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Experience with Total Insomnia (No sleep for days) Anybody have encouragement?


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How many of you go for nights on end without sleep? What's the longest you've gone? What are your patterns like.  Do you feel 'okay'? Is it even possible to accept this? I would really love to hear from anyone with really serious experience. 

 

I understand this might be somewhat rare, but it's definitely one of the best places to ask, because it's much more common I'm guessing with the people here, due to Benzo withdrawal.

 

This is obviously one of the most frightening things you can experience. And it's something I've struggled with since I was 18.  Something broke in me, and I've had many things cause it ever since it first happened.

 

So this is how my insomnia works (usually caused by a withdrawal, but sometimes - random):

 

One night, for no reason, I will not be able to sleep. You'll all be familiar with this part: You feel like you WILL fall asleep, like things are normal, and then, it simply.... doesn't happen. It's not NORMAL insomnia.  No racing thoughts. Nothing.

 

If it's withdrawal induced, I can sort of detect these nights within an hour or so, or sometimes right away, because your brain feels 'lit' when you close your eyes. Regardless of thoughts or lack of thoughts.  I also have visual snow, so I notice that a lot stronger too, making it a little more obvious.

 

So after missing ONE night of sleep, if I don't abort that ONE night of sleeplessness with a STRONG med, I will stay awake for days, and days, and days on end, completely losing the ability to sleep no matter what, not even micro-sleeps, until I medically intervene with a super high dose of something or multiple somethings. I've been to ER over this.

 

I've NEVER let it go past a week, because I freak out too hard and either end up with a med from ER, or use my own supply when I have it. And I keep dosing until I am forced to sleep, and even then I'm terrified my body will forget how to sleep.

 

Of course you get those fears like, 'will I develop sporadic fatal insomnia? Lose the ability to sleep until I die?'.  I know it's rare, but you can't help but think that. I could totally use reassurance from people, but no lies to make me feel better please. If you have real experience of this etc. and have gotten through it somehow or, whatever. I would love to hear from you so bad.

 

[As a side note: Benzos are the only truly reliable med for me (usually mixed with some other sleep aid, I'm NOT saying this is safe or good, just want to be totally honest with you guys), in worse case scenerios I have taken up to 10mg of clo, only once though, and 7mg another time.  For example I'll wait for FULL peak (2 hours for clonaz) before I know for sure I need more. Often times I don't. Needing this much is SUPER rare, but I'm mentioning it here.  95% of the time or greater, one dose is enough, with remeron or something else.]

 

I know people on Meth get this, days without sleep, but then they crash, but it's stimulant induced, so I am not sure their experiences would be helpful in my case, since mine happens /without/ drugs, and I've never found a crashing point where my body actually sleeps without medicinal intervention, but I've never been able to bear it longer than a week without medicinal intervention. 

 

The first time this happened I think I went roughly 5 days, was given ativan and seroquel 30, the ativan was nothing to me, and seroquel 30 put me to sleep for a VERY short amount of time, with nightmares and lots of hypnagogia I think. (It was a long time ago). I remember hearing a bell ring, I think, like an auditory hallucination, then I was outtish.  I've since tried seroquel many times (never greater than 50) and never has it really put me to sleep again, I'm guessing it only worked because I had a solid 5 days with no sleep, or if it has contributed once in a while, it's hard to tell, because it never makes me feel drowsy. I've never had more than 50mg.

 

I am curious if a higher dose makes a difference? If anyone has experience with this, this would be really important to me.  Like, could mean the difference between having a life rather than feeling.. well tortured, to put it in less detail - you will guys understand, I'm guessing 

 

Sorry for the length. So stories, advice, and anyone who has had experience with seroquel as a rescue drug instead of your benzo, I'd love to hear form you all - thanks for your patience

 

Anyone?

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I was on Seroquel for a little while. I started at 50 mg and eventually worked my way up to 300 mg before it became effective for my insomnia. I have hit a really rough wave since November, where I have been going 3-4 days of no sleep multiple times a month. It really is the worst form of torture. By day four I am a complete suicidal mess. I am so sorry you’re going through this as well.
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It is not uncommon during withdrawal to experience severe stretches of insomnia (I once went 5 nights with no perceived sleep), followed by one or two nights of recovery sleep due to exhaustion. It was also my experience that on nights where I felt certain that I would sleep, I didn't and on nights when I felt awake and was certain that sleep would be impossible, I slept. I remember all to well how miserable it felt to crave sleep and be able to get any. I really feel for everyone currently in this situation and want to reassure them that things will improve. You are not broken, just temporarily off-line when it comes to sleep.
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I had about 65+ zero nights or nights of no perceived sleep over an 8 month period.  I would often go 2, 3 and sometimes 4 days in a row with no perceived sleep.  I did that multiple times.

 

I thought I had SFI too.  It is hard not to think that in the thick of it.

 

You have obviously reached tolerance as you need to take really high doses to get the same effect.

 

I honestly think your high Benzo intake has done a number on your Gaba receptors.  Until those heal, glutamate will rule the day and night.  Fight or flight all the time.  That is why you could stay awake for days and days and your brain always feels wired while your body might be tired.

 

I know MTFan went a few times with very little or no perceived sleep for weeks?

 

Microsleeps are most likely happening to you as you are still awake and a alert, but parts of your brain actually shutdown for a few seconds or so just like they do when you sleep.

 

I would avoid Benzos and find something else to get you past the long stretches of sleepless nights.

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If I had any suggestions for you, I would start tapering immediately. I did the same thing where my tolerance kept increasing and when I cold turkeyed, I went almost 12 days without sleep but ended up taking a restoril because I got scared. I started tapering with klonopine but Valium May be better. Just start liquid tapering and you will not sleep almost every other day but it’s best to start healing your receptors. I’m 9 months off and my sleep is all over the place. Takes me forever to go to sleep and I never know what my night is gonna be but I am sleeping on my own now which is a huge accomplishment. Trust me, I message theway every day for encouragement because my sleep was so perfect before Benzos. Never had a single day of insomnia my entire life. Didn’t even know this existe or was possible. I always thought people couldn’t keep themselves awake If they tried. I know I couldn’t. Now my brain just feels numb...like I could stay awake for days but it is trying to recover. It’s slowly getting there and you need to head in that direction as well.
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Thanks everybody. I appreciate it. And welcome as many stories as possible, not just for myself but to encourage anyone struggling with this severe form of insomnia.

 

I was on Seroquel for a little while. I started at 50 mg and eventually worked my way up to 300 mg before it became effective for my insomnia. I have hit a really rough wave since November, where I have been going 3-4 days of no sleep multiple times a month. It really is the worst form of torture. By day four I am a complete suicidal mess. I am so sorry you’re going through this as well.

 

I avoided saying the S word openly in case it might hurt someone going through things but yah, that's what I meant "well tortured, to put it in less detail - you will guys understand", obviously, you truly do understand. Of course, I urge anyone not to do this or think this way. I'm also so sorry you're going through this. All my love for you man (or woman.)  I'll pray for you in Jesus's name and actually should say a prayer for everyone here too.

 

Thanks guys

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Hey T-man

 

I have not quite had the extreme experience of some others here, but my insomnia has been extremely persistent and intractable. The longest I went was 3 days without sleep, and I was certain I would never sleep again and simply die. I have no idea how people go an entire week without sleeping. I've also had 4 day periods where I've slept 3, 4 and 5 hours total. I had one episode where I slept 4 hours total over 4 days (96 hours) when I was 2000 miles away from home for a funeral. Usually I began to get hypersensitive to light and sound (hyperacusis and photophobia), where I could not look at the screens for more than a minute or two. My joints also really began to hurt and digestion got much worse (after jumping I lost 30lbs in 3 months, so this was scary). I also remember my hands and feet going numb and tingling and just feeling extremely weak and VERY physically uncomfortable, which I thought would prevent me from sleeping ever again.

 

The time I went 3 days without sleeping, near the end of the 3rd day, in the later afternoon and just got drowsy all of the sudden, went upstairs and went to sleep for 3 hours. That was all I could sleep for the first few months, 3 hours max. I think I got 4 a couple times. The first year I have averaged around 3 hours sleep per night, with mild improvements (closer to 4 now), but a huge improvement in functionality. I can do a couple hours of walking per day now, whereas before I could barely walk for like 20 minutes per day. Exercise really does help.

 

As for advice, I'm not sure you asked for it, but there are quite a few things you can do. I imagine you've seen a psychologist and done cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia? If not, I highly recommend it. If you can't afford that, there are plenty of books on the topic I can recommend, like Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Dr. Gregg Jacobs. You definitely want to keep a very regular schedule. Have your bedtime and waking at the same time every night, or don't lie in bed for more than 30 minutes if you are not sleeping, and don't go to bed unless drowsy etc. It's also important to eat your meals at the same time every day. This helps set your circadian rhythms and keeps the sleep/wake cycle on a regular schedule. Hot baths a few hours prior to bed help, since a cooling body temperature will tend to make you drowsy. Heart rate variability is associated with better sleep (great variability ie with exercise = better sleep), as well as greater body temperature variability (exercise also good for this :).

 

I hope you get over this soon. It's absolute hell, especially in the early days after jumping. In the first months after jumping I was mostly just scared and weak during those entire nights sitting up, but later on, when I gained some strength and weight, I found I was more angry during those time. I definitely prefer the state of anger, although it's not terribly productive. I know some other users here have had pretty bad insomnia experiences, such as EastCoast. She has a pretty extreme experience overall, not sure whether you've read her success story or not?

 

One last piece of advice: I think I read that you took 10mg of clonazepam? I hope that is a typo. If not, DO NOT do that again. That is much more likely to kill you than not sleeping. And it will simply make the insomnia worse in subsequent nights. The seroquel is also a very dangerous drug, as are all the atypical antipsychotics. There is a European Journal of Psychiatry study I have that implies a hazard ratio above 3.0 (it results in a 3 fold increase in the probability of mortality compared to people in the general population). I do hate to break news like this to people in a vulnerable state. I really believe it's safer to just not sleep than take those drugs, and that's what I wish I'd done rather than getting "treatment". There are amino acids that help you relax, such as tryptophan, glycine or lysine.  Extreme persistent insomnia only results in a mild increase in the probability of mortality. The hazard ratio is something like 1.15 (15% increase over people who sleep normally). It's almost nothing if you are young, and it's less than smoking a couple cigarettes per day or leading a sedentary lifestyle. As TheWay said, you are probably getting microsleeps and eventually your body will shutdown and you'll sleep. Maybe not for long, but you will feel some relief no matter how short it is. Hope you improve quickly.

 

DG

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Hey T-man

 

I have not quite had the extreme experience of some others here, but my insomnia has been extremely persistent and intractable. The longest I went was 3 days without sleep, and I was certain I would never sleep again and simply die. I have no idea how people go an entire week without sleeping. I've also had 4 day periods where I've slept 3, 4 and 5 hours total. I had one episode where I slept 4 hours total over 4 days (96 hours) when I was 2000 miles away from home for a funeral. Usually I began to get hypersensitive to light and sound (hyperacusis and photophobia), where I could not look at the screens for more than a minute or two. My joints also really began to hurt and digestion got much worse (after jumping I lost 30lbs in 3 months, so this was scary). I also remember my hands and feet going numb and tingling and just feeling extremely weak and VERY physically uncomfortable, which I thought would prevent me from sleeping ever again.

 

The time I went 3 days without sleeping, near the end of the 3rd day, in the later afternoon and just got drowsy all of the sudden, went upstairs and went to sleep for 3 hours. That was all I could sleep for the first few months, 3 hours max. I think I got 4 a couple times. The first year I have averaged around 3 hours sleep per night, with mild improvements (closer to 4 now), but a huge improvement in functionality. I can do a couple hours of walking per day now, whereas before I could barely walk for like 20 minutes per day. Exercise really does help.

 

As for advice, I'm not sure you asked for it, but there are quite a few things you can do. I imagine you've seen a psychologist and done cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia? If not, I highly recommend it. If you can't afford that, there are plenty of books on the topic I can recommend, like Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Dr. Gregg Jacobs. You definitely want to keep a very regular schedule. Have your bedtime and waking at the same time every night, or don't lie in bed for more than 30 minutes if you are not sleeping, and don't go to bed unless drowsy etc. It's also important to eat your meals at the same time every day. This helps set your circadian rhythms and keeps the sleep/wake cycle on a regular schedule. Hot baths a few hours prior to bed help, since a cooling body temperature will tend to make you drowsy. Heart rate variability is associated with better sleep (great variability ie with exercise = better sleep), as well as greater body temperature variability (exercise also good for this :).

 

I hope you get over this soon. It's absolute hell, especially in the early days after jumping. In the first months after jumping I was mostly just scared and weak during those entire nights sitting up, but later on, when I gained some strength and weight, I found I was more angry during those time. I definitely prefer the state of anger, although it's not terribly productive. I know some other users here have had pretty bad insomnia experiences, such as EastCoast. She has a pretty extreme experience overall, not sure whether you've read her success story or not?

 

One last piece of advice: I think I read that you took 10mg of clonazepam? I hope that is a typo. If not, DO NOT do that again. That is much more likely to kill you than not sleeping. And it will simply make the insomnia worse in subsequent nights. The seroquel is also a very dangerous drug, as are all the atypical antipsychotics. There is a European Journal of Psychiatry study I have that implies a hazard ratio above 3.0 (it results in a 3 fold increase in the probability of mortality compared to people in the general population). I do hate to break news like this to people in a vulnerable state. I really believe it's safer to just not sleep than take those drugs, and that's what I wish I'd done rather than getting "treatment". There are amino acids that help you relax, such as tryptophan, glycine or lysine.  Extreme persistent insomnia only results in a mild increase in the probability of mortality. The hazard ratio is something like 1.15 (15% increase over people who sleep normally). It's almost nothing if you are young, and it's less than smoking a couple cigarettes per day or leading a sedentary lifestyle. As TheWay said, you are probably getting microsleeps and eventually your body will shutdown and you'll sleep. Maybe not for long, but you will feel some relief no matter how short it is. Hope you improve quickly.

 

DG

 

Thanks DG, eating at the same time every day IS actually news to me. That's one I haven't heard before, so, worth knowing.  Thanks for adding to the thread, I really do appreciate it.  (And to Stacey, and everyone else.) Keep 'em coming, if you feel the need to share your experience.  I'm more than happy to see them and I think they can probably help more people who are struggling too.

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Hey T-man

 

I have not quite had the extreme experience of some others here, but my insomnia has been extremely persistent and intractable. The longest I went was 3 days without sleep, and I was certain I would never sleep again and simply die. I have no idea how people go an entire week without sleeping. I've also had 4 day periods where I've slept 3, 4 and 5 hours total. I had one episode where I slept 4 hours total over 4 days (96 hours) when I was 2000 miles away from home for a funeral. Usually I began to get hypersensitive to light and sound (hyperacusis and photophobia), where I could not look at the screens for more than a minute or two. My joints also really began to hurt and digestion got much worse (after jumping I lost 30lbs in 3 months, so this was scary). I also remember my hands and feet going numb and tingling and just feeling extremely weak and VERY physically uncomfortable, which I thought would prevent me from sleeping ever again.

 

The time I went 3 days without sleeping, near the end of the 3rd day, in the later afternoon and just got drowsy all of the sudden, went upstairs and went to sleep for 3 hours. That was all I could sleep for the first few months, 3 hours max. I think I got 4 a couple times. The first year I have averaged around 3 hours sleep per night, with mild improvements (closer to 4 now), but a huge improvement in functionality. I can do a couple hours of walking per day now, whereas before I could barely walk for like 20 minutes per day. Exercise really does help.

 

As for advice, I'm not sure you asked for it, but there are quite a few things you can do. I imagine you've seen a psychologist and done cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia? If not, I highly recommend it. If you can't afford that, there are plenty of books on the topic I can recommend, like Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Dr. Gregg Jacobs. You definitely want to keep a very regular schedule. Have your bedtime and waking at the same time every night, or don't lie in bed for more than 30 minutes if you are not sleeping, and don't go to bed unless drowsy etc. It's also important to eat your meals at the same time every day. This helps set your circadian rhythms and keeps the sleep/wake cycle on a regular schedule. Hot baths a few hours prior to bed help, since a cooling body temperature will tend to make you drowsy. Heart rate variability is associated with better sleep (great variability ie with exercise = better sleep), as well as greater body temperature variability (exercise also good for this :).

 

I hope you get over this soon. It's absolute hell, especially in the early days after jumping. In the first months after jumping I was mostly just scared and weak during those entire nights sitting up, but later on, when I gained some strength and weight, I found I was more angry during those time. I definitely prefer the state of anger, although it's not terribly productive. I know some other users here have had pretty bad insomnia experiences, such as EastCoast. She has a pretty extreme experience overall, not sure whether you've read her success story or not?

 

One last piece of advice: I think I read that you took 10mg of clonazepam? I hope that is a typo. If not, DO NOT do that again. That is much more likely to kill you than not sleeping. And it will simply make the insomnia worse in subsequent nights. The seroquel is also a very dangerous drug, as are all the atypical antipsychotics. There is a European Journal of Psychiatry study I have that implies a hazard ratio above 3.0 (it results in a 3 fold increase in the probability of mortality compared to people in the general population). I do hate to break news like this to people in a vulnerable state. I really believe it's safer to just not sleep than take those drugs, and that's what I wish I'd done rather than getting "treatment". There are amino acids that help you relax, such as tryptophan, glycine or lysine.  Extreme persistent insomnia only results in a mild increase in the probability of mortality. The hazard ratio is something like 1.15 (15% increase over people who sleep normally). It's almost nothing if you are young, and it's less than smoking a couple cigarettes per day or leading a sedentary lifestyle. As TheWay said, you are probably getting microsleeps and eventually your body will shutdown and you'll sleep. Maybe not for long, but you will feel some relief no matter how short it is. Hope you improve quickly.

 

DG

 

Data_Guy,

You offer very good advice, but I would have to disagree with the basic sleep hygiene practice of staying awake in bed for no more than 30 minutes while in withdrawal. This may work well for regular insomnia, but from my personal experience it can really mess you up if you are suffering from withdrawal insomnia because it is unlikely that you will get any sleep at all. Also, withdrawal is a biochemical and not a behavioral problem. I tried sleep restriction as part of CBTi during the early stages of my withdrawal and I never was able to fall alseep within 30 minutes. After the first couple of failed nights I ended up cheating in the wee hours of the morning by staying in bed long enough to squeek out an hour or two of broken sleep. My therapist was not familiar with Ambien withdrawal so she became alarmed and took me off the program after 3 weeks.

 

During the over 3 years of insomnia that followed my acute withdrawal (the first year of which was pretty severe), I learned to just relax and stay in bed for as long as it took to fall asleep. During this "waiting" period I would often doze off without realizing it, but my wife would report some snoring going on that I was not aware of. These unperceived microsleeps and short dozes are what sustained me. They would not have happened had I gotten out of bed as prescribed by sleep hygiene.

 

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Hi Data_Guy

 

I too am a data/IT guy... :thumbsup:

 

You gave EXCELLENT advice, but I would have to agree with Aloha about getting out of bed after 30 minutes if you don't fall asleep.  Never worked for me...not even one time.  In fact, it was Aloha who cautioned me against this practice.

 

I heeded Aloha's advice, and even if I didn't sleep, which I didn't much the first 8 months, I still rested my body.  That helped a lot, especially on the 2, 3 and 4 day stretches of no perceived sleep.

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Hi TheWay and Aloha,

 

I am definitely fine with doing what works. I think people tend to do this anyway. TheWay, I had read that CBT-I did not work for you previously, and as a result I tried simply lying in bed after I wake up in order to fall back asleep. For me, it seems I just get more tense and frustrated when I do that and end up feeling worse. Part of my problems during withdrawal have included muscle tension for which I need to do progressive muscle relaxation. In the early days I was doing it 5 or 6 times per day. I would be looking at my computer screen and all of the sudden realize I had gotten really tense and uncomfortable, for really no reason at all. I also seem to have some sort of physiological limitation for how much I can sleep during withdrawal. The maximum I have ever gotten in a 24 hour period this past year has been 5 hours. If I get 5 hours, I feel essentially fine for the day. I don't really get tired. Also, when I wake up after 5 hours of sleep, I am wide awake. There is zero chance of falling back to sleep no matter what I do.

 

I'm glad you guys chimed in, because something tells me there is no study on this :)

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ThEwAy2,

 

  I agree with you.  I read a lot about how important it is to keep a sleep schedule and when lights go out or when it gets dark, you go to sleep.  No tv, no lights.  Our body clocks work on a circadian rhythm.  In the old days before electricity, ppl went to bed when it got dark and woke up when it got light.  At least most of them did.  That's the way the body works from what I have read. 

 

  I have started tapering again the beginning of this month and yes, insomnia the entire time thus far.  So when I see I am not going to get back to sleep and I know it, I'll listen to my Scripture I saved on YouTube via Cell phone which I have the screen dark and I have an ear plug plugged in.  (I only do this when I know I am not going to get back to sleep after all the breathing and accupressure points and the CBT attempts to calm me).  And then I listen to it doing all the CBT at the same time, but I'm listening to good words that encourage me and I meditate on these good words and think good thoughts and memories that are pleasant.  And at the very least, I feel calmer even if I don't sleep, I'm resting. 

 

  However, I will admit I am at the point now where I dread seeing it get dark and dread the thought of going to bed.  But I know now what works and that is what I will do.  So far any Antihistamines I've tried only cause me tremendous headaches.

 

  And I dread trying anything addictive.

 

 

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Hi TheWay and Aloha,

 

I am definitely fine with doing what works. I think people tend to do this anyway. TheWay, I had read that CBT-I did not work for you previously, and as a result I tried simply lying in bed after I wake up in order to fall back asleep. For me, it seems I just get more tense and frustrated when I do that and end up feeling worse. Part of my problems during withdrawal have included muscle tension for which I need to do progressive muscle relaxation. In the early days I was doing it 5 or 6 times per day. I would be looking at my computer screen and all of the sudden realize I had gotten really tense and uncomfortable, for really no reason at all. I also seem to have some sort of physiological limitation for how much I can sleep during withdrawal. The maximum I have ever gotten in a 24 hour period this past year has been 5 hours. If I get 5 hours, I feel essentially fine for the day. I don't really get tired. Also, when I wake up after 5 hours of sleep, I am wide awake. There is zero chance of falling back to sleep no matter what I do.

 

I'm glad you guys chimed in, because something tells me there is no study on this :)

 

Data, I had some serious issues with spasticity recently due to what I believe was a neck injury.  The way to help deal with this sort of thing, yah, progressive relaxation might help but also look up trigger points if you haven't already, you might find some knots that you can loosen up through gentle but persistent massage but you have to find the right/offending muscle.  Stretches may also help in this regard if you do them gently, and daily, and consciously!  So when you're stretching a muscle, feel that muscle, and try to consciously relax it. 

 

Some of spasticity is thought to be in the brain, and so training yourself to relax a muscle when it tenses up, consciously, might actually help you.  Unlike our insomnia problem, there is FANTASTIC information on this stuff! Stuff that's real and works.  Great youtube videos by doctors, and maps of the human body to find out what muscles might be offending you and ways to check which ones they are.  Even if they might be an underneath muscle instead of a surface one. 

 

Also you're right, people will do what works. So don't worry about the laying in bed not laying in bed thing. Getting out of bed too soon for onset unfortunately doesn't work for me either.  But it doesn't mean that's the right answer for everyone, and it also doesn't mean there isn't some way to make that method work either. It might even be learnable in some way.  So I appreciate your experience and information either way.

 

 

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T-man,

 

I really feel for you. Suffering from this kind of sleep deprivation really messes with your mind and your body. Lack of sleep causes some (temporary) changes in the brain so that your mind becomes hyperaware of everything negative and scary and blocks out the positive. Knowing that's going on can help you correct for it some, or at the least, know not to take so seriously what your mind spits out.

 

I've been where you are. There were times I was so desperate for sleep I took 120 mg of Restoril on top of 2-3 mg of Klonopin, often on top of pain medication when there was a migraine involved. It's a miracle I survived but some of that was because my choices drove my tolerance up and up and completely messed up my GABA receptors.

 

When I tapered and went through wd I went through very long stretches with no perceived sleep. For a while I was taking amitriptyline every other night so I'd sleep a few hours those nights and zero the others. Then I tapered that and could go many nights without sleep. I had numerous times of 5-14 days with no perceived sleep. One month I was only aware of two sleep periods. I often thought I'd go insane and, like everyone with extreme insomnia, wondered if my brain was permanently broken or if I had sporadic fatal insomnia. Nope. Just benzos.

 

How did I make it? I came to BB a lot and had folks I wrote to here and had people in my life that I talked to regularly. I cried a lot. At the time I was going through it no one else on BB had insomnia nearly this extreme so that made it even scarier. In time I met a few but we're a rare bunch. Still, the trend I've seen is that with time, even folks like me, like us, improve.

 

I learned that structure was helpful so I didn't face endless nights of nothingness, frantic for sleep so here's what I did:

-I saved some favorite TV for until 10 or 11 pm (usually wearing blue light filtering glasses).

-I'd play online (I have blue light filters on my computer and phone), usually on Imgur.com, looking at puppies, kittens and funny videos for an hour or so.

-Then I'd soak in a hot bath to relax. This drives your temperature up then 1-2 hours later it drops and sends signals to your brain that it's time to sleep. It's not enough to make you sleep but it's an extra nudge.

-Then I'd read easy novels-light science-fiction and young adult books. They have simpler plots, fewer characters, and they're easier to follow when your mind is shot.

-Sometimes I'd feel more relaxed and not quite drowsy but not as wound up. When that would happen, or once I got too bored or bleary eyed to read, I'd listen to meditations on youtube like progressive relaxation or meditation for sleep.

-If still very awake I'd either cycle between reading and relaxation/mediation or listen to stories or distracting podcasts. There are free short story podcasts and the Sleep With Me Podcast features a guy talking in a boring voice about various things (including a "Game of Drones" version).

-Another trick of mine is to lie in bed and give my brain something to do besides think about not sleeping. Imagination is a wonderful thing. I'll review every detail of the plot and surroundings in a book I'm reading/TV show/movie. Sometimes I'll imagine myself there and go further with the plot. You can really burn through some time doing this. It's relatively relaxing-far more so than spinning about "I've got to sleep. I can't stand this! What's wrong with me?" While you're lying there imagining, your body is resting and that's helping you.

-Every night before I go to bed I have this mantra that my body needs rest but can live without sleep so I'll be fine no matter what happens. Then in the morning when either I wake up or give up for the day and get up, I express gratitude for whatever sleep or rest I got. This helped shift my perspective from feeling like a hopeless, helpless victim, to having some fierce, determined, survivor energy. It started off very small. This isn't to say I didn't feel despair at times but this helped decrease it.

-I told myself when I would be able to get any amount of sleep naturally, I would celebrate it. I chose to frame 2-4 hours as miraculous rather than horrible because it wasn't more.

 

But I got better. For real. It started with a random 2 or so hours here and there. I was stuck at 2-4 for months. Then it crept up to 4 or 5 and was there for a while. Now I get 6 or 7 most nights. I'm very diligent about some things to help this. Despite having CFS, I exercise 4-5 hours per week. Even after a zero night I would exercise. I work two days a week and I went to work even without sleep. I cut way down on sugar and processed foods, stopped caffeine, and learned to keep evenings very low key so my body/brain could learn to wind down and sleep again. I don't have to be as careful now (I can have some caffeine and occasional sweets earlier in the day for example).

 

This fight is difficult but it's also an invitation to develop your inner bad ass. You may feel weak as a kitten and like crying every day, but if you face this beast and stick with it, you'll be a total benzo warrior bad ass. None of us who have survived this have super powers. I'm not special. I'm just a woman who was fed up with being dependent on drugs, getting sicker, and after lots of back and forth decided, dammit, I'm going to get through this one freaking day/hour/minute at a time. Fight the good fight. You can do this. Don't believe your mind's trash talk that you can't.

 

MT

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T-man,

 

I really feel for you. Suffering from this kind of sleep deprivation really messes with your mind and your body. Lack of sleep causes some (temporary) changes in the brain so that your mind becomes hyperaware of everything negative and scary and blocks out the positive. Knowing that's going on can help you correct for it some, or at the least, know not to take so seriously what your mind spits out.

 

I've been where you are. There were times I was so desperate for sleep I took 120 mg of Restoril on top of 2-3 mg of Klonopin, often on top of pain medication when there was a migraine involved. It's a miracle I survived but some of that was because my choices drove my tolerance up and up and completely messed up my GABA receptors.

 

When I tapered and went through wd I went through very long stretches with no perceived sleep. For a while I was taking amitriptyline every other night so I'd sleep a few hours those nights and zero the others. Then I tapered that and could go many nights without sleep. I had numerous times of 5-14 days with no perceived sleep. One month I was only aware of two sleep periods. I often thought I'd go insane and, like everyone with extreme insomnia, wondered if my brain was permanently broken or if I had sporadic fatal insomnia. Nope. Just benzos.

 

How did I make it? I came to BB a lot and had folks I wrote to here and had people in my life that I talked to regularly. I cried a lot. At the time I was going through it no one else on BB had insomnia nearly this extreme so that made it even scarier. In time I met a few but we're a rare bunch. Still, the trend I've seen is that with time, even folks like me, like us, improve.

 

I learned that structure was helpful so I didn't face endless nights of nothingness, frantic for sleep so here's what I did:

-I saved some favorite TV for until 10 or 11 pm (usually wearing blue light filtering glasses).

-I'd play online (I have blue light filters on my computer and phone), usually on Imgur.com, looking at puppies, kittens and funny videos for an hour or so.

-Then I'd soak in a hot bath to relax. This drives your temperature up then 1-2 hours later it drops and sends signals to your brain that it's time to sleep. It's not enough to make you sleep but it's an extra nudge.

-Then I'd read easy novels-light science-fiction and young adult books. They have simpler plots, fewer characters, and they're easier to follow when your mind is shot.

-Sometimes I'd feel more relaxed and not quite drowsy but not as wound up. When that would happen, or once I got too bored or bleary eyed to read, I'd listen to meditations on youtube like progressive relaxation or meditation for sleep.

-If still very awake I'd either cycle between reading and relaxation/mediation or listen to stories or distracting podcasts. There are free short story podcasts and the Sleep With Me Podcast features a guy talking in a boring voice about various things (including a "Game of Drones" version).

-Another trick of mine is to lie in bed and give my brain something to do besides think about not sleeping. Imagination is a wonderful thing. I'll review every detail of the plot and surroundings in a book I'm reading/TV show/movie. Sometimes I'll imagine myself there and go further with the plot. You can really burn through some time doing this. It's relatively relaxing-far more so than spinning about "I've got to sleep. I can't stand this! What's wrong with me?" While you're lying there imagining, your body is resting and that's helping you.

-Every night before I go to bed I have this mantra that my body needs rest but can live without sleep so I'll be fine no matter what happens. Then in the morning when either I wake up or give up for the day and get up, I express gratitude for whatever sleep or rest I got. This helped shift my perspective from feeling like a hopeless, helpless victim, to having some fierce, determined, survivor energy. It started off very small. This isn't to say I didn't feel despair at times but this helped decrease it.

-I told myself when I would be able to get any amount of sleep naturally, I would celebrate it. I chose to frame 2-4 hours as miraculous rather than horrible because it wasn't more.

 

But I got better. For real. It started with a random 2 or so hours here and there. I was stuck at 2-4 for months. Then it crept up to 4 or 5 and was there for a while. Now I get 6 or 7 most nights. I'm very diligent about some things to help this. Despite having CFS, I exercise 4-5 hours per week. Even after a zero night I would exercise. I work two days a week and I went to work even without sleep. I cut way down on sugar and processed foods, stopped caffeine, and learned to keep evenings very low key so my body/brain could learn to wind down and sleep again. I don't have to be as careful now (I can have some caffeine and occasional sweets earlier in the day for example).

 

This fight is difficult but it's also an invitation to develop your inner bad ass. You may feel weak as a kitten and like crying every day, but if you face this beast and stick with it, you'll be a total benzo warrior bad ass. None of us who have survived this have super powers. I'm not special. I'm just a woman who was fed up with being dependent on drugs, getting sicker, and after lots of back and forth decided, dammit, I'm going to get through this one freaking day/hour/minute at a time. Fight the good fight. You can do this. Don't believe your mind's trash talk that you can't.

 

MT

 

Omgosh this is a great post.  Thanks for sharing MT. It means a lot to me to hear from someone with this level of insomnia. And you've been on clopope roughly the same amount of time I have. (20 years off and on for me.)  That's my own nick name for clonazepam, if you wondered. That's how much it's been a part of my life. Not good. I would have said I've been seeing the Clo Pope, because it make me smile in a 'that's funny' sort of way, but I'm also a Christian so something about it strikes me as wrong or idolatrous to say, even as a joke, because there is probably some truth to it that stings. Definitely not good. 

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I spent about $1000. with a psychologist that specializes in CBT for Insomnia. Also spent 200 for an online course for insomnia call SHUTI. This was BEFORE I figured out on my own that Atavan was

my problem.  I even told the psychologist at our first meeting that I was taking Atavan and asked her if that might be causing my insomnia and maybe I should stop taking it.  She said... "well we don't want you to suffer".  The lady works full time in the local VA hospital for god a sakes.... she knew damn well that benzo cause insomnia, but let me keep coming at $150,/session... letting me think that it was my "poor sleep habits" that were causing my insomnia.  It was only after I spent 4 days in the local "Behavior Health Hospital" that she said "well, there is no sense us having any more sessions" and referred me to a psychologist..... no Sh%$

 

I called the Psychiatrist and made an appointment.... also told them about my psy hospital experience.... and that I wouldn't take any of their psychotropic drugs while I was in there (you have to sign "informed consent"-- should have had that with Atavan), The next day, the psychiatrist office called and cancelled my appointment... said I need to go have a "sleep study" done.... wonder why?. (This was a pay as you go psychiatrist.... at least he was honest).

 

Before that, I had gone to a psychologist who specializes in another form of therapy called EMDR.

(something about moving your eyes back and forth). Told her about my benzo use.... hey... not a problem.  After 4 sessions of "nothing"... I dropped her like a hot potato.  I have also been to a "Sleep Center" and since I didn't have sleep apnea, they gave me a 1 page sheet about "sleep hygiene" and sent me on my way.

 

After I got out of the psy hospital, I FINALLY figured out for myself (thanks BB) what was really happening to me. I set up an phone appointment with Jennifer Leigh who pretty much spelled it out..... " there really isn't anything you can do but to go through it".

 

EMDR, CBT-I.... hopefully it works for some.  But for me.... its the 800lb "benzo gorilla" in my bedrooom  (that all the "professionals" are choosing to ignore) that is giving me insomnia..... not my poor sleep hygiene/habits.  (I never had ANY problem sleeping before benzos).

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Hi TheWay and Aloha,

 

I am definitely fine with doing what works. I think people tend to do this anyway. TheWay, I had read that CBT-I did not work for you previously, and as a result I tried simply lying in bed after I wake up in order to fall back asleep. For me, it seems I just get more tense and frustrated when I do that and end up feeling worse. Part of my problems during withdrawal have included muscle tension for which I need to do progressive muscle relaxation. In the early days I was doing it 5 or 6 times per day. I would be looking at my computer screen and all of the sudden realize I had gotten really tense and uncomfortable, for really no reason at all. I also seem to have some sort of physiological limitation for how much I can sleep during withdrawal. The maximum I have ever gotten in a 24 hour period this past year has been 5 hours. If I get 5 hours, I feel essentially fine for the day. I don't really get tired. Also, when I wake up after 5 hours of sleep, I am wide awake. There is zero chance of falling back to sleep no matter what I do.

 

I'm glad you guys chimed in, because something tells me there is no study on this :)

 

Data, I had some serious issues with spasticity recently due to what I believe was a neck injury.  The way to help deal with this sort of thing, yah, progressive relaxation might help but also look up trigger points if you haven't already, you might find some knots that you can loosen up through gentle but persistent massage but you have to find the right/offending muscle.  Stretches may also help in this regard if you do them gently, and daily, and consciously!  So when you're stretching a muscle, feel that muscle, and try to consciously relax it. 

 

Some of spasticity is thought to be in the brain, and so training yourself to relax a muscle when it tenses up, consciously, might actually help you.  Unlike our insomnia problem, there is FANTASTIC information on this stuff! Stuff that's real and works.  Great youtube videos by doctors, and maps of the human body to find out what muscles might be offending you and ways to check which ones they are.  Even if they might be an underneath muscle instead of a surface one. 

 

Also you're right, people will do what works. So don't worry about the laying in bed not laying in bed thing. Getting out of bed too soon for onset unfortunately doesn't work for me either.  But it doesn't mean that's the right answer for everyone, and it also doesn't mean there isn't some way to make that method work either. It might even be learnable in some way.  So I appreciate your experience and information either way.

 

Thanks Tman. I will check out the youtube videos. I generally do quite a bit of exercise and stretching. I also have to avoid sugar. I react to it as if it were cocaine or methamphetamine or something. It gives me a bolt of physical and mental energy that is kind of scary. If I eat too many carbs during the day, I will generally sleep an hour less than normal and the sleep I do get will be poor. Example: I ate too many raisins the other day and went to bed around 8pm. I didn't have much trouble falling asleep, I slept until 10pm or so, woke up, fell back to sleep until 11, woke up, then fell back asleep. The last time I woke up I thought "wow, that must have been a decent sleep". I look at the clock and it is 9pm. WTF? 8pm-9pm is not what I call a good sleep. I had dreamed that I slept well, but the reality was not so great. Somehow I managed to fall asleep again that night and get another couple hours, but at the time I didn't think I would.

 

Also, now you guys have got me curious. To those who simply stay lying in bed, what are you like there? Are you actually relaxed? Do you find you relax more the longer you lie there? Do you shift around in bed trying to get comfortable? I may give this method another try at some point. I'm just trying to understand how this method works. I feel I tend to shift around quite a bit, trying to get comfortable. But it may also be a sort of compulsion to move. Maybe something I need to work on controlling and probably the primary reason I dislike meditation so much, even though I think it helps. Sorry Tman! I don't mean to hijack your thread. Just curious.

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@[Da...]

 

The laying in bed really isn't a technique for eventually falling asleep.  At least not at first.  It is simply resting your body and not expecting any sleep.  I followed Aloha's practice of going to bed and not expecting any sleep.  I told myself I would just lay there and rest my body.  I told myself I probably wouldn't get much, if any, sleep and that was OK.  I would listen to a Bible app or relaxing music or some guided meditation, etc.  Not to try to sleep, but to try to rest my body.  I noticed that every now and then I nodded off as an hour (or sometimes two hours, if I were lucky) passed on the clock.  My nights were disasters when I got out of bed after not falling asleep for 30 minutes.  I rarely got sleepy the first 8 months off, so I was pretty much out of bed all the time.  Moving back and forth from my bed to the sofa, etc., only ensured I wouldn't get any sleep.  I threw that thinking out the door and never tried it again even after my sleep started to return.  It might work for some?  And if it works, then definitely do it.

 

So, I would just lie in bed and try to rest my body whether sleep would come or not.

 

On nights where I had no perceived sleep, I most likely had some micro sleeps and possibly very light stage 1 sleep from time-to-time?  Things slowly got better.  I practiced gratitude and thankfulness as MT mentioned for any sleep I did get.  I remember the first time I got 3 hours (from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am) on was on top of the world!

 

At first I would toss and turn, punch the pillow and get very frustrated and angry that I wasn't sleeping.  This only ensured I was going to get very little, if any, sleep.  After I stopped getting angry and fighting my lack of sleep by just accepting it and laying in bed, it slowly got better.  Attitude can go a long way when dealing with insomnia for most?

 

I had a sleep study done and saw 3 different "sleep doctors" and all of them had me try some form of CBT since I did not have apena.  None of that worked for me as my insomnia was caused by down regulated Gaba receptors from the Benzos.  CBT might work well for "primary insomnia," but does very little for most going through drug induced insomnia?

 

Nothing in recovery is a one size fits all.  When I make statements about what works and doesn't, I need to qualify that with this is what works for most.  There are always exceptions.

 

Looking back, I am glad I decided to just lie in bed and rest my body.  It helped a lot since I had a lot of nights with no perceived sleep.

 

 

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I agree with Theway here. Attitude makes all of the difference. We have to approach this kind of insomnia somewhat differently than "normal" insomnia where you'd avoid bed except for full on sleep. Getting rest is crucial but lying in bed with agitation, obsessing about not sleeping and how horrible your life is, isn't restful. That's why you have to give your mind something to do (meditation, imagination, listening to a story, app, etc.) and frame it as positively as possible. Our brains are incredible in how they figure out how to keep us alive with a combination of rest and microsleeps. Typically with microsleep you have no awareness that it happened. It doesn't feel like sleep. To me it feels more like my brain going into neutral. One way I sometime knew it happened was my mind would end up somewhere I hadn't intentionally taken it that could be a bit odd or spacey. Sometimes it felt like a kind of waking dream.

 

Topofthebottom,

 

Your frustration with mental health professionals is understandable. Most of us have had some bad experiences. I'm in the field and can tell you though, we are not taught the reality about benzos. It's not in the books it's not in the classes or conferences. I've been teaching my colleagues, and anyone else I can, about it for years now and it's been a total shock to them. Most still see benzos as a useful tool that only a small minority of people have problems with. Go to the Benzos in the news section on BB. There's some research coming out now but even this research tends to indicate a far milder, easier to solve problem than it actually is. Some of my point is that mental health, and medical professionals, aren't trying to intentionally screw us over. They're generally people doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. I've had some terrible providers but also some absolutely life-saving ones. I'm sorry your experiences were so bad. It can be really tough to find the good ones.

 

MT

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@[MT...]

 

As always, excellent analysis and advice from a battle tested, bad-ass, Benzo Warrior!

 

I always love all of your posts for the sage, practical advice mixed with common sense, experience, wit and humor!  :thumbsup:

 

 

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I spent about $1000. with a psychologist that specializes in CBT for Insomnia. Also spent 200 for an online course for insomnia call SHUTI. This was BEFORE I figured out on my own that Atavan was

my problem.  I even told the psychologist at our first meeting that I was taking Atavan and asked her if that might be causing my insomnia and maybe I should stop taking it.  She said... "well we don't want you to suffer".  The lady works full time in the local VA hospital for god a sakes.... she knew damn well that benzo cause insomnia, but let me keep coming at $150,/session... letting me think that it was my "poor sleep habits" that were causing my insomnia.  It was only after I spent 4 days in the local "Behavior Health Hospital" that she said "well, there is no sense us having any more sessions" and referred me to a psychologist..... no Sh%$

 

I called the Psychiatrist and made an appointment.... also told them about my psy hospital experience.... and that I wouldn't take any of their psychotropic drugs while I was in there (you have to sign "informed consent"-- should have had that with Atavan), The next day, the psychiatrist office called and cancelled my appointment... said I need to go have a "sleep study" done.... wonder why?. (This was a pay as you go psychiatrist.... at least he was honest).

 

Before that, I had gone to a psychologist who specializes in another form of therapy called EMDR.

(something about moving your eyes back and forth). Told her about my benzo use.... hey... not a problem.  After 4 sessions of "nothing"... I dropped her like a hot potato.  I have also been to a "Sleep Center" and since I didn't have sleep apnea, they gave me a 1 page sheet about "sleep hygiene" and sent me on my way.

 

After I got out of the psy hospital, I FINALLY figured out for myself (thanks BB) what was really happening to me. I set up an phone appointment with Jennifer Leigh who pretty much spelled it out..... " there really isn't anything you can do but to go through it".

 

EMDR, CBT-I.... hopefully it works for some.  But for me.... its the 800lb "benzo gorilla" in my bedrooom  (that all the "professionals" are choosing to ignore) that is giving me insomnia..... not my poor sleep hygiene/habits.  (I never had ANY problem sleeping before benzos).

 

Whether they ignored it or not, I can tell you this: MOST doctors I have met, know next to NOTHING about Benzo's or how to taper them.  I've yet to meet a doctor who even openly knows all the effects of a benzo, though I suspect ONE did because he was actually kind to me about it and suggested I use it during my neck injury - the dude was a clinician and retired from full practice.

 

But here's the Rub:  The Neurologist might know your benzo is anti-spasmodic an a muscle relaxant, but almost no other doctor will.  (Because he deals in that sort of thing.)  Your GP will know it's anti-anxiety and anti-seizure, but if you told them the anti-spasmodic thing? They would tell you to your face you're wrong, I've had at LEAST 3 doctors tell me I'm flat out wrong and none had the humility to break out their smart phone and check google in less than 30 seconds to find out the truth.  Some doctors don't even know the half-life. Or which meds you take that EXTEND that half-life. Almost NONE of them know the strength value of your benzo.  I heard online somewhere that doctors spend something like 90 minutes total in their 7 years of school, learning about sleep medication. So.  Whether that's true or not, my experience, and the experience of many others, is that doctors are completely in the dark about benzos. I've never met a single doctor yet who knows how to properly taper one. 

 

Also, now you guys have got me curious. To those who simply stay lying in bed, what are you like there? Are you actually relaxed? Do you find you relax more the longer you lie there? Do you shift around in bed trying to get comfortable? I may give this method another try at some point. I'm just trying to understand how this method works. I feel I tend to shift around quite a bit, trying to get comfortable. But it may also be a sort of compulsion to move. Maybe something I need to work on controlling and probably the primary reason I dislike meditation so much, even though I think it helps. Sorry Tman! I don't mean to hijack your thread. Just curious.

 

 

 

No hijack at all, this forum is for all of us.  For others it may be different, but for me, it's a combination of things. I agree if you're tossing and turning, i.e. if you have a lot of physical energy, then staying it bed probably is a bad idea.  If that energy is caused by.. well just energy, light exercise (the kind that doesn't require feelable muscle healing at night) during the early part of the day could help.  If it's emotional energy - winding down your emotions in the second half of the day can help. Not doing things too engaging, like watching a thriller movie or etc. And then of course, if you over engage your mind three hours or so before bed, that's bad too. Like problem solving stuff. But you already probably know all this stuff, I think you may have mentioned some of it in your first post to me.

 

So as far as staying in bed, for me it's 30 minutes is almost NEVER enough time to go to sleep. I'm NOT tossing and turning with energy of any kind.  I'm usually relaxed, physically, and on the first night of no sleep, I'm generally mentally relaxed to a fair degree too.  More like a relaxed alertness.  So I always wait a good hour to an hour and a half before I'm certain I won't get SOME kind of sleep.  After this time has passed, and my 'drowsiness' status hasn't changed, or I haven't slipped even into a LIGHT meditative state, then I'm certain it's one of those nights, from past experience, that I will not sleep period.  I've tested this .... a looooot. So I know I'm right.  Like I used to wait and see all night. I've tried the getting up and doing something then going back thing, all that stuff over the years.  What happens if I don't abort this night with clonaz after that first two hours or so of no change, is I will be awake all night long. In which case you do eventually get bored being in bed, and might decide to get up later and just feel horrible.  But also, sometimes it feels better to lay down and stay down anyway. 

 

A lot of the time you're just resting.  If you've been up for a long time, you get really tired, so just laying there resting feels better than moving around and exhausting your body even more. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's sort of the theory behind it.  Also though, if you keep your eyes open too long you can get problems there too. Like for example I start to get blisters on my eyelids.  The thing being - your body is not going to feel sleepy or drowsy or sleep, regardless of how tired your muscles etc. are.  And the longer you stay awake, the more tired you are, the more you use those muscles, etc. etc. so it really starts to wear on you. Or it feels like it.

 

The other reason to stay in bed, is the 'maybe' of light sleep, or unperceived sleep.  This is the gold you're after.  I've heard lots of people talk about unperceived sleep around here, but I have never been to a clinic to know if I have any kind of unperceived sleep. I strongly doubt it, but it wouldn't be called unperceived if I could perceive it so. XD  But LIGHT sleep happening after longer than 30 minutes in bed? A definite possibility on night 1 for me. So worth waiting for to see if I get some.

 

A pattern might go like this:  One night after clonaz is wearing down, I go to bed.  It takes me extra long but I get very light meditative sleep for say, hour and a half, wake up, maybe get a tiny bit more, for a total of something like 3 hours of lightish sleep.  Not a total loss.  Then I can predict the next night, will be a 0 night.  I might get a progression like this.  One night I get a solid block of sleep, then the second block is lighter. Next night I get nothing solid, but I get a 'something' and it might be light, if I'm lucky I might hit a rem, or a semi-conscious rem, so it's worth staying in bed to see how much 'something' I get.  Though I really really hate semi-conscious rem, because it's hard to know what's daydreaming and what's an actual light sleep phase. I pretty much hate anytime I'm aware of my bed.  Still, sometimes this natural sleep is worth it if it goes off and on throughout the night, I won't be panicked the next day.

 

If all I'm going to get is like 1 hour of 'almost sleepish' meditative state, like lightest version of sleep ever, then nothing else.  That's NOT worth it. Those nights I hate the most, and it can lead to me missing the opportunity to abort them early with clonaz.  It also gives me that 'what if' and so sometimes I'll try for more hours to fall back into that state, and of course, in never works. You think I'd learn not to hope.  So the best thing I can do on a night like that is clonaz myself the second I get up from it completely lit inside my brain. Not recommending this to everyone of course.

 

Obviously I've never conquered my insomnia without medication. So. Whatever I say has to be read in light of that. 

 

Anyway, thanks for your replies!

 

 

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I am on a slow liquid taper since 2/1/19 at 5%.  Every since I started I have not slept at all.  And to boot, I have had headaches ....sharp, stabbing headaches all night long and into the morning and got out of bed with nausea from the severe headaches.  I also cannot take any meds for it.  They just harm your liver which I don't need and make me hyper and Tylenol doesn't work for me at all.  Never did.  So that's what I'm dealing with.  I had to get up several times down the steps to the kitchen to get ice packs for my neck and temples so I could tolerate the pain till the thawed out then got up to go down again to get more ice packs so I could at least lay there and be quiet.  Don't want to wake my husband up who is in the other room.  Yes, bcuz of Benzos, I have to sleep in another room now so he can get his rest.
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Hope,

 

That sounds exceptionally difficult. I'm sorry you're going through all of this. I remember those days and how bad they sucked. My hubby and I slept in different rooms for a couple of years. He's also a snorer so I couldn't tolerate his noise and didn't want my up and down to bother him. Now we sleep together and I appreciate it in a way I hadn't before. Hang in there. The fight is worth it.

 

MT

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CBTi practices have absolutely helped me with my insomnia, although I'm still far from a perfect sleeper. I think one of the challenges for some people is figuring out whether their insomnia is purely withdrawal-related or simply the pre-existing condition. If it's purely withdrawal related, it makes perfect sense to do everything possible to just stay in bed and find ways to relax, hoping that you catch brief intervals of sleep. If it's a return to the pre-existing condition, then CBTi methods make a lot of sense.

 

One thing I read about on here quite often are folks that get a great night's sleep - let's say 7 or 8 hours one night - then lament at getting next to nothing the next night. I sometimes wonder if sleep restriction would actually help these folks. Clearly their body is capable of getting a long night's sleep, but it may NOT be capable of doing so on multiple nights simply because they have forgotten how to fall asleep without a high sleep drive. So they go multiple nights with crappy sleep, then have one night with great sleep because the body finally gives in! What if instead the person restricted themselves to a 5.5 or 6 hour sleep schedule? While they might miss that one super great night, perhaps they also miss the horrible nights and consistency starts to take hold. This won't work for folks in the depths of Benzo withdrawal, but I think for certain people here that have traditionally struggled with insomnia it might be worth a try.

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Lilac,

 

I think you're right about that. Those longer nights feel good but the price you pay may not be worth it. Once I was getting some sleep I learned to go ahead and get up early most of the time and that helped me have more nights of at least some sleep. A few hours every night feels better than frequent 0-2 hour nights.

 

MT

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