Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Insomnia No More

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always had trouble sleeping. I'd go to bed, and it would take me forever to fall asleep. Same thing when I was a teenager and young adult. After my accident I used to take Ambien or Benadryl to help me sleep at night, but both of those drugs lose their effectiveness if you take them too many days in a row. Plus, I wasn't crazy about being dependent on them to sleep, so I stopped taking them.

So now I was back to having sleep in problems again. It would either take me hours to fall asleep, or I would fall asleep without too much trouble, only to wake up a few hours later, and then be awake for two, three or even four hours. It was so frustrating because I desperately wanted to sleep, but I'd be wide awake. (And I couldn't even get out of bed and read or watch TV.) I'd wake up feeling exhausted the next morning, which is never a good feeling. So frustrating!

Another irritating sleep problem is that so many of the medications I take cause drowsiness or tiredness. This is a really annoying side effect, because when I'm awake I want to be able to work on my computer and get stuff done, and I hate feeling so tired that I have to stop and sleep. As Sweet Brown says, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" It seems like so often I get really tired between the hours of 10 AM and noon, and if I don't stop and sleep for a bit, I can't accomplish anything! I've even been known to fall asleep in public (like church), even though I try so hard to stay awake. Why is it that I can't sleep when I want to, yet I feel tired when I want to be awake?!

I've heard some people take melatonin to help them sleep, so I asked my doctor about it when I went in for my appointment this past July. She said I should give it a try, so I had my mom stop at Target on the way home so that we could get some. The melatonin has made such a big difference! Now it only takes me about 30 minutes to fall asleep, instead of a couple hours like it used to. I just take one of the melatonin pills a few hours before I go to bed. It doesn't really make me feel tired, but when I go to bed I'm able to fall asleep relatively quickly and stay asleep through the night. As someone who has experienced insomnia my entire life, this is a HUGE deal. I'm so glad that I've finally found something that helps me get a good night's sleep that isn't addictive. It really doesn't have any downsides, and unlike Ambien or Benadryl, you can take melatonin night after night without your body habituating to it. Hallelujah!
Melatonin comes in 1 mg, 3 mg or 5 mg tablets. I take the 3 mg tablets, and those work just fine for me.


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