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How long does it take for sleep to recover?


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I've been off all antidepressants for 7 months now and I still can't even get 6 hours of sleep a night. How long did it take you guys once you got off before you were able to get 6 hours of sleep a night?

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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I've been off all antidepressants for 7 months now and I still can't even get 6 hours of sleep a night. How long did it take you guys once you got off before you were able to get 6 hours of sleep a night?

if you tappered over 10 weeks, and are getting 6 hours a day, i think it's not that bad for me everytime i try reducing any dosage i go without sleep for DAYS, then i have to go back and take somthing for sleep.... i know i'm probably going to be uselles to you but did you noticed improvements on this time off paxil? if yes i THINK the sleeping is going to come back but i don't know everything seems to unpredictable on paxil and effexor withdrawal, are you taking any suplemments to help sleeping?

(i'm brazlian so please, ignore spelling mistakes) 2015 the beggining of the year started with effexor xr 37,5

went up to 300mgs

in october of 2015 quitted COLD TURKEY/took olanzapine 5mgs for 2 weeks around november/ reinstated effexor in january of 2016

in march of 2016 was at 300mg again

in may tappered effexor xr and added trazodone 150mgs, seroquel 50mgs and abilify 10 mgs/in july cold turkey from abilify (no big deal)

in september tried reducing trazadone to 50mg

after 2 weeks went back to 150mgs of trazadone and 50 mgs of seroquel and added 2 mgs of klonopin to use WHEN NEEDEED

currently taking 150mgs of trazadone and 50 mgs of seroquel at night

 

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Unfortunately, there isn't a standard answer as the time it takes for sleep to return can vary for everyone.

 

Even though you aren't getting as many hours of sleep as you want, what does the quality feel like as that is always more important than the number of hours?

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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I would consider 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis with out a sleep aid to be AWESOME!    For me with out a sleep aid I get zero sleep!

1995 - 2015 antidepressants and antianxiety medicine
Multiple failed attempts to quit/taper anti d/anti anxiety meds since 2008

June 17, 2016 began prozac bridge to get off of effexor xr, stopped effexor xr on June 24, 2016, could not tolerate prozac due to severe side effects so I had to stop it  Currently...300 mg ER of lithium, 1 mg of estradiol, 60 mg propranolol ER, Fish oil 2 x a day, Magnesium Glycinate,  zinc, vitamin c, vitamin d, NAC

 

 

 

 

 

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I would consider 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis with out a sleep aid to be AWESOME!    For me with out a sleep aid I get zero sleep!

same for me...

(i'm brazlian so please, ignore spelling mistakes) 2015 the beggining of the year started with effexor xr 37,5

went up to 300mgs

in october of 2015 quitted COLD TURKEY/took olanzapine 5mgs for 2 weeks around november/ reinstated effexor in january of 2016

in march of 2016 was at 300mg again

in may tappered effexor xr and added trazodone 150mgs, seroquel 50mgs and abilify 10 mgs/in july cold turkey from abilify (no big deal)

in september tried reducing trazadone to 50mg

after 2 weeks went back to 150mgs of trazadone and 50 mgs of seroquel and added 2 mgs of klonopin to use WHEN NEEDEED

currently taking 150mgs of trazadone and 50 mgs of seroquel at night

 

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I would consider 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis with out a sleep aid to be AWESOME!    For me with out a sleep aid I get zero sleep!

 

I've tried all the sleep aids and they work for a few days to a week and then stop working :(

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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  • 2 weeks later...

My sleep was good for about a year, now I get six hours on a good night, 30 mins exercise cv, and a 10 mins in a jacuzzi in the evening along with swimming has helped.

I am off all meds 16 months I had been on olanzapine, Effexor zanex and assorted sleeping meds for approx 2 years.

Weaned off 375 mg effexor over two years, I had previously come off xanax, rivotrill and olazapine. Reinstated 75mg of effexor on the 22/12/16

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It took me at least 18 - 24 months before I managed to get more than an hour or two of sleep and that was usually -  finally falling asleep around 6 or 7 am in the morning after having been up all night. I don't think anyone who hasn't been through it can really understand the relentless fatigue and overwhelming feelings of being removed from the real world until you have been there.

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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My sleep was good for about a year, now I get six hours on a good night, 30 mins exercise cv, and a 10 mins in a jacuzzi in the evening along with swimming has helped.

 

Hi, did you mean to say that your sleep was "not good" for a year? :)

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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It took me at least 18 - 24 months before I managed to get more than an hour or two of sleep and that was usually -  finally falling asleep around 6 or 7 am in the morning after having been up all night. I don't think anyone who hasn't been through it can really understand the relentless fatigue and overwhelming feelings of being removed from the real world until you have been there.

Oh my god, yes that is so true. How much sleep are you getting per night now?

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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I'm sleeping fairly normally now. I average about 8 hours uninterrupted sleep a night but I often have one night a week where I revert back to insomnia and get no sleep at all. It's still a vast improvement over where I was previously and I'm sure that eventually it will be a full sleep every single night.

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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I'm sleeping fairly normally now. I average about 8 hours uninterrupted sleep a night but I often have one night a week where I revert back to insomnia and get no sleep at all. It's still a vast improvement over where I was previously and I'm sure that eventually it will be a full sleep every single night.

 

Oh my god, that is amazing!!!!

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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  • 1 year later...

I have surpassed the one year mark and my sleep is starting to show some signs of improvement although I do still have the occasional zero sleep nights. I average between 4 and 6 hours on a good stretch. Do sleep issues impact recovery time? I have read that there are several of you who have been lucky enough to not have sleep issues after your taper or even some CTs but seam to be heading in the right direction faster. I would imagine that lack of sleep, or quality sleep, will hamper the brain's journey back to homeostasis? I have been working with Steve Orma, an Insomnia CBT therapist via weekly Skype sessions and he is helping me lose the worry about sleep or lack thereof. None of the therapists or doctors recognize the impact of SSRI cessation on sleep architecture though so you cannot expect a miracle from the CBT.  

1994-2015: Many trials of SSRIs for anxiety and depersonalization coupled to the anxiety. 

2013 to 04-2016: Clonazepam .5 three times a day. Slowly tapered on 04-2016. Withdrawal was hell for 6 months them stabilized. 

2013 to 2014: Celexa 20mg 

2014- to 01-2016: 20mg Prozac

01-2016 to 11-15-2016: 10mg Lexapro. Did a 2 month taper to zero on 11-15-2016. the last 5mg were water titration. 

12-25-2016 Started having sleeping issues. By 01-01-2017 sleep disappeared for 4 days. Was hospitalized for three days.

01-01-17 to 01-10-2017 Trial of 37.5mg for three days than 75mg Effexor. Created major anxiety so I stopped it. 

01-16-2017 to 01-26-2017 Trial of Brintellix 10mg. Stopped due to aggravating sleep issue and anxiety.

02-10-2017 to 02-17-2017 Reinstated 5mg of Lexapro. Usual startup anxiety and foggy head. Started getting tinnitus. Stopped the Lexapro thinking that caused the tinnitus.  

 

 

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Hello Foggy. 

Like many here I have also struggled with sleep issues a lot. 

Yes you definitely won't get understanding about the effect of SSRI discontinuation on sleep architecture. Nobody understands exactly how SSRIs even function, let alone the iatrogenic effects of long term use.

I think it is just a matter of controlling all the variables you can and working towards total acceptance with the rest. That is to say, of course the more sleep the better... butworrying about exactly how the healing process is progressing, or if you are getting hypothetically "enough" sleep to heal seems counter productive. Since it's unknowable, it will only create more anxiety, and this anxiety is most definitely counter productive. 

I think better is just to do what you can, trust that you are healing, trust it will get better with time, and let go of the rest. This is advice to myself too. 

I've also learned a lot about CBT for insomnia. But if I am totally honest I slip up in a lot of ways still, including screen use, variable sleep/wake times, obsessing about not sleeping, etc. Maybe you are much better than me. 

A few more angles when it comes to improving sleep are:

-Bright light / daylight exposure upon waking to help regulate the sleep cycle
-Improving breathing, 75% of people hyperventilate to some degree. In the past, my sleep definitely improved through breathing training. 
-Physical exercise 
-Restful meditation practise

Have you tried them all?

Jay :- )

  • 2008: Started Citalopram 30mg
  • Sept 2014: Tapered down Citalopram over 6 months and discontinued Feb 2015
  • Severe withdrawals peaked in July/Aug 2015. Totally housebound.
  • Sept 2015: Sertraline started @ 100mg on GP advice.
  • Oct to Dec 2015: Reduced to Sertraline 50mg due to side effects. 
  • Jan 2016 to March 2017: Tapered Sertraline to 2mg @ 10% per month. 
  • Severe withdrawals peaked again June 2017. Totally housebound. 
  • Diazepam: July 2017 5mg // Aug 2017 2.5mg // Sept 2017 1mg // 12th Dec 2017 0.85mg 
  • Sertraline Reinstatement: 23 Oct 2017 5mg // 15 Nov 2017 10mg // 23 Nov 2017 15mg 
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On 12/29/2017 at 10:49 PM, JamesF said:

Hello Foggy. 

Like many here I have also struggled with sleep issues a lot. 

Yes you definitely won't get understanding about the effect of SSRI discontinuation on sleep architecture. Nobody understands exactly how SSRIs even function, let alone the iatrogenic effects of long term use.

I think it is just a matter of controlling all the variables you can and working towards total acceptance with the rest. That is to say, of course the more sleep the better... butworrying about exactly how the healing process is progressing, or if you are getting hypothetically "enough" sleep to heal seems counter productive. Since it's unknowable, it will only create more anxiety, and this anxiety is most definitely counter productive. 

I think better is just to do what you can, trust that you are healing, trust it will get better with time, and let go of the rest. This is advice to myself too. 

I've also learned a lot about CBT for insomnia. But if I am totally honest I slip up in a lot of ways still, including screen use, variable sleep/wake times, obsessing about not sleeping, etc. Maybe you are much better than me. 

A few more angles when it comes to improving sleep are:

-Bright light / daylight exposure upon waking to help regulate the sleep cycle
-Improving breathing, 75% of people hyperventilate to some degree. In the past, my sleep definitely improved through breathing training. 
-Physical exercise 
-Restful meditation practise

Have you tried them all?

Jay :- )

 

 

Hi Jay, thanks for taking the time to respond. You are correct about the worrying. I am doing much better since I started working on not worrying as much about the lack of sleep. I believe that some of my insomnia is triggered or fed by fear and worry. On thing that did help the worrying is that my Insomnia Therapist stated that although it may not be ideal, 5.5 hours of sleep is a baseline core sleep. I get that at least 2 to 3 times a week.  

 

I do exercise, according to my Integrated Doctor, I exercise too much and am not giving my adrenals enough time to balance. I just took a dried urine cortisol test and am awaiting the results to see what my cortisol looks like.

 

I have the Sleep Hygiene down pretty good but do stray as well. I also recently started a simple breathing meditation that I do at bed time and in the morning which seams to be dimming my anxiety a bit.

 

One symptom that I have had since the day I stopped Lexapro is this 24/7 agitated/restless/uncomfortable feeling which does not help with sleep onset. It's starting to  wane a bit recently. I need to be patient. It has only been a year albeit a rough one!

 

I see you are also tapering a benzo. I can tell you with my experience once you are off, they do not work like they used to if you decided to try it again in the future. I though for sure that a .5 dose of Clonazepam would set me up for a blissful night sleep. It did not work that way. It was more of an uncomfortable sedation or tired feeling followed by rebound anxiety that lasted several days.   

 

Good luck to you.  

1994-2015: Many trials of SSRIs for anxiety and depersonalization coupled to the anxiety. 

2013 to 04-2016: Clonazepam .5 three times a day. Slowly tapered on 04-2016. Withdrawal was hell for 6 months them stabilized. 

2013 to 2014: Celexa 20mg 

2014- to 01-2016: 20mg Prozac

01-2016 to 11-15-2016: 10mg Lexapro. Did a 2 month taper to zero on 11-15-2016. the last 5mg were water titration. 

12-25-2016 Started having sleeping issues. By 01-01-2017 sleep disappeared for 4 days. Was hospitalized for three days.

01-01-17 to 01-10-2017 Trial of 37.5mg for three days than 75mg Effexor. Created major anxiety so I stopped it. 

01-16-2017 to 01-26-2017 Trial of Brintellix 10mg. Stopped due to aggravating sleep issue and anxiety.

02-10-2017 to 02-17-2017 Reinstated 5mg of Lexapro. Usual startup anxiety and foggy head. Started getting tinnitus. Stopped the Lexapro thinking that caused the tinnitus.  

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I've had / have an obsession around sleep / not getting enough sleep, and I was wondering who else was dealing with this?

 

I'm talking about always counting how many hours of sleep you'll get, dreading a day with an early start and cringing at the thought of ever being tired!

 

If you have / have had a similar thing, what have you been doing about it?

Taper commencing 14/06/18:

  • Going down by 2.5mg per month from 35mg - once 2.5mg is bigger than the recommended 10%, I'll switch to a water solution. 
  • Planning to taper until October and then hold until 2019 - balancing study, work, life and holiday season.

 

Medication / withdrawal history:

  • Tapered July 2016 to October 2016, unsuccessful and reinstated to 30mg (didn't track specifics)
  • Tapered March 2017 to August 2017, was unsuccessful and reinstated to 35mg (didn't track specifics).
  • Current taper - started 1st January 2018 @ 32.5mg and 2.5mg per month until I reach a dose where 2.5 is > 10% of dose.

 

Morning supplements:

B complex, Niagen, COQ10, Black seed oil, Vitamin C, Zinc, Fish Oil, EGCG, Bosweilla Extract, Curcumin (Longvida), Vitamin D, R-ALA, NAC, Ashwagandha (occasionally), Epimedium / Icariin, Resveratol.

 

Evening supplements:

NatureCalm Magnesium, Glycine, Ashwagandha, Reishi, Schisandra, Melatonin.

I also take Phenibut (maximum 3 times weekly at a dose that doesn't build tolerance) and Oleamide when required.

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Definitely. For me, insomnia was the worst symptom when I was very unwell. While it was physiological  in cause, I also had a fear of not sleeping because i knew it made everything much worse. As you say, knowing I had an appointment the next day also contributed to that fear. 

 

I also had a significant fear of dying in my sleep at my worst - due in part to the weird symptoms like skipping or slow heart rate, numbness, dizziness, freezing body temperature. It wasn't easy to believe my body would "keep running" without me.

 

Sleep deprivation in itself made it hard to have the energy to stay centered and rational about all of these things.

 

The way I tackled it (an ongoing process) was learning CBT for insomnia.

 

This might be a good start:

 

 

After this, I recommend the book or audiobook "the effortless sleep method".

 

If you go to my intro thread, I summarised the most important things I learned in about 12 bullet points. I think it's on the first page if you scroll down.

 

The crux is, even if insomnia was physiologically caused, it's very easy to develop psychological and behavioural loops that negatively contribute to poor sleep.

 

These can be tackled directly with a little willpower and the application of all the bullet points in my thread.

 

It won't guarantee perfect sleep, but it will guarantee as good as it is possible to get for your situation.

 

As a caveat, some CBT for insomnia resources recommend sleep restriction therapy (only allowing yourself X hours in bed every night). I don't recommend this for SSRI withdrawal. I believe it's too brutal and that sometimes, the ability to sleep is so unpredictable, that you simply need to be able to rest whenever you can.

 

What I did was a modified and more lenient sleep restriction. That is to say, if I get about 6 hours sleep on average, normal CBT for insomnia would recommend 6 hour super strict sleep window.

 

However, I would give myself an 9 hour window to sleep within. This being 6 hours for sleep + 3 hours as a gentle buffer. e.g. 10pm to 7am. This is because sleep in withdrawal is inevitably disrupted and a buffer allows me to get up and read for an hour, do a relaxation routine, etc,  and not worry that I've missed the window. 

 

The point of this is that it reduces psychological stress that I would have got if I only had a very small window for sleep. For instance, if I woke up after 1 hour, with conventional sleep restriction I would know I only have 5 hours time left in which to sleep and this would lead to anxiety.

 

Whereas with this modified approach I know that I have time to do a relaxation routine, bring myself back to sleep and still have enough time to get 6 hours.

 

Its gentle and allows routine to be kept.

 

Otherwise, all the other points apply. 

 

Hope that helps. Let me know if you can't locate the summary in my thread.

 

Jay

 

 

 

 

  • 2008: Started Citalopram 30mg
  • Sept 2014: Tapered down Citalopram over 6 months and discontinued Feb 2015
  • Severe withdrawals peaked in July/Aug 2015. Totally housebound.
  • Sept 2015: Sertraline started @ 100mg on GP advice.
  • Oct to Dec 2015: Reduced to Sertraline 50mg due to side effects. 
  • Jan 2016 to March 2017: Tapered Sertraline to 2mg @ 10% per month. 
  • Severe withdrawals peaked again June 2017. Totally housebound. 
  • Diazepam: July 2017 5mg // Aug 2017 2.5mg // Sept 2017 1mg // 12th Dec 2017 0.85mg 
  • Sertraline Reinstatement: 23 Oct 2017 5mg // 15 Nov 2017 10mg // 23 Nov 2017 15mg 
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Sleep anxiety controls my life. It makes me a prisoner to myself really! I can't go on vacations or over night stays. I am insanely anxious when I know I have to be somewhere the next day with fear I won't sleep for. It ( and this fear does just that!) 

Current age - 29

 

At Ages 16- 20 Celexa 40 mg 

 

2014- September through February of 2016 ( 18 months) Celexa 20 mg

 

Tapered for Several months

 

Celexa free since February of 2016

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well here I am, about 15 months out and not showing much signs of improvement. Sleep is still broken 4-6 hours, sometimes less. It's getting tough every day. Does the sleep portion of the brain get completely rewired while on meds that long? How long does one go until there is a breaking point? Wait 2 years, 3 years and see what your options are then. More and more I am thinking about trying reinstatement at a low dose. A couple weeks of good sleep would do wonders for me. I guess I am looking for some moral support as this is getting to be too much for me. I still look forward to the day when this all passes but as time goes on, I think that I am be one of the unlucky ones who does not recover. 

1994-2015: Many trials of SSRIs for anxiety and depersonalization coupled to the anxiety. 

2013 to 04-2016: Clonazepam .5 three times a day. Slowly tapered on 04-2016. Withdrawal was hell for 6 months them stabilized. 

2013 to 2014: Celexa 20mg 

2014- to 01-2016: 20mg Prozac

01-2016 to 11-15-2016: 10mg Lexapro. Did a 2 month taper to zero on 11-15-2016. the last 5mg were water titration. 

12-25-2016 Started having sleeping issues. By 01-01-2017 sleep disappeared for 4 days. Was hospitalized for three days.

01-01-17 to 01-10-2017 Trial of 37.5mg for three days than 75mg Effexor. Created major anxiety so I stopped it. 

01-16-2017 to 01-26-2017 Trial of Brintellix 10mg. Stopped due to aggravating sleep issue and anxiety.

02-10-2017 to 02-17-2017 Reinstated 5mg of Lexapro. Usual startup anxiety and foggy head. Started getting tinnitus. Stopped the Lexapro thinking that caused the tinnitus.  

 

 

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