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This topic contains 16 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by michaelb 5 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #8781

    ✘ Not a client

    My doctor wants me to take lorazapam or gabapentin to sleep–do any of you use meds? Phil


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hi Phil

    A lot of our members are on various forms of medication

    I'll put this out in the next Insomniac Bulletin and see if anyone can help you out with some advice.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Phil

    It's four in the morning and I've had my usual ( at the moment) 3 hours sleep – and that's with 1/2 a stillnox.

    Lorezapam ( Ativan in Australia) is an excellent drug – I took it for a month and it was initially great giving me 4-5 hours sleep a night. It was also relieving the anxiety which also felt good. I loved it !

    You need to know however that they are highly addictive and will only work for you for a short period of time. They are much more addictive than valium.

    Alternatives are – take once or twice a week. Or you could take them for three weeks or so, wait a couple of months– then do it again.

    You will also need taper off them ( slowly reduce the dose) If you are on them for an extended period of time. Otherwise you will get withdrawals.

    You've probably found already if you've been taking them for a few weeks that they are not working as well.

    There are a whole lot of anti depressants which are sedating that you could take _ vadoxan being one which I took for a while and it gave me some sleep. Expensive drug though.

    I have tried just about everything – currently on Sillnox/ Zolpidem ( works very well for some ) but it only gives me about three hours sleep – better than nothing I suppose. I was actually hoping that it would totally knock me out – but it didn't. It may actually work well for you though. I only take 1/2 tablet.

    lately am on temazapam- less addictive but effective hypnotic/ sleeping pill. This also gives me around 3 hours sleep.

    Am trying meditation and acupuncture at the moment.

    It's now 5.30 and I might see if I can have a quick rest before the sun comes up !


    Michael B


    ✘ Not a client

    I take a 6.25 mg Ambien (Zolpidem) about 2-4 times a month. I use it only when my initial sleep period is too short (like say 2 hours) and I want to add another 2 -3 hours to it (and I can't get back to sleep on my own). I generally can fall asleep on my own fairly quickly. I usually wake up to go to the bathroom; some nights I can get back to sleep, other nights I can't. Last night I got 5 hours on my own; but the night before I got only 1 1/2 hours sleep on my own, so I took an Ambien and got another 2 -2 1/2 hours sleep. I hadn't used an Ambien for about a week and a half before then, so I try to use it sparingly. Eventually it will lose its effect even though I don't use it that much; I've used it for about 6 months in the manner I describe above.

    I've tried acupuncture, hypnosis, “sleep tracks” and the herbal/melatonin OTC pill “Midnight”; nothing worked, although it could help you. I think CBT was partially helpful and I think a lot of walking helps too. I walk during the afternoon and also for about 45 minutes around 2 hours before I go to bed (slow walk not fast).

    I also slowly pace the floor (and alternate with deep breathing)in a dark room for about 20 – 30 minutes before entering the bed. I know the common wisdom is no exercise activity at night, but the emphasis here is on slow walking to calm you down and tire you out. As I indicated I fall asleep quickly, so it may sound strange but it works for me. Also be sure to empty your bladder shortly before retiring even if you don't feel a great need to do so – you will stay asleep longer. Use a humidifier at night if you have a problem with stuffiness. Finally I snack on the following(supposedly) sleep inducing foods within 2 hours of bedtime; plain Greek yogurt, almonds, kiwi fruit and dried tart cherries.

    So I generally get anywhere from 3 to 5 1/2 hours sleep most nights the last few months (maybe the colder weather helps also). I still consider myself an insomniac, since my sleep in not adequate and I have to go great length to get the sleep I do get. Sleeping pills can help but they lose effectiveness over time, so people keep switching to different types of pills, until one day there are no more pills that work. No pills is the best, but that's easier said than done when you are desperate for sleep and nothing seems to work.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Owl

    It's 4am and I am up as per usual after waking at 3.30 which sems to be my pattern of late giving me a total of about 3 hours sleep (better than nothing) Yes I agree no meds is best but when your'e desperate ? Yes exercise is good – have been doing swimming which tires me out a little. I do do a lot of walking but being skinny and a little older (57) it tends to strip weight off me which I done want. Swimming and using foam weights and mild aerobic exercise in the pool is starting to have some effect. It is very inteesting that you mentioned a humidifier as I aslo have dry eyes ( no tears at all) as a result of multiple operations on my cornea and retina. This was also one of the main contrinbutors to my insomnia although I have suffered a little from mild insomnia over the years but not as bad as now. Also have started meditation (mindfulness ) half an hour before bed. This does calm you down a little when you have an over active mind. I also try not to use computers after about 7pm now and try and spend along period of time ( 2 hrs or so) trying to wind down before bed.

    Isnt it a shame that ambien stops working after a time as I used to get the best sleep with it. Doctor wont give me any more of those. Thats of course the nature of benzos. Yes I do empty the bladder but have enlarged prostate which tends to make you want to go in the middle of the night.

    Anyway – enough of my rambling- as usual Iwill go back to bed and try and rest a couple of hours. I'm trying acupuncture as well but you've rally got to find the right guy. The wise old chinese guys ( 70 and over If you can find them ) are the best I find.

    I've listened to so many hypnosis tapes that I think I'm immune to their effects!!!!

    Many thanks for your suggestions and hope you get some sleep tonight my friend

    Michael B


    ✘ Not a client

    Sounds like you have really done a lot to deal with your insomnia. When I only get 3 to 3 1/2 hours sleep I also tend to wake up between 3 and 4 like you and can't get back to sleep (last night however I got 4 1/2 hours). However, I get that on my own and without a pill. If I'm able to fall back asleep that happens fairly quickly; if I'm still awake after 20 minutes that usually means I'm not getting back to sleep. CBT suggest that if you can't get back to sleep quickly you get up and do something and then go back to bed when you are tired. That sounds good but I find I usually can't get back to sleep when I get up and do something; don't know if you have tried any activity to get back to sleep when you wake up.

    I also take blood pressure medications (4 to be exact). My blood pressure is now under control but I have had to cut back drastically on one of them, Metoprolol, which has been linked to insomnia.

    One other thimg that may help you is not to drink liquids within 3 hours of bedtime; also avoid salad greens in the same time period as they contain a lot of moisture which will increase your need to go to the bathroom.

    With regard to pills, I think a new sleeping pill called suvorexant,developed by Merck, that works on orexin receptors, may become available this year. Since it works differently from other sleeping pills, there is some enthusiasm about it, although some test subjects complained of daytime drowsiness as a side effect. The key question is how long does it stay effective. If it only works for several weeks or months then it only gives you a temporary respite. I don't know the answer to that question.

    Hope you are able to find some relief. I wish more people would discuss their experiences with insomnia on the website, as that is how we can learn from each other. Thanks for sharing.


    ✘ Not a client

    Yep it's four in the morning and as usual I'm awake – but stranely enough feel that I've rested – mind you I did take 1/2 a stillnox. I now have no more stillnox ( you cant take them for too long either ) and tonight will be the frist night without tablets. Yes I cannot go back to sleep after waking – used to be able to though.

    Do you exercise with that high blood prressure ?- I assume you do.

    Those tablets you mention will probably not be available in Australia for years – we are WAY behind you guys with pharmaceuticals. In our country drugs have to go through a RIGOROUS and long testing period before they are released to the public. – A real drag. You still cannot buy straight melatonin here unles you import it from the US.

    Many thanks for replying- I do

    have a lot of stuff to deal with but I think the acupuncture is putting me into a very rested frame of mind and I am feeling calmer and more positive during the day.


    ✘ Not a client

    I have been taking gabapentin and it has helped a lot–I fall asleep easier and stay asleep more, although not long enough. One friend uses over the counter sleeping pills–do they work? His wife uses beer–I'm not kidding. Helps her relax before bed and she falls asleep–she is up to 4 beers per night. I had a home sleep study last Wed. Going to doctor this Wed. Maybe I have apnea? Thank you for your informative replies. I really appreciate not going through this awful experience alone. Philt.


    ✘ Not a client

    Phil – When I first developed insomnia I tried an OTC sleeping pill called Unisom. I didn't take it everyday but probably took it about 14 times over a month and a half. At first it worked and gave me 4-6 hours of sleep but the effectiveness declined quickly so that the last time I took it I got only 1and 1/2 hours of sleep. Note that OTC sleeping pills are glorified antihistamines which will leave you groggy the next day. So I stopped taking it. Others may have had better experiences, but that is my experience.

    With regard to sleep apnea you have to be tested overnight to see if you have it. If you snore a lot and make all kinds of noises when you sleep that is a sign that you may have it. I have it, but like many people I can't tolerate the standard remedy, the CPAP machine. I do take a “Sleep Apnea Relief” pill everynight put out by Nature's Rite. It is a combination of herbs that may help relieve the sleep apnea condition somewhat; I don't know if it really works but I take it anyway.

    Michael -my high blood pressure is under control with the meds so that's why I can exercise – note my main exercise is walking. Hope the acupuncture helps you. I took 8 sessions and it did nothing for me, but others have claimed it helped them. After getting 4-5 hours sleep for 7 of the last 8 nights, last night I only got 3 hours. Maybe it has something to do with the Daylight Savings Time Change in the US, where the clocks are moved ahead one hour; that can interfere with your “sleep rhythm” until you adjust to it.


    ✘ Not a client

    I had a couple of sessions of accupuncture and I liked it, although it had inconsistent results–it made me feel better through the day, too. It is expensive and the accupuncturist kept changing from one to another, which I did not like. And it is expensive $75 per session 4 times per week. It would be worth it if it was consistent.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi guys

    4am in the morning again – but I actually woke up at four so I got 5 hours sleep -wow- hasnt happened for a very long time. All of these pills are unavailable in Australia guys (you have some GREAT drugs over there for sleep.) Phil have you tried Melatonin? It resets your body clock and may help with your sleep rhythm.

    I am so pleased Phil that this Galapentin works for you – not available to us here either.

    I actually am finding the acupuncture good – I also feel marvellous. They tend to work on your liver , kidneys and all that to get your body parts interacting with each other properly and all that. A little mysterious but dont mind –If it works— it just works ! I pay around $80 and get $35 back from my health fund so this is not too bad.

    Owl we dont have Unisom either – but it appears to be a anti histamine ( as many sleeping pills purchased over the counter are ) I cannot take those at all – having dry mouth syndrome – it just makes me as dry as dry can be – and I am dry enough already !!!

    But these do work for some as the older antihistamines have a sedating effect. Glad your exercising – as this is one of the main things you must do apparently.

    Phil I must say that alcohol does not work for me . I always found as it is carb loaded that it acually has the opposite effect and tends to keep me awake. My Dad actually consumes around 3-4 beers most days and gets 10 HOURS SLEEP! I am so envious of him ! So I suppose it affects different people different ways.

    Guys I have now completetely run out of Stillnox so tomorrow night will be trying to sleep without meds – wish me luck !


    ✘ Not a client

    Hope you sleep well–try not to think about it. Phil


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi guys. Beer and wine can have a sedative effect but it also leads to broken sleep in many people. Also,if you go to the bathroom a lot at night alcohol will worsen that problem. Maybe 4-5 beers a day works as a sleep aide for some, but what is the long term effect of drinking like that on the liver? I've thought of drinking a glass or two of wine for those nights when I wake up and can't get back to sleep, but so far I've stayed away from that solution.

    One thing I do everyday is keep a daily sleep log, so I can go back and see how much I sleep over the past weeks/months. So if you try something like acupuncture you can see if your sleep has actually been increased by the treatment. People often report that the acupuncture makes them feel better, which is good, but you really need something objective like a sleep log to see if your sleep has really improved over the course of treatment.

    Yesterday I walked a lot and was able to get a little over 5 hours sleep last night as opposed to a little over 3 hours the night before. Since I'm retired I have time to walk a lot. I'm also going to a free exercise class at the local library on Tuesday for an hour; I will follow that up with a long walk. I've also started going to a free “chair yoga” class. What I do is not strenuous but does help to tire me out. I read somewhere that athletes are less prone to insomnia, because in the course of their job they automatically exercise a lot. I am no athlete but I do think a lot of exercise helps with sleep.

    By the time evening rolls around I often feel sleepy, and I have to be careful not to fall asleep before my regular sleep time. Even a 20-30 minute nap in the early evening can be a disaster for sleep later that night. That is another reason I walk between 9 and 10 in the evening; it not only gives me more exercise to tire myself out but it helps to keep me awake in the evening before my sleep time (which is 12:40).

    Anyway I wish you guys good luck with your sleep. Michael I know you are going without a sleep med now, so you may have a rough night or two without the med but before long your “natural” sleep ability should kick in and you should get some type of natural sleep.


    ✘ Not a client

    Yes mate am doing some swimming and I also walk. I also did a fair amount of work around the place yesterday which tired me out so I had a reasonable sleep believe it or not. Unfortunately always broken bit nevertheless I had about 5 hrs again which is pretty good. And that was without meds – my goodness I never thought it would happen. Dont know if I could keep a sleep log – I usually cant really rememeber WHEN i actually get to sleep. Yes, I find that a nap in the evening is a dsiaster- the classic one is falling asleep in the chair in front of the TV! Yes in this country we have had a few olympic athletes who have been taking stillnox for sleep. Some have got addicted to it as after the fame and success I suppose , they cant come back to earth so they need something a litle more to get them rested.


    ✘ Not a client

    Sleep log is a great idea to be objective–Thanks.

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