Author Topic: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question  (Read 7425 times)

[Buddie]

Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« on: March 01, 2012, 01:26:49 pm »
I started taking Ambien 5 weeks ago after a few sleepless nights.  My baby has started sleeping through the night and napping better, which is great news for my own sleeping.  Now I just need to learn to sleep on my own again!

I had been splitting my 10 mg pills for the first few weeks: 5mg at 9:30pm bedtime, 5mg when I woke up around 12:30am.  Over the past week I have been taking approximately 7mg at bed and 3mg when I woke because I needed more to get me to sleep. I am ready to start tapering.

Last night I took 3mg at bed: approx half of my usual bedtime dose. Not sure whether I fell asleep or not.  I took about 7 mg around 1am and fell asleep for a couple of hours.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how to shape a successful weaning. 

Also, how exactly does rebound insomnia with Ambien work?  Do you just have to suffer through some sleepless nights before your brain adjusts?  I'm doing all the sleep hygiene stuff that I've read in my insomnia books.  Though, I must admit, I find it hard to get myself out of bed and read; it just feels like I'm resigning myself to wakefulness. 

Your insights are appreciated!  I would love to be a rested mom for my infant daughter.

Sally
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 10:15:32 pm »
Hi, Sally.

I don't know how new parents sleep more than a couple of broken up hours at night and still function.   I would be a basket case.  It's good to know your sweet baby is starting to keep more regular hours. 

When I decided to taper off Ambien (from 10mg at night for more than a year), I decided cut my pills in 1/4s and drop 1/4 of a tablet (2.5mg) every few weeks to a month.  I sometimes supplemented with benedryl though I've read that you don't get good quality sleep that way so I'm not sure how helpful it was overall.  It seems like it took me months before I felt that a normal pattern was back but I had been on them a lot longer than you.  Also, I stopped stressing out about waking up in the middle of the night and was soon able to just roll over and go back to sleep pretty quickly.  Sometimes I'd listen to a boring audio book - or a sleep CD - using earbuds and fall asleep while it was playing.  It gave me something to focus on besides the the thought "I'm not sleeping and I want to sleep NOW!" which isn't very helpful at all.  ;)  Good luck with what ever approach you decide to take.
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 08:31:07 pm »
Thank you!  I really appreciate your encouragement.
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2012, 10:11:41 pm »
Hi Sally,
Ambien didn't seem to have the same addictive properties as benzos. You can check with a moderator to be sure, but I believe it is more of a mental addiction - just thinking we won't be able to get to sleep without it....Ambien had caused some horrible reactions in me and I didn't figure it out for many months and when I finallly did, I just stopped c/t.  The drug had affected my auditory nerves - so it was like an electric drill going through my ears - had to stop. I was pleased to find that the only thing that happened was that my sleep was very inconsistent but had returned back to normal within 6 weeks.  I was also pretty consistent about when to go to bed and when to get up - that helped, but don't worry - sleep will return.
[...]
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 12:45:36 am »
Thank you!  I really appreciate your encouragement.


Ambien has the same pathway in the brain that the benzo's do...and can be just as addictive as it works in the LIMBIC Center to make changes in GABA....SOURCE   "THE ASHTON MANUEL"....http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzsched.htm

There is a taper schedule for Ambien there
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 05:48:25 pm »
Hi!

I was on ambien for eight years straight. When I wanted to come off of it, it wasn't too hard. I was taking 20 mg a night, generally. I had 10 mg tablets. I'd take an 1/8th off a pill, and then came off in like two or three weeks? No side effects for me at all. Except my original insomnia returned, but it's due to a neurological disorder kind of like RLS, so that was to be expected. I didn't notice any worsening of it though, like rebound-style insomnia. Then again, I already had it pretty bad. Melatonin did help me some. And drinking a nightcap also helped.

Let me say that it was much, much better than halcion. As far as I'm concerned, halcion should be off the market. I wound up severely addicted with profound daytime withdrawals in a few months of use.

Good luck! I hope your journey is easy :)
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 07:03:17 pm »
Sally,

Is there a reason you are taking the lowest dose in the first part of the evening?  Are you afraid your baby will wake? 
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 12:35:45 pm »
Thanks so much for your responses.  It means a lot to me.  I'm writing to ask more about rebound insomnia.

Update: It's two weeks later and I have made some progress: Taking about 4mg at bed and about 3 when I wake in the night.  This is less than a whole pill, which is improvement for me.  I've had good nights (6 hours of sleep) and bad nights. When I tried to taper back to 3 mg at bed, I had a sleepless night.  I went back to 4 mg for the past two nights and have gotten 4 hours of questionable Ambien sleep, which feels fake.  This morning, however, I seem to have slept naturally from 6AM until 6:30AM, dreams and the whole deal, and that felt great.

I feel afraid to keep tapering because it will likely cause more rebound insomnia.  I feel depressed and anxious when I don't sleep.

My question: How does rebound insomnia end?  If I am willing to endure some insomnia in order to wean off this drug, is there a light at the end of the tunnel?  I feel like some hope or mental coping strategies would be really helpful in getting myself to take the plunge into further weaning.

Note: I never had insomnia until about three months ago.  I became stressed with the birth of my baby, the wakeups, the crying, etc.  I have been on Ambien for two months.
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 09:52:12 pm »
Sally,

I wonder if reducing the second dose would work better?  There are several people on here that have tapered successfully and their sleep returned.  I know that when I make cuts my sleep suffers for about a week and then I stabilize.  Then I stay on that dose for a few weeks and then I make another cut.  I used to split mine like that, but when I began to taper down from 15 mg, I only took it once a night.  If I woke up I just suffered the next day.  My body eventually got used to just the one dose.
You could hop on the success stories thread and ask about people's success with getting their sleep back.
Good luck!! 
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]

Re: Weaning off Ambien and rebound insomnia question
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2012, 12:27:59 am »
Two months? While under stress? I think you're going to be fine! I really do  :smitten:

And you're doing great. You've already reduced your dose by 1/4. That's awesome! Keep it up.  :yippee:
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.