Greene finally feels that, through trial and error, she's gotten her sleep problem under control. "I don't tough it out anymore," she says. She snoozes in shifts. After getting a few hours of "her own sleep," she takes a partial dose of Ambien, which helps her sleep through the rest of the night. When that doesn't work, Greene finds that listening to a book on tape in total darkness lulls her back to sleep.
Greene's individualized approach certainly hasn't been tested in clinical trials, but it seems to work in the one case that counts. And it's not necessarily a bad model for others to follow, experts say. "You have to become your own scientist and find out what works best for you," says Mary Susan Esther, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.