Sorry for the long winded question, but I want to get all of this information out.
I have been having weird sleep issues recently, and I suspect it may have been the Ambien i was taking. I have always had a slight phobia of going to sleep since what happened in the past (hypnic jerks when dozing, and being up for almost a week). Ambien is what originally allowed me to sleep. I was stable for many years, but I still had an uneasiness about sleep just by looking at my bed. So I would pop a partial piece of ambien (usually about 1/4 pill). At first it was maybe every other night or every 3rd night. Just enough to get me past the onset of sleep. Then, I noticed I was taking it slightly more often, and whenever I had an early day coming up at work, and I stayed up too late, etc.... Still never any more than 1/2 (10mg) pill.
Fast forward a few weeks ago I had a stupid scare at work. Pushed earwax into my ear trying to clean it and thought I was going deaf. 2 days later, and 2 minutes at a walk-in clinic and i was fixed. But it started the health-anxiety. Anyway, within a few days I came right back to the hypnic jerks, and complete inability to sleep. I went back to my old-reliable crutch, Ambien, and started taking the full 10mg. The first night, hours wise, I fell asleep OK. Knocked me right out, but during the day I felt like I got no sleep, and I noticed I could not fall back asleep after waking, as I was able to do before. I continued to take it and the amount of sleep decreased. down to 5 hours, then 3, then none. Then the next day It was like there was a wall in my mind and I didn't even have any thoughts of sleep. Not wanting to abuse it, I refused to take a second pill.
When i finally saw my doc, he decided to put me on amitryptylene (maybe he thought i was bipolar?), and ativan. Anyway, the first few nights were great. I took them together the first night. Heavy ativan buzz hit me, and I drifted right off for 10 hours, got up once for a few minutes, then slept another 5 hours.
I had to start going back to work or I would have lost my job. So I was only getting 6-7 hours a night. The amitryptyline progressively started making me really really drowsy during the day, and the ativan "buzz" nearly immediately went away during the night, as if fighting with the amytryptyline. But it felt it was still helping with anxiety.
Anyway, fast forward to last night. For the first time, I actually had energy. I started relaxing, watching normal TV shows, which I hadn't done in a while, due to anxiety. It would have been a good night, if I had slept normally. So I take about 1/2 an ativan about 9:30. I was able to sleep on that amount the previous night. At about 11:30 I tried to fall asleep. I think I fell asleep OK, but an hour later I woke up in a panic attack, for no reason. The ativan seemed to quickly reduce it, but I took another 1/2 just to be safe.
Then, I proceeded to lay there from 1:30am until 8am, having random dreams, pictures, and images running through my head, but never feeling like I actually fell asleep. got up for a few minutes, and did it again until 11am. I was looking at the clock every 1-3 hours, and that's not something I normally do. I don't feel exhausted, but that may hit me within a few hours. I'm not one that can lay in bed for more than 30 mins or so and not sleep. So I'm assuming I got some sort of sleep there.
I'd say this qualifies as a "sleep disturbance". But is this the kind of thing that would happen from Ambien withdrawal? I've read the acute withdrawal effects of Ambien (rebound insomnia, etc...) can last 3-5 days. I'm nearing the end of that as we speak.
Any opinions would be appreciated.