Up and down for the past year

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Sleepybird 7 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #25752

    ✘ Not a client

    I have gone through periods of sleeplessness since my early 20s. Usually these periods of sleepless nights have only lasted for a month or two at a time before returning to normal, and were almost always brought on by some kind of stress or change in my life.

    last year i was dealing with a particularly stressful situation at my job for months on end and unfortunately my sleep was severely affected. I got to the point where I was not able to sleep at all dusing the night (not even an hour) and would often be up for 36 hours at a time. I’m a teacher so you can imagine teaching 24 kids all day on no sleep is rough. I tried natural supplements and therapy. Then a few months later I decided to take medication for anxiety because I was have meltdowns multiple times a week from sleep deprivation and anxiety.

    i started taking remeron which really helped get me back on a normal sleep schedule. It helps with the seretonin levels in my brain.

    Unfortunately this past week has been brutal. I flew to NY for the holidays, and I’m extremely sensitive to time change. I’ve been here for 6 days and seem to only sleep if I take Ativan AND my remeron together. While this is safe to do – I’ve checked with my doctor – I try not to do this every night (I limit taking Ativan to once or twice a week at most as it can be addictive).

    However the nights I don’t take this combination I’m awake almost all night. My remeron alone has seemed to not be enough this week. I’m writing this now after sleeping for about an hour last night. Luckily I’m off work for the next week but was hoping to have a restful trip instead of one plagued with anxiety over not sleeping. Any thoughts?

    Another thing to add. I can always fall asleep immediately but wake up within an hour or two. Typically I can fall back asleep right away, but this week I have not been able to. I’m trying to go about by normal daily routine and see friends and family, but feel so exhausted.


    ✘ Not a client

    I am trying to repeat positive phrases and remind myself that I’m justoff right now because I’m in a different state and time zone. I’m also the kind of person that sometimes feels more anxious when I’m off work with all this free time than when I’m actually working and distracted throughout the day. I realize that I tend to put pressure on myself to sleep, and I’m trying to mentally remove this fear that I can’t function or my day will be ruined on no sleep. I’m also trying not to compare myself to others. I’m currently in a household where my family members come downstairs refreshed and rejuvenated  each morning, which tends to add to my own frustration on nights where I can’t sleep. But most of all, I’m trying to still follow through with my social engagements and not cancel plans due to lack of sleep. This is a big one for me as I tend to cancel plans when I’m tired, but I realize that by doing that I’m only adding more pressure on myself to sleep.

    Since this started last year I have certainly felt alone and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one this is happening to. Whenever I have a night of poor sleep I find that visiting these forums and reading about other people’s struggles makes me realize how common this is, and there’s comfort in that.


    ✘ Not a client

    I feel for you.

    I will write a post later today or tomorrow about why the drugs don’t work – and actually only extend the problem. Look out for that.



    ✘ Not a client

    have you ever had a sleep study?


    ✘ Not a client

    No I have not.

    Think it is the next thing I must do.

    God, the unpredictability of the insomnia is so annoying. I can go weeks, then it comes back all guns blazing and every other night is a nil-sleep night again for two weeks or sometimes even more.

    Re Remeron, I have the same experience… it works for a few nights – makes you very drowsy for up to 2 nights, even if you only take it just one night. But after a week of taking it every few nights, it just stops working.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Sleep studies aren’t typically helpful unless you exhibit symptoms of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea (symptoms include snoring, waking during the night with a gasp, waking with a dry mouth or headache, not feeling refreshed after a full night of sleep).

    From what you’ve described, it sounds as though you are experiencing sleep disruption due to stress and worry — and this is very common. Normally, sleep will recover naturally once the stressful period comes to an end.

    There are three key mechanisms that help control and regulate sleep:

    1. The sleep/wake cycle,
    2. Sleep pressure/sleep drive,
    3. The arousal system.

    Our arousal system (the same system responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response) can interrupt our natural ability to sleep. This is a survival mechanism designed to delay sleep during times of danger. Unfortunately, when we live with insomnia for long periods of time, the repeated sleep problems become ever-more worrisome and frustrating, and this kicks the arousal system into overdrive. In effect, the longer we have trouble sleeping, the stronger the arousal system and its power over our sleep. So, over time, sleep can often become progressively worse.

    Fortunately, the arousal system is outnumbered by the two other mechanisms that help us sleep — the sleep/wake cycle and sleep pressure. In particular, sleep pressure will always lead to sleep when it builds to a high enough level. Unfortunately, as we catch up on sleep, sleep pressure falls and this allows the arousal system to become the dominant sleep mechanism once again, which leads to another period of poor sleep. This probably explains why you tend to go through periods of good sleep, only for the insomnia to return.

    Have you looked into a course of CBT for insomnia or discussed this with your doctor? From what you’ve shared, I suspect you will find it to be very beneficial.


    ✘ Not a client

    Get a sleep study anyway to rule out anything physical.  I had sleep apnea (OSA) untreated for years.  I masked it with all kinds of pills.  The doctor would give me anything I wanted to try.  I had so many side effects from the pills that I thought it was dangerous.  The pills can make you think you’re asleep but you don’t get quality deep sleep.  Never once did my doctor tell me to get a sleep study.  My dentist is the one who told me to get a sleep study, and he was 95 percent sure I had OSA because of my teeth grinding.

    Anyway turns out I had severe OSA.  Got it treated.  Then CBT worked for me.  The CBT helped so much.  I have got off all the pills.  I feel sure that both the OSA caused and made my insomnia worse.  But the CBT helped me overcome it once I got the OSA treated.



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