14 March 2007

The Ambien Experience

I've blogged, copiously, about my insomnia. The only thing that seems to help it is a prescription sleeping pill, Ambien, or zolpidem tartarte. I hate it that I'm dependent on a medication for sleep, viewing this as something completely different than needing an allergy pill, or an anti-depressant, for example. My opinion in general about medications is that if you need it, honey, take it.

The insomnia thing, though, is something completely frustrating and apparently, I'm unable to solve it without medication. I have tried everything. Everything. And I have written about this a bunch of other times, here, here, and here. So let's list, just one more time, the various natural and artificial means I've used to try to get more than 3 hours of sleep a night.

Melatonin. Didn't work.

Lavender oil, rubbed at the neck and temples. Didn't work.

Lavender baths, around bedtime. Didn't work.

Lavender body lotions, homemade, not filled with artificial fragrance. Used with massage, an attempt at a relaxation technique. Didn't work.

Washing the sheets and blankets in unscented laundry detergent, with lavender essential oil added. Smelled nice. Didn't work.

Chamomile tea. Drunk before bedtime. Didn't work.

Rozerem. Prescription. Made me groggy the next day AND didn't give me any more uninterrupted sleep than I can get on my own. Didn't work.

Nytol. Over-the-counter medication. Didn't work.

Valerian root. Herbal pills. Tasted like hell. Didn't work.

Sleepinol. Over-the-counter med. Didn't work.

Took up yoga. I love it, but it doesn't help me sleep.

Tylenol PM. Over-the-counter med. Didn't work.

I began working out every single day. Cardio, 35-45 minutes a day. Weight training, 4-6 days a week. Pilate's classes twice a week in addition to the cardio. Yoga classes weekly. I've lost weight, my asthma is under control, and my flexibility, much to DH's delight, has improved dramatically. (Hee!) But it doesn't help me sleep.

Luensta. Prescription. Didn't work. And, oh, the side effects. Ick on an epic scale.

Tylenol's Simply Sleep. Over-the-counter med. Works for a few hours only if I exceed the recommended dosage by a factor of 3. I don't think that's smart, so I don't do it.

Meditation and biofeedback, trying to consciously relax every single muscle in the body, preparing it for sleep and relaxation. Can't focus enough to do it right. So it doesn't work.

Ambien, which is a very powerful prescription sleep aid, seems to be the only thing that helps. This stuff comes with dire warnings, having the potential to be highly habit forming. My cute doctor prescribed it for me only after hearing that laundry list above and me begging over a series of three visits spanning six months with him. He gave me samples of Rozerem, and suggested that I try those before filling the Ambien script. Yeah, I listened. For two nights. I blogged here about the experience I had with Rozerem.

My bastard insurance company won't allow a continuous prescription of Ambien; I'm allowed 60 days worth of it every 90 days. So for one month out of three, I don't have it, unless I ration the pills and take it only every other night. Which doesn't really work well for me, no matter which way I go, rationing or being without for a month.

I know why I can't sleep. I can't write in any detail about it. It is all work-related. My job is a very stressful thing, and several things that have been happening there over the past....year, I suppose, have made it impossible for me to turn off the cacophony in my head, which makes me worry incessantly about things that are far beyond my control. Stray thoughts run around and around my head when I try to relax, both possible solutions and doomsday scenarios.

So, quit, I hear you say. Move on, do something else, let someone else worry if it is damaging to your health. I wish....well, I don't know what I wish. I wish I could up and quit? I wish that I could fix it? I wish that things weren't so awful? Yeah, all of those. Mostly, though, I just wish I could get a decent night's sleep.

I told you that whole long, convoluted story so that I could tell you this short funny one.

At the moment, I have the prescription. Monday night I was on the computer, and around 10 pm, got up to get some water. I saw the prescription bottle sitting on the kitchen counter, and took one, after looking at the clock. Take it too late at night, and I can't get to work on time, which creates a whole 'nother level of problems. I went back on to the computer, and continued the conversation with a friend in Michigan. Not ten minutes went by before I was nodding off over the keyboard.

Remember falling asleep in class as a teen, when you could hear the teacher's voice coming from a distant planet and your eyes got heavier and heavier until your head would droop, which startled you awake? I was doing just that over the keyboard whilst still typing. I thought I'd copy and paste the message I typed here because it is funny, but taken out of context it won't make much sense.

When I was dozing, I was dreaming about my mother and grandmother standing over my shoulders, one on each side, and that's weird because Gran has been dead since I was....uh...18. And they were telling me what to type. And while I was typing exactly what they told me to in the dream, when I woke up, what was on the screen was gibberish. So I deleted it, and tried to sign off before I said something stupid, but as you will see, I didn't really succeed.

"I've typed three rambling sentences apprapro of nothing at all and just realized that I was trying to typ the dream...Yeah, it is time to quit for the nigt. Some of what I typed was completel gibberish, so this is about as goof as it gets, a bit of Lucy trying to fight the sleep deamon.

Yeah, dreamland. It is caling me."

I managed to forget the cardinal rule of sleeping pills....when you take them, GO TO BED. Those dire warnings are to be taken seriously. One of them, I swear, really says, "Warning. May cause drowsiness. " Ya think? But it ought to include one that warns you that you might say or type something pretty rambling and drugged sounding. Oops.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might try Seriphos (manufactured by InterPlexus or Neesby). This supplement is supposed to reduce cortisol, the anxiety hormone that may be keeping you from sleeping. It is quite relaxing.

renolds said...

The highly popular sleep medication ambien is used for short term sleep treatment only, i.e. for 7 to 10 days and it is known that Ambien is a prescription-based drug and hence should be used only after getting hold of a doctor’s prescription. Use Ambien as per the instructions of the doctor to cure your sleep problems and bear in mind that this medicine is likely to become ineffective if used for a long term and hence the use of this drug should be strictly supervised by a physician.

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soju said...

I highly recommend Ambien if you need help falling asleep Ambien is great, I bought it from WWW.MEDSHEAVEN.COM no prescription required. MF

doron said...

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ambien said...

This drug makes it possible for me to live a normal life. It doesn't affect me the was it is supposed to. I've had severe depression after having a miscarriage and basically having a complete breakdown. My PCP prescribed it for insomnia to get me through until the antidepressants kicked in. I took it one night and it didn't make me tired but I felt calm and for the first time in weeks I was able to have clear thoughts. I was able to do housework and talk about my feelings more. I take it in the morning and it actually gives me the drive to make it through the day.