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
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have been prescribe sleeping pill to help me with sleep problem and it works though sleep only for like 4 hours, I am starting the sleepio program and in session 3, should I continue with the sleeping pill while going through the sleepio as I discover that I can't easily sleep within the sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My doctor prescribed Trazodone 50-75 mg at bedtime. Been taking it for about 4 weeks. It has worked somewhat. Fall asleep faster and my sleep has increased to about 6 hrs. It does not work 100%, but so far better than nothing.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi I have to agree I found Andrew Johnston wind down sleep relaxation invaluable. A great find for people who wake up upteen times during the night recommend it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi all--I always used to sleep great, and I would sometimes take Benadryl (25 mg) for something like if I had slept in one night and needed to get up early the next. Then out of nowhere, I started taking 25 mg Benadryl OR .25 xanax (sometimes .5) almost every night, even though I wasn't having problems sleeping. I'm not sure why I was even doing this! I thought it was helping me sleep “better.” Then in the midst of that, I got into a really bad episode of anxiety and couldn't sleep AT ALL. For weeks on end. And I tried everything--Ambien, melatonin, more Bendryl, more Xanax, Klonopin, relaxation, exercise, etc. At one point, I was taking both Seroquel and Trazodone together (plus .5 Klonopin 3x a day for anxiety and also Zoloft for anxiety and depression.) That's a lot of medication!! And I still was only sleeping 5-6 hours and still feeling so much anxiety and never refreshed. Now I am down to a microdose of Melatonin (300 mcg), 125 mg Trazodone (actively stepping down), and .5 Klonopin at night. I still also take Zoloft and Abilify for anxiety and depression. I am now sleeping, on average, 7 hours a night. But I still feel tired most of the time, and still have bad nights where I get 4-5. Then I feel AWFUL. I hope I can go back to being an 8-9 hour sleeper without meds like I was. I think for those of us who suffer from anxiety/depression and are on other meds as well, it complicates the whole situation! So that is my experience with sleeping pills. I think Trazodone is effective and less addictive then Benzos or z-drugs. But, it didn't work for me at first. That is why I had to take Seroquel. My anxiety overrode its effectiveness. It wasn't until I could get some control over that that I could get some more sleep. So, if it or another sleeping pill is not working for you and you have anxiety or another problem that's affecting your sleep, don't lose hope. This is tough!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    The benzos actually mess w your sleep cycles – xanax especially and especially at higher dosages (I would take 2 mg to sleep – but have been on this med for 7 years for panic attacks so tolerance is high) Ambien copies your natural cycles but once it quits working so well, the rebound insomnia is a killer. Be careful w/the meds – but if I got off them, others can too. I was on some crazy cocktails. Stick w/the program, taper down, and it will work!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thanks, gin-gin! I am down on Trazodone again (100 mg) and cut my .5 mg Klonopin into 3/4 since I last posted. I am seeing my doctor tonight, and will talk to her about a taper schedule for both drugs. I'm hoping to be off both by summer's end.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I take 0.5mg xanax and 10mg amytriptylline most nights. I have tried everything under the sun to sleep as I have had problems since I was a child. I only take the xanax if I know I need to get up for work in the morning. I just went on vacation and didn't use any. I am trying to completely get off the sleeping meds, but I know my anxiety will prevent me from getting any sleep if I don't take a xanax before bedtime on work days. I started a weeks vacation yesterday, so I know I won't take any xanax this week, however, would it be better just to not take it at all? I go back to work the following week and one week into the program I will have taken nothing but the amytriptylline nightly. My goal is to take nothing at all to sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Maybe try tapering the Xanax rather than taking it sometimes. Like cut your .5 in half. If you taper slowly, you're less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms and to be able to sleep without it. I am in a similar boat as I am currently taking Klonopin (same class as Xanax) and Trazodone (similar to amytriptylline) to sleep. I am currently tapering down the Klonopin (I take it every night) and the Trazodone, but I have a lot further to go on the Trazodone. I should be off Klonopin in about two weeks. Then I will tackle the Trazodone again. My doctor said to taper one at a time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Forgot my goal is also to sleep with no meds. I also take Melatonin, but I'm less worried about that as it's “natural,” and I'm on a very small dose.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Susanmary

    10

    Session 1

    I have just started the sleepio programme. I have suffered with insomnia for 20 years. I take amitryptylline at night and then if I wake up or cannot get off to sleep I take either 5 or 10 mg Temazepam. i really want to stop taking medication. How do people think this will affect me on the sleepio programme. I have indicated that I am taking medication and in the freehand box put the dose – do they read freehand entries?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Susanmary

    I'm also on Amitryptyline at night for a mixture of anxiety and to help me sleep (25 mg). It worked for the first couple of weeks but I am now finding that it only sedates me and doesn't actually send me to sleep. I also feel a bit of a cheat doing the programme on medication and not sure whether to come off the Amitryptyline or increase the dosage so I am able to sleep again. My doctor is a bit funny about me taking it.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi Enseada. Thank you for this which I found very helpful. I have decided to try and reduce my medication whilst on the programme.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi gin-gin
    I have started the sleepio course on weds – 3 days ago , i have not slept a minute since , although even the day before only slept a max of 1 hour , so no more than an hour in total in 4 nights.
    I to am tapering down from benzo,s/zopiclones from 30 mg now only taking 3 mg per day of diazepam – which i think does not help whatsoever , last night i took 4 mg of circadin which did not help at all .

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 5

    I am 5 weeks post alcoholic detox with anxiety depression. In the first week, on antidepressants (dosulepin) only, I eas getting 1 hr of sleep a night. 4 weeks on I have been taking Nytol to sleep (phenomenal next day drowsiness,effect on cognition, anxiety), switched to zopiclone 7.5 mg. (less drowsiness, still some cognition problems. Same problem, information on sleepers recorded in diary not taken into account, so it assumes that all the sleeop recorded is natural sleep. Are you saying that the program will only work if you come off sleeping pills. Can I get advice after I've missed an expert session?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 5

    i have done similar things to you antihistamine at bed time lasts 3 or 4 hrs then zopiclone good for 2to3 more hrs.
    after dont feel refreshed.
    I also do not know what to do.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Is anyone here taking sleeping meds? If so, are you trying to wean off them while doing the sleepio activity? It seems to me that sleepio is fine for people not taking anything, but ineffective for those who are. I don't understand why they don't address this. Just my opinion.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Mejosa, I took some sleep aids but not every night and I wasn't addicted to any meds either. But I did stop taking them as time went by.

    As a matter of fact you can still learn how to sleep by following what Prof says. Have a regular bedtime and getting up time. Maybe you can wean off the sleep medication as you go through the course, it is up to you, but you can definitely get into a good routine with or without meds.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hello Mejosa and others,
    Yes I'm working at dropping my zopliclone while on the course but very gently.. last night was the first night Ive managed 6 hours sleep without any medication….[week 5 ]. I'm seriously pleased….
    Mind you I cut my 3.5mg tabs in half long ago and only reckon to take them if I can't get back to sleep after my toilet trip and if I'm awake for at least an hour. I didn't find getting up a help and thought it could be dangerous for a golden oldie like me. I was frightened of tripping and the house is cold at night.
    It was a sleepio link to the NICE site that explained withdrawal should be one night a week increasing 1 night each week. So cutting tabs then trying this schedule is the way I intend to go.
    I think your Dr. is right in suggesting taper one at a time but I guess you decide which is the easiest/ most beneficial choice.
    My GP tried to get me to take amitriptyline instead of zopiclone for back pain but I found although it eases pain a bit it made me increasingly dopey during the day which my zopiclone doesn't [shorter half life I guess].
    Like you I post when I take tabs but that is for personal records only, as you say the system doesn't allow for it.
    Tabs or not I've learnt quite a lot on the course especially about sleep windows and the dangers of computer light in the evenings..
    Best of luck on your med free quest I hope it goes well
    D oreen

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Who is Andrew Johnson? How can I listen?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I'm just starting week3. I have been prescribed various sleep Meds on and off for about a year. Some have worked better than others but nothing seems to work all the time. I'm wondering how effective this program is if I take occasional sleeping meds or what others would advise.

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