Let’s be honest: the holidays aren’t always easy. Yuletide spirit, family togetherness, gathering ‘round the festal board night after night … Well, it can get to be a bit much. Especially if you’re the one doing most of the cooking, the whole thing can stress you out to the point where all you want to do is eat, eat, eat. But you can’t exactly indulge yourself — it would look unseemly for you to scarf down all the Christmas cookies you yourself have baked.

Who knew that the solution to these inopportune food cravings lay in Ambien, America’s favorite sleeping pill?

Writer Paul Simms knew it, and he told all. If you missed these recipes from the Ambien Cookbook when they first appeared in the New Yorker in July of 2006, maybe you’ll find them helpful now.

Sorpresa con Queso


7 bags Cheetos-brand cheese snacks

17 to 19 glasses tap water

5 mg. Ambien

Place Cheetos bags in cupboard.

Take Ambien, fall asleep.

Wait 2-3 hours, then sleepwalk to kitchen, tear cupboard doors off hinges in search of Cheetos.

Find Cheetos, eat contents of all 7 bags.

Fall back asleep on kitchen floor.

When awakened by early-morning sunlight, get up and say, “What the—?”

Wipe orange Cheetos dust from fingers, face, and hair.

Drink 17 to 19 glasses of water from kitchen tap.

Return to bed.

Icebox Mélange


Entire contents of refrigerator

1 Diet Snapple

5 mg. Ambien

Take Ambien, fall asleep.

Wait 2-3 hours, then sleepwalk to kitchen.

Devour everything in refrigerator (including all fancy mustards and jellies, iffy takeout leftovers, and plastic dial from thermostat).

Belch loud enough to wake wife or girlfriend. When she enters kitchen, bellow, “Can’t you see I’m working here?”

Fall asleep on kitchen floor.

After 4-5 more hours, wake up on subway, fully dressed from the waist up, drinking a Diet Snapple.

Posted by Lois Maharg, The Savvy Insomniac

Lois Maharg has worked with language for many years. She taught ESL, coauthored two textbooks, and then became a reporter, writing about health, education, government, Latino affairs, and food. Her lifelong struggle with insomnia and interest in investigative reporting motivated her to write a book, The Savvy Insomniac: A Personal Journey through Science to Better Sleep. She now freelances as an editor and copy writer at On the Mark Editing.


  1. Wow, that brings me back…thanks for the good laugh.



    1. You’re welcome! The Ambien Cookbook was published when it was first coming out that in rare instances, people were sleep eating after taking Ambien. That’s a pretty serious side effect, but this New Yorker writer saw humor in it—and I laugh every time I read these recipes.



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