Author Topic: New here, no issues falling asleep, but can't stay asleep (15 yrs on sleep meds)  (Read 356 times)

[Buddie]

Hi, just joined a few days ago.  I began having sleeping issues 15 years ago and was put on 10mg Ambien.  I took that 2-3 days a week and then about 5 years into taking that the rules changed for women and they reduced the max dose to 5mg.  That didn't work for me so I was switched to temazepam 7.5, then 15, then 30mg.  Again, started off only taking it 2-3x/wk, but gradually it got to 4, then 5, then 6, then every day.  That was the case the last 2+ years then they stopped working too.  In early March I quit cold turkey and had an awful 2 weeks.  No sleep for 4-5 days. 

Gradually it go a bit better and now a little over 2 months later I am able to fall asleep just fine by about 10, 10:30p but I  can't stay asleep.  Sometimes I look at the clock, but I am trying not to do that as it makes it worse.  Usually I wake up again about 11:30 or 12A, then can get back to sleep fairly easily, but from there it gets worse...every hour or so I wake again.  I feel like I never truly fall back to sleep after 2A.  Best guess is I average 3-4 hrs a night.  However, I am able to function pretty well during the day with work and family and do exercise daily as well.  It just sucks being awake at 2 or 3 AM when I don't need to be up until after 6A. 

Looking for advice and/or words of encouragement. I gave all my sleep drugs to my husband to hold onto and last week I almost woke him up to ask for one.  I really don't want to go back that route.  I know I should just toss them all but I am not there yet.  Also have tried all the various supplements (melatonin, magnesium, GABA, 5HTP, L-theanine, CBD, THC, etc...).  Thanks.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

It just takes a lot of time.  I am finishing my 11th month post CT of 21 days of Temazepam usage and I still have the broken sleep pattern that you described.   What I recommend is to just accept it and over time, we will heal.  But one needs to go through it and there are really no supplements that will help much with this type of broken sleep.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

What to expect:

1) Lots of very little or no sleep for an extended period of time. Not sure how long that will be, but Ashton says at least 6-12 months for most.  Some 12-24, and a small percentage 24 months or longer.
2) Drugs are a dead end road.  Drugs = artificial sleep.  Tolerance is reached in X amount of time (different for everyone) then the dose must be increased for the drug to have the same effect.  That is why you should try to avoid all Rx drugs, not just Benzos.  All of them have side effects and possible withdrawal?
3) Natural supplements are also not advised either.  Why?  You emotionally and physically convince your already weakened brain that it must take something in order to sleep.  I know...easy for me to say now that I sleep pretty well most nights.  I tried them all too and they didn't help much early on or later during my withdrawal.  There is also new research regarding melatonin, it is actually a hormone that the body produces and daily supplementation could lead to the body not producing it any longer.  It is meant to reset your internal clock and is designed for short-term use only.
3) Benzos are short-term use only drugs (2 - 3 weeks max) that doctors love to prescribe for whatever length of time as most don't know about withdrawal or even acknowledge it exists.  Benzos shut down or suppress your Gabba receptors in your brain; what helps you remain calm and relaxed.  When those stop working, Glutamate takes over and it is what makes you active and alert.  That is why you can't sleep.  Your sleep switch is broken.  It takes time for your sleep switch to fix itself.  Unfortunately it is not like breaking a leg or arm where healing times are pretty consistent.  See #1 above for time.
4) Most people won't understand what you are going through, even your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family, etc.  Outward you look normal, inward you are messed up, but they can't see that.  They might have a hard time understanding, accepting or even having sympathy for you.
5) It gets better over time.  Time allows your brain to "learn" how to sleep again on its own, without any type of drug or supplement.  All brains heal...just as drugs affect all of us differently, all brains heal at different speeds.  That is why some people can be on a Benzo for 10 years or longer before they reach tolerance and some people never go through withdrawal; however, almost everyone experiences some form of insomnia.
6) The amount of time you were on Benzos does not = how fast you will recover.  In some cases it does, but for others it does not.  I was on Benzos for 6 months and recovered fairly quickly, but others that were on only a few weeks took longer to recover.
7) Recovery will be up and down, like the stock market (well maybe that's not a good example as it has been doing well this past year) but you can expect to have some good days and bad days with the good days eventually becoming more frequent than the bad days and finally becoming almost or all goods days over time.
8) Immediately after going Benzo free, either through a proper taper or cold turkey, you will most likely experience "acute withdrawal" a period of usually 30 - 90 days of intense withdrawal symptoms and lack of any real sleep.  I went 4 days without any sleep after I went cold turkey on a doctor's advice.
9) Things slowly get better, usually you will notice a difference by month 6.  But it is slow.  Sort of like how we transition from summer to winter and back again...the days get longer and shorter very gradually.
10) Windows and Waves. Windows are good periods where your symptoms reduce or go away and you feel better.  Waves are crummy periods where your symptoms are at their worst and you feel like crap and sleep sucks.  Most people alternate between Windows and Waves until eventually the Windows last longer than the Waves and the Waves mostly or completely disappear over time.
11) When sleep starts to return, it will be light and broken (you will wake up a lot) and most people experience REM REBOUND or lots of dreams.  Later on your sleep will slowly turn to deeper sleep with less dreams and longer periods of sleep before waking up.

What you can do:

1) Be as POSITIVE as you can be given the crappy circumstances.  Try to laugh if you can.
2) DISTRACT yourself as much as possible.  Focus on anything that gives you enjoyment.  Don't focus on NEGATIVE things or hang around NEGATIVE people
3) Do not try to FORCE yourself to sleep.  It is not possible.  You cannot make yourself sleep no matter how hard you try.  It happens naturally when you are relaxed and NOT thinking about it.
4) ACCEPT (very hard to do for most) your situation and know that there is an end to it, it won't last forever.  It is only TEMPORARY!
5) Try not to CARE if you Sleep or Not.  When you stop caring if you sleep or not, it will slowly start to return.  Again, difficult to do, but others that have regular insomnia not caused by drug withdrawal cured their insomnia by not giving a rat's butt if they slept or not.  Takes time, is difficult to do, but works for most.
6) Eat Healthy, Drink lots of water, Exercise even if you don't feel like it or think that you can do it because you are too tired.  Also, be careful with caffeine.  Caffeine is a stimulant.  Some folks have no issues drinking coffee or soda during withdrawal; others are affected by it.
7) Be careful with supplements.  Some may excite your already sensitive nervous system. Some worked for me.  Mostly Green powders for a shake.  Again, try some experimentation to see how you are affected.
8) Pray.  Some of you may not be a "believer" in God, but prayer works.
9) Maybe take a break from this site for awhile, when you can, and it works for you.  This site is a tremendous help for many, but I found myself making other people's recovery process and experience my own.  I took about a 5 month break and did an amazing amount of recovery during that time.  I came back as I promised to help others get through withdrawal and because I don't think people should go through this ordeal alone.
10) ACCEPT the RECOVERY PROCESS and don't put a time frame on it for getting better.  For example, don't expect to get better by month 8 because someone else did.  In the same light, don't expect it to take 5 years or longer either, as it may have for a very small percentage of people on this site.
11) Seek counseling when beneficial and affordable.  It helped me cope when I was at my worst.
12) Be THANKFUL for any sleep you do get.  Some light sleep is better than no sleep.  Practice GRATITUDE for whatever you can in your life.

Read the entire post here: http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=235100.0
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

It just takes a lot of time.  I am finishing my 11th month post CT of 21 days of Temazepam usage and I still have the broken sleep pattern that you described.   What I recommend is to just accept it and over time, we will heal.  But one needs to go through it and there are really no supplements that will help much with this type of broken sleep.

Wow, I'm sorry you're dealing with the insomnia after such a short-term use.  I wish the prescribing doctors would warn patients of the dangers.  I was written the scripts without them batting an eye.  Yes, every time I buy a supplement and it doesn't work I just get more discouraged.  Thanks for your reply.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

   [...]- thank you for the advice!  Glad you're doing well!
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

[...], you will heal - it just takes time.   Throw away any expectation of how long and stay the course.  And when you start feeling better and then wham, you take several steps backwards. it is just part of the non-linear healing process.  Acceptance and distraction are key.   
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

I have a hard time staying asleep also, [...]. I fall asleep pretty easily but have a 3 a.m. wakeup. I've long since stopped clutching my pearls about this and cursing the fact that I can't stay asleep. Been there, done that. It is what it is.

So . . . I put a Scrabble app on my tablet and when I wake up I play Scrabble with the app's bot. It is great to GET YOUR MIND OFF the fact that you are awake. In about 3/4 of an hour I find that I'm sleepy again and shut my tablet off. This may not work for others, but it sure works for me. (I've been finished my taper for years btw).

So we all do what we have to do to get those elusive zzzzzs.

Best,

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

I have a hard time staying asleep also, [...]. I fall asleep pretty easily but have a 3 a.m. wakeup. I've long since stopped clutching my pearls about this and cursing the fact that I can't stay asleep. Been there, done that. It is what it is.

So . . . I put a Scrabble app on my tablet and when I wake up I play Scrabble with the app's bot. It is great to GET YOUR MIND OFF the fact that you are awake. In about 3/4 of an hour I find that I'm sleepy again and shut my tablet off. This may not work for others, but it sure works for me. (I've been finished my taper for years btw).

So we all do what we have to do to get those elusive zzzzzs.

Best,

[...]


[...], how long ago was the last time you took any portion of a benzo?  Thanks.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

It took a year for me to sleep well without benzos.  I now sleep better than I did with them because I had reached tolerance and I had to take more of then during the night to even get 2-3 hours sleep.  Like [...], I don't fret over a restless night any longer.  I've accepted that the occasional insomnia is simply life on life's terms.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Newbie, I took my last benzo in 2014. Insomnia has been my biggest challenge since then. But I've found ways to deal with it.

Best,

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.