As many soldiers have experienced, a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan can seem quite exhausting. In Ranger Battalion, we at least had the benefit of flying in a C-17, and could sleep on the floor once we hit cruising altitude. I felt sorry for the rest of the military that had to fly in commercial jets – confined to that tiny little seat with little to no leg room.
There is a 7 and 8.5 hour difference in time between Eastern Standard Time and the local times of Baghdad and Kabul. When our platoon arrived in country we generally would be out conducting missions within 24 hours of wheels on the ground. During many deployments we were also on a reverse schedule of sleeping throughout the day and conducting missions at night. We needed something to help us switch time zones without a hiccup.
One method that was used to get us comfortable with the time difference and make sure we were well rested was the administration of Zolpidem, more commonly known as AMBIEN. Once we boarded the aircraft, the medics would hand out two pills, one for the leg to Germany and the other for the leg to whichever hunting ground we were to reside.
This is what Sanofi, the makers of AMBIEN, have to say about their product: