Sleep Suggestions

Hi everyone

Since my bad bout of MAV in November I have had a horrible time sleeping. I was on Elavil for a month, couldnt stand the side effects and went off. The only good thing was it did make me sleep but too sound and too much. I’m med free right now other than the occasional Advil which I’ve been all my life. The bad bout I just experienced made me try the meds and it was an awful experience. Anyway, since November I cannot sleep and it in turn is causing my migraine to flare up - sleep disturbance and lack of is my worst trigger. I’ve tried hot baths, reading, sleepytime tea, meditation all of which does put me to sleep but I always wake up 3 hours later and then cannot fall back. I lay there and get full of anxiety knowing I am NOT sleeping and how this is going to throw my day and migraine into turmoil again. I’m lucky if I get 4 hours of sleep a night and I am not a napper so even catching up during the day doesnt work.

Other than hitting myself over the head with a hammer, any ideas??? I’m contemplating going to my doctor for sleeping pills but I really dont want to get into that habit either.

have you tried Phenergan (promethazine) - it’s over hte counter in australia but prescription in the US I think

It’s an antihistamine - I know a few of us use it here and it is slightly sedating so helps you sleep. I’ve also found it does help with the MAV symptoms the next day (I wake up feeling better). NO nasty side effects or hang-over effects for me

I think Kelly has had some good experiences as well?

Hi Tamsha,

I also have a lot of sleep problems. Lately it is the getting to sleep but staying asleep is actually pretty good now with the meds I’m on (Prothiaden).

How is your ‘sleep hygeine’? That is, going to bed and (more importantly) getting up at the same time each day (weekends included). Tiring exercise, especially in the morning, also helps. If you you are waking up, can’t get back to sleep and are feeling very anxious about it it might be a good idea to get up out of bed. Sit in a softly lit room listening to relaxing quiet music or a meditation tape. Perhaps have a glass of hot milk. When you feel sleepy again go back to bed. Keep repeating till you eventually fall asleep.

Or try sleeping pills.


(I started to type my post about the same time as Vic - but I’ll go ahead and post it anyway because even though it’s quite similar - great minds think alike, Vic! - there are a couple different bits)

It’s just awful to be awake in the night for hours on end! Had some perimenopause nights like that, but not for months in a row - I’d be out of my mind. You must feel terrible!

Have you tried exercise? But early in the day - not in the hours near bedtime. That helps some people.

Are you practicing good sleep hygiene? Bedroom cool, not too hot or too cold - bedroom nice and dark - bedroom not used for TV but only for sleep and sex - slow, not rushed, bedtime ritual (wash face, brush teeth, whatever yours is) - no caffeine in the afternoon or evening (or better still, not at all) - etc.

There’s also the idea of a worry appointment you can make with yourself when you have worries in the night: promise yourself a half hour during which you’ll sit and worry about all your worries at a specified time (preferably NOT in the evening, just before bed!), so when the worries come into your head at 3 AM you can honestly say to yourself, “I’ll give a lot of time to worrying about that tomorrow at _o’clock, but right now I’m not going to worry about that because it’s time to sleep.” Then you really do have to keep the promise, and keep the worry appointment.

And if you do have to go the medication route, an antidepressant might be a better choice than a sleeping pill - they’re often used for anxiety now anyway, they help with sleep, some are even used for MAV, and you can’t get addicted.

Hope you get some good nights of sleep soon!

When I was on Topamax, it caused insomnia and I had a nightmare getting to sleep - would just lay there tossing and turning and getting more and more agitated with my mind whirring faster and faster.

I would definitely agree with all of the above suggestions, but I also downloaded a couple of relaxation/sleep iphone apps - deep sleep with andrew johnson was one of the ones I used but I’m sure there are a million cd’s/apps along the same lines. It certainly wasn’t fool proof but it gave my mind something to focus on once I turned the lights out which stopped me getting myself into the usual restless panic.

I also try to have a glass of milk at night, bit of an old fashioned remedy, but there’s a solid foundation to it.

Good luck with this and hope you find something that works for you soon,

Hello. Have you tried doing a sleep study to rule out any sleep-related disorder?

Periodically we all talk about ‘sleep hygiene’ as being an integral part of any sort of attack presentation package without really thinking how relevant it may really prove to be. I was always a good sleeper. The sort who slept through the thunderstorm that kept the whole family awake for hours. Post chronic VM that changed somewhat though I think the Propranolol had a large adverse influence there as well but I’m pretty much back to where I was dead asleep for about nine hours every night. Rarely remember hitting the pillow particularly since the stiff neck departed.

I guess over the last year or two I’ve practised good sleep hygiene almost by accident. It easily adapted into my current lifestyle. Don’t watch much television so the TV goes off about an hour before bedtime and classical music radio goes on. I might read but usually avoid computer screens and there’s a strict rule. No electronic devices, televisions or dogs in the bedrooms. Never realised how well the sleep hygiene system was working until last night when we broke the pattern. From a sleep viewpoint we did all the wrong things. Thanks to the European Cup Football we were on the edge of our seats watching the TV all hyped up with excitement, frustration and penalty shootouts right up until bedtime and could we sleep. No chance. Still awake at 2.30am and today I’m paying the price. I’ve got a very tight head and opted out of a shopping trip in the hope the VM will soon settle. Him Indoors has gone out alone, he’s fine, but then he hasn’t the VM that’s me.

I admire you for limiting your screen time before sleeping. As to me, watching movies before sleeping is what I do to make me fall asleep. Not effective due that my brain is being active processing the story. I don’t know how to fix my sleep problem, for the past weeks an average of 4-5 hrs is only sleep duration.

Adverse affects on sleep are common with many chronic conditions. Probably often linked to the ongoing stress. As I said previously limiting screen time immediately before sleep works brilliantly. Even a brief peak at the IPad within the hour before attempting sleep will stop me falling asleep for hours. It’s never worth it.

I’ve noticed that in lots of threads, including the start of this one, that people in a bad long episode, sleep is difficult to maintain.

Many posts also say about ‘3 hours until they wake’

Me too!!

I could go to sleep for 3 hours and could not sleep after that for 2 months!

I wonder if the brain wiring or dysfunction has anything to do with this. Just sounds like a connection

An agitated mental state I’d say. Worriers. People who are depressed tend not to sleep. The uncertainty of a newly onset chronic illness. Makes people very anxious.

I’m not one to have trouble sleeping since I went on CPAP. I take one Melatonin tablet before bedtime to encourage sleep, but nothing else. My doctor’s have my meds that make me drowsy scheduled for dinnertime so that they won’t make me sleepy during he day. Nortriptyline is the primary one that comes to mind. I recently saw that they sell Tryptophan online in tablet form. I wonder about it?

I typically break all the sleep hygiene rules. I watch TV right up to bedtime, take my phone into the bedroom, and even look at it from time to time during the night. I’ve even been know to watch YouTube right before bedtime. None of that seems to bother me. The only think that will keep me awake is paranoia. But, since I’m now semi retired, I seldom have that issue.

I found a cure for my MAV! (so far anyway)

And I noticed the list of side effects sound much like a vestibular attack. Nice.

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Maybe just have some Turkey breast instead.


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Hi -I do some yin yoga for sleep if I’m having problems which seems to help. (I’m a member of an online place with loads of videos) but what I use regularly if I wake up us listening to an audiobook. You can get them free from the library. I put in ear buds and really concentrate on the book and it usually sends me off to sleep. Works best for me if it’s a book I know so I’m not getting hooked on the plot! Jane Austen at the moment! Or listen to In Our Time on BBC sounds - I’ve never made it to the end!

Have you tried Sleep Therapy?

In what site are you listening? I’m currently subscribe to a paid audio app but, I’m planning to terminate my plan since there are only limited choices.

Hi - if you go to your local library website there should be a link to their audiobooks (mine uses borrow box). You just need a library card to access everything. BBC Sounds app has loads of free stuff as well for podcasts and they also have some old dramatisations.