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CuriousMomof3

What sleeping medicine do I want?

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DS10 is back in the hospital, and DH and I have decided to switch off for 48 hour shifts.  After spending time with my other kids, my highest priority for my time at home is to sleep.  But my anxiety makes it very hard to sleep when I'm worried about DS10.

I think I need some kind of medicine.  My usual concern that my reaction time would be slowed if DS10 had a medial emergency in the night doesn't apply, so i guess I could take anything.  During the last hospitalization, I tried Unisom sleep melts (Benadryl essentially) and Melatonin, they each worked for one night and then stopped working.  What should I try next? 

I have a pharmacy that delivers, and a doctor who would be happy to call something in, if prescription is better.  Any suggestions on what to try?

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Under the circumstances you could call your doctor and ask for Thor's hammer in medical form.

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I use doxylamine succinate, regular unisom; a half pill seems to be enough usually.

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Given the totality of what is going on in your life, I’d think about trazodone which is a SSRI. Most other classes of meds are for short term use only (period of weeks) and the main trigger isn’t a sleep cycle problem so much as anxiety. I would pick something that both addresses the anxiety AND has the side benefit of making one sleepy but is still not habit forming.

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18 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Given the totality of what is going on in your life, I’d think about trazodone which is a SSRI. Most other classes of meds are for short term use only (period of weeks) and the main trigger isn’t a sleep cycle problem so much as anxiety. I would pick something that both addresses the anxiety AND has the side benefit of making one sleepy but is still not habit forming.

I think you're right that I need something for anxiety, and I've put those wheels in motion.  But if I'm going back on Tuesday, I need something that will work Monday (tomorrow) night.  I think I read that trazodone is like other SSRI's in that it takes a couple weeks to work.  

Have you taken trazodone, did you see a change in your reaction speed, especially at night?  My concern with taking something on the nights he's home, or when I'm with him in the hospital, is that things can happen very quickly, and I need to be able to respond.  

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I have no idea CM, but very sorry about DS in the hospital. The only thing I can offer is prayers for the family, especially sleep and comfort for all of you. ((hugs))

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25 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I think you're right that I need something for anxiety, and I've put those wheels in motion.  But if I'm going back on Tuesday, I need something that will work Monday (tomorrow) night.  I think I read that trazodone is like other SSRI's in that it takes a couple weeks to work.  

Have you taken trazodone, did you see a change in your reaction speed, especially at night?  My concern with taking something on the nights he's home, or when I'm with him in the hospital, is that things can happen very quickly, and I need to be able to respond.  

I took trazodone for years.  It helped sleep immediately.  It did make my mouth dry in the mornings for awhile, but I don't recall grogginess or difficulty with awakening.  It is possible that it did for awhile; that tends to dissipate.  

I needed a more "comprehensive" antidepressant, so I take nortriptyline now, and trazodone is contraindicated with it, which really sucks, because trazodone was by far the most effective thing I ever took for sleep.  I take ambien now, and that might be a good choice for the next couple of days for you, but it isn't something you could take if you were "on duty" and needed to wake up.  And, I don't think it's nearly as effective as trazodone.  It simply doesn't really work as well, but it does for lots of folks.  

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27 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I have no idea CM, but very sorry about DS in the hospital. The only thing I can offer is prayers for the family, especially sleep and comfort for all of you. ((hugs))

Thank you, we can use all the prayers we can get.

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9 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I took trazodone for years.  It helped sleep immediately.  It did make my mouth dry in the mornings for awhile, but I don't recall grogginess or difficulty with awakening.  It is possible that it did for awhile; that tends to dissipate.  

I needed a more "comprehensive" antidepressant, so I take nortriptyline now, and trazodone is contraindicated with it, which really sucks, because trazodone was by far the most effective thing I ever took for sleep.  I take ambien now, and that might be a good choice for the next couple of days for you, but it isn't something you could take if you were "on duty" and needed to wake up.  And, I don't think it's nearly as effective as trazodone.  It simply doesn't really work as well, but it does for lots of folks.  

When you say it worked right away, do you literally mean like if I got CVS to deliver tomorrow afternoon, I'd sleep better tomorrow night?

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

When you say it worked right away, do you literally mean like if I got CVS to deliver tomorrow afternoon, I'd sleep better tomorrow night?

I mean, I can't guarantee it would for you, but it did for me.  

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The issue you've got is that you need something that will work right away, but frankly, stuff doesn't work the same for everyone.  And MOST things that you take for sleep will affect your ability to react quickly and be on duty with your son.  I think trazodone is going to be safer in that regard than something like ambien, which works immediately (and well for lots of folks), but mileage varies.  And you have little wiggle room.  

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As a lifelong, chronic insomniac, I've tried most sleep meds and my preferred Rx is zaleplon (brand name Sonata).  It's most effective for those who have trouble falling asleep, rather than those who have trouble staying asleep, because it works quite quickly but has a very short half-life. Because of that, it doesn't cause morning grogginess (like benzos do) and if you suddenly have to wake up, you can be alert right away.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Nytol) only works for me for a day or two; after that it has no effect on sleep and just gives me nose bleeds.

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1 minute ago, Terabith said:

The issue you've got is that you need something that will work right away, but frankly, stuff doesn't work the same for everyone.  And MOST things that you take for sleep will affect your ability to react quickly and be on duty with your son.  I think trazodone is going to be safer in that regard than something like ambien, which works immediately (and well for lots of folks), but mileage varies.  And you have little wiggle room.  

Yes, but as I understand it, something like Ambien only impacts me on the nights I take it.  So, if I took Ambien only on nights when I'm home and DS10 is an hour away in the hospital, I'm not putting him at risk.  Then when it's my turn to be back in the hospital, or when he comes home, I could stop.

Whereas I don't think that's how Trazodone is supposed to be taken, based on the 3 minutes I spent reading an online article about it.  

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I’m sorry your son is back in the hospital. I’m sure you do need good rest on the nights when you can get it. I’m not a person who has lifelong insomnia, only someone who can NOT sleep while traveling (anxiety about the place, hyped up bc I’m in a different environment, uncomfortable surroundings, etc). I’ve taken ambien (reg and xr) very short term for exactly those kinds of nights. It worked *for me* the way you’re describing what you need. I could take it that one night (or 4-5 nights), immediately fall asleep, sleep very well, and wake up fine. If I took it for say, a whole week of a trip, then it was harder for me to adjust the first few nights back home without meds, but that has been my only side effect. If you have problems staying asleep, then I’d say try the ambien xr. Otherwise, just for falling asleep, the regular ambien is fine. 
 

once again, I know lots of people online have reported doing very weird things on this medicine, but in my experience, I just took it and went to bed immediately— Slept well and was fine. 
 

I do hope you and your doctor can figure out something that suits your particular needs. 

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You might look at hydroxyzine as well. It’s non habit forming. 

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30 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yes, but as I understand it, something like Ambien only impacts me on the nights I take it.  So, if I took Ambien only on nights when I'm home and DS10 is an hour away in the hospital, I'm not putting him at risk.  Then when it's my turn to be back in the hospital, or when he comes home, I could stop.

Whereas I don't think that's how Trazodone is supposed to be taken, based on the 3 minutes I spent reading an online article about it.  

No, trazodone is not taken like ambien, only on an "as needed" basis.  I did not find it made me groggy or hard to wake up, and my kids were little when I took it.  However, people's reactions vary (a lot), and also it's possible that there was a transitional period when I first started taking it when it DID leave me groggy and I don't remember it.  But long term, it did not.  

I suspect you are correct though and that ambien (or sonata, which I've only ever heard of) would be the safer choice.  

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Was it awhile ago that you tried Unisom?  I started having trouble sleeping about 5 years ago.  About one week a month, I take Unisom.  I will say that the first couple of times I tried it, it didn't work.  Then suddenly, when I tried it again a year or two later, it did.  I fall asleep fast (although that's never been a problem for me).  My main problem is that I wake in the middle of the night and feel wide awake, and then I start thinking and can't sleep.  With Unisom, I think for 5 or 10 minutes, and then get drowsy and fall back asleep again for the rest of the night.  Strangely, if I need to get up during the night to take care of something urgent, I can wake up and do it and feel fine.  Anyway, just a suggestion to maybe give it a try again, although I know it doesn't work for everybody.  

 

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If its available to you (I’m in Canada and I know some meds here are not available in the US) - zopiclone has been a lifesaver for me and my insomnia. The first time I took it, I slept that night like I hadn’t slept in ages. It isn’t cumulative so it works the first time you take it. I had crystal clear sleep, no grogginess the next day or nausea. I woke up to my alarm in the morning, maybe had to blink a few extra times (though, looking back I think it was more from the fact that I had slept for the first time, for real, in months), but up and at it with no lasting after effects. I started on a very low dose, 5 mg and that was plenty for me. I take it as needed. 

For me, I was REALLY anxious (i have generalized anxiety disorder, biggest trigger is medical fears) that I would not be able to get up inthe night, or if someone needed me I’d be unavailable. Honestly, if I am woken in the night by the phone or a kiddo who needs me, my head clears very quickly and I don’t feel ‘intoxicated’ or unable to function. And, most times, if I do wake up for whatever reason - I can go back to sleep almost immediately. 

It’s been a big win for me. I do take it ‘as needed’ but fairly regularly because I just am a nicer person when I get solid sleep. I haven’t had to increase my dosage and it still works the same as when I started taking it. 

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I personally haven’t taken sleep meds, but I have family members who have, at times.

Trazodone would be a daily med, but since the sleep effect is secondary I don’t know that that would be a problem. Ambien could also be a good choice, but it is habit forming.

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Thank you everyone!  I have a telehealth appointment at 3:00, and hopefully will get a prescription called in for something. 

14 hours ago, J-rap said:

Was it awhile ago that you tried Unisom?  I started having trouble sleeping about 5 years ago.  About one week a month, I take Unisom.  I will say that the first couple of times I tried it, it didn't work.  Then suddenly, when I tried it again a year or two later, it did.  I fall asleep fast (although that's never been a problem for me).  My main problem is that I wake in the middle of the night and feel wide awake, and then I start thinking and can't sleep.  With Unisom, I think for 5 or 10 minutes, and then get drowsy and fall back asleep again for the rest of the night.  Strangely, if I need to get up during the night to take care of something urgent, I can wake up and do it and feel fine.  Anyway, just a suggestion to maybe give it a try again, although I know it doesn't work for everybody.  

It was during his last hospital stay a couple weeks ago.  I continued to take it, until we came home from that stay 11 days ago, but didn't really see any results after the first couple times.  

But that was the Benedryl Unisom, not the regular Unisom.  It sounds like some people have better results.

15 hours ago, Terabith said:

No, trazodone is not taken like ambien, only on an "as needed" basis.  I did not find it made me groggy or hard to wake up, and my kids were little when I took it.  However, people's reactions vary (a lot), and also it's possible that there was a transitional period when I first started taking it when it DID leave me groggy and I don't remember it.  But long term, it did not.  

I suspect you are correct though and that ambien (or sonata, which I've only ever heard of) would be the safer choice.  

The grogginess is a huge concern for me, just because things can go badly really quickly, and then we have moments to respond.  I'd love to find something I could take every night.  I'm going to ask if they think trazodone would be safe.  Because it would be nice to have improved sleep every night.  

3 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I personally haven’t taken sleep meds, but I have family members who have, at times.

Trazodone would be a daily med, but since the sleep effect is secondary I don’t know that that would be a problem. Ambien could also be a good choice, but it is habit forming.

I hadn't thought about the habit forming piece.  My sleep on nights when I can't take something is already pretty bad.

I'm going to ask about all of them, and we'll see.  

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16 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

 Trazodone would be a daily med, but since the sleep effect is secondary I don’t know that that would be a problem. 

Trazadone doesn't have to be a daily med; I've had an 'as needed' scrip for years. 

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Hydroxyzine from the doctor. Mild antihistamine/anxiety med, will help you sleep. Really short half life, so it's not going to leave you groggy the next day. Or you can take benadryl, but you might like the hydroxyzine better. Stupid cheap, an easy ask. And of course see what your doctor thinks, but yes there are meds like that. I would like that better than chamomile or something, me personally, for the situation, because you want it in and out, not a hangover of side effects.

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Thanks everyone,

My doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien, and asked me to schedule another appointment for the next time I'm home to talk about Trazadone.  She wants to do some research so she can answer my questions.

The Ambien worked relatively well.  I fell asleep faster than usual, and slept for like 4 hours, which isn't bad for me.  When I woke up, I called my husband to check in.  He told me this morning that I sounded really loopy and out of it.   I hope I didn't say anything too embarrassing. Then I was able to sleep a little more. For me that was a pretty good night,

We've switched back, I'm at the hospital now.  Hopefully, the fact that I didn't arrive exhausted will help a little.  

 

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1 hour ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

The Ambien worked relatively well.  I fell asleep faster than usual, and slept for like 4 hours, which isn't bad for me.  When I woke up, I called my husband to check in.  He told me this morning that I sounded really loopy and out of it.   I hope I didn't say anything too embarrassing. Then I was able to sleep a little more. For me that was a pretty good night,

When you take Ambien, you shouldn't try to do anything other than rest and sleep. When you take it and do other things, even things as simple as making a phone call, well, that's when things get crazy, lol. You're meant to take it, go straight to bed, and stay there doing nothing. Really. There's a reason there's an entire subReddit called Things You Did on Ambien. 

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2 minutes ago, katilac said:

When you take Ambien, you shouldn't try to do anything other than rest and sleep. When you take it and do other things, even things as simple as making a phone call, well, that's when things get crazy, lol. You're meant to take it, go straight to bed, and stay there doing nothing. Really. There's a reason there's an entire subReddit called Things You Did on Ambien. 

Yeah, my Ambien comes with a warning label that says that if you wake up and discover that you cooked, or drove, or had sex, and don't remember you shouldn't take it any more. 

At the same time, if taking a medication means I can't call the ICU to see how my kid is doing when I wake up worrying about him in the night, then it's probably not the right medication for me.  I do remember the conversation, although clearly I'm not remembering the tone in the same way my husband does.  Luckily he loves me so he just teased me a little.  It also clearly illustrated the reason that I can't take this medication when my kid is in the house.  If a phone call didn't go well, an emergency trach change would probably have gone disastrously.  

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37 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yeah, my Ambien comes with a warning label that says that if you wake up and discover that you cooked, or drove, or had sex, and don't remember you shouldn't take it any more. 

At the same time, if taking a medication means I can't call the ICU to see how my kid is doing when I wake up worrying about him in the night, then it's probably not the right medication for me.  I do remember the conversation, although clearly I'm not remembering the tone in the same way my husband does.  Luckily he loves me so he just teased me a little.  It also clearly illustrated the reason that I can't take this medication when my kid is in the house.  If a phone call didn't go well, an emergency trach change would probably have gone disastrously.  

I would totally keep taking it while he's in the hospital, and keep calling DH if I was worried, just not get out of bed.

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5 minutes ago, Slache said:

I would totally keep taking it while he's in the hospital, and keep calling DH if I was worried, just not get out of bed.

We switched back, but if I leave here again before DS does, I'll probably take it again.  I definitely got more sleep during the 48 hours I was gone, than any other 48 hour period since DS joined us.  

 

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Hi everyone, I'm back with an update and more questions.

As I said above, the first night on Ambien was great.  The second time I took it, my husband called me with a medical emergency in the middle of the night.  First, I slept through the call.  Then when my FIL came and woke me up to take me to the hospital, I was a mess.  Clearly Ambien, major sleep deprivation, and a medical emergency is a bad combination.  The third night, I took 1/2, which worked but since there wasn't a medical emergency I can't say how it would have impacted me. 

I then called my doctor back, and she prescribed Trazodone.  The nights at home, since Trazodone, have been great. I've been getting like 8 hours a night, and multiple nights in a row.  Usually we have one parent at the hospital for two nights, and one at home, and then we switch, and I've even been able to sleep well on the second night, which feels like a huge thing. 

But, this morning, I was sleeping in my son's hospital room, and the ventilator alarm went off, and I stayed asleep.  We're in ICU, so it actually wasn't a big deal, since the nurse came in quickly and fixed him up and woke me in the process.  But it would be a big deal if it happened at home.  I think with what I'm feeling now, it would only happen if I was asleep, I don't think I'd fall asleep if I was trying to stay awake, but I don't know that, and  if I was asleep and DH called for help, for example, it could be bad.  

Fortunately (that's the wrong word, but for this one tiny aspect of this situation it's a good thing) we're here at least another week, so I've got lots of backup, but I'm obviously needing a different plan, which is too bad because I've definitely been a better parent with more sleep these past few days.

So, any thoughts on what to do next?  Half dose?  I'm currently on 50 mg, which is really low for antidepressant purposes but common for sleep purposes, I think.  Only take it on the nights when I'm home and he's not and resign myself to crappy sleep when we're home?  Something else?

 

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I think I would try a half dose while he is still in hospital.

Knowing you can sleep when not on duty is still an improvement. 🙂 

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7 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I think I would try a half dose while he is still in hospital.

Knowing you can sleep when not on duty is still an improvement. 🙂 

Absolutely.  I'm going to skip tonight, and then tomorrow night, when I'm probably home, try the 1/2 dose.  

Seeing how much better I felt and parented, after 2 consecutive nights of sleep, I feel like I can't just not take anything.  I need to find a solution.  

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Sooooooo Glad you got some sleep. From someone with chronic insomnia, I know what you mean in being a better parent with sleep. LOL

Try a smaller dose of the trazodone. 

I prefer Sonata (zapelon). It helps me fall asleep and I can wake up and function on it. It is a capsule, so if you try it, get the smallest dose possible.  It would be good to try when someone can wake you up to test your abilities on it. I never take a sleep aid when I am the only person home with kids. It is just not something I am comfortable with. 

One med I take nightly is gabapentin. I take a tiny dose of 200mg. It is usually prescribed for nerve pain in doses of 1200-2400mg. It works like a sleep-aid for me, but doesn't have a long sleep inducing effect. I am prone to my mind racing and keeping me awake, and it helps with that. I notice that on days when I skipped the prior nights dose, I am much, much more tired, so it absolutely works for me. It also helps with my restless legs, so that is a win too!

 

Ambien knocks me out and makes my mind think weird things. Benadryl has a hang-over effect. 

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1 hour ago, Tap said:

Sooooooo Glad you got some sleep. From someone with chronic insomnia, I know what you mean in being a better parent with sleep. LOL

Try a smaller dose of the trazodone. 

I prefer Sonata (zapelon). It helps me fall asleep and I can wake up and function on it. It is a capsule, so if you try it, get the smallest dose possible.  It would be good to try when someone can wake you up to test your abilities on it. I never take a sleep aid when I am the only person home with kids. It is just not something I am comfortable with. 

One med I take nightly is gabapentin. I take a tiny dose of 200mg. It is usually prescribed for nerve pain in doses of 1200-2400mg. It works like a sleep-aid for me, but doesn't have a long sleep inducing effect. I am prone to my mind racing and keeping me awake, and it helps with that. I notice that on days when I skipped the prior nights dose, I am much, much more tired, so it absolutely works for me. It also helps with my restless legs, so that is a win too!

 

Ambien knocks me out and makes my mind think weird things. Benadryl has a hang-over effect. 

Thanks, i initially just wanted something to help me on nights when I'm home, and he isn't, but was feeling cautiously optimistic the trazodone would work at home.  It sounds like Sonata isn't an option if you don't feel safe with it when you're alone with the kids.  I'm never actually alone in the house when DS is here, but I do need to be 100% alert pretty quickly when something goes wrong.

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