Preventatives and sleep

My insomnia is the worse it has ever been, I have had 5 years of this crap and I know that only getting 3 - 4 hrs sleep a night is so bad for the immune system.

I am planning on going over the GP for a preventative for the MAV but want to make sure it helps sleep and doesnt cause more insomnia. Would love to hear which preventative you are on and how it is affecting your sleep, more sleep or less.



Christine, I’m on nortriptyline and the only thing I can say for sure is that it helps me sleep at night - even at a 5mg dose. I’ve suffered from insomnia for years so I know how awfull it is. I wouldn’t say that nori makes me sleep like a baby, it’s more like I’m sedated - you know as if someone knocked me out… however, I prefer that to not sleeping.
Best of luck to you

i’m hoping when i get the nerve to try an AD real soon that it’ll help my insomnia too because i hardly sleep at all so wouldn’t want that to get worse - right there with you on that!!!

Chris glad you get sleep now :slight_smile:



I’m probably one of the very few people who had a problem with nortriptyline and insomnia. Almost everyone I know or have heard about who has taken this has been helped incredibly in the sleep department. Not me, it gave me the worst insomnia ever, I was getting about 3-4 hours a night. Ugh, so I know how you are feeling with your 3-4 hours a night. I took it for a month and then went to the pharmacist and asked him what he thought. He said it was very unusual to have insomnia with this and it probably wouldn’t get better so I decided to stop. I also have the same problem with benadryl. I must be wired wrong or something.

If it didn’t give me insomnia I would have stuck with it because otherwise I don’t remember having any other side effects. It’s often given as a sleeping aid to those with insomnia. I would urge you to try it, my case is very unusual. I only remember reading of one other person that nort gave insomnia to.


Hey there, I’ve just come off Topamax largely due the insomnia and worsened restless leg problems it was causing. It does seem that this is quite a rare side effect for this drug however so no saying you’d have the same problem.

I’ve now started Pregabalin (lyrica). Very early days but was doing some research into drugs and sleep myself and it seems that gabapentin/pregabalin not only knock you out sleep wise, but apparently improve sleep architecture as well so you get more good quality deep sleep. It’s also used as a treatment for restless leg syndrome if you have this problem, again improving sleep quality.

Prior to this I was on Pizotifen. Definitely knocked me out (generally for about ten hours a night!!) but still felt groggy and tired when I woke which I took to mean that it was giving me (lots of) poor quality sleep.

In the meantime have you found melatonin helpful at all. It was my life saver whilst on the topomax, not a guarantee of a good nights sleep but it was definitely a huge help and as it’s a natural hormone I didn’t worry too much about relying on it every night as I would have done had I been taking “knock out” tablets.

Good luck with the doc,

Amitriptyline very similar to nort but more sedative. You can switch straight across. You can also add low dose doxepin (a tricyclic)… Or Remeron in low dose. Trazodone works too and can help boost serotonin.


I’m on Amitriptyline and my doctor told me to take it just before going to sleep as it can cause drowsiness so the idea is to sleep through the worst of it. The first week it made me sleepy and I slept better than I normally do. However now I find if I take it just before going to bed it doesn’t affect my sleep too much although every now and again I think it keeps me awake for a few hours. I do occasionally suffer insomnia and this seemed to occur slightly more often when I was taking Amitriptyline just before going to bed. Just in case I now take it in the early evening and it doesn’t affect my sleep at all. Having read through the posts on this forum, it seems that it is far more common for Amitriptyline to help people to sleep.

I haven’t tried any other preventative medicine yet. I hope you find something suitable that helps both the MAV and insomnia.


My dr said ami takes a few hours to kick in, so take earlier in night. U never felt drugged on it either, but it was low dose.

Thanks for the replies.

Nortryptiline gave me a rash and like Book, I was awake more than asleep. Lyrica made me sleepy, but drugged badly in the daytime which made me dizzier. Pizotifen made me sleep but again drugged and drowsy all day. Melatonin made me dizzy the next day. I quite liked Amitryptiline, slept well, but woke with thick head every day and after 5 days realized it was actually making me depressed. Never did that when I tried it years ago.

It seems that not only are we all different with our reactions to stuff, but it changes over the years as well, so that a drug that we were able to tolerate easily years ago, now can react.

Scott, how are you doing with the prothiaden? Hows the sleep on that one?


Just wanted to mention the old “sleep hygiene” stuff - many people like to think they’re doing it right, but they often gloss over one or two big glaring “no-no’s” on the list of things one should avoid if you’re having sleep problems. Talk about “natural” - you can’t get any more natural than following the old-fashioned sleep hygiene self-care recommendations. Well, some recommendations are newer, such as the no TV in the bedroom one, because research on TV right before sleep is fairly recent. But timing of caffeine intake (including chocolate), timing of exercise (like caffeine, earlier in the day), getting regular exercise, regular go to bed and wake up times (even on weekends), limited fluid intake before bed, coolish bedroom temperature, well-darkened bedroom, no daytime naps, relaxing bedtime routine, etc. If you have a partner, or even if you don’t :wink: some hanky panky can help you get sleepier too. For the worriers, a worry time appointment can be helpful: set aside a half hour every day when you will sit down and go over all your worries, so when they come to you in the night you can promise yourself honestly that you will give full attention to them tomorrow at ___ AM or PM, whatever time you choose (not right before bed, though!), so you can put them out of your head during the night, and lay there and think of your “happy place” instead, and hopefully fall asleep easier.

Maryalice, it’s well worth re-posting the timer-proven tips. One of them that’s always struck me as important but also an impossibility is limiting fluid intake before bedtime. On the one hand, I get thirsty, and if I lie there thirsty, I’m not falling asleep–seo I keep a glass by the bed, and have a few sips as called for. On the other, I get up to pee, usually a couple of times, before finally settling down to sleep. (I also get up from sleep to pee, but that’s not a prob–I get right back to sleep, if all that got me up is a full bladder.)