Anyone who regularly listens to the Joe Rogan Experience knows that the comedian/cagefighting commentator is a huge fan of health and wellness topics. He is outspoken about his sleep apnea and is one of the few celebrities to admit that he sleeps a full eight hours per night. He is also not a fan of pharmaceutical drugs. Ambien is no exception.
During episode #1448 he discussed the risks of taking Ambien with legendary comedian Joey “Coco” Diaz.
Links to topics mentioned in this article
- Joe Rogan Experience #1448 – Interview with comedian Joey Diaz
- Joe Rogan Experience #1109 – Interview with Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep
- Ambien – Prescription drug used to treat insomnia
- REM Cycle – Rapid Eye Movement phase of your sleep cycle
What is Ambien?
Ambien – also known as Zolpidem – is a prescription drug used for the treatment of sleeping problems. It’s one of the most commonly used treatments for sleep disturbances, with over 10 million prescriptions in the United States alone.
Doctors generally prescribe it for short-term – between 2 and 6 weeks – treatment of insomnia. It can improve both sleep onset insomnia and can also help patients stay asleep. The American College of Physicians and the European Sleep Research Society recommend that the drug only be prescribed as a second line treatment after behavioral and other non-pharmacological treatments have failed.
What did Joe Rogan and Joey Diaz say about Ambien?
With Ambien you don’t really sleep though. It just puts you away for a little bit. You don’t go through a full sleep cycle, right? Ambien doesn’t allow you to go through a full REM cycle. When we had Matthew Walker – the sleep expert – it was a very informative podcast. [To Jamie] What do we got?“, Rogan said.
Jamie is known for his legendary Googling skills and even he struggled to find publicly available information about the risks.
“It’s hard to find, I’m assuming any negative effects would be zapped by the pill industry. I Googled it and it says maybe at high dosages it might affect it [the sleep cycle]. But the first result says Zolpidem – which is Ambien – has no effects on REM sleep,” Young Jamie replied.
This prompted one of Rogan’s famous rants.
“That’s interesting, because that’s not what Matthew Walker was saying. He said that about marijuana as well, you don’t a get full… Why don’t we Google ‘do you get real sleep on Ambien?’ We have to talk to – I know Matthew Walker was talking about the negative effects of it but I need to talk to someone else and get the rap down. Cause I know there’s something to it, where it’s not the same as sleeping 8 hours without it. You don’t get the same amount of recovery or something.
It seems like any time you can take something that just knocks you out – a chemical just put you out – that it can’t be good. It can’t be good if there’s a chemical you take that crashes you. You’ve done something very strange. You’ve taken something that shuts you off. Just to me, when I’m up I’m up. Am I up? Oh OK, then I’ll get up. If I’m tired then I’ll lay down. I’m not taking anything.
And people are like ‘well I need it for work’. OK, I get it. You need it. It just seems to me that if you want to be healthier, taking something that just makes you go to sleep is not the answer. It’s one thing if it’s a natural alternative that relaxes you, but something that knocks you the fuck out and when you wake up you’re in a gunfight with the cops – because that’s what Ambien does – I talked about it on one of my specials. Kevin James made a fuckin’ turkey. He went out to the grocery store. He made food and people came home and were like ‘what the fuck?’ and he’s like ‘someone broke into the house’. He went to the supermarket and bought food and made a meal. He thought that someone broke into his house and cooked.
People are in the middle of a drive on the highway and they wake up with no idea how they got there. They have no idea. Some people when they’re on Ambien they just Ambien-walk. They do all kinds of wacky shit. I think people have committed murders when they’re on Ambien” .
Jamie was able to dig deep and find information from Matthew Walker, who Rogan interviewed in one of the most popular episodes in the podcasts’ history.
“Matthew Walker says you aren’t getting the restorative benefits of sleep with it. You’re not getting true sleep. They [Ambien pills] switch off the top of your cortex, the top part of your brain. They put you in a state on unconsciousness. That’s not sleep, that’s Cryogenics [quoting Matthew Walker]. It doesn’t have the same restorative benefits. From immune-boosting to emotional resilience.”
Rogan’s replied to that with the most stereotypically Rogan-esque response imaginable.
“So the other stuff you read was SHILLS FROM THE PILL INDUSTRY trying to fill up the Google-search. Folks, stay up. When you’re tired, go to bed. My advice to you. You know when they didn’t need sleeping pills? Back in fuckin’ pioneer days. You take a wagon across the country and fight off Indians all day, you could just go to sleep man. You can just sleep, you’re tired. You dig ditches all day, you’re exhausted.“