it could be worse - some people drive in their sleep.  I'm probably lucky that it's cold out and I don't have a convertible anymore.

But there's something else with drugs that help you sleep, including our old friend Benadryl:  they have a hangover worse than anything in your wasted youth.  Or maybe you care more at my age.  It's a kind of dumbness, haziness, and significant memory loss (not always a bad thing).  Thus this morning, I find myself working on an elaborate columned list with the following headings:

things you ought to do
things you'd like to do if you had the time/energy
things you'd be glad you did
other things on your mind.

There are not too many items on the lists.  But the odd phenomenon is already happening:  everything on the lists - and I put these things on the lists because I wanted to do them but usually forget - has become unappealing.  It's magic.  What I should do, maybe, is make out a list titled

things you really don't feel like doing

Then maybe I'd react against that and do them.  Well, it's a thought.


  1. Melanie G from Austin Zen CenterDecember 12, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Ha ha ha ha ha! I'm going to make a list of things I don't really feel like doing. Honest list-making that acknowledges how we are, not how we wish to be: I love it. The fog of Ambien, the fog of one's mind, this kind of honesty can cut through it. How much of your life ends up on the list?

  2. I have used this medication for several years. It works great but take it and get in the bed. I have taken this medicine and woke up many times sitting at my computer. I recommend this med if you follow the directions on the packaging.