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Sleep Disorders Message Board

Sleep Disorders Board Index

Hi. I have been a reader on this message board for a very long time and never really had anything to add so I was just taking advice/opinions. Anyway, thought I would share my story in hopes that maybe someone could benefit. About 3 months ago, my body just gave up sleeping. No event took place that caused stress. I would stay awake all night, play on the computer, read etc. Of course after a week of that I began getting very drowsy during the day and detached from everything. Let another week go by of no...and I mean NO sleep and saw my dr. He gave me ambien. I took it and it made me "trip" for lack of a better word or I think that is what tripping means. I saw bright lights etc. 50% of the time it put me to sleep but I woke up within the hour. Then moved to ambien CR. Again, put me to sleep 50% of the time and would sometimes stay asleep for 3 hours. This max of sleep of 3 hours every couple of nights made me depressed (although I didn't realize it was making me depressed because I thought that meant I would be sad). Anyway after a month, my doc gave me xanax. So then my routine was a xanax at 9pm would relax me enough to fall asleep at 11pm then would always wake up and take an ambien cr at 1 am. This cocktail was now getting me about 4-5 hours asleep a night! I was on cloud nine. Husband thought I was crazy that I was excited to get that little of sleep, but until you are in our shoes, you have no idea. Anyway, still didn't know why my body couldn't pull through this on it's own. (side note...When I was in college 15 years ago, I suffered a bought of anxiety and was put on zoloft and life went on great. No more anxiety, never a panic attack etc. I never bothered going off of it because I just considered it part of my daily routine. Last year I visited an endocrinologist for just a routine thyroid test- don't have #'s out of the ordinary and he said that I should go off of zoloft because I shouldn't be taking a drug just for the heck of it. If I wasn't have anxiety, I shouldn't be taking it. BIG MISTAKE. Went off of it for 4 months perfectly fine) Anyway, I told my doctor that I wanted to be on Zoloft again because maybe it was my lack of serotonin that was causing my sleepless nights. He said no at first but I insisted and put me on it -25mg to start then 50 and now 75mg. I asked for a referral to a Psychiatrist to handle my sleeping meds because I didn't feel a "regular" doctor would specialize in this. She wanted to change my evening cocktail of Xanax plus Ambien CR to just one pill...Restoril (generic is temezapam). I took the normal adult dosage which is I think 15 mg and it knocked me out. I mean I woke up in the same position I fell asleep in 8 hours prior. Great, but I felt hung over the next day and everything was startling me, so I asked to be changed to the smallest dose which Restoril makes in 7.5. I did that every night for 3 weeks (which was giving me about 5-6 hours sleep-while still starting up the zoloft. Anyway, zoloft like most ssri's take a long time to kick in- it was about 6 weeks for me. I decided that I had been on benzos long enough so I quit. Here is the tricky part. Restoril comes in a capsule so you can't cut it in half. Which is an outrage to me for people trying to wean off a benzo. I was currently on the lowest dose and knew that I would need to just deal with the withdrawl for a few days that I had heard about. People aren't kidding that it can cause a major withdrawl and that was from the lowest dose. I had 3 nights of rebound insomnia and literally my body was shaking and jolting. I had never experienced anything like that but knew if I could tough it out that I would make it. I did. It's been a few weeks and I sleep on my own (still taking and always will be on zoloft) My sleep isn't perfect. If I go to sleep with thoughts in my mind about work etc. then it takes some time to fall asleep. I wake up about 2-3 times a night and look at the clock,then drift back off after 15 mins. I am definitely getting about 7 hours a night. I know that not every drug cocktail works for everyone but I really had a say with my doctors about what I thought I needed and it turned out well. If I had to do it again, and who knows what tomorrow holds, I would still do the restoril if I wasn't getting any sleep even knowing that I will have a few days of withdrawl hell. When I wasn't sleeping, I didn't care about anything. My relationship with my husband, my job, making sure my 6 year old looked nice for school, nothing. Sleep deprivation turned me into a glob of depression and I lost 25 pounds. I took sleep for granted and now I know the horrible side affects of insomnia. Sorry this story was long. I just hope someone can catch a gleam of hope from it! Take care, Joanne

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