Insomnia - can anyone help?

The last couple of months I have been plagued with continued insomnia. I know one of the key fetures to treating this disease is to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis but this just isn’t happening to me. I fall asleep without a problem but will wake up around midnight - wide awake. On a good night I will fall back asleep within 15 minutes but more often than not I am up for another hour or two or three. And there have been nights where I dont’ fall back asleep at all. When I do fall asleep again it isn’t for the entire night, it’s only for another hour, then I am up wide awake again. This coninues until my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 at which time I can barely pull myself out of bed.

Valium would help, that I know, but I don’t want to take it. I am trying my best to use that (and meclizine) only when absolutely needed for vertigo. Benadryl is out also as for some reason it wakes me up. My body needs 8-9-10 hours of sleep and I’m barely getting half of that. Some days I can barely stay awake. I don’t drink coffee, tea or soda and I don’t eat any chocolate so it isn’t a matter of caffeine. My room is a good temperature for sleeping, my bed is comfortable and I am tired as can be when my head hits the pillow. The onlyl med I am on is HCTZ.

I think the problem is mostly worry and stress - most of that is because of this disease. The more I worry about not being able to get back to sleep at 1:AM, the harder it is. There are other things going on in my life such as financial worries, relationship issues, other health issues, job issues, all kinds of things.

Does anyone have any hints to get through this?

Exercising fairly late helps me. I know some can’t do that very well, but that and taking a bath soothes somewhat.

Perhaps trying another antihistamine than benadryl could help. I first tried both Attarax and valerion root, and though both are supposed to induce sleep (the former is an antihistamine) they had me awake.

I then moved on to aliemazine which has helped quite well. If I take a low dose of that I sleep 8-9 hours straight most nights.
Unfortunately I have started feeling restless legs lately for some reason, and antihistamines are known to worsen that feeling if you got that (it does for me), so am currently trying not to take it. Seems I can sleep ok for 2 nights but the third night always ends up in me not falling asleep and so I finally take some aliemazine and go to sleep…

Could you try a relaxation tape? When I was having trouble staying asleep I would do deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation exercises too. It really helped me sleep more soundly through the night. I’m sure you can find a good one online or a store like Target. You definitely need your sleep!

Hi BW,

I’m a shocking sleeper, have had insomnia as long as I can remember. I’ve done both group and private therapy at the sleep clinic here in Sydney at the RPA (coincidentally the same hospital where Dr Halmagyi practices). They ended up telling me I’m so chronic that I’m now phsyiologically ‘hard wired’ to be a bad sleeper! Funnily enough this actually allowed me to take some of the pressure off myself to not obsess about getting enough sleep. You may also be sleeping more than you realise and may have (perhaps wrongly?) convinced yourself you need 8-10 hours.

The ‘sleep hygiene’ stuff does help. This is much the same as what MAV people are supposed to do - this includes:

  • routine - going to bed and rising the same time every day
  • exercise - no less than 5 hours before going to bed (exercise actually wakes you up, so good to do it in the morning if you can)
  • sleep training - if you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, get up out of bed and doing something quiet (like listening to relaxing music).

It sounds like a lot of your issues though are to do with stress and worry - perhaps give yourself and hour or two of ‘thinking time’ before going to bed (ie get it out of your system), and other relaxation techniques such as meditation…?

Valium makes you woozy but isn’t a sleeping pill as such and can leave you groggy the next morning. It would of course help with the anxiety from the stress but it’s not a great long term solution.

Good luck - hope things improve for you.

Thank you for your helpful responses.
I’m currently exercising (20 minutes on the exercise bike) when I get home from work. I used to do it first thing in the AM, but after I started getting vertigo I found it too difficult to get up so early. Sure wish I could get back to that routine.
I think I’ll try the relaxation tape and see how that works out.
Victoria - sorry to hear you have had your share of insomnia woes also. Hope things are better for you in that area. Wouldn’t it be nice to be one of those people who truly and honestly only needs 4 hours of sleep? With all I have to do, and work and travel to and from work, there is literally is not enough time for me to get my 9 hours of sleep. I’d have to be in bed by 8:00. On a good note, I did sleep better last night, only woke up once and was back sleeping in 15 minutes.

Have you tried melatonin for helping you to sleep, It worked for me to start with but I had to stop it because it lowered my blood pressure and mine is already very low.

Thank goodness this is one thing that has gotten better for me and perhaps it is the small dose of valium that I take that just calms me down to a level where I can sleep. I usually sleep around 7 hours a night not to say I do not wake up during the night but have been able to usually go back to sleep pretty quickly.

Best of luck, perhaps relaxation music or what ever makes you sleepy normally would help for me it is reading …

Thanks for your kind words of support BW but my sleep issues are kind of set. I don’t really mind how many hours I need I’d just like to go to sleep in under an hour and stay that way, but I am what I am :roll: . I’m in awe of people who can a) go to sleep pretty much straight away and stay like that until morning and b) people who can sleep on planes, sitting up and so on. How do they do it??

Good luck with your sleeping and pleasant dreams :smiley:

Forgive me if I am wrong, but arent you a couple of years post menopause. If so, this is when it hit me hard. If I dont get to sleep at the first sign of tiredness, I can then be awake all night! If you go on any menopause board, there are so many the same. I get the odd few days in a row now, when the sleep is better, but then it goes back to 3 or 4 hrs a night, often falling asleep at 6 am and sleeping till 9! I am going to start on effexor soon, I only hope that it doesnt make anything worse, but hopefully better!

Christine, I never realized this could be tied into menopause :o Thank you for letting me know that, that makes me feel somewhat better and more normal. I’m still getting hot flashes and that wakes me up several times a night. (I wish I had time to hang out at menopause boards.) Last night was another up and down night, finally woke at 5:00 for good so I got up and exercised and got that out of the way for the day. I hope effexor does the trick for you, both in helping the MAV and in helping the sleep pattern.

Yes, afraid if you have noticed its got substantially worse the last 2 or 3 years, which mine definitely has, the low hormones are to blame. Apparrently, if you took a good dose of oestrogen again, you would sleep again, but, dont know about you, I dont want to do that, having ridden the storm, but sometimes I get so desperate for sleep, I think I would. Just hoping to find a drug that helps the migraine and helps me sleep. The only thing that I found that helps, is to get to bed at the first sign of real tiredness and dont “get over it” or thats when I am awake all night. Last night I was woken 3 times, set off the jitters (dont know if you get this, also menopause related) adrenaline rushes, and that was it, was awake until this morning, when I slept for 3 rotton hours, not enough, I feel like a zombie today.