TravelWhat Are the Best—And Safest—Sleeping Pills for Flights?

22:15  11 september  2019
22:15  11 september  2019 Source:   cntraveler.com

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What Are the Best—And Safest—Sleeping Pills for Flights?© Getty If noise-cancelling headphones don’t help you doze off, you may need to consider a more heavy-duty fix: sleeping pills for flights. Skip them if you’re heading west or on a short trip (just stay awake instead), and reserve it for those overnight flights when you’re jumping across multiple time zones, says Aneesa Das, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Ohio State University. Some pills are stronger than others, and some have wonky side effects that may outweigh the extra zzzs. Here’s what to know about three common sleeping pills for flights.


Ambien—the most powerful option on this list and the only one that requires a prescription—works as a sedative-hypnotic medication that slows your brain activity to make you feel very sleepy. It’ll knock you out good—maybe even too good. Some users experience retroactive amnesia, which means you could wake up mid-flight, have a full conversation with the flight attendant, and have no memory of it when morning comes, Das says. Ambien can also lead to sleepwalking, which could result in some awkward bump-ins on the plane. But it's not all bad. Zolpidem (the generic name for Ambien) has been shown to fight off jet lag, finds a study published in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine.

Flights to Europe Are As Cheap As $243 Round-trip Right Now

Flights to Europe Are As Cheap As $243 Round-trip Right Now Travelers looking for a European getaway are in luck, as a range of airlines are currently offering deals to several popular cities from as early as September through June of 2020. Some of the top deals found on Google Flights are available from a variety of U.S. cities to Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. These include $243 round-trip flights from New York to Barcelona, $260 round-trip flights from New York to Paris, $277 round-trip flights from New York to Madrid, $280 round-trip flights from Boston to Madrid, $299 round-trip flights from Chicago to Brussels, and $310 round-trip flights from Boston to Brussels.

Tylenol PM

The over-the-counter medication is easy to pick up at the drugstore when you’re stocking up on travel-sized shampoos and other carry-on essentials. Diphenhydramine, the same antihistamine found in Benadryl, will likely put you to sleep, though you may pay the price once you land. “It makes us feel really groggy when we wake up, and it can make us feel really hungover,” Das says. The antihistamine may also leave you with a dry mouth that those tiny airplane cups of water just can’t quench (not a good situation since flying in general can make you dehydrated). Still, Das says it’s okay to take so long as you’ve tolerated it in the past.


The hormone occurs naturally in the body, but taking an extra dose helps induce sleep and adjust your circadian clock. That will help you function better at your destination, Das says. Start taking melatonin a few days before your trip, about four to six hours before your bedtime, so that you’re ready to hit the pillow 30 minutes to an hour earlier than normal, Das says. A review from U.K. researchers found melatonin decreases jet lag if you take it close to your target bedtime at your destination, especially if you’re traveling across five or more time zones. The researchers found doses of .5 and 5 milligrams were equally effective at preventing jet lag, though the larger (maximum) dose will help you fall asleep quicker and sleep better. Another plus? There are no major side effects to worry about. (Note: The FDA does regulate dietary supplements such as melatonin, but these regulations are less strict than those for prescription or over-the-counter medications; check with your doctor for an appropriate recommendation.)

Counterfeit pills linked to four San Diego-area deaths in 24-hour span

Counterfeit pills linked to four San Diego-area deaths in 24-hour span Counterfeit pills that are traded and sold in the San Diego area with the promise of a "painkiller high" are believed to be linked to four overdose deaths in a one-day span, authorities said Thursday. © Jaykayl/Getty Images Close-up of hand holding pills Detectives responded to overdoses in Lakeside, Santee, Valley Center and Poway over the past 24 hours, San Diego County Undersheriff Mike Barnett said during a news conference. He did not elaborate on the deaths. Several non-fatal overdoses have also been linked to the drug.

No matter which medication you decide to go with (if any), there are a few ground rules to follow. First, give it a test run at home. “You want to know how your body tolerates it before you go,” Das says. Then, once you’re settled into your seat, pass on booze and don’t pop the medicine until the flight attendants have gone over safety instructions.

This article was originally published in December 2016. It has been updated with new information.

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