Thoughts on Insomnia, and a Warning About Sleep Aids

Discussion in 'Support' started by linearb, Jan 20, 2016.

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    1. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Hello, I just wanted to toss this out there.

      I've been having a ton of problems sleeping lately; in the best of circumstances it's always taken me 30-60 minutes to nod out and then I usually wake up at least once before morning, but I go through rougher patches. For the past couple weeks, it's been more like "two to three hours" to nod out and then I wake up after two hours and have been getting four to six hours total.

      So, that's kind of a bummer, but it doesn't mess with me emotionally the way it used to, because I've learned that it's basically a minor inconvenience and not actually something that's going to severely impact my job or mental health if I don't let it. In 2012, I was severely distressed for a period. I slept about fifty hours total over the space of more than a month. After I got through that with my life basically intact I realized "oh hey insomnia is just an annoyance and not actually something that's going to destroy me". None of the sleep problems I've had since then have come close to being that protracted, so I just kind of ignore it.

      But, yesterday I was feeling very drained all day, and was determined to get more sleep. I'm seeing out of town relatives tonight and then flying out the next day. It seemed like that would be a big drag if I was too tired to be talkative. So, I went to bed nice and early, and couldn't sleep. I finally took a Unisom and a Valerian Root pill at around 11, and promptly woke up at 3:30 feeling absolutely awake. I hemmed and hawed, and in the unclear haze of being stressed at that hour, decided to go ahead and take a Valium - which is something I keep on hand but mostly see as a security blanket that's helpful to have as an option, but not actually helpful to consume outside of really bizarre circumstances.

      I did sleep. I got my eight hours, all things considered. But, I woke up with that typical benzo shittiness that makes the rough edges of life smoother at the expense of making the nice things seem duller. More importantly, my tinnitus is really, really obnoxious today - I haven't actually been thinking about it very much, but as soon as I do it's like, oh yeah, not only is that there it's really, really being shrill and trying to demand my attention. I'd say it's spiked enough that if this had happened two or three years ago I would have thought OH MY GOD IT'S GETTING WORSE.

      Obviously that's not true; the rational part of my brain is saying "yea man you took some weird molecules and your brain is sort of ticked off, knock it off!" - and, thankfully, today my emotional reality is connecting with my rational side and not getting tugged down all those rabbit holes of pointless anxiety.

      My point is that I'd been sleeping really badly for a while and my tinnitus had been fine, and then I took some sleep aids, and it's jacked up and on steroids. This isn't a tremendous problem for me in this moment because my life has been pretty awesome lately, but this is why I'm always so vitriolic about sleep drugs on here -- sometimes people give me shit about being a negative nancy on drug stuff, "do what you need to to get sleep", etc. I'm pessimistic on that view. I think that sleep is a fundamentally normal organic process that your body will figure out if you can have enough patience, and if you try to shortcut the process, you risk making your problems worse. I slept "sort of better" last night in terms of time, so I'm gonna get through my dinner event with a bit more energy than I might have had otherwise... but I'm quite prepared for the idea that there may be a swing back.
       
    2. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      One other note with regard to the sort of piercing spike that sometimes wakes people: I got one of those this morning, but slept through it. I know it happened because I experienced in the dream! Kind of interesting. When I woke up, I realized my neck was really, really stressed from the position my head was in (it still hurts), and I suspect that has as much to do with the increased T as anything else. But, I think that if I hadn't been all chemically sedated, I probably would have woken up from the neck discomfort before the tone burst happened... instead I slept like that for another hour.
       
    3. Nucleo

      Nucleo Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2011
      If there's one thing I learned is that the best thing is to always go to sleep at the same time - no matter how tired you are. Also long naps are going to ruin the night's sleep.
       
    4. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Good point, you're completely right. My life has been sort of bonkers lately because I'm doing a bunch of travel for a tinnitus research study and also have been engaging in some hobbies which go later than they should. My wife has been working later, so I've been eating too late, and because I've been so busy, I've slacked on exercise.

      So, once I straighten that shit out I think my sleep will sort itself out.

      I've never been a napper, so, no problems there.
       

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