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Lithium induced insomnia
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Lithium induced insomnia

I am taking 1200 mg Lithium Carb for help with mood swings. It is very effective and there does not seem to be a down-side except one: I've got a bad case of insomnia. Benzodiazepines and Ambien caused me to be depressed / mood-swings. On Lithium alone I am really fine -- except for the sleeping, which is a BIG problem.

Any suggestions how to get better sleep while on the lithium???

--Thanks ... Stephen
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30 Comments Post a Comment
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401602_tn?1201506465
Well, I do not know a solution other than eat carbs or drink something soothing like warm tea at your middle of the night peak. I have the same problem with Lithum, so if you do find some solution please let me know.

thanks,
Lolita
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Avatar_m_tn
hi, just wondering if anyone found a solution to lithium-induced insomnia.

Thanks!
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505907_tn?1258372940
I'm here with ya. It's now 1:32 a.m. in Minnesota and I can't sleep...again. On lithium and Depakoate which make me sleepy all day and awaky all night. This had better improve!
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607502_tn?1288251140
I find valium works well for me but normally my insommnia is related to racing thoughts rather than the Lithium.  There are a lot of natural remedies some people swear by as well, Dozile is supposed to work well but I found it useless.

Sorry not much help, best advice is, as always, speak to your doctor
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Avatar_m_tn
yup, the racing thoughts do me in as well. will talk to my doc soon, thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
It's so nice to finally have people that are going through the same thing.

i've heard that melatonin works well, but i dunno if that would counteract with Lithium
does anyone know?, or know of anything better?
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Avatar_n_tn
Again, i'm SO happy, about this website. SO HAPPY.
i need people like this.
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Avatar_f_tn
Someone will call me out on this if it is bad advice, I hope!  I need to get allergy testing and it's been a very expensive year for us, so I've been putting off. (Plus, it's hard to leave the house anyway). We are uninsured.

Anyway, I take one pseudoephedrine only at night so I can breathe. The pharmacist recommended that I take Benadryl instead of some of the other OTC allergy meds. That was okay with my psychiatrist who knows I have a problem with pseudoephedrine winding things up and keeping me awake - or worse. So, I take a regular dose of Benadryl tablets to cancel out the pseudoephedrine. I have not heard of an interaction; the pharmacist and doctor both approved it. It is very good for allergies, but the major problem many people have is from drowsiness. You might ASK YOUR DOCTOR if it would do any harm, especially if you are on another allergy medication or if it might interact with some other prescription medication. Better safe than sorry. It does make make me drowsy. Sometimes I still don't sleep, but I don't have insomnia or anything. It's a different issue altogether... Actually, there are many safe medications that are not specifically for sleeping problems that will likely put you to sleep. Because of another physical health issue, I have a prescription med that does knock me out. I might use it once a month or every couple of months, so your doctor may have to think outside the box to help you find relief. I won't name the other medication here. I may already have said too much.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Not so much as call you out because I spend a lot of time in data centers and savage air con so I get colds a lot and I take pseudoephedrine tabs to sleep.

There is an interaction indicated with Lithium absoprtion but its very rare apparently.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks. That is news to me. I have only a short list of interactions they gave me at the pharmacy and the word of people who should know.

I had tried other decongestants because we keep pseudoephedrine in the pharmacies now since folks use it make meth. Unfortunately, they don't work. I only take one tablet, which is half the regular adult dose. I cannot handle two of those. I am bouncing off the walls. I will have to look and see how rare. I would hate someone to try it and then fall out.

I dread the idea of taking allergy meds daily, but then they told me that allergy shots would still take two or three months. I'm not keen on shots either. That's life, though.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Psuedoephedrine is tightly controlled here as well because its pure and meth cooks love to steal it and use it.

That being said its ironic because per MG meth is cheaper than psuedoephedrine in australia by a significant margin now.
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Avatar_f_tn
I hate having to buy pseudoephedrine from behind the pharmacy counter. You have to show your driver's license and seems like I've had to sign something somewhere - maybe that was when I was in another state with my grandparents. It's too bizarre to feel like a suspect because you have a stuffy nose! My husband was supposed to get me some about 10 days ago and then we had unexpected bad weather. I ran out, was snowed in, yada yada. When I finally got out to the store five or six days later, I told him about it. It was one of those days and I looked like someone with a meth lab - dirty, tangled hair, clothes that didn't match, no jewelry or makeup, face broken out... He said, 'that's why you wanted me to get it'. You betcha!
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Avatar_f_tn
Need to bring this thread back up.

I started lithium 4 days ago and despite my regular sleeping pill I'm having trouble sleeping.  I have trouble dropping off (didn't used to be a problem) and I wake about 2 hours later with a sudden start and then can't get back to sleep.  Feel very agitated and what I can only describe as "jumping/jittery".

Wondering whether to ask my doc for a valium prescription to help combat this.

Thoughts, experiences, etc welcome.
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505907_tn?1258372940
  Are you taking any other meds along with the lithium, bulldozer? I ask because I started on 600mg lithium about a month ago and was having similar sleep difficulties (see my comment above) but I am also taking 500mg of Depakote which took awhile to kick in but it seems it has had a moderating effect on the lithium induced insomnia now. Hang in there!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm having a heck of a time sleeping and I just was upped to 450mgs at night. I'm switching over to taking it mid afternoon to see if it makes a difference. I have a sleep disorder to start with and take 200mgs of Trazadone, 250mgs Lamactil, 100mgs of Seroqual and Ativan if I need it. On the positive side since my Lithium was upped, my restless legs syndrome has stopped, weird.

My pdoc also suggested splitting up my doses, to 150 mgs, 3x a day as a possible solution. That might be an option for you?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi LetaB and LCC

Yes I take depakote also.  Currently on 500mg Depakote and 400mg Lithium and 20 - 40mg Zopiclone (for sleep).  What worries me is that the lithium is going to be increased to around 900mg over the next couple of months and the Depakote reduced to 250mg, so if I'm having trouble sleeping now whats it going to be like then!

LetaB - I am wondering whether it is just a matter of waiting for things to settle down and that this side effect will go away on its own.  Do you take both your meds at night?

LCC - I've decided to take my lithium 3 hours before bed rather than at bedtime to see if it makes a difference.  I shall certainly mention splitting doses when I next see my psych after Christmas.

I had wrongly assumed that it would knock me out so I'm really surprised its had the opposite effect.  Its all a learning curve I suppose, just damn frustrating while your going through it.

Thanks for the advice and support guys.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Lithium does not normally cause insommnia or drowsiness - these are rarer side effects and they seem to affect a very small number of people - Lithium is not a psychoactive drug either.

Anyone having these side effects needs to speak to a doctor - it may be an interaction with other drugs or insufficient levels - insommnia is also a Bipolar symptom as well btw.
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Avatar_f_tn
That's probably why I couldn't find it listed on the side effects!  But if its going to be one that is only seen in a small percentage then I'm going to be in that percentage - story of my life :-s

I take sleeping tablets anyway to combat the BP insomnia but they aren't touching it since i've been on the lithium and its a different kind of wakefulness.

I suppose until I'm up to the required dose its a wait and see situation. sigh
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607502_tn?1288251140
You might be a little hypomanic actually, thats not uncommon as you are beedding things in, and do not forget any new drug can cause disruption with existing drugs - lithium because of its nature can affect absorbption of other drugs easily which is why checking before taking anything is vital.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Ohh damn forgot to say that Lithium Insommnia is only anecdotal from everything I have read, its not a noted side effect apparently and as with all anecdotal symptoms its hard to know if its really a side effect.

When you consider that insommnia is not unusual for BP's and most of us take more than one drug and that we also cycle through mood states it becomes really hard to say that its the Lithium for sure, I personally would tend to discount this as a side effect because I have only ever read in forum posts on various forums and without knowing peoples individual cases its hard to say

Lithium is a drug that gets blamed for everything on the planet by some patients so its hard to say, a lot of it is the halo effect and the me to thinking process because patients read all these vocal horror stories and think lithium is evil and they need medication X to fix them - the reality is that Lithium is still the most effective and widely prescribed mood stabiliser around because it works and is safe in 99% of circumstances*

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Avatar_f_tn
I found with Zopiclone, if you didn't go to bed right after taking it, you end up staying up all night! I did, and forgot to mention, I took my Lithium at dinner last night, and got a decent 6 hours sleep. I just took my Lith. just now 4:30 my time and I am going to see what happens. I'm wiped out after having so few hours of sleep the last few days but I know if I nap, I'm never going to sleep tonight :(  Aren't the symptoms of BP just a ball of fun? (deep sarcasm here)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

You're right about zopiclone, i take it and make sure i'm in bed within 30 mins!

I took my lithium 3 hours earlier last night and did get a much better night, albeit not as long as I would have liked considering how little i've slept the last couple of days.

So I shall keep on with the earlier timing and as i have no committments tomorrow (thurs) I shall take a double of zopiclone tonight to make sure I get a nice long stretch of sleep.

LCC - Oh do I know the urge to nap but know that I can't because it will be bite me on the a** at bed time!   Ball of fun, hmmmmmmmm ;-) lol.
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh, meant to say that i don't think its hypomania, not unless you can get a 4 hour hypomanic phase that starts at the same time 3 nights on the trot half an hour after taking the tablet.  Also definitely not showing any signs of hypomania during the day, just damn worn out, lol!

Today i would sleep, sleep, sleep - i'm shattered, sadly not going to get the opportunity.
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574118_tn?1305138884
definitely is the lithium which brought insomania

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO NOW

any idea please
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1709021_tn?1308187943
Bipolar and having to take Lithium is discouraging to such a lady.  I am fighting insomnia at present and that is where the name sleepwalker comes in.  I really wish I could just sleep.  I have put out some questions and hopefully I will get some answers.

til next time
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Avatar_n_tn
i started taking lithium 300 mg once at am , and two at pm ,and i think this is causing me to have insomnia which is really bad ,last night i took two xannax 05 ,and one sleeping pill and finally at around 1;30 i fell asleep ,this morning was hard to get up , is this something lithium causes? need some answers , please...........Brown , S
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1764397_tn?1313495551
I have been on Lithium 1500mg/day (600mg/morning and 900mg/night) and only the last three months since the upgrade in MG from 1200 to 1500 have I been waking up every 4-5hours nightly and most of the time can't fall asleep for hours later.  I also take Ambien 10mg/nightly to fall asleep sometimes I have to take 2 of them. Being Bipolar I have always had trouble sleeping but I'm suspecting the 900mg/night might be too much. I'm going to try to switch it to the morning. I would suggest eating enough throughout the day, good salt and definitely water intake. Also sometimes the Lithium level might be too high for you even if it is in the 'normal range' (0.5-1.2), it might need to be a little lower to suit your symptoms and sleep. Good luck. I love Lithium it has helped a lot.
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1901594_tn?1321594572
I have Bi-Polar Disorder and it unfortunately messes up many aspects of your daily life including most importantly your sleep.  I'm on 300 mg of Lithium as well as 300 mg of Lamictal at night and my mind just won't stop racing - it won't shut off.  So, I end up laying there for about an hour or 2 getting so frustrated and then get up and start raiding the kitchen for something to eat.  Right now, I'm eating a spoonful of peanut butter (reduced-fat, mind you) and oh, it tastes good!!!!  But..................I'd rather be sound asleep in my warm bed dreaming happy dreams and feeling rested and relaxed by morning.  So, I'm hoping for the best and holding out that things will start to turn around somewhat for me.  Lord knows, I need a miracle.  Any other suggestions would be more than welcomed.  Thanks!
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1902610_tn?1321664442
my dr just added lithium to my meds...im also taking serequel and klonopin at night and since he added the lithium a couple days ago ive been sleeping alot better.
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Avatar_m_tn
This is a part of the B100 vitamin and is found in the health food store.An expert with 40 years experience and a Bipolar daughter swears by Choline.Take up to 2,000 mgs a day and spread it out if you can.

I have Bipolar and insomnia for 40 year.I have just been properly diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and I will use TRUE HOPE vitamins from Alberta,Choline for racing thoughts and a small,small amount of Lithium.TRUE HOPE vitamins are helpful to people like us BUT THEY CAN MAKE antidepressants 5 x stronger and other meds.This can cause MORE mania so research and talk to a doctor if you go my route.

Vitamins have been shown to improve mood and 20 years of pig testing was done on anxious agressive pigs.

A Harvard pychiatrist testified in 2003 that the vitamins were keeping his patients stable but they so Health Canada allowed the company to continue.

Site on Bipolar and Choline ,racing thoughts and insomnia http://www.bipolardisordersymptoms.info/bipolar-symptoms/racing-thoughts.htm
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