Main Article on Insomnia Question: Please describe your effective treatments with insomnia. Submit Your Comment Comment from: Bellaburger, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 11 I used to take Ambien and Seroquel together, but that stopped working for my insomnia, so I take temazepam and trazadone, plus the Prolixin I take for my psychotic disorder. I had cured my zero hours of sleep nights, but since I’ve been taking Chantix I’m back to sleeping every other night. Comment from: CeeRight, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 13 I’m 30 years old. I’ve had insomnia since I was born. Even as a baby, my mom tells me, I would stay awake for days at a time. I’ve never found anything to work. Ambien, still awake. Xanax, still awake. Trazodone, Benadryl, no caffeine, no electronics, everything, does nothing. I will stay awake 4-5 days, no nap. It’s so disheartening, it’s just what I have to deal with. I hate this. By the end of the stretch I feel drunk or disoriented. What do I do! I am so lost with my exhaustion. Comment from: Ruby, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 31 I’m a disabled woman of 56 with insomnia, chronic depression, chronic pain and anxiety, and my personality has changed dramatically! I have no life quality. I worked in health care for many years and I was very adamant about exercise. I am sick of being told that I’m depressed and anxiety ridden, well, it was all apparent to me as my pain became worse. I have given up. Benzodiazepines work great for sleep and anxiety! I’m on Ativan, I have had all of them and this one is fast acting. Forget about Benadryl, and antidepressants don’t work! I was not depressed or feeling horrible daily until Abilify! Comment from: CBT-I = Snake Oil, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 15 I've had insomnia for over 10 years, I tried CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) 3 times and it's always been useless. The only change has been to make my insomnia worse no matter how long I try it. I have started to question 'specialists' who insist I try it again, as they really don't like explaining themselves. One refused to talk about it at all and accused me of 'not wanting to be helped'. I asked for her justification for this and was told to leave immediately. Surprise, I have narcolepsy and CBT-I was never going to work, ever. Comment from: Solution , 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 20 I know most people will not believe me, I hope this gets to a lot of people, as it has helped me a lot. It may be hard to stop, but looking at your phone at night is a terrible idea. I also had a terrible case of insomnia and would feel so frustrated. You have to stop using your phone, well at least one that omits bright blue light. Smartphone screens emit bright blue light so you can see them even at the sunniest times of day. But at night, your brain gets confused by that light, your brain is thinking it is not night yet, as it mimics the brightness of the sun. This causes the brain to stop producing melatonin. Because of this, smartphone light can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall and stay asleep, and potentially causing serious health problems along the way. I know it will take some time and you will feel like it is not working, if you are patient enough you will notice yourself getting deeper sleep. Once you do get better sleep, try by all means to build a better sleep cycle. Then TV and laptops too, try by all means to watch or be on the laptop only during the day. Comment from: Lucy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 05 I have insomnia and there is nothing that helps me sleep. I have tried 3 doctors, and all gave me Ambien 5mg. I don’t drink soda or coffee. I tried hot tea milk. Sometimes I stay up 2 days. I will not eat. Comment from: TheLeftover, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 04 I take sleep medicines, but the insomnia is slowly returning. I get 'sleep specialists' who immediately recommend CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) which is always a disaster. I'm accused of not wanting to be helped and being difficult when I ask questions and tell them of the results of this con-job therapy. CBT-I has a claimed success rate of 60 to 75 percent compared to sleep medicines. But what about the 25 to 40 percent it doesn't help! The answer seems to be to call them 'difficult' and 'not wanting to be helped', then send them for more CBT-I. Comment from: DavidA, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 10 For years I have had trouble falling and staying asleep or wakening and unable to fall back asleep. I have a particularly stressful job and I would change my circumstance if I could afford to do so, but that's not happening anytime soon. I am a coffee drinker and though I have quit and resumed many times, I never found that avoiding caffeine helped my issue. I also have mild depression and these days have had success in minimizing it. I take OTC antihistamine to help me fall asleep, and that works 80% of the time, but there are times where nothing seems to help. I have tried everything from prescriptions to melatonin supplements. Even recently I had a pulled muscle where the hydro-codeine painkiller could not even help me fall asleep. When I awake in the night I have mentioned jokingly to coworkers that the "committee" called a meeting to discuss all things worrisome. QUESTION Why do we sleep? See Answer Comment from: BlueWren, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 18 For my insomnia, my doctor prescribed Ambien CR. It was not a good choice for me. The next morning, I would find food in my bed, peanut butter in my hair and an overturned glass of juice. I had no memory of how it got there. My boyfriend told me of my strange activities, but I had no recollection of doing it. So, one night he video-taped me and showed me the tape the next morning. I was in shock. I talked to him while he was taping, but my sentences made no sense and were rambling. I seemed oblivious to the fact that he was holding a video recorder. After that, I tossed the Ambien down the toilet and never took it again. I took the medication as directed. I was in bed when I took the Ambien with a glass of water and immediately lay in bed. During the night, I would get up and "feast" on whatever I could find. One night, he stopped me before I could leave the house in my pajamas with car keys in hand. Some people may tolerate Ambien, but for me it was a "nightmare". My cousin's friend was taking Ambien and he woke up with his car wrapped around a light pole, in his underwear, with no recollection of how he got there. Luckily, he only sustained minor cuts and bruises, but he could have been killed. He stopped taking Ambien, too. It's not for everybody, and certainly not me. Comment from: Patrick, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 12 I have had issues with sleeping for years. The more I couldn't sleep the more stressed I became the worse it became. I just refused prescription medication (on enough already for a thyroid condition) so tried all the usual tips i.e. don't drink coffee within 5 hours, make sure your bed is for sleeping not responding to e-mails etc (guilty!) Anyway not sure how much that did or didn't help. In the end I bought a light therapy device from Australia and it made a big difference to my situation. Comment from: Barbara, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 17 I have never had difficulty sleeping. I was recently hospitalized with bacterial pneumonia. I didn't sleep well in the hospital because they kept waking me. Upon returning home, I can't sleep, not even a nap. I feel tired. The doctor finally prescribed 5 mg of Ambien but it's not working. Comment from: Danni, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 01 For the last few years I have suffered insomnia on and off. I am also bipolar which I know can affect it. But lately I am finding when I am really tired but unable to sleep (3am) I feel like I have insects crawling all over my body. When I went to a doctor about this the first thing he asked is what "party" drugs do I take. I have never taken drugs in my life. But this feeling of being covered in bugs from no sleep is creeping me out. During the day I am fine, I can function properly at my job but as soon as night hits, no matter how tired I am, nothing I do can make me sleep. People think that insomnia is just lack of sleep. In the last few years I have learnt that it is so much more. It screws with your head, moods and in my case my job. All I want is a goodnights sleep! Comment from: Joe, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 18 I am 65 years old, farmer by profession, always been an early riser, not ridiculously early, but not a late sleeper. Now all of a sudden, I don't have too much trouble falling asleep, in fact feel tired all the time. Can only sleep for 4 hours a night maximum and then awake like it's time to get up but it is 2am!!! I try to stay awake until 10pm every night. Have tried staying awake till 12 midnight and then awake at 4am. Just feel tired all the time, driving especially dangerous at certain times. Have been taking tranquilizers, and then sleep for 12 hours, that feels so cool the next day, because I feel rested and don't yawn all day like now, but stay off the pills, I am not a pill man, run about a kilo every second day, do certain exercises to keep firm, don't smoke, but just feel I need more sleep!! Comment from: Scientist, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 13 I developed a chronic insomnia in my late 20s, at the time it was caused by lots of stress at work. It mostly manifested in waking up in the middle of the night and then falling asleep half an hour before my alarm went off. Quite often I would not get a good sleep for six days in a row, which was very hard. The treatment that did work was regular workout. Three times a week, either swimming, running, or martial arts. The moment I stop my workouts, all insomnia problems hit back at me. In this discussion thread, I noticed that nobody mentions exercise as a treatment. Is it because it does not work for other people or they forgot to try? Comment from: Reb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 12 I have dealt with insomnia off and on for the last ten years. There are times when I will get less than four hours in as many days. It was especially difficult in my late 20s, and it seems to be slowing a bit now in my 30s. My husband and I agree that whenever I get tired, I SLEEP. Even if it’s one in the afternoon. The idea of forcing myself to get up is ludicrous, as it doesn't help at all in going to sleep the next night. I will say that the pattern I recognized awhile back is that it seems to be the most prevalent right before my menstrual cycle. For years I told various nurses/doctors of this, and they all say "oh, that has nothing to do with it." This is the first place I've ever seen anything hormonal listed as a cause, even if it is menopause...at least now I know I'm probably not crazy, and there may be a link after all. Best wishes to all on a good night's rest. SLIDESHOW Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow Comment from: khym3226, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 12 For the past month I have had trouble falling asleep. There is a lot going on in my life and so I think it's because of stress. I stay up until 11am-12pm in the days and only manage to sleep for 2 hours in the days. I realize also that my back aches so badly and no matter how much I sleep my back is never rested. I am unable to focus properly and I’m usually zoned out when someone is talking to me. Also I think I have difficulty remembering sometimes. I feel extremely weak and worried about my health. Insomnia is a very serious illness and I wish more people were aware of it. Comment from: lisa, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 24 I have been having trouble sleeping since this past summer. I can stay awake until 7 or 10 in the morning. I can stay up all night. I try really hard to fall asleep, but it just doesn’t work. I take sleep meds, which sort of work, but I want to stop taking them and just sleep like I used to. Insomnia is the worst. I feel like I’m being tortured by this condition. Comment from: DrugsDontWork, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 08 Firstly, I would like to say that if taking 4-6 deep breaths is all you need to get off to sleep, then you do NOT have insomnia!!! I have tried everything from prescription sleeping tablets to cannabis. The doctors in the UK are absolutely rubbish at dealing with insomniac patients. Mostly they sprout patronizing sleep hygiene garbage. Do you really think I haven't tried all that years ago? I am fairly certain that my problem is psychological and stress/anxiety related, but after therapy, yoga and a variety of healthy and appropriate life style changes I am still in the throes of insomnia. I have had this for six years and counting. I am now pregnant, so I avoid using cannabis, which is the only thing that has had a measure of success for me. Unlike legal prescription drugs, it enables me to fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time (about half an hour) and allows for a good night’s sleep without the horrible side effects that I have suffered from prescription drugs!!! Let's not forget that sleeping tablets are less effective each time you use them so the dosages have to be increased. Sleeping pills like leave you feeling drugged the next day like there's a heavy fog smothering the brain and not to mention the awful taste in the mouth that no amount of brushing or otherwise will remove. I can categorically state that sleeping tablets do not enable a refreshing sleep and the following day is always hard work. Basically they don't work! I would prefer not to resort to illegal activities to be able to sleep, but anyone who has genuinely experienced sleep deprivation will understand. Comment from: NewSleeper, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 26 I was a heavy prescription user for quite a long time. When I started to build a tolerance and it took more and more meds to help me sleep, I decided it was time to tackle the problem head on. I weaned myself off of the meds over a period of about 2 months and had some really long nights. I then started to use a natural sleep aid and found that after I got the meds out of my system, the natural sleep aid worked very well for getting me to sleep. I'm still working on the staying asleep part, but am confident that it will work. Comment from: wideawake, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 04 A small suggestion: Sometimes it helps to relax the body by taking 4-6 deep breaths. Exhale slowly while trying to fall asleep - sometimes this does wonders. Comment from: ericm, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 17 Over the past 20 to 25 years I have suffered from chronic insomnia of which gradually gets worse as time goes on. For the past three and a half years I have been unable to work due to lack of energy, depression and anxiety. I have seen many people over the years and have tried the majority of the prescribed drugs available. The specialist that I am now seeing has given up on the tablets as they do not work for me. Comment from: Martha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 30 My mother developed insomnia during menopause, and she suffered with it until she passed away last year. Now before I went into menopause, I also developed it at age 47. I am now 60 years old and the insomnia that I developed is now chronic. Nothing over the counter worked, not even the meds the doctors gave me. Comment from: nancy, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 11 I have had severe insomnia for 2 years, lesser in past years. Now I hardly ever sleep at all, even with prescription sleeping pills my doctor has prescribed. I tried the 'sleep deprivation" cd which did nothing for me. Comment from: Lony1025, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 27 My effective treatments include Neosporin for pulled muscles physical therapy for constant headaches Robaxin and Lorazepam for muscle tension and Ambien for insomnia and all of these treatments should help with insomnia. Comment from: Sara, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20 Praying and clearing my mind of negative and or stress provoking thoughts helps me. Also, turning off the TV. helps. Prescription drugs can become bad habits, and aren't good for you. Comment from: Liza, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 14 I had problems falling asleep and spent at least two hours each night twisting and turning in bed. I think the problems started after a period in college when I had a huge paper to do combined with exams coming up. I got help from a psychologist who was trained in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). In the treatment the focus was on changing your habits associated with sleeping. I wasn't allowed to do anything but sleep in my bed and I was told only restrict my time in bed to the hours I really slept. It was like magic. After two weeks it only took me fifteen minutes to fall asleep. Therapy can be a bit costly, but it was really worth it. If you're on a tight budget I would recommend self-help books with CBT-treatment for sleeping disorders.