Dr Jules Eden, dive medicine specialist and founder of e-med, answers divers' questions - as published in Sport Diver magazine:
Q - I have some sleeping tablets that I use very rarely (I have a job that involves over night call outs etc so I occasionally have trouble getting back to sleep, hence the tablets).
I have Stilnoct which I believe is Zolpidem Tartrate, the question is I am about to go on a diving holiday (I know it's a hard life) and I would like to use them to sleep on the plane. Does this have any implications on diving? How long should I wait before diving after taking one?
A - Tough life, that of a male prostitute. But here's some hope. Sleepers are fine. Zolpidem is one of the stronger one's that purport not to cause a hangover the next morning. Unless you have been on the lash as well. It gives 6 hours nice sleep and you feel fine on waking. So a lot of people use it to counter jet lag when flying, or if they're still building the other half of the hotel you're in at night. The only diving implication is that if you were getting up way early, like on a Thistlegorm run, you would be too woozy to think straight.
So you have the OK to use them before midnight, say, the night before a dive, and on the plane there and back.