Insomnia Questions


New Member
I'm an addition to the ATC force and have some questions regarding sleep.

"Ambien (zolpidem) may be acceptable to the FAA on a case by case basis with 24-48 hour wait after use."

Is this saying that you can't work until 24+ hours after use or that you must wait 24+ hours after use to take another one?

Here is a list I was given of possible sleep aids by my doctor:
Things that help with sleep.
1. Amitriptyline- this is good for sleep and anxiety/depression but it has a long 1/2 life (10 hours)
2. Trazodone- also used for sleep and depression a bit shorter action (3-9 hour 1/2 life)
3. Doxylamine is over the counter unisome ( not benadryl) lasts about 10 hours
4. Hydroxyzine -used for anxiety, antihistamine and sleep (1/2 life 20-25 hours)
5. ambien for insomnia only to be used no more than 2 out of every 3 days (1/2 life 2-3 hours)
6. Lunesta -sleep ( 6 hours)
7. Rozerem- acts like melatonin ( 6 hours)

She mentioned Amitriptyline and Trazodone being her two top choice options but of course they have an effect on other things aside from sleep so I imagine the FAA frowns on both of those. I'm really interested in consistent/rel sleep but a mood lifter/stabilizer doesn't seem like a horrible addition. I would not call myself an anxious person, but when I find myself staring at the clock for hours on end with a long and important work day around the bend I can get a bit anxious thinking about it.

So, this is a fairly debilitating problem for me and I was hoping you could give me some insight from a Flight Surgeon perspective. What might I be allowed to take and what would you recommend? Is there anything else you can think of that would be a good option? Lastly, I'm alright with going to the FAA to receive an evaluation and requesting permission to use some of the more potent medicines, but I'm very concerned of such a request damaging or ending my career. This is mostly based on horror stories but that's enough to get me on edge. Are there some strong and/or effective medicines that you feel I can safely request without "digging myself a hole"?

Thank you so much for your time and let me know if there's more information that I can give you!
The previous discussions had to do with pilots. For ATC, Medications used for sleep disorders and anxiety and phobic disorders are not acceptable.according to the Therapeutic Drug Guidelines for Air Traffic Control Specialists dated 2 JUNE 2008. None of the drugs you listed are approved.
Ouch that's rough, are herbal sleep aids such as melatonin acceptable since it's one of the natural purposes for melatonin in the body?