Ambien and me.

Insomnia has long been my nemesis. It used to be that I would only get it if I was stressed, or upset, or excited, or in a different bed, or if the air molecules weren’t circulating in just the right way in the room.

But last year all of that changed. Meaning, it got worse. For two weeks straight I was averaging about four hours of sleep a night. I felt like my head was about to fall off my body. It was literally hard to think straight.

Surprisingly, it didn’t affect my writing ability all that much. I actually wrote a good portion of My Unfair Godmother during that time. (What else are you going to do when you wake up at three in the morning?) It did, however, affect other important cognitive functions, like being able to discern the difference between laundry soap and fabric softener. I was constantly pouring the wrong one into the washing machine. In my defense, they were both in blue bottles. Okay, one was a light blue bottle that read: FABRIC SOFTNER and the other was in a dark blue bottle that read: CHEER, but still. Who notices those sort of details when your head is about to fall off?

So I finally went to my doctor and he prescribed Ambien.

I must admit I was a bit worried after I read about the side effects. The list starts out with dizziness, and daytime sleepiness, and then if you’re still reading it mentions that people have gotten out of bed, driven vehicles, eaten food, made phone calls, oh yeah, and had sex while not fully aware.

Come again, what?

I began to wonder if taking that little pink pill would unleash some sort of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde sort of thing. What exactly was my Ambien personality going to do? But then I thought, Hey–maybe my Ambien personality will finish my manuscript!

Alas, that has never happened. Maybe I should have noticed in the side effect section that not once did it ever say: People have gotten out of bed and done their work. Which makes me wonder if all those people who got caught doing those other things were just using Ambien as an excuse. (No really, Officer, I don’t know what I’m doing here in the red light district. It must be the Ambien.)

Anyway, I’m very glad to have my little pink friend on nights when I can’t sleep. I highly recommend it–even if your Ambien personality won’t be doing your work for you.


Ambien and me. — 24 Comments

  1. My MIL takes Ambien and has for years, and she has done some crazy stuff on it. She can’t remember conversations the next day if you talk to her after she takes it, she’ll get up and eat entire pans of cake/cookies/leftovers and have no recollection of it. Fun times. Hopefully you just stay asleep! 🙂 Did you ever try melatonin? I’ve heard some people say it works really well, it’s natural and so far I haven’t heard of any sleep-driving/eating/sex from it. Either way, I hope you get more sleep! Sounds like the Ambien is helping which is great. 🙂

  2. I wish I could blame all the chocolate I eat on the Ambien . . .but no, I’m pretty sure, I’m conscious when I do that.

    I have tried melatonin and still do take it sometimes just hoping it will do something, but I’m not sure if it actually helps.

  3. Ugh, being sleepless is the lamest thing ever. I had insomnia pretty bad my senior year of college, but luckily, it has gone away in the years since (knock on wood).

    Now, whenever I can’t sleep, I concentrate really hard on not moving my arms. Weird, I know, and I’m not sure if it actually does something or is just mental thing, but it usually works!

  4. I wake up early, too, and if I’m woken up (and it doesn’t take much noise), I have trouble getting back to sleep.

    I have taken Ambien when I travel with a snoring writing friend, and it is wonderful. I am happy the next day, and she is alive, because I have not smothered her with a pillow.

    I don’t know if you get any exercise on a regular basis, but that might help. Calcium pills have a slight sedative affect.

    It is the worst, to feel like you are a zombie from lack of sleep. I hope that this is temporary.

  5. The first time I took ambien turned out to the the last time I took it! I took the little pink pill and went to go sit on my bed and about ten minutes after I took it I started to see snakes all of the walls, and if that wasn’t scary enough my mom and brother walked into my room to tell me something and they had three heads each. Their heads were moving up and down and side to side and I found it just a tad bit to crazy for my liking. I resolved to never touch those pills again. But I guess it’s great that they actually work for some people!

  6. Oh, that would be scary! It’s funny how medicine has different effects on people. Like, for example, Vicoden doesn’t work on me at all. I found this out after I had surgery and the doctor prescribed it for me. Yeah, that was a fun discovery that my pain killer didn’t work.

  7. I love your books. I have read all of them. Thank you for being my favorite author, and making the funniest, and cutest romantic comedies I have ever read. I loved Just One Wish, it made me cry. I’m really excited for your new book to come out. I guess I just want to say, thanks!

  8. Ok I have a question that doesn’t have to do with Ambien, (though my dad does have that issue) I am supposed to read a british novel for English, and though I know they are all not boring yadayada, I was hoping you could recomend a good one (Ive already read a bunch of CS Lewis and Jane Austin) something fun like Janette’s books.

  9. Does it have to be historical? If you can read contemporary, I like Louise Arnold’s Invisible Friend series. If it has to be historic, you might try Cranford. I haven’t read it, but everyone keeps telling me it’s good so it’s on my to-read list. If it can be short, you could read A Christmas Carol by Dickens, because everybody has to read that book. It’s a cultural thing, and hey, you don’t want to look silly at parties when people are discussing Tiny Tim and you have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Or I could talk with a Brittish accent and you could just pretend . . .

  10. I haven’t been able to sleep at all lately. xD But I think it’s just me being stubborn. And procratinating. If they could invent a pill that cured procrastination, my life would be so much better. 😀

  11. The british accent plan sounds good…. thanks for the suggestions, I’m in upper classman in highschool so I might need something a little meatier than the invisble friend series (though they sound really good) I dont know, oh and it doesn’t have to be historical fiction. Thanks for the suggestions again!

  12. I read your title and thought you were writing about a girlwith an unusual name. lol
    I LOVE melatonin.
    It makes you lose weight. You don’t get up in the middle of the night and eat chocolate or have sex. Hmmm not as much fun as ambian, might have to switch. 🙂

  13. One of my favorite books by a modern English author is Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand in The Bartimaeus Trilogy (and I liked book 2 a lot also–not so much, book 3) Hmmm, I seem to like the Harry Potterish books quite a bit. Anyway, Bartimaeus is a great character. The book totally made me want to write a book about a geenie someday.

  14. The Bartimaeus Trilogy sounds awsome! Its between reading that and “Princess Bride” I’ll probably go to Books a Million and figure it out… Oh by the way, they do not carry your books at my BAMs, I wish you could fix that…:(

  15. Insomnia has plagued me on and off for years, but Ambien always scared me to take. I’ve taken melatonin before and found it didn’t do much for regulating my sleeping patterns. SO I started reading the begat section of the bible when I needed to sleep. It works every time. 🙂

  16. I love that movie! I think I’ll just buy both of the books. I don’t have anything better to do but read them, (what, school?) Oh and don’t worry, I have already gotten onto my BAM’s employees about depriving people of your wisdom

  17. Hi, I have the same trouble with sleeping. But only every other night…Anyways I am a big fan of your books (even though I haven’t read them YET). I actually have a blog I started recently and I just posted something about My Fair Godmother. I am dying to read two of your books! I would LOVE for you to VISIT my blog! It would be an honour. It is at: Thanks for reading my post!


  18. OK Janette, this has nothing to do with Ambien but I just finished your book “How to take the EX-out of Boyfriend.
    YOU ARE FUNNY!!! I loved it chuckled all through and laughed out loud. I can’t believe I loved teen romance. LOL
    When my Blog gets up I definitely want to interview you about that book. !!!

  19. Nice! I am glad you are not having many side effects, however It might be fun to have some kind of great story to tell.. you know, provided everyone is safe and not in any danger ( :

    That sex side effect is an interesting one…. Wonder how many of those were people who just didn’t want to admit they had it… haha! Anyhow… sometimes side effects listed are scary. I am pretty sure most every med has death as a side effect to cover the company in the event someone dies. Kinda freaky…

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