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View Full Version : Insomnia and the FAA?


sealandair
12-10-2017, 01:42 PM
I have had two episodes of "transient" insomnia in the last few months... usually brought on by periods of stress and/or change in environmental factors, but not due to any underlying medical issues as I am fit as a fiddle. In my first case, it just went away after a couple days. However my second case was very recent and has lasted three nights, and I did go to my PCP for an Ambien prescription. Because I will have to report this visit on my next medical application (due several months from now), will it open up a can of worms for me? Will the FAA want more information? In the FAAs "Guide for Medical Examiners" it says "Medical conditions that CHRONICALLY interfere with sleep are disqualifying", yet they list insomnia as a "primary sleep disorder" without classifying it into different levels of severity. According to other information I have found at leftseat.com, there are 3 levels of insomnia, ranging from transient (lasts a few nights, not related to underlying medical conditions), short-term, and chronic.

The FAA does allow occasional use of Ambien on their accepted medications list. Currently I do not fly, so the time interval from use to flying isn't relevant for me. Also, assuming my insomnia disappears again as before, then at my next medical I would not have to report anything on Box 17a, "Do you currently use any Medication?", correct? Does transient insomnia need to be reported in Medical History section as a "mental disorder"? I am certain that chronic insomnia would, but not sure about transient.


Bar Harbor
12-10-2017, 01:53 PM
I have had two episodes of "transient" insomnia in the last few months... usually brought on by periods of stress and/or change in environmental factors, but not due to any underlying medical issues as I am fit as a fiddle. In my first case, it just went away after a couple days. However my second case was very recent and has lasted three nights, and I did go to my PCP for an Ambien prescription. Because I will have to report this visit on my next medical application (due several months from now), will it open up a can of worms for me? Will the FAA want more information? In the FAAs "Guide for Medical Examiners" it says "Medical conditions that CHRONICALLY interfere with sleep are disqualifying", yet they list insomnia as a "primary sleep disorder" without classifying it into different levels of severity. According to other information I have found at leftseat.com, there are 3 levels of insomnia, ranging from transient (lasts a few nights, not related to underlying medical conditions), short-term, and chronic.

The FAA does allow occasional use of Ambien on their accepted medications list. Currently I do not fly, so the time interval from use to flying isn't relevant for me. Also, assuming my insomnia disappears again as before, then at my next medical I would not have to report anything on Box 17a, "Do you currently use any Medication?", correct?



I don’t know the answer to your question but you could try this for a non RX solution.

https://www.grc.com/health/sleep/healthy_sleep_formula.htm




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GogglesPisano
12-10-2017, 02:25 PM
Switch to melatonin instead.


Burton78
12-10-2017, 02:39 PM
Switch to melatonin instead.



This stuff gives me wicked dreams! Not necessarily bad, but definitely bizarre.


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sealandair
12-10-2017, 02:49 PM
I tried melatonin the first time, I wasn't too impressed. Tried it again recently, at 5mg, didn't do anything for me.

What's done is done, already been prescribed Ambien.

WhisperJet
12-11-2017, 08:01 AM
You'll want to be careful with sleep aid drugs, including melatonin.

The big issue is that you risk becoming dependent on them, even if just from a psychological point. You begin to train your mind to think you can't sleep without them. Then your body gets used to it and you need more and more.

Best thing to do for your long term wellness and sleep quality is to address the underlying stress causing your insomnia. Talk to a counselor or clergy if applicable to you.

Do this, as well as diet modification (no sugar/alcohol/caffeine) and exercise and these will begin to help. Consider maybe trying acupuncture too.

Further, maybe listen to a podcast while trying to sleep. There's one called "Sleep with Me" where a guy drones on about stuff but it helps distract your mind and is effective. I've used it on nights where sleep is tough (short night or before all-nighter, etc).

Good luck to you. I've talked to people with insomnia and it's not fun though in most cases it will pass with a little extra effort on your part.

mike sierra
12-11-2017, 11:09 AM
This stuff gives me wicked dreams! Not necessarily bad, but definitely bizarre.


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I thought I was the only one with this problem

sealandair
12-11-2017, 07:24 PM
You'll want to be careful with sleep aid drugs, including melatonin.

The big issue is that you risk becoming dependent on them, even if just from a psychological point. You begin to train your mind to think you can't sleep without them. Then your body gets used to it and you need more and more.

Best thing to do for your long term wellness and sleep quality is to address the underlying stress causing your insomnia. Talk to a counselor or clergy if applicable to you.

Do this, as well as diet modification (no sugar/alcohol/caffeine) and exercise and these will begin to help. Consider maybe trying acupuncture too.

Further, maybe listen to a podcast while trying to sleep. There's one called "Sleep with Me" where a guy drones on about stuff but it helps distract your mind and is effective. I've used it on nights where sleep is tough (short night or before all-nighter, etc).

Good luck to you. I've talked to people with insomnia and it's not fun though in most cases it will pass with a little extra effort on your part.

Thank you, and I really appreciate the alternatives you offer. To be sure, the last thing I want to do is get hooked on sleeping meds.

I just found this online, and though it does cost a little bit of money, the reviews have been fantastic. 100% natural, cognitive-based therapy:

www.sleepio.com

TiredSoul
12-12-2017, 02:21 AM
I’d seriously stay away from Ambien.
https://americanaddictioncenters.org/ambien-treatment/side-effects/
That stuff is no joke.
Hot tea, warm coco,white noise apps, porn, try whatever but pharmaceuticals.
Personally I wouldn’t be concerned about a couple of nights of insomnia.
We all have it at some point.
It’s called life.

Flyhayes
12-12-2017, 05:38 AM
5mg of melatonin may not be enough, especially if it's used irregularly. 10mg usually works for me. If you decide to use melatonin remember that it only brings on the initial drowsiness. It does not keep you asleep. As such, you need to be cognizant of when it starts acting and be ready to let the drowsiness to envelope you. If you fight it for whatever reason (i.e just want to finish out the paragraph of the book you carry with you on layovers), you just missed your opportunity. The onset of the drowsiness, is relatively quick but it doesn't last should you get distracted. And yes, your dreams may become "interesting".

WhisperJet
12-12-2017, 11:48 AM
5mg of melatonin may not be enough, especially if it's used irregularly. 10mg usually works for me. If you decide to use melatonin remember that it only brings on the initial drowsiness. It does not keep you asleep. As such, you need to be cognizant of when it starts acting and be ready to let the drowsiness to envelope you. If you fight it for whatever reason (i.e just want to finish out the paragraph of the book you carry with you on layovers), you just missed your opportunity. The onset of the drowsiness, is relatively quick but it doesn't last should you get distracted. And yes, your dreams may become "interesting".


The more melatonin you take, the less the body will make as it gets "lazy". This will in turn increase your dependence on Melatonin. I believe I've read the ideal OCCASIONAL effective dosing is .3 mg. Yes .3 mg.
Beware.

yassine
02-14-2019, 10:48 PM
See your doctor, there's quite a bit that can help, but don't accept sleeping pills as a solution (because they're not they just relieve the symptoms)

Also some things that can help, the main one is sleep hygiene:

- stick to the same bed time and getting up time even at the weekend, your body clock getting out of synch is a common cause of insomnia, it's like jet lag, but caused by sleeping in late and going to bed late at the weekend, then being unable to sleep at the right time during the week. the cure is to keep the same bedtime for all 7 days
- avoiding daytime sleeping helps many people, although others can catch up with sleep during the day and still sleep well at night. others find that daytime sleeping makes nighttime insomnia worse
- don't have screen time late at night, read a good (but not heavy or upsetting) book, something lighthearted but a little bit boring
- have a bath before bed, some herbs like lavender relax you and encourage sleep, and have a bedtime routine to give your brain the message that it's time to switch off now
- avoid any caffeinated drinks after 5pm, or even better give up caffeine altogether
- get plenty of exercise and activity during the day, but not in the 3 hrs before bed time
- get plenty of sunlight during the day, and dim the lights in the evening (bright enough to read your book by, but not much brighter than that)
- eat regular meals and don't eat too late in the evening. Lack of carbohydrate during the day or erratic eating habits can make onset insomnia (http://sleep-land.com/sleep-onset-insomnia/) worse
- sleep in a very dark room, and avoid noise pollution as much as possible. close the windows to shut out noise from traffic, neighbours etc
- find time to relax during the day, take study breaks etc
- if something is bothering you and making you feel stressed, *don't* bottle it up, talk about it and get it off your chest
- if you're feeling generally stressed (e.g. because of exams etc) do regular exercise to relieve the stress and also take time to relax, have fun, and talk about how you feel with people you trust
- visualise happy and relaxing things when you go to bed, e.g. relaxing on a beach somewhere nice


If the lack of sleep comes from psychological issues or started after a traumatic event, then counselling may help. Or if the worries/issues that are keeping you awake are something that you can't discuss with close friends or family, for whatever reason.

If the above measures don't help, or if you think you need counselling, see a doctor.

BTW I've had serious insomnia problems, even sleeping pills didn't work on me (I don't recommend them at all, although they may help some people *in the short term only*) the above things help somewhat, but what's helped me the most is counselling, But what helps depends on the cause so try all the above points and if they don't help see your doc

rickair7777
02-15-2019, 09:57 AM
The more melatonin you take, the less the body will make as it gets "lazy". This will in turn increase your dependence on Melatonin. I believe I've read the ideal OCCASIONAL effective dosing is .3 mg. Yes .3 mg.
Beware.

Yes, use only low occasional doses to help with circadian disruptions, not chronic insomnia.

That works for me, but my wife had some sleeping issues and started raiding the bottle in my suitcase, sometimes more than once per night. Eventually her doc had to ween her off of it because she developed a tolerance.

Excargodog
02-15-2019, 10:20 AM
Read the FARS.

Not for guidance about sleep aids , but AS a sleep aid.

They’d put anyone to sleep.



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