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Need help with insomnia

imackie48
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2011

I just had my first chemo last week, and I can't get a good nights sleep. I tried Ambinen last night lucky if I slept 1 hr.
I've tried warm milk, went from couch to bed and back. Today is day 9 post. Chemo
Any suggestions from someone'whos been there, I don't use anything caffeine and don't nap during the day either.
I'd pay 100.00 for a good nights sleep.

Irene

LizGrrr's picture
LizGrrr
Posts: 124
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Irene -

I hear you on the insomnia. The first round of chemo I don't think I slept for a week. Between the steroids and the hydrocodone and the bone pain I was physically exhausted but unable to sleep.

The second round of chemo was better, mostly because I knew what to expect so I was less stressed but also because I didn't take the hydrocodone - the bone pain was excruciating but the hydrocodone didn't put a dent in it and just kept me awake so I stuck with Tylenol Arthritis (which helped some but not enough). I also made better use of Ambien and antihistamines.

Hope things get better,
Liz in Dallas

imackie48
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2011

Liz, I was only on the steroids the day of chemo. Did she stay on them afterwards? My doctor says then leukine shots I get daily are a stimulant. That's one of my problems, I don't know how I'm going through the following 3 treatments, it's very depressing.
I appreciate all the support from all of you, sometimes we think we are the only one with these issues.
Like you said I try to take as little medication as possible.mi will,give the melatonin a try.

Hope to be counting sheep soon...

Irene

imackie48
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2011

Liz, I was only on the steroids the day of chemo. Did she stay on them afterwards? My doctor says then leukine shots I get daily are a stimulant. That's one of my problems, I don't know how I'm going through the following 3 treatments, it's very depressing.
I appreciate all the support from all of you, sometimes we think we are the only one with these issues.
Like you said I try to take as little medication as possible I will,give the melatonin a try.

Hope to be counting sheep soon...

Irene

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1356
Joined: Jan 2009

I think mine was from the steroids. I still have nights where I can't go to sleep until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I have tried Benadryl and Melatonin. I try one or the other. Sometimes they work, and sometimes it does not work. Those nights I get up and read. Luckily I can sleep in, but then I can' go to bed at a normal time the next night. It becomes a viscous cycle. I try not to nap during the day. If I feel tired, I go for a walk to wake me up. I know I get more emotional when I don't sleep, especially if it goes on for several days. Hope your Ambien works for you. In peace and caring.

RoseyR
Posts: 462
Joined: Feb 2011

What I'd suggest is that you see an integrative doctor and/or take melatonin (10-20 mgs a night, an hour before bedtime), starting with 3 milligrams a night and working up gradually to ten or twenty.

Much research (Lissoni, et al) shows that melatonin not only enhances sleep but makes chemo more effective and emhances overall survival.

Try to get a plant-based form of melatonin, however; good brands are Pure and Vital Nutrients.

No side effects are documented other than occasional grogginess in the morning and even this effect occurs rarely.

Best,
Rosey

lkchapman's picture
lkchapman
Posts: 103
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Irene,
I had trouble with insomnia until I found a wonderful OTC pill called Alteril. It's a combination of melatonin, L-tryptophan(the substance in turkey that makes you want to nap), valerian root and several other homeopathic ingredients. I swear by it. I've been using it for months and it's wonderful. You can buy at any drug store or even Walmart. I don't think that it's contraindicated in chemo, but you could ask your oncologist. Just take it an hour before you want to sleep. I haven't found anything better.

Laura

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

Sometimes ativan helps. It is a benzodiazpine and can be addicting so you have to use it wisely. But it it can help get in a better pattern if ambien doesn't work. I have never tried lunesesta (the butterfly one on television) I tried melatonin but it gave me a headache. Whenever I take an OTC I check with my Doctor before taking any OTC or organic; alot of them have not been studied with chemo.

Love,Diane

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

I have always been a night owl and now it is worse than ever - I seem to get these bursts of energy about 11 PM. I also am lucky that I can sleep in. I take 1/4 of a tiny Ambien and probably am fooling myself into thinking that it helps.

I asked my doctor about becoming addicted to Ambien and then answered my own question.....so what?

Sometimes I am sure that people think I am a slug when I sleep in until 9 or 10 — but if I have not gone to sleep until 3 what's the difference?

Last night I was exhausted at 10:30 and went to bed then, only to toss and turn, sleeping off and on, until 4 when I got up and read for an hour.

joann

imackie48
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2011

I decided it take an 1/2 pil of Advil PM it it worked, it was a good sound sleep.
Irene

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

This is the sleep-inducing ingredient in Advil PM. It is an antihistamine, which affects some people like myself exactly the opposite of how i is meant to work. In other words, it wakes me up!

Glad it worked for you and that you got some good sleep!

JOANN

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 422
Joined: Apr 2011

It has diphenhydramine in it. Diphenhydramine also blocks the action of acetylcholine (anticholinergic effect) and is used as a sedative because it causes drowsiness. This is what the chemo nurses told me to take to help with the leg pain from the chemo taxol. It also helps with sleep. trish

RoseyR
Posts: 462
Joined: Feb 2011

I too struggle not with insomnia, pe se, but strange biorythyms: am at my worst late afternoon and at my best from about 10 to 2 in the morning: bursts of vitality and lucidity make me want to work THEN more than anytime else.

As a result, I often sleep late and today as late as NOON. (Had been up till 3:30 last night).

Since I'm on sabbatical leave and have no expected schedule, it's no problem--but have read from many sources that our pineal glands secrete melatonin most easily between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. so the optimal time to go to sleep is around ten.

Ten! Most nights I try to get into bed by eleven and be asleep by midnight; when that happens, I'm doing well.

Am trying o force self into getting up early tomorrow to force sleepiness by 10 tomorrow night. (Have you ever TRIED to get onto an earlier schedule? I find it so uncivliized, esp i winter, to get up before 10, shamefully.

Or do you think there is something TO the theory of biorhythms and that we shouldn't fight our "natural" inclinations?

Rosey

I Will Survive
Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2011

Circadian rhythms have a genetic component, genes that turn our internal clocks off and on. I have also read that a short period of sleep during the day, aka a power-nap, does not have any measurable effect on normal circadian rhythms, but can decrease stress and improve productivity.

"The 'master clock' that controls circadian rhythms consists of a group of nerve cells in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. The SCN contains about 20,000 nerve cells and is located in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain just above where the optic nerves from the eyes cross. "

"Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns. The body’s master clock controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Since it is located just above the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain, the SCN receives information about incoming light. When there is less light—like at night—the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin so you get drowsy."

I am not sure it is really possible to totally re-set one's internal clock or permanently change one's circadian rhythm. Maybe you just need to give in to it, if possible.

"Recent research has shown that: adults have a built-in day, which averages about 24 hours; indoor lighting does affect circadian rhythms; and most people attain their best-quality sleep during their chronotype-determined sleep periods." Here is the link to read about chronotype:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronotype

Hannah

Tresia23's picture
Tresia23
Posts: 71
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi, I am interested in what you have written about lighting affecting circadian rhythmn. I have fibromyalgia on top of endo ca. Have always had problems with sleep and do not take sleep meds. I found a great book on this subject in my local library by Dr Helen Wright and Prof Leon Lack who both work at Flinders University in South Australia. Sleep study is their specialty. The book is really interesting and I have tried some of the suggestions especially in relation to light therapy and keeping my room dark. I have also experimented with candle gazing which I learned from a yoga teacher. Supposed to increase secretion of melatonin. Have a look at www.3stepstobettersleep.com.au/

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