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Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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Gem

Hi Lainyk

 

I am sorry you are struggling with this.

 

I found that listening to the human voice can sometimes be really helpful with sleep issues.

 

Tara Brach has lots of guided meditations on her website & on dharmaseed.

 

http://www.tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guided-meditations.html

 

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/

 

Her voice is so soothing and comforting. She does ring a bell at the end of the meditations but you can get apps that will time out after so many minutes. I use 'sleep timer'.

 

I also recorded my own voice on my phone when I was feeling slightly better or having a window - just reassuring and soothing myself which also sometimes helped. I told myself that things often seemed & felt worse late at night.

 

Talking books may also be worth a try.

 

I found these approaches sometimes induced sleep and if not, often calmed & soothed. They can be really useful in focusing the mind away from negative thoughts & worries.

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Zant808

I've been eating much healthier this past week however my insomnia is absolutely horrible.  For the past two nights, I've tried to mimick the inpatient hospital setting.  Basically, I would take my meds around 10:00 PM and then try to go to sleep before midnight.  On July 11, 2015, I only got about 4 hours of sleep broken up into about two sessions of 2 hours each.  I woke up starving the second time and I got a snack, brushed my teeth again and went back to bed but just laid there for about 5 hours.  Yesterday, I tried the same thing except I added cardiovascular exercise in the mix as well.  I cried for about an hour prior to exercising.  I haven't been able to cry for most of the period of time I was on medication with the exception of when I came out of inpatient last month.  I only got 2 hours of sleep and I was definitely unable to go back to sleep again.

 

I'm still on 1250 mg of Depakote ER and 3 mg of Klonopin.  This stuff used to work for me to sleep although my sleep onset would be very random.  Usually it would be between 5:00 AM and 8:00 AM and I would sleep into the afternoon.  My diet was usually very poor, I did not exercise, did not use supplements, did no deep breathing but I was able to sleep almost every night on this med combo.  Now I fear that doing that slow taper from 3 mg to 2 mg of Klonopin from March to May and then going back up to 3 mg once I had multiple 0 hour nights of sleep has destroyed my ability to sleep normally forever.  Naturally options like magnesium have done nothing for me.  I don't want to go back in the hospital again because I only have a small number of options for sleep left.  There's about 4 antipsychotics I haven't tried and ECT.  I don't even feel hypomanic right now.  My mind simply doesn't shut off and it's not even racing thoughts.  I just close my eyes and I don't sleep.  I even got the signal in my brain earlier indicating I should try to sleep but I only got the 2 hours of sleep.

 

I'm out of ideas and out of strength at this point.  The sun is going to rise in less than a half hour.  My brain is so completely damaged from these medications, I don't know what to do anymore.  I fear that this is just like the permanent sexual dysfunction caused by SSRIs.  I think benzos have caused permanent insomnia for me and I'm not even off of them.  I often say that I am at a rock bottom but this time I truly feel like there is no recovering from this.

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Gem

Dear Zant

 

I 'm so sorry you are suffering like this.

 

Healing does happen.

 

I very much hope things improve for you.

 

I have also found these things helpful at times:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1175-yoga-breathing-technique/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1334-band-creates-the-most-relaxing-tune-ever/

 

This tune is quite hypnotic so do exercise caution though, it may not suit everyone

 

Gem

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compsports

Unfortunately, I felt I had no choice but to resume taking Temazepam on a PRN basis to get back to sleep because my functioning was severely impaired.   Not only did my sleep increase when take it but I was able to accomplish a lot more tasks during the day although I wasn't the energizer bunny.

 

Obviously, I don't want this to be a permanent choice and am in the process of setting up a consultation with a sleep doctor to go over my issues.    But meanwhile, I can't continue to exist in a severely impaired state and as a result, was wondering if people can share their experiences with non med remedies in getting back to sleep as I have zero luck in finding anything.

 

I know this has been discussed before but what I don't recall being mentioned is how was a person's functioning during the day when they took them.   For example, I have taken melatonin to get back to sleep but my functioning was still horrible and I would have been better off not taking anything.

 

Finally, for those of you who want to lecture me about taking Temazepam, please don't.   If you read my posts, you will understand how I have gotten to this point.    And if you don't, please ask and I will be happy to explain.  

 

My point is that I recognize that the goal of this site is to support people getting off meds which I highly endorse.   But as we all know, even folks who are against meds find that sometimes they have no choice but to take something temporarily for various reasons.

 

 

CS

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compsports

I'm sorry it's still so very hard. When do you wake up in the night now? I think you already know this, but I think a strict schedule helps. If I could, I would get up for an hour about 2:30 or 3, using amber lights, then go back to bed for a couple of hours or whatever, then get quickly out into the sunlight for a walk. But it seems like your insomnia is on a whole different level than most people's.

Hi Meime,

 

The problem is I also have narcoleptic/hypersomnia type issues in the afternoon where no matter how little I eat, I feel very drugged which causes me to fall asleep prematurely which then messes up my sleep cycle.    Even when I went to a baseball game yesterday, I still dozed off although just for a few minutes.

 

When I am at home, I have tried exercising, light therapy, drinking coffee to no avail.   It is like my system is programmed to fall asleep at that time no matter what.

 

You're right, my insomnia is totally different from most people's.   I know everyone says their situation is unique but I really believe mine is.

 

Anyway, due to going to the game, I went to bed although late, without a long nap screwing up things.    But I only slept 4 hours and couldn't get back to sleep.

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compsports

Have you ever tried going to bed for the night when that sleepy time comes? It would be a weird schedule, but no more limiting than someone who has to work swing shift...just your work is sleeping.

Thanks, I have tried that and have been only able to sleep about 3 hours on the machine.    Then I will wake up and feel so drugged that I fall asleep without the mask for about 2 more hours and feel like crap.   Then I am awake for about 3 hours and go back to sleep for about 3 more and wake up in the am.

 

Then the vicious cycle starts again.

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MissTrish

Hello - I am now in the sleepless hell.  I'm doing intensive CBT which is somewhat helpful, but I'm having a lot of trouble knowing what to do with myself.  I'm lucky right now if I get 2 hours/night - I know that's more than some.  But I don't know what to do with myself.  I wake up around 12:30 a.m. and am still tired, so I just lay there because I can't focus well enough to read and everything seems overwhelmingly stimulating and I'm horribly depressed at the same time.  I do try turning on the bedside lamp, try to read, get up and pee, eat a couple of crackers, drink some water.  Then around 3 or so (maybe it's a cortisol thing) I get a sudden burst of energy and I can focus, I can read.  By the time daylight comes around I'm still wide awake but very, very shaky.  I can often take a very short nap in the early afternoon, but then agitation/anxiety begins to ramp up again around 3 in the afternoon.

If anyone else has experience, strength and hope to share on this, I'd love to hear it.

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Gibby

I've been an insomniac all my life, even as a little kid I can remember being kept awake by getting the theme songs of cartoons stuck in my head. 

 

I thought that's just how I was, but now I realize (too late!) that it was all due to anxiety and stress. So here I am on the the psych med train, but what can you do about the past?

 

Anyways, I've been having sleep troubles these past few nights, after a good ten day stretch of good sleep. I'm not withdrawing from anything but I did go CT from olanzapine two weeks ago.

 

I think there are two explanations for this latest hiccup:

 

1) Being anxious over one bad night of sleep has led to three bad nights of sleep

 

2)My meds are acting in a different way than before, so I'll need to updose the olanzapine

 

 

I sure hope it isn't option 2 (The last time I had to updose was 2013).  I'm thinking that it's a temporary blip (I've had them before) that will go away, but right now I'm pretty stressed. Last night I was feeling good until about 23:00 and then my stomach starting feeling all knotty.

 

In the past I've found that a good schedule and exercise helps, though last night it didn't. Isn't it terribly frustrating when the techniques don't seem to work, even though they have in the past?

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scot

I have found this nootropic which,according to its saying,can help with sleep:

"When I first started taking it, my sense of smell returned, my digestion improved and I slept better. I have also noted positive changes in my vision and hearing. All of these functions are related to the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. Epitalon has been shown to restore normal melatonin production in aging monkeys, as well as restore the normal circadian rhythm for cortisol production, both of which result in better sleep at night."

 

http://nootropix.com/epitalon-fountain-of-youth/

http://www.nel.edu/22_4/NEL220401A03_Khavinson_w.pdf

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brassmonkey

Hi Scot-- nootropic drugs have been discussed extensively here. The threads can be found by using the search function.  We do not recommend their use as they have shown little to no value in treating withdrawal symptoms from psychiatric drugs.  This sight is all about getting off of drugs and finding other ways to handle the things that life throws at us.  If you are currently taking a psychiatric drug and wish to taper off of it we are here to help. Otherwise this type of post is inappropriate for this forum. 

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scot

Hi Scot-- nootropic drugs have been discussed extensively here. The threads can be found by using the search function.  We do not recommend their use as they have shown little to no value in treating withdrawal symptoms from psychiatric drugs.  This sight is all about getting off of drugs and finding other ways to handle the things that life throws at us.  If you are currently taking a psychiatric drug and wish to taper off of it we are here to help. Otherwise this type of post is inappropriate for this forum. 

 

I understand,I just wanted to share my findings.So my previous post can be deleted of course.thank you

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bluebalu86

Just a few small tips from me, that might not work for everybody but have helped me in the past:

 

- Putting on a lot of blankets on top of one another. Somehow, the weight of the blankets is comforting and promotes sleep for me. 

- When I was dealing with a lot of muscle twitching - Putting many pillows all around my body to tightly surround and support my body, and between my legs too - Seemed to help a little with the twitching

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oskcajga

From our friend Gianna Kali's blog Beyond Meds https://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/recipe-for-a-good-nights-sleep/

 

Recipe for a good nights sleep

 

5 cups Epsom Salts

 

1 cup Baking Soda

 

Poor both ingredients into a large tub and fill with water as warm as you can tolerate comfortably.

 

Soak 10 to 20 minutes.

 

Go to bed and pass out. Sleep delightfully deeply for 7 to 9 hours.

 

No kidding. This works for me like nothing else has. Epsom salt baths are widely talked about in withdrawal groups and circles as well as alternative medicine sites. The thing is no one ever really says how much to use. This is a whole lot of Epsom salts.

 

We found sources of bulk salts and the baking soda both. It can be pretty darn cheap.

 

This knocks me out. Now it may be because I’ve never tolerated much magnesium supplementation and most of us withdrawing from psych drugs need mag really bad. Not everyone’s gut can handle supplementation with magnesium though.

 

When magnesium is taken in through the skin it completely bypasses the gut and so there is no gastro discomfort.

 

....

So give this a shot. I’m utterly shocked at the difference it’s made.

 

It also gets rid of my body pain. I have really bad pain that seems to be similar to those who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. And in point of fact this bath is also recommended in fibro circles. I have no idea what my pain is caused by but I’m assuming it’s simply the withdrawals and hope it will eventually pass.

 

The bath makes the pain remit long enough for me to fall asleep.

....

 

Hi Folks,

 

So I actually gave this idea a try last night.  Instead of 5 cups of epsome salts I used 2 cups (I didn't want to take too much and risk a hypersensitivity reaction) and 1/2 cup of baking soda:  http://www.amazon.com/White-Mountain-Magnesium-Sulfate-Solution/dp/B0064GBCL0/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1445004380&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=epsome+salts

 

So in spite of only using 2 cups instead of the recommended 5 cups, these salts did work as advertised:  within about 20 minutes of pouring and dissolving the salts, I just started to feel sleepy.  My eyes were closing, and I just kind of felt like I would have felt if I took a small dose of a benzo - maybe .5 mg of a klonpin or something (I don't remember exactly what they felt like, but it's the closest thing I can think of to how I felt). 

 

Unfortunately they didn't really help me sleep all that well, in spite of my muscle relaxation and sleepiness.  My body seemed to be ready for sleep, but my mind was not cooperating and just kind of kept moving along at it's normal rate.

 

I also feel currently "hung over" from these salts - I still feel sleepy and droopy and cognitively slow, despite the fact that it's been about 12 hours since I had my bath.  I don't feel really bad or anything, but I didn't expect the "effect" to last this long.  I'd say I still have around a 20% effect from last night's bath.

 

So I'll probably try this a couple more times, or until that box of salts is finished.  There's nothign really wrong with feeling cognitively slow, in my case, because I don't have a job and am disabled (because of the psych meds), but I would prefer not feeling this way if it could be helped.

 

BUT I'm also unusually hypersensitive - so if you're not so hypersensitive, I can imagine this working pretty well for most people.  At the very least, I strongly recommend TRYING the epsome salts.  I was very surprised at how sedated they made me - and I only tried 2 cups, rather than the recommended 5 cups.

 

Love and Hugs,

Osk

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brassmonkey

I have the utmost respect for GiaK, but I must add a warning to her recipe.  It is possible to overdose on magnesium, and using this much in a NIGHTLY bath could easily do just that.  If you find that the baths are leaving you agitated and anxious, then you're getting too much of a good thing and need to cut back.  I've had it happen to several good friends. Otherwise enjoy.

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oskcajga

I should have posted a follow-up here before so I'll do so now.  After that first night of getting completely sedated, and the sedation effect lasting for like 12-18 hours - the next bath produced MARKEDLY less profound results.  In fact, I had to add an extra cup of salts to get even a little sleepy.  I did 2 more baths after that, and the effect of 3-5 cups of epsome salts were much much less severe than the first night's experience - but I did tend to sleep quite well those nights. 

 

I should note that I did not do a bath 2 days in a row - for fear of a magnesium overdose.  I did one every other day.

 

Interestingly, when I take oral magnesium I get a pretty nasty headache - perhaps there's a contaminant in the supplement I purchased at CVS that I'm sensitive to?  I do not get this same effect from the epsome salts, although apparently the magnesium is absorbed through the cutaneous circulation and does make it's way into my brain (via circulation).

 

I ended up ordering an extra 20 lbs of the stuff, because I find that soaking in an epsome salt bath, while listening to a meditation speaker was extremely relaxing and made me feel "alive" a bit.

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bluebalu86

I have a question. Since I unfortunately don't have a bath, can I use the epsom salts in a plastic basin and soak only my feet? Will it work? And if it has a chance to work, how many cups should I use? 

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oskcajga

I don't think that much will be absorbed into your blood stream from just your feet - that's something like 2.5% of your total surface area of the body (this estimate is based on a burn % chart which classifies each part of the body) being exposed, compared to around ~80-95% (my personal estimate) when laying in a bath.  That being said, I don't really know for sure if it will work or not - it's worth a shot I suppose?  My best guess would be that it wouldn't work as well.

 

I don't think you could put more than 2 cups in a small bucket of water before the water magnesium solute becomes saturated, leaving un-dissolved crystals on the floor.

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redangel

I have been off paxil for 6 mths and have not had good sleep since.  I've tried every sleep aid there is, prescription and over the counter.  If I dont' get sleep tonight Ill probably have to go to the hospital and get put back on meds.  I've tried everything. including the magnesium baths, lavender oil, the works!  Please help 

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cyopher72

I have been off paxil for 6 mths and have not had good sleep since.  I've tried every sleep aid there is, prescription and over the counter.  If I dont' get sleep tonight Ill probably have to go to the hospital and get put back on meds.  I've tried everything. including the magnesium baths, lavender oil, the works!  Please help 

 

I have found that other than a little melatonin to help me get to sleep no other drugs / supplements work. I bought some ear plug headphones that I play meditation/sleep music thru and a mask to keep light from hitting my eyes. I sleep a little better with these.

 

The alerting from sounds and light hitting my eyes wakes me up every time. These items keep that from happening as much. Last week I slept one day from 8:30pm until 5:00am. I'm hoping I get some more of those nights. 

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redangel

I cant get to sleep to worry about waking!  Melatonin has not helped me at all.  Neither has any other sleep aid, otc or otherwise.  Last night I took a ambien and didn't sleep at all so of course I'm feeling  horrible today. No matter what anyone says, sleep is necessary to function.  I cant even drive, clean house or anything today.  I'm so afraid I'll end up back in the phyc ward and back on meds. 

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oskcajga

I cant get to sleep to worry about waking!  Melatonin has not helped me at all.  Neither has any other sleep aid, otc or otherwise.  Last night I took a ambien and didn't sleep at all so of course I'm feeling  horrible today. No matter what anyone says, sleep is necessary to function.  I cant even drive, clean house or anything today.  I'm so afraid I'll end up back in the phyc ward and back on meds. 

 

 

There's other ways to get sleep besides going to a psychiatric hospital and  being placed on a large dose of antipsycotics, potentially making things worse. 

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redangel

What other ways?

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redangel

Made it through onther night and not in hospital!  Every day is a little victory I guess!

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oskcajga

Made it through onther night and not in hospital!  Every day is a little victory I guess!

 

I had terrible insomnia for about 3 months at one point in my recovery, and then slowly over time I began to get more and more sleep until around 6-9 months I was getting 12 hours of terrible quality sleep per day (but it WAS sleep!).  So if you hang in there long enough, insomnia will go away on its own. 

 

I also felt that perhaps checking into a psych ward might help save me.  However, I quickly reasoned that they would not appreciate my situation, and possibly cause a great deal of brain damage by putting me on anti-psycotics and benzos.  So I always pulled away from that course of action knowing that there was no quick fix to this challenge.

 

Have you spoken to a doctor about your challenges?

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bluebalu86

I have terrible quality sleep, but my mother says I smile and laugh while I sleep and this happens very often. Weird. I just thought I'd mention it here. Does it happen to anyone else and do you know why it happens? I don't remember having and funny of pleasant dreams, but she says she has seen me smiling and laughing multiple times.

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redangel

Yes I have spoken with my doctor.  He has tried every sleeping pill there is and they will work one night and then no more.  Cant even doze.  I've had insomnia all my life but since antidepressants it has been so much worse.  Especially now that I'm off ad.   I cant go around without sleep, I start having severe anxiety,  I never used to have anxiety till I got off paxil.  This is a nightmare!  Is why I'm fighting myself about going back in and getting back on meds.  I'm still raising two teen grand kids, even though I had to have my mom put in a assistant living home I'm the only one in the state that can visit her and take care of any problems arising.  After I went off Paxil I couldn't take care of her in my home any more so had to place her some where they could take care of her. And now I cant sleep. Sorry about dumping this all on here 

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oskcajga

Yes I have spoken with my doctor.  He has tried every sleeping pill there is and they will work one night and then no more.  Cant even doze.  I've had insomnia all my life but since antidepressants it has been so much worse.  Especially now that I'm off ad.   I cant go around without sleep, I start having severe anxiety,  I never used to have anxiety till I got off paxil.  This is a nightmare!  Is why I'm fighting myself about going back in and getting back on meds.  I'm still raising two teen grand kids, even though I had to have my mom put in a assistant living home I'm the only one in the state that can visit her and take care of any problems arising.  After I went off Paxil I couldn't take care of her in my home any more so had to place her some where they could take care of her. And now I cant sleep. Sorry about dumping this all on here 

 

Before you consider hospitalization, I strongly recommend reading this thread on the subject: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8855-hospitalization/

 

What does your doctor think about your sleep challenges?  Does he have a good explanation?

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oskcajga

I have terrible quality sleep, but my mother says I smile and laugh while I sleep and this happens very often. Weird. I just thought I'd mention it here. Does it happen to anyone else and do you know why it happens? I don't remember having and funny of pleasant dreams, but she says she has seen me smiling and laughing multiple times.

 

Blue, although my sleep is not high quality, I find that my dreams are often pleasant and delightful.  When I wake up, my brain seems to stop working - but for some reason when I sleep it doesn't have a terribly difficult time making up complex stories and situations for me to experience.  I have read this exact same pattern in others going through SSRI withdrawals.  I don't understand it entirely, because I would guess that the same brain regions responsible for conscious thought, memory, emotions, etc during wakefullness are also used during sleep.  WTF brain?

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redangel

My doctor is at a loss on treating my insomnia.  I've had it since I was a baby.  They call it idiopathic insomnia.  Most of my life otc sleep meds worked.  After being on anti depressants and coming off them 6 mths ago, nothing has helped.  So my doctor is frustrated, I am also but think somehow I'll just tough it out because I read the post on the link you sent and don't want back on physc meds..  It was to hard to get off and the wd are still bad. I have been trying the relaxing self guiding meditations on the quiet mind cafe.  They do help me relax.   

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Meimeiquest

My doctor is at a loss on treating my insomnia.  I've had it since I was a baby.  They call it idiopathic insomnia.  Most of my life otc sleep meds worked.  After being on anti depressants and coming off them 6 mths ago, nothing has helped.  So my doctor is frustrated, I am also but think somehow I'll just tough it out because I read the post on the link you sent and don't want back on physc meds..  It was to hard to get off and the wd are still bad. I have been trying the relaxing self guiding meditations on the quiet mind cafe.  They do help me relax.

 

What sleep hygiene practices do you use? By that, I mean the lifestyle habits to promote sleep?

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redangel

I only use my bedroom for sleep.  I keep it dark and cool.  I turn off my computer a couple hours before bedtime.  I walk every day.  I try to get bright light outside early in the am then again between 2&3, which is supposed to reset my sleep rhythm.   Iv'e also been trying the magnesium baths before bed.  I try reading a book before bed to help relax.  I just have serious racing thoughts since I've been off Paxil and its so hard to get my brain to turn off.  Been listening the guided meditations I find at the quiet mind cafe that someone recommended.  I think getting off Paxil turned my depression into a manic phase which causes the racing thoughts.  Is why its so tempting to get back on meds.  Just I've came this far and made it 6 mths Im trying to stick it out. I have a good therapists who is supportive with me being off meds.  She is trying to teach me to turn negative thoughts to true thoughts.  Its just super hard doing that with your brain racing 1000 miles a minute.  

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Meimeiquest

Yes, I so get that. Is there any light at all in your bedroom, can you see your hand in front of your face? We had just the green light from a smoke alarm, had sealed windows and everything, but I still have found a sleep mask helpful. I have an expensive one from Tempurpedic, but there are many on Amazon. You want one that leaves space for your eyes to move around in REM sleep, if you decide to try it. I also use amber glasses for 1 to 2 hours before bed when I am struggling. I also use inositol, GABA, and taurine at times. And I use both oral magnesium and epsom salts baths. And sometimes I still only sleep well for 3 hours, even with all that, but it calms me enough that I am comfortable just lying in the dark. My issues used to be much worse...if you can just keep calm I think you will get there. It's tough...sending you a virtual hug!

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redangel

Right now I cannot afford to buy anything.  Im on disability and have two teen grand kids in my house Im raising. I do have my windows blacked out and cannot notice any light.  But I can still  my hands so must not be dark enough.  I to use oral magnesium.  Also am trying gaba calm.  Havnt noticed it helping to much yet.  Only used it for two nights now.  

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freespirit

Sounds like you're doing a lot of good things to help with insomnia. Is it mostly trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both? Some of us have been helped by this qi gong:

 

or

 

I had bad insomnia for nearly 25 years before I started doing qi gong. After a couple of nights, I started sleeping through and felt more rested than I had for a very long time. WD has made sleep challenging at times...but I never have trouble falling asleep any more and even on a few hours feel better than I used to on 10-12 hours when taking meds.

 

Also, I've found it helps me a lot with racing mind..even if my mind is still on alert while doing it...I'm always calmer by the time I finish the 7 minutes.

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oskcajga

So I've been doing epsome salts again for the last week, and I've been having successful results again.  A 30-40 minute bath produces reliable relaxation, and sedation (although it doesn't help me sleep much).  I think it helps me deal with the symptoms of withdrawal as well.  Tends to last for a long while, hours and hours.

 

I use about 3-5 cups and some baking soda.

 

Here's the brand I use:

 

http://www.saltworks.us/shop/product.asp?idProduct=970#.VjVRgSuGO70

 

This is the best Deal I could find online - much cheaper than the amazon.com products.

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