Using medication while doing the Sleepio course

I really want to begin the Sleepio course but the only thing holding me back is whether I should continue with my medication while I am doing it (mirtazapine and temazepam – both prescribed for sleep alone, but also a really bad bout of insomnia left me feeling depressed). Can't get my head round taking a sleep diary while on meds as it's not a true reflection of my normal sleep pattern. Would really like to hear others experiences of keeping on meds/coming off meds etc to see what might work best. Thanks!

Posted 27 Feb 2012 at 11:47 AM
  • 110 comments
  • 48 helped

Comments

Show older comments
  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 5

    Gin-gin just a question: Did you start tapering off your drugs while on the program or since then on account of what you learnt?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 232 comments
    • 89 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    HI Rumeran, I came off the drugs ( with the exception of klonopin which I tapered off of for a month) before I started the program. However, I was under dr. supervision, unable to drive, and out of work on FMLA leave for 2 months due to the deterioration of my health from prolonged sleep deprivation. This would normally be a slower process of getting off meds, if under different conditions. I went 2 years pill free but still struggled with sleep and extreme fatigue and therefore, had little social life. A year ago, I got put on Belsomra due to increased anxiety and fainting spells from lack of sleep. I am now working with a sleep specialist again to get off of xanax for extreme anxiety/panic and limit my use of Belsomra. All that said, I am night and day – way better now than when I was 3 years ago – but depending on how bad your condition in and how long it has been going on – it is something that for some people is cured and others managed. I am still a work in progress. I will tell you this – the program does help – I was at my rock bottom when I came here.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 5

    Thanks, Gin-gin, I am so sorry to hear how bad your struggle has been but also glad to hear that you are coping better at last. I don't think I am as bad as you were. I've been on Amitriptylene for 25 years and all previous attempts to come off it had failed, ie. I eventually end up not sleeping at all at night; or that's what it felt like. But I always still coped during the day and never had to stop work. I am now really hopeful that with the new skills and better understanding I am gaining with sleepio I might just have success this time. Maybe you too might be able to come off all your drugs if you persevered. That thought-changing process seems important and I think I shall really focus on 'catching' my thoughts and dealing with all the negative ones, replacing them with strong healthy healing thoughts.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 232 comments
    • 89 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Perhaps – I stayed off the pills and followed the program closely for two years (which meant I did not go out, drink, or date, never napped, and set the alarms on weekends – I was a perfectionist with it for the most part) and I ended up getting in a bad car wreck, passing out a few times head-first (again), and being taken to emergency care for a cat-scan, where I was put back on medication, despite my not wanting to be, for extreme sleep deprivation as I hurt another person in the accident. I had two wrecks from lack of sleep and was on the program at the time – so here I am. It is an ongoing battle.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 232 comments
    • 89 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I was averaging about 3 hrs of sleep a night. I got up to 4-6 hrs of very broken sleep with the program and no pills so it was a huge improvement but my body collapsed and my blood work did too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 232 comments
    • 89 helped
    Graduate

    I have now been on here over 3 years – get off all screens before bed, don't sleep late, never nap, never drink, have remained single for this reason alone and it is a process. I still have specialists I see for my heart, bloodwork, and sleep. There is not a good transportation sys here so I have to drive and work late.The program helps – it isn't a cure – but it helps

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 12 helped
    Graduate

    I've been on Ambien (2.5 – 5 mg per night) a couple months after insomnia got really bad due to workplace related anxiety. Some weeks are just difficult, especially if I have to give a lot of presentations at work, and there is a lot of arguing among my co-workers. Then I might have some bad nights and only get a couple hours even with the Ambien.

    The thing that's made the most difference for me is to work on processing the workplace stress earlier in the day, and to make plans for dealing with the problems. I write up my to-do list for the next day, and write down longer-term plans also. I use the thought checker to help with the catastrophizing.

    Then I try to get my mind off the situation on the weekends and in the evening. My doctor suggested I take a walk in the evening outside as the daylight would help with natural melatonin production, and for exercise. I also try reading a good book to take my mind off of things. If I can't stop ruminating, a warm bath can often help change my train of thought. If I can get out of the house on the weekends to do something fun, that also helps as I think part of the issue has been depression due to too much drudgery. Recently, I've been able to go a night here or there (mostly on weekends) without the Ambien.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 122 comments
    • 29 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Lilian. You certainly have the right attitude and what you are doing will help you when you get to week 3. The prof then will gradually introduce tools that will help you more.
    If you stick to his rules you will begin to see a gradual improvement in your sleep.
    I have been with sleepio for about 36 weeks and am sleeping so much better.
    It will be hard, but we are all here to help and advise so do keep posting.
    Megwich

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Just discovering this thread after posting in the general grad discussion area…. so I am weaning off unisom (half dose at bedtime) which I started taking for morning sickness (I am pregnant and this with b6 is a common anti nausea cure). I guess I didn't realize how much it was helping me to sleep, because I am struggling with rebound insomnia now.

    I dropped to a 1/4 dose for a week then went to zero. I slept fine the first night on nothing but the last three nights have been progressively worse.

    Based on the last page of comments it sounds like I dropped it too soon! Does sleepio have guidelines on this? Any thoughts or tips are greatly appreciated….

    I have been awake an hour after 4 hours of deep sleep tonight… im going to meditate and then try again to sleep!

    Cheers,
    Erica

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 5

    I think I am having rebound insomnia just from decreasing my Ativan dose under my doctor's supervision. It is so tempting to increase my dose, however, when I have two nights of consecutive bad sleep. I am very tired, but I am trying to hang in there. I am also working Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Insomnia. It is like Sleepio, but personalized. She calls it Sleep Compression rather than seep restriction. She studies my diaries like hell to find the ideal time to retire and rise.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 634 comments
    • 290 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi drehery, In my experience doing sleepio was really hard to do, but it worked. I joined in June 2015, I was taking sleeping pills and struggled to get off them but was advised by the community that if I continued to take them I would not build up any confidence of getting to sleep on my own ability. So I hadn't been on them long but I took the sleeping tablets back to the chemist and sure enough I had trouble sleeping without them. But it made me work the Sleepio programme more making sure I got up if I couldn't sleep and sticking to my bedtime and getting up time. I was up and down the stairs night after night but when I had a good night it definitely started to build my confidence that I could sleep without any sleep aids. Before going to bed for my wind down I did all sorts of things to fill up the time like reading, crossword puzzles, listening to Prof's progressive relaxation, looking at photos or colouring books. I changed my routine when it didn't work any more. Gradually I started to sleep and had some good nights but bad nights still came along too. But I continued working at this programme and now my anxiety about bedtime has gone and my wind down is 5 to 10 minutes sitting in the dark before going to bed. I rarely have to get up these days.

    I think it is best to work one programme at a time, CBT is the best and probably only way of learning to sleep again. It is only your mind that stops you sleeping unless of course you suffer pain of some sort.

    Listen to Prof, do as he says and give it time to work. Insomnia is a stubborn condition and very hard to live with but you can turn it around. Some people overcome it quickly by using this programme but others, probably most of us, have to work at it hard and over a period of months before sleep starts to settle down.

    I get about 6 hours good quality sleep and feel good from it every day. I am really glad that I did sleepio, I had support from the community which helped me so much because there is someone to talk to all of the time and everyone knows how you feel.

    I pop into Sleepio now and then to see if my experience can help anyone and I hope it does. In my time on here I have seen people with long term insomnia learn to sleep again as well as short term sufferers. It seems to me that insomnia doesn't get better unless you do something about it, pills don't make it better, it just prolongs it. So be brave and try and stay off the sleep pills but maybe keep one or two incase you go for a few nights with no sleep and maybe have to drive or something, but still try to phase them out as you start to sleep better.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Ve In my case I have to take clonazepam for a movement disorder called dystonia which causes involuntary muscle contractions due to faulty messaging from the brain. This is a strong tranquilliser/sedative which initially helped me sleep very well but years later doesn't really help. Yet coming off it is very difficult and causes a great deal of anxiety and insomnia not to mention much worse muscle spasms so I follow the sleep course taking it – my hospital neurologist says without it the muscular and other symptoms would be so bad I'd probably have to give up my part-time work too.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I don't think there are any strict guidelines on meds and sometimes due to illnesses or disability they have to be taken. I would imagine any move to wean off them at all should be thoroughly discussed with GP (if you can get an appt. and they listen)!! I have marginally reduced my epilepsy drug (for a movement disorder) which is very sedating whilst doing the sleepio course but am being very careful and am still learning a lot from the course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Harnessing the two courses running together & achieving real success.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    Hello all. Just wondered if anyone else out there has started using sleepio whilst still taking sleeping tablets?
    I was considering stopping my tablets before starting the sleepio process but my doctor has recommended I continue with them for at least 1 month at the present time. Should I pause my course on sleepio and come back to it in 1 months time when hopefully I'll be off the sleeping tablets? Any thoughts or advice appreciated

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 4

    Just reading some of the conversations on using sleep meds while doing Sleepio is encouraging; I've been using various flavors of the benzodiazepam meds for DECADES :-{ It's time to reclaim my brain. I've been weaning off and have reduced my dosage, but reaching out for the structure and support to ensure getting back to an unmedicated sleep.

    Peacock52's comment from 2019 about the seeming non-fit of the Sleepio regimen while taking sleep meds hit home; that was the reason I did not continue when getting involved with Sleepio a few years ago.

    But I agree that the CBT-based approach is essential and much of the advice offered by the Prof is very helpful. The suggestions for dealing with one's rampant thought machine, e.g. just let that 'gotta do this/ gotta do that' train leave the station.

    Anyway, just reaching out to this Community and wishing everyone success.

    H

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi harryem
    Thank you for commenting on this thread – it’s good to see you here and working your way through the programme – and starting to reduce your benzodiazepines. (Remember it’s important to reduce your meds with your GP’s help – so do keep in touch with them.) It’s always a brave move to reduce or stop medication for pain, for sleep, for anything if you’ve been on them for so long.
    Because Sleepio has given me this great programme to follow, I’ve been fitter than I have for years, I’ve reduced my antidepressant by half. I regularly get better quality sleep of 6 – 7.30 hours a night. I am still woken by nothing! Am sometimes woken by my husband but the important thing is I usually get back to sleep and these days I feel so much better the next day. I had years and years of broken nights and horrid insomnia – but I don’t consider myself an insomniac any more 80))
    Those rampant thoughts can be trained to go away – just stick with the prof!!

    Give this programme your best efforts harryem and you too will be rewarded with better quality sleep.

    Best sleepio wishes
    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    I was very bad with insomnia troubles in the past and my doctor has me on Prothiaden & zopiclone for insomnia and general anxiety. Like many participants here, I feel anxious about being on the meds and ideally would like to stop them. Realistically I think the meds will always be a crutch to lean on when one hits a rocky patch, traveling, making business trips, etc.
    However I'm going to start the sleepio programme this week with the goal of weaning off the zopiclone medication and staying with prothiaden for the moment. I'm taking half a 3.75 per night and will aim to be off them in six weeks. Even posting this goal on the community chat board here is already giving me a more positive frame of mind.
    I found the community posts here really helpful and supportive and sort of comforting to know I am not alone with my problems. I'll post a progress report in 6 week's time. Keep up the posts as we can all help eachother I think by sharing our experiences like this.
    RC

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 182 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hiya Richard
    Glad you are here and have been brave enough to step out into the community pages. It took me a few weeks to brave it but here you are ;)

    I’m sorry you have to take meds for insomnia and anxiety. Don’t worry too much about the zopiclone – many Sleepios have weaned themselves off it once their sleep is under control. See how it goes. I know writing it here has given you the impetus to achieve your goal and that’s brilliant, just don’t panic if it doesn’t quite go to plan. We all have blips!! <80)). (Do make sure you discuss any changes to your meds with your GP. )

    There aren’t many Sleepios I have come across over this past year, who have managed to sort their sleep out in the first six weeks of the programme, however, most can make huge strides in getting better quality sleep and often sleeping for longer. It just takes time.
    You are replacing poor sleeping habits with new, better ones but they take a few weeks practise to embed into the brain and the psyche.

    You said “I think the meds will always be a crutch to lean on when one hits a rocky patch, travelling, making business trips, etc.” They don’t have to be – give this programme your all, as much effort as you can possibly give and you will beat this.

    I have found that I have more energy, more oomph!! I am now physically fitter than I was this time last year – I am running, swimming, I am learning yoga mediation and mindfulness exercises and have lost weight – huzzah! All this helps my overall health and I have been able to reduce my antidepressants down to a half dose per day. I’m not ready to stop it altogether – as I often have a poor time during the winter season…but am more than happy to keep on with a small 10mg daily dose for now.

    We are all in the same boat here, with a few added personal twists – we all have insomnia. I am pleased to say I don’t feel I am an insomniac any more though, thanks to Sleepio! <80))
    Best sleepio wishes
    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    When do I start to decrease Benadryl or Unisom in the program? the prof hasn't mentioned anything yet and I'm 3 weeks in

Return to top