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Almost 7 mos off and can't sleep at all...can someone help?


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I am almost 7 mos off temazapam and ambien for sleep...and 18 days off daily wine(2 glasses). I've been using Benadryl and Unisom daily for about 2-3mos in order to function. We were on a 3 week road trip and then I got sick for 2 weeks so I needed sleep and the benadryl worked.

Last nite I decided it was time to get off the drugs and used 2.5melatonin sublingual and 500 L-tryptophan. Also had epsom salt bath, lavendar on pillow, nighty night tea and Calms Forte at midnight. I did not go to sleep. I am busy today so at 2:30 I took 5mg of ambien and slept about 2.5hrs. I know I shouldn't have taken the ambien but I knew I would have zero sleep and couldn't function today. I truly never got that sleepy feeling.

Can anyone offer any suggestions? I don't know what to do this far off the drug. I am thinking since I had insomnia prior to benzos I am just back to where I started from, only way worse.

Should I keep trying to sleep without the drugs and hope I will be so exhausted after a few days, I'll sleep. that didn't work when I tried it several months ago. I am still recovering from a bad virus so I need sleep but my body doesn't seem to know how, without the benadryl or unisom. Are there people that just can't sleep without help?

Kathi

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Hi Maltesemom,

 

I completely empathize what you are going through because my main w/d sx has been unrelenting awful insomnia. Some nights I literally NEVER fall asleep, and on a good night I might get a broken 4 hours. I have a six month old that gets up several times a night so even when I can sleep it's not guarenteed that I will get to! I would get to my wits end by trying everything over the counter like you are. I know how awful it is to not get sleep. You get that weird shaky feeling in your gut, and you can't mentally function. The last week I decided to try a few different things and I've actually slept really well (only up because the baby is getting me up). Despite all of my other symptoms and how hard it is, I've been faithfully exercising 40 minutes a day. I have not missed a day in fear that I will have insomnia return. I read a large national study that said that 40 minutes of cardio a day will dramatically improve sleep OVER TIME even better than any sleeping pill. The only bummer is that it takes time, and it feels almost impossible when you haven't slept. It took about three days before I got a decent night sleep. I also purchased sleeptracks. The first night I used them I never fell asleep and I thought I wasted my money. But I decided to keep trying and I listen to them before I go to bed, somewhere else besides my bed.  I treat it as a relaxation exercise vs. something to use to try to fall asleep to take the pressure off.  I usually end up dozing in and out or feeling really sleeping while listening. I also have tried so hard to not think about sleep during the day. As I think that the anxiety of worrying about whether or not you will sleep can really contribute to insomnia. I bought the insomnia workbook by Stephanie Silberman and I was trying sleep restriction but with a young baby it's impossible. That has also been shown to be the best treatment (besides exercise) for insomnia. It can help break the association between anxiety and sleep.

 

I'm not sure if any of these tips work for you, but I hope you get some relief soon. Also, Benadryl and Unisom can make insomnia worse overtime because they have anticholingeric effects. I know I tried the same thing but I have had better luck just eliminating everything even though it meant several sleepless nights in between. Keep me updated if you find something that works!!!

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thank you jittery and what2do. I agree about the exercise. I was doing the treadmill for 40 min daily until I got sick for 2 weeks. Am going to start back tomorrow. I know that helps. I also either take magnesium at bedtime or an epsom salt bath which is magnesium too.

I have been sleeping so well on the unisom or benadryl it was horrible last nite without it. I guess I will have to try to tough it out again without them and use them for nites when I have plans the next day. It is scary to think about not taking anything...and frustrating that the melatonin doesen't work. I've given up benzo's and ambien, now wine. That made sleep worse. Now I guess I have to give up the benadryl. I keep coming back to the fact tho, that I have many friends who just can't sleep either. They take benadryl and forget about it. Of course after a while the benadryl won't work. A couple menopausal friends have struggled so much with sleep they have given in to rotating benadryl, ativan and something else. We get desparate for sleep. Is it too much to ask to be able to sleep naturally? I think those of us with sleep problems are also probably more anxious than the average person and more into worrying. Just a thought.

All my fellow insomniacs are in my prayers!

Thanks for being there.  Kathi

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Kathi,

I cannot sleep either, had sleep problems before Ativan, I wished I could find something also, let me know if you do, and hang in there.

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[d5...]

Tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

 

  * Avoid napping during the day; it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.

    * Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.

    * Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.

    * Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it's not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes. And, remember, chocolate has caffeine.

    * Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

    * Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.

    * Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read.

    * Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.

 

Have you done/tried these things?

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Hey,

 

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time.  FYI, if you look at the active ingrediants on the back of Benedryl and Unisom you will see that they are actually the same thing which you might want to keep in mind (both in terms of dose, but also because Benedryl is usually cheaper).

 

Apart from that, you can safely take more melatonin.  I'm not sure that there is an official ceiling on how much to take, but I've read up to 9mg.  Also, having gone way over that amount in the past (there is no recommended dose on my bottle and I read that number on the internet, so take all of it with a grain of salt) I can certainly say that nothing terrible happens to you on an immediate level if you go over that limit.

 

Other than that, there is good advice in this thread.

 

Good luck!

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I'm sorry you're having such a rough time.  FYI, if you look at the active ingrediants on the back of Benadryl and Unisom you will see that they are actually the same thing which you might want to keep in mind (both in terms of dose, but also because Benedryl is usually cheaper).

Just FYI. There are 2 types of unisom. (You're right about buying the cheaper that's for sure lol. What a marketing ploy.)

 

Unisom reg and Unisom extra strength are one type.  Diphenhydramine HCI which is the same active ingredient as benadryl in both of these.

 

The other type is Unisom 2 which has a different active ingredient, doxyclamine succinate.

 

You can find both different active ingredient types in the US on the same shelf. In Canada you don't see the Unisom 2. Just the Unisom with the same active as benadryl.

 

Sorry you are having such a hard go Maltesemom.

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Thank you everyone. Marthakicks...I do all those things.

Vancouvergirl...you are right about 2 different unisoms. I take the 2nd one since I felt the diphendydrimine(sp) was causing joint pain. Still not sure about that but joints are a bit better.

Belle...I hope you aren't as bad as I am at almost 7 mos off. I really can't believe I could not get any sleep last nite. Guess I will try again tonite without the unisom. If I don't sleep, Friday may be difficult. I have a meeting and a dinner with friends. I know how bad I feel when I don't sleep. That's how I got stuck on Benedryl and Unisom. I was just so exhausted.

I appreciate any new suggestions. Do you know of anyone as bad as me this far out...who finally was able to sleep? I keep thinking about my friends who also can't sleep and they don't drink alcohol or take benzos. they just can't sleep and finally resort to Benadryl. We all know tho, that that won't work forever.??? This is so hard!!!

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Sorry to hear about the sleep problems..I'm in the same boat.  The reason I started taking benzos again after I had quit was because I was desperate for sleep.  I quit caffeine and that seemed to help to the point of where if I quit benzo's again I probably would never need to start them for sleep again.  I try stuff like Benadryl but it just doesn't work for me.  Usually, I find that I will be up 2-3 days and then finally go to sleep.  Sometimes using different medications for sleep (non-benzos) in my opinion, can be helpful in the temporary sense until your body gets back into the natural rhythm.  I've realized if I can take something that helps me get over the hump, I can get back to a regular cycle eventually.  Though I think that chronic everyday use of something like Benadryl or something else can worsen sleep, it can be useful in the short term.  Listen to what your body feels.  I'm typing this as I've been up a whole day and I'm hoping to get some sleep soon tonight.  Eventually, merciful sleep comes..it's just a matter of time..lol.
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Sometimes melatonin can work opposite if it is too much. Just a very small amount is good enough. If you eat those tart cherries they have enough melatonin in them to give you the right amount. I noticed that when I eat foods with L-Glutamine it helps. You can find this in raw spinach. I eat two bowls of raw spinach a day with a meal. I quit eating anything with MSG and I stay away from gluten, sugar, caffeine, and foods like it. I live on chicken legs, brown rice, avacado's, things like that. I googled and found foods high in protein, L-Glutamine, vitamine B6, magnesium, and any other comfort foods that will heal the receptors. L-Glutamine raised the levels of GABA in the brain.
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Sometimes melatonin can work opposite if it is too much. Just a very small amount is good enough. If you eat those tart cherries they have enough melatonin in them to give you the right amount. I noticed that when I eat foods with L-Glutamine it helps. You can find this in raw spinach. I eat two bowls of raw spinach a day with a meal. I quit eating anything with MSG and I stay away from gluten, sugar, caffeine, and foods like it. I live on chicken legs, brown rice, avacado's, things like that. I googled and found foods high in protein, L-Glutamine, vitamine B6, magnesium, and any other comfort foods that will heal the receptors. L-Glutamine raised the levels of GABA in the brain.

 

Are you sleeping better now with these foods.. You gave wonderful advise... I hope this is helping you.

Thank you for helping me and others here.  Hoping your recovery is going well. and you feel good

Luv,

Mishi

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I am almost 7 mos off temazapam and ambien for sleep...and 18 days off daily wine(2 glasses). I've been using Benadryl and Unisom daily for about 2-3mos in order to function. We were on a 3 week road trip and then I got sick for 2 weeks so I needed sleep and the benadryl worked.

Last nite I decided it was time to get off the drugs and used 2.5melatonin sublingual and 500 L-tryptophan. Also had epsom salt bath, lavendar on pillow, nighty night tea and Calms Forte at midnight. I did not go to sleep. I am busy today so at 2:30 I took 5mg of ambien and slept about 2.5hrs. I know I shouldn't have taken the ambien but I knew I would have zero sleep and couldn't function today. I truly never got that sleepy feeling.

Can anyone offer any suggestions? I don't know what to do this far off the drug. I am thinking since I had insomnia prior to benzos I am just back to where I started from, only way worse.

Should I keep trying to sleep without the drugs and hope I will be so exhausted after a few days, I'll sleep. that didn't work when I tried it several months ago. I am still recovering from a bad virus so I need sleep but my body doesn't seem to know how, without the benadryl or unisom. Are there people that just can't sleep without help?

Kathi

 

Hoping you feel better soon.. with your sleep  It gets realy hard when this happens.. Your body will give in soon to getting sleep I promise. It has too. try the gluatime foods for sleep.. See if that will help you.

I am hear for you

Let me know if it works for you..Give it some time to build up the glutamine..

Can you walk alittle...

My heart is with you.

Luv,

Mishi

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Thanks Mishi. I know we are all struggling with this withdrawal. Many things in common, but each of us unique. It really helps to know you are not alone in this. Thanks for your good wishes. I hope you are doing better yourself.

I will try the glutamate foods and I know to stay away from MSG and any form of it. Sugar also hypes me up at bedtime. I have to remember no sweets before bed. I never was much of a sweet eater, but since I've stopped drinking wine, I notice I crave sugar and sweets more. Very bad for you! Sugar causes so much harm to the body. Dr. Mercola is a big advocate of avoiding sugar.

I can't help thinking if I could just get some good sleep, I would feel much better. I do feel better when I use Benadryl or Unisom, but I don't want to be hooked on those either. I know they too, stop working after a while.

Thanks, Kathi

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I hate to recommend a prescription med but if you cant sleep at all I say try 15-30 mgs remeron, its an SNRI. not a benzo. WEIGHT GAIN FOR SURE. possible headaches.

be careful, research it.

im taking 15 mgs now, (watch out for dosage creep up) :-\

 

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Thanks for the recommendation but I think I'm going to try to tough it out with just melatonin for now...knowing I have benadryl or unisom if I absolutely need some sleep.

I take epsom salts baths and use magnesium and chamomile tea too. Not great, but it helps a tiny bit.

Kathi

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[d5...]

I really like Night Night Tea:  http://www.tealand.com/NightyNight.asp

 

Since melatonin is a naturally produced hormone, is anyone concerned about using it and having the body reduce it's production?  I've also read that it has a very low toxicity in rats, which is also concerning.

 

Research is all over the board in regards to dosage.  How do you decide how much to take and when?

 

M

 

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Hi Martha. I use the nighty night tea, but not every nite. Didn't last nite. Used 2.5 melatonin and it do zero. the nite before I slept 2 hours and then went back to sleep for 2.5more. Last nite I knew I would never sleep and took Unisom at 2am. Had a hard time waking up but it was worth it to get some sleep...had an all day headache.

My naturopath said melatonin does not downregulate your melatonin production. Someone on another side told me the same, but the healthfood store told me it was not good to take it regularly. I have a friend married to a psychiatrist and he has his wife taking 3 mg of melatonin daily to avoid migraines. She doesn't have sleep problems. Guess he thinks its ok. I want to take a lower dose but it doesn't work for me. Sometimes the 2.5 doesn't work either? Very confusing.

Kathi

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I've given up benzo's and ambien, now wine. That made sleep worse.

 

 

When I gave up wine, sleep gradually became better.  Now I sleep for 4-5 hours a night, which is a huge improvement over the 0-3 hours experienced.  I also was hooked on Gravol (quite similar to Benedryl), but that was before tapering.  It made me sleep for the first few months, but gradually lost its effectiveness and made me feel very anxious to boot.  There's no running away from  it, Kathy.  Insomniacs like us who drink wine or any form of alcohol need to give it up in order to get our sleep back.

 

Kat 

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I'm almost 7 months of also and struggling with sleep.  I've tried night teas but they don't seem to help. I haven't tried any over the counter meds but thinking about Tylenol PM since I don't have any trouble with regular Tylenol. No sleep really sucks especially when I have to work.  I hope it returns soon for all of us insomniacs.
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Hi wellness. That is what I do. Last nite the melatonin didn't work. I did my normal routine...epsom salts bath, lavendar on pillow, Nighty Night tea and listen to sleep tracks. I fell asleep for 5 min and that was it. Finally at midnite I got up and took unisom. Tonite will try again with melatonin. 2 nites ago it worked well and I slept about 5 hrs. I can't figure out why it sometimes works and others not.  So frustrating but at least I am getting some sleep. i feel like I am cheating in my healing but you can only go so long with no sleep. Some of us just need more help but hopefully someday we can sleep naturally.

Kathi

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