Former US Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, author of the controversial new book No Easy Day about the high-profile raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, discusses many topics in the release — including use among Navy SEALs of the somewhat-risky sleep aid Ambien.
Matt Bissonnette has taken heat from the Pentagon and others in high places after making the decision to publish the book about Osama bin Laden’s death and his first-hand role in the raid, and the Ambien aspect is just one part of Bissonnette’s tale. But the SEAL describes a sleepless and restless environment in which the men carried out one of the most sensitive military operations in recent history while shaking off the influence of the powerful and often judgment-altering sleeping pill.
Per Bissonnette’s description, the SEALs often exceeded recommended daily dosage of the medication in order to catch some sleep ahead of their demanding work. Bissonnette explains that on the morning of the raid, he was still battling the effects of two doses of Ambien he popped the night before in hopes of resting up ahead of the mission — making it difficult to even operate a door lock:
“I popped two Ambien. No one was getting any rest without sleeping pills … My head was still cloudy from the Ambien. Pressing the numbers, I tried the doorknob. No luck … It took me three times to get out, but I was finally on my way.”
CNN spoke with Dr. Jack Smith of the Department of Defense, who said that Matt Bissonnette’s Ambien use and that of other SEALs is generally outside the recommended dose, but that sometimes doctors will advise it:
“The recommended dose for adults is 10 mg once daily immediately before bedtime. The total Ambien dose should not exceed 10 mg per day … There could be occasions when a provider may feel a larger or more frequent dose may be indicated. This should occur only in rare situations and proper discussion and observation of side effects.”
Do you plan to read Matt Bissonnette’s account of Osama bin Laden’s death?