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

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Petunia

I'm a good example of WD insomnia improving and then disappearing completely, along with your correct assessment of why there are so few posts about improvement and recovery.

 

During my worst, acute period between 2012 -  2013 I was barely getting 1 - 2 hours of broken sleep a night. Some nights I would doze off for a few seconds and then be startled awake, only to have the cycle repeat over and over all night long.

 

My ability to sleep properly has recovered slowly in a windows and waves kind of pattern, with it being disrupted by a variety of changing symptoms through the process.

 

Today, I can say that its 99% back to normal. Sleep is wonderful and restorative again and I never need to take anything to induce its onset. I reserve that 1% for the rare waves that I'm still getting from time to time and because I'm still sensitive to stress and some substances and these will also temporarily effect my ability to get a good night sleep.

 

I'm also an example of your correct assessment that when people start to get better, they visit the site less and therefore, don't post their increasingly more positive experiences or continue to document their ongoing recovery process.

 

You may have already seen it, but here is the link to our sleep topic:  Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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DrugfreeProf

My daughter, Lexi (Lex1992) had HORRIBLE insomnia early in withdrawal. In fact, it was one of her first symptoms, which was followed by a cascade of many other terrible symptoms, which at this point have abated to a large degree, except for some anxiety and cognitive symptoms. In other words, in many ways, she is much better, but she is still not back to normal functioning. In any event, her insomnia, which was absolutely total for at least a month if not much longer, has now pretty much gone away completely. She is sleeping entire nights, sometimes 10 - 12 or more hours, although from time to time that block of sleep moves from nighttime to daytime!  Right now, her sleep is sound and pretty normal!  So yes, there is hope for relief from withdrawal-related insomnia!

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AliG

I was the worst case in terms of sleep. I had long term WD insomnia for 2 years.  I had the odd doze on the lounge but it was brutal with no relief for a long time . I sometimes managed to get a couple of hours sleep during the day when the exhaustion would finally overtake me.

 

I'm now sleeping normally . My improvement was quite sudden really. There is really no other explanation for my insomnia except withdrawal. I'm 99% improved but still have the odd sleepless night every now and then.  Having said that , I feel I'm over it and I usually sleep  approximately 7- 8 hours nightly.

 

I feel I'm doing better than most who haven't even had W/D , and I don't use any sleep aids including natural supplements. I had some success with Melatonin for a period of time but I didn't want to become reliant on it so only took it sporadically. I do feel it helped me at the time.

 

I know I get real restorative non - drug sleep now but it's been a challenge getting there. I was determined to avoid drugs of any kind.

 

Have I healed ?  I believe that I have and everyone can. It mostly takes time and patience.

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Daisies24

Petunia, DrugfreeProf, and AliG, thank you so, so much for sharing your stories of recovery and hope on this thread. Those of us still suffering with this symptom so need to hear these!

 

Catnapt, I am so sorry you are going through this. I do hope that these stories will give you some hope and encouragement. My insomnia actually began when I started Prozac in May of 2016, and when it did not resolve, I quit taking it in July, thinking that would fix everything quickly. But, the insomnia has been ongoing since.

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Cookson

Close too my heart this one. You can only really judge it on an individual basis and how uniquely screwed up your nervous system is. I'm sorry too have too say that, Probably not very comforting too hear eh? What I can give you is a cast iron guarantee that it will get better but it's going too take time and patience.

You must be kind and forgiving too yourself.

When this all began for me after putting my nervous system through the ringer beacause I thought I was indestructible doing very naugthy things too it my sleep was absolutely destroyed. My sleep had done a Dorothy and said goodbye too Kansas. I'd go two days without sleep regularly and even when I did I'd only get a few hours at a time.

I drank heavily every night for a month just too knock me out completely which just exacerbated symptoms making me worse off! I'd dread the entire day about bedtime knowing that I woud not be able too sleep and when attempting too sleep the horrid HORRID feelings of disassociation and terror you know I can't even give it the justice with words it was bad.

And now, besides a hiccup recently, 99% of the time I can fall asleep with ease. Best advice I can can give you you is you must be as relaxed. For me, I had too try too clear my mind completely. Feelings and even thoughts were stimulating! What worked for me well back then was melatonin and a hopps/valerian mix.

Rest as much as you can and stay strong.

What was especially problematic for me at bedtime was I had trouble entering R.E.M. I found myself constantly stuck in R.H.M which my doctor diagnosed as rapid hand movement syndrome and that it was a chronic condition. Gotta have a sense of humour through all of this. It's kept me going.

All the best

Cookson

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Mimi11

Thank god for you Cookson and your sense of humour! I laughed so hard reading your intro in another thread. Please keep posting and making us (me) laugh. I need it. This is such a crazy journey. I'm here for you too! Although, not quite as funny as you are...but I try ;)

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Altostrata

We have many people who recovered from withdrawal insomnia. I had it myself for quite a while.

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Daisies24

Cookson and Altostrata, thanks for the replies! Do you mind my asking how long each of you experienced the insomnia? Mine actually started while I took the medication, and only worsened when I went off. It's been almost a year of this. 

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UnfoldingSky

I'm having sleep difficulties lately, I am all over the place, sometimes I can sleep long periods, other times I wake up midway through the night and can't get back to sleep.  I'm finding this hypnosis video to be helpful though when I recall to use it:

 

 

It's also great as an active "change the channel" program, I had a massive stressor lately and it's all I can do to think about anything other than what happened, when I put this on though I can stop focusing on it so much.  Oddly I don't even have to pay attention to what the speaker says to get benefits. 

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lobster

I'm a good example of WD insomnia improving and then disappearing completely, along with your correct assessment of why there are so few posts about improvement and recovery.

 

During my worst, acute period between 2012 -  2013 I was barely getting 1 - 2 hours of broken sleep a night. Some nights I would doze off for a few seconds and then be startled awake, only to have the cycle repeat over and over all night long.

 

My ability to sleep properly has recovered slowly in a windows and waves kind of pattern, with it being disrupted by a variety of changing symptoms through the process.

 

Today, I can say that its 99% back to normal. Sleep is wonderful and restorative again and I never need to take anything to induce its onset. I reserve that 1% for the rare waves that I'm still getting from time to time and because I'm still sensitive to stress and some substances and these will also temporarily effect my ability to get a good night sleep.

 

I'm also an example of your correct assessment that when people start to get better, they visit the site less and therefore, don't post their increasingly more positive experiences or continue to document their ongoing recovery process.

 

You may have already seen it, but here is the link to our sleep topic:  Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

Your sleep then sounds just like mine is now . very aggravating. I'm hoping mine improves soon .  

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Kestrel777

I am tapering off of Lexapro and have trouble finding more than three hours of sleep per night. This was the case before I started the drug also. I am dealing with a great deal of health related anxiety, financial anxiety and CPTSD. Getting help with all of the above but I feel that if I could get a good solid 4 for 5 hours of sleep that I could deal with life more successfully.

 

Recently I read that Benadryl has been found to contribute to dementia. It crosses the blood brain barrier. I used to take Benadryl 25mg for sleep no more than 3 times a week, about two weeks ago stopped after I discovered a link between the drug and back pain not to mention the dementia news. 

 

QUESTION: What can I take to help me relax and fall asleep? Any herbal teas? I have hot flashes several times in the early morning but I am used to them. I won't take hormones. Sleep is of utmost importance to me right now. Sleep is healing. 

 

I am starting a cardio routine 45 minutes a day now. I am practicing Mindfulness also each day. 

 

Your advice is greatly appreciated. 

 

Kestrel

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KarenB

You could look into a small amount of melatonin which some people do find helpful.  Have you tried all the sleep hygiene ideas in this thread?  

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uncomfortablynumb

In withdrawal is it normal to feel constantly wired? It is like I don't get sensations of being tired and drifting to sleep. I am feeling really sick from the insomnia - headache, nausea, weakness and muscle pain.

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uncomfortablynumb

I read through this list. I don't know what would fit the description. It is like constant, unrelenting adrenaline pumping but I am exhausted and mental functioning is becoming really difficult.

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uncomfortablynumb

My blood pressure is pretty low-ish 110/70 and HR is 70bpm. Not sure about cortisol levels. Maybe I could do an AM/PM test.

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AliG

UC.

I read through this list. I don't know what would fit the description. It is like constant, unrelenting adrenaline pumping but I am exhausted and mental functioning is becoming really difficult.

 

That sounds really normal in withdrawal. In fact it's a perfect description. You could do a cortisol test if you felt so inclined. It may be on the high side which is really no revelation. It's to be expected at this point. Maybe it will be better next year. I just had a full blood panel done - my only visit to the doctor and my cortisol has started to come right down from just a year ago.There have been many other improvements as well since I quit the drugs.

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uncomfortablynumb

Thanks AliG,

I am really having a rough time. I am desperate for some kind of relief because I am losing it now. I can only imagine what you went through. Psyc gave me three options - clonidine, seroquel, or to tough it out. The remeron reinstatement has not helped at all. I settled on 3.75mg for the past week but it hasn't helped at all.

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mFrustrated

I am having issues with waking up at 3am. I go back to sleep, but it takes a while and it's super annoying. I dealt with it right after my initial reaction to ssris, but it got better overtime. I've had a pretty long & hard wave recently and with that, came waking up in the middle of the night. Anyone have ideas on what I can do to help? It's more annoying than anything.

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ChessieCat

Have you checked out the links posted in Post #1 in this topic?  Have you read through this topic?

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Findingmyidentity

Hello all. I've been on Paxil for the last 11 years. I started at 20mgs, and then the last 6 years or so i go from 17mgs to about 15mgs. Recently i went down to 15mgs and got terrible insomnia and night twitching. Does this sound like a withdrawal effect or could this be my anxiety about reducing my dosage? Any thoughts? Thank you.

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JanCarol

Topics merged, from:  "Has anyone who suffered with severe insomnia for months from withdrawal, ever healed from it?" by Daisies24

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Happy2Heal

the videos by this woman have been helping me- well I mean the audio portion, I put them on  and lay down and just listen to her voice

 

she has some that are 2hrs long and one that is 3hrs long. this is great for those of us who have very long sleepless and possibly anxious periods thru out the night or early morning

 

I have been feeling more and more calm as I listen to these.

don't be put off by the "hypnosis" part of these relaxation videos- as she says, ALL hypnosis is self hypnosis.

No one can come along and put you in a trance and make you do/feel things you don't want to feel or do.

 

If I find any video/audio that has triggering words or suggestions, I shut them off immediately and look for one that aligns with what I am wanting to hear, words and ideas that help me relax and feel stronger.


this series of videos have had a lot of suggestions and images of empowerment, calming thoughts, ideas to improve self confidence, etc, that I really wanted and needed to hear, so they've been very useful to me

 

YMMV* of course, depending on where you are in recovery and what sorts of things are important to you

 

 

*your mileage may vary

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merry

Hello, fellow ssri-induced insomniacs!

 

I wanted to share something that might have helped my sleep, in case it could help any of you.  After being away from the pool for a few weeks, my insomnia cleared up--and then when I went back to the pool, I was hit rather hard.  Several sources suggest that chlorine can affect sleep, and it really seems to affect me.  That would also explain why epson salt baths in chlorinated water never seemed to help. 

 

There are a lot of products out there that remove chlorine from water, but from what I read, and my personal experiences, we absorb the most chlorine from pools, baths, and showers.

 

Sleep is still a problem, but much improved!  I hope others can find relief, too, on this terrible journey.

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bubble


The only thing I can suggest, is to stop focusing on sleep.  I know that must sound like an inane suggestion but it sounds like you are putting too much pressure on yourself to get some sleep.  I know we need sleep, and it crucial to healing but the more pressure you place on yourself to get some sleep, the more stress you are putting yourself under and it a vicious cycle.  Maybe start by saying to yourself that you will be happy if you get 1/2 hour sleep.  Close your eyes and think about happy times that you spent with your son or some other comforting thoughts that elicit peaceful memories and calm.  Even if it means counting fluffy purple sheep with happy faces, anything to put your focus on something else but getting some sleep. 

Sometimes I would just lay there in bed and close my eyes even though I knew that sleep wasn't going to come. Some nights I'd be successful on staying quiet and other times I'd feel like I couldn't sit still, so I'd open up my computer and read about what other people in withdrawal did to help with sleep or watch at show or read when my mind wouldn't rest at all. Eventually I just came to realize that this was my new normal, and all I could do was try and make the best of it.  

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Why

If you have light insomnia or just having a hard time falling asleep, you may try this exercise :

 

when you are in the bed, instead of thinking that you should sleep , just try to relax and think that you just have to rest . if sleep comes all good, if doesn't you will have rested anyway.

 

don't think about sleep, just breath and relax the muscles.

 

Also you can think about some good things you experienced in your life and people/places you keep a good memory of.

 

But yhe most important thing is not to focus on trying to sleep. just relax and accept either cases if sleep comes or not.

 

 

 

Tell me if this helped.

 

Oh , forgot to say,  eliminate coffee and caffeine sources from your diet asap, especially after the morning.

 

Also stop watching bright devices (smartphones, tv, pc)  for 2 hours before sleeping

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dj2010

try slowly counting backwards from 1000, that has been working for me most nights

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kateinsocal

Hello all, 

 

Seeking clarification when it comes to bedtime - 

 

I know getting in a set schedule is important, but is it more harmful than good to try to sleep when you don't feel sleepy? 

I can't decide which is worse for me, trying to sleep earlier knowing I likely won't, then end up getting frustrated, or staying up later until I am more sleepy and have a better chance of falling asleep. It's hard to decipher at times, as the melatonin makes me feel like I could fall asleep, but half the time can't get there (or stay there). 

I've been opting for #1 lately - and it's great on the random nights when I can fall asleep quite quickly, but on the ones where you can't, it tends to frustrate me more than it would if I just stayed up later. 

 

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apace41
38 minutes ago, kateinsocal said:

I know getting in a set schedule is important, but is it more harmful than good to try to sleep when you don't feel sleepy? 

 

Kate,

 

Unfortunately, sleep in withdrawal does not come with a playbook that can be universally followed.  It is marginally helpful to read what the sleep experts and thought leaders have to say and some of their tips can help at the margins.  Things like blackout shades and cool temperatures and turning off your screens well before bedtime are all of use, however, when the brain says "I think I'm going to flood you with cortisol and make it impossible for you to fall asleep" then all bets are off and none of those "secrets" are likely to help.  Distinguishing the "trouble falling asleep" days from the "I'm not going to sleep" days becomes an art form and is very hard to do.  Sometimes you can "force" sleep but that is, in my experience, the exception to the rule when the cortisol is really high.  On those days, I get out of bed so as not to disturb the wife and I go into another room with my iPad and read or watch a show or do something to try to pass the time and see if I come down from the high level of energy that is keeping me up.  If I do, I try to go back to sleep, but, frequently, I find that I'm up much or all of the night.  Like you, when I try really hard to sleep and can't it is frustrating so I can empathize.

 

I don't think there is a "right or wrong" answer to this and all you can do is let your body guide you.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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nr47
On 17/03/2011 at 2:38 AM, Altostrata said:

 

Can we revive the "Light therapy for sleep problems" thread, moderator? I've found that after 8 years of using antidepressants, a 10,000 LUX light therapy box used upon waking for 30 minutes was the only thing that fixed my sleep problems. I went from oversleeping every night to sleeping just the right amount (7-9 hours per night). I think the effects of this tool shouldn't be undermined. Thanks!

Edited by ChessieCat
added note about link update

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rupa

300m.l of lukewarm buffalo milk ,mixed well with half a teaspoon turmeric powder,one hour before bed time.

It is doing wonders for my withdrawal insomnia.

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Chochka
On 23/03/2017 at 8:46 PM, Kestrel777 said:

I am tapering off of Lexapro and have trouble finding more than three hours of sleep per night. This was the case before I started the drug also. I am dealing with a great deal of health related anxiety, financial anxiety and CPTSD. Getting help with all of the above but I feel that if I could get a good solid 4 for 5 hours of sleep that I could deal with life more successfully.

 

Recently I read that Benadryl has been found to contribute to dementia. It crosses the blood brain barrier. I used to take Benadryl 25mg for sleep no more than 3 times a week, about two weeks ago stopped after I discovered a link between the drug and back pain not to mention the dementia news. 

 

QUESTION: What can I take to help me relax and fall asleep? Any herbal teas? I have hot flashes several times in the early morning but I am used to them. I won't take hormones. Sleep is of utmost importance to me right now. Sleep is healing. 

 

I am starting a cardio routine 45 minutes a day now. I am practicing Mindfulness also each day. 

 

Your advice is greatly appreciated. 

 

Kestrel

I had the most terrible insomnia for the first year of w/d. I barely slept and eventually had to reinstate. I tried again a year later and had completely different symptoms with insomnia only a sporadic symptom. It was still bad though and would go on for a week or two at a time. I know this might be unwelcome advice for some but I was persuaded by a friend with MS to try cannabis and it worked a treat. Not strong stuff or 'weed' and I did have to start smoking but it was worth it. I know that some people can't handle cigarettes in w/d but fortunately I can and cannabis is the only thing that gets me to sleep when the insomnia is bad. It means I can still work and function. 

 

I hope this is helpful. I know it's not the most welcome of advice but nothing else touched it. I used to panic when I started to get insomnia because the idea of it lasting a year again was terrifying but now I'm more relaxed about it. I also meditate and have a ridiculously healthy lifestyle other than the occasional smoke. I really hope you find a solution to yours. I know how devastating it can be. 

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Athena

What is the least bad med to help sleep in cases of total insomnia and desperation? Benadryl? Mild sleeping pill? Thank you

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Altostrata

The least bad med is an antihistamine such as Benadryl, but it can go paradoxical with regular use. Use search in this forum to see our discussions about this.

 

These bizarre-looking sleep aids might help get your sleep environment dark enough to trigger melatonin

https://ostrichpillow.com/products/ostrichpillow-original

 

https://ostrichpillow.com/products/ostrichpillow-light-reversible

 

In the reviews, some people say they've had extraordinarily good sleep using the Ostrich pillow in particular.

 

However, morning light on your skin can still wake you up --- you have light-sensing nerves there, too. If you have extreme sleep difficulties, you will still want to use blackout shades and curtains and keep your bedroom cool and dark.

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