About one year ago I went through a health scare with my infant which left me sleepless for an entire week (ER visits, checking on her in the night, anxiety, etc.) Nothing worked to get me to sleep (Ambien, anti-depress.) so I was given Ativan in the ER and this worked. There was no way I could sleep without taking 1 mg every night to get to sleep for 6 months. After getting some treatment for hormone imbalance as well, I began to wean off of the Ativan slowly. I got to a place where I was taking nothing but melatonin and magnesium for about a month and then only using fractions of a mg of Ativan when I woke up at 2 or 3 and couldn't get back to sleep. Recently I switched to Xanax because it comes in a .25 pill which I could cut into 4 pieces and take 1/16 of a mg if needed. My husband says that is little enough to be a placebo of sorts. What do you think?
The good news is that I am not depressed or anxious during the day like I was when I needed the Ativan nightly. However, my only my sleep has never returned to normal. I never struggled before that event a year ago and now I swing back to needing the Xanax off and on. I have great days, but at night my mind just stays awake. It won't turn off even if I am not thinking about anything stressful and have had a great day. If I don't take something I can go all night without sleeping and then the next night too, running on pure adrenaline. I have now gone 3 nights with 3 hours of sleep each and my husband says I must take as much as I need to sleep, which is my desperate need. My biggest fear is being addicted to this medication and my greatest question is why can't I turn off my mind and sleep?
Xanax is more potient then Ativan and has even a shorter half life. Xanax is a very problematic drug. Go to site-- benzo.org.uk and there's some infor there about the benzos. If you've hit tolerance to Xanax it's only making it impossible to get sleep. Reference the MJ story.
Google the word- -benzodiazpine and find some benzo sites. Then you can find out more about how these drugs work.
Benzos like Xananx and Ativan are good at relaxing you and helping with anxiety but you can build up a tolerance to them and they can become addicting over time. You said that you have had problems 'switching off your mind.' Have you ever considered asking your doctor about going to a sleep lab? I have had a couple of coworkers that have done this and it has helped them diagnose their sleeping problems. Also, could there be some underlying cause and ongoing stress that you may have never completely overcome? If so, maybe talk therapy could be an approach if it is available to you. Let us know how it goes and keep us posted!
Benzos are often prescribed for sleep problems, at least if this website is any guide, but they're not designed for that. You build a tolerance to them, and all drugs that affect the mind alter the quality of sleep. They're really best used for what they're intended, which is to treat anxiety. There are many avenues you can try, therapy and sleep clinics being two of the most obvious. Some of these meds have as a side effect insomnia, even if it takes a while to manifest itself that way. I prefer natural remedies for sleep. Since melatonin seems not to have worked for you, I'd try and attack the problem -- inability to stop thinking. Homeopathic remedies are harmless and easy to try. I find some relief at times with one called Calms Forte by Hylands. Individual remedies for racing mind are ignatia imara and coffea cruda. You might try these and see if they help.
I've tried many natural methods but then at 1 or 2 in the morning when I still can't sleep I end up taking a benzo, which works. I hate them but I need them. I rarely feel anxious anymore, just alert. It's as if I am running on adrenaline and can't wind down. Even just now I laid down to rest because I'm so tired but my mind was on high alert. I am happy about many things in my life and have much to be thankful for. There is no depression or anxiety, except about not sleeping. I HAVE to get back to the place where I can just shut down again. VERY FRUSTRATING!
In my part of the country, New England, they only look for sleep apnea at the sleep labs. I know more than a dozen people, a few are men, but mostly women like me, who were so hopeful to find little help from the test where they hook you up and you have to just lay there, wide awake of course, all night....just to find that they were looking for sleep apnea.
I even got a sleep cycle clock. It kept me company all night while I wasn't sleeping, of course. I finally resolved the problem by finding a drug that works for me consistently, through trial and error with doctors, so that I can get some rest when I want to sleep. The good part is that during crises or emergencies, I don't get tired for days...so there's an upside to the problem. Downside is when nothing is going on and I was tired. I once went 23 days without sleep, following all the recommendations for encouraging and retraining my body to sleep without a hint of success. It took me about 2 1/2 years to sort the problem out, but it was worth it, so if the sleep study doesn't help, keep working on finding your own path to dreamland. No one has ever died of lack of sleep, or so I was told once!
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