Extreme insomnia for 5 months, brain forgot how to sleep...Only light sleep in 1hr blocks :( HELP!!!

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hello, I am sure my brain is turning into mush after 5 months of severe insomnia. i had very mild insomnia before for a few years, but after a trigger of a lot of emotional stress in March, i completely lost the ability to sleep.

It started from having no sleep for 10 days straight, and i know that initially it started due to a fear that i would die from sleep deprivation. then i got very depressed and have been living in a constant brain fog. i tried natural remedies for a month and nothing helped...i just continued to get very light/conscious sleep if anything, and id get up extrememly exhausted and would cry all day. i even ended up at the hospital for2 weeks where they tried EVERYTHING under the sun (trazadone, doxepin, gabapentin, seroquel, ambien), and the only thing that would get me sleep 3-4 hours max was combining one of these drugs with a heavy benzo. on some days i still got 0 hours on the benzos, so i stopped taking them. this has been a nightmare and completely debilitating. ive lost everything, my job, my boyfriend, and now about to loose my apartment because i can no longer afford it.

i now only get very light sleep where i feel conscious the entire time, i can hear all my surroundings and im looking at the minutes go by on the clock, so i know im awake but just resting. Every few days ill have whats feels like very light sleep in one hour blocks only....but i only think ive fallen asleep briefly bcs i remember a dream, although i feel like ive been awake, if that makes any sense. maybe im going i to REM immediately since im so sleep deprived, or maybe im hallucinating in my semi conscious light sleep. Anyway, only been able to sleep 1-2 hours every few days, sometime 0 hours! i can only sleep 3 hrs on benzos, but i dont want to take them (just take one per week to get some relief bcs my depression has skyrocketed bcs of this, but i feel like ive surrendered and accepted that i will slowly deteriorate, and thankfully ive become less anxious but that hasnt help resolved the problem. maybe my brain got use to not sleeping anymore so even if i try not to worry about sleep anymore, it doesnt matter cause its is now programmed to get light sleep/rest only. i know that i havent gotten any real deep sleep since this all started and im so worried that my brain simply forgot due to making up for prolonged sleep deprivation.

also, any time i do realized that ive been dreaming (again, only one hour blocks) i become more alert and my head hurts...i feel brain zaps and the ringing in my ears get so lous! anyone experiece this? i know its the electrical activity in my brain rocking my nerve cells bcs of the severe sleep deprivation...also i sometime feel like im goign into sleep paralysis over and over again. i. constant brain fog all day and feel soooo tired, and bcs of that i dont every feel "sleepy", ive completely lost my sleep drive even though im sooooo exhausted 😦

HELP!!!

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  • Posted

    Your not alone with the INSOMNIA,

    I went through 5 months without any sleep and i also thought the trauma, caused by the sleep deprivation, had caused permanent damage to my sleep cycle and that i'd never sleep again.

    The docs are hesitant to prescribe benzos for the obvious reasons but i was prescribed promethazine for sleep and it really helped me .

    For me, my no sleep was down to all the adrenaline, but in time it will all settles down and you will begin to sleep again.

    It's the trying to go over to sleep thats the hardest. You're mentally exhausted but the mind wont let you rest!

    You will get your life back, it just takes a long long time. Take care x

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    • Posted

      thanks vikki, your words give me hope! I was prescribed atarax (which i think is similar to the drug you took), but it only made me very drowsy and i relaxed to just lay in bed, but not actually sleep...maybe i didnt try it for long enough... did you experienece the same thing, and how long after you started taking it did things start lifting? was it slow progress at first? Also, before your 5 month episode started, did you struggle with sleep? im afraid bcs i have now realized that i was in flight or fight more for a very long time before i started to worry about sleep and then when my 10 day no-sleep episode happened, i became terrified...so i wonder how ill ever get my sleep drive back if before i was also very tense but sleep itself hadnt become an obsession so it was able to happen. its all a fog, and night and day feels the same to me...im tired but alert, so i wonder when ill ever start noticing the difference since im so hypervigilant of every sensation i feel that my adrenaline, as you mentioned, is confusing any feelings of relaxation for alertness 😕

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  • Posted

    hi- i can't believe none of those prescriptions helped you-did they really try that many meds on you while you were in the hospital for 2 weeks? how long did you take them? i'm surprised the seroquel didn't help! i hear it works well but i haven't tried it yet. have you had amnitriptyline yet? what about mirtazapine?

    have you had your cortisol tested? i'm interested in testing mine to see if it's too high and could that be causing the severe insomnia.

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    • Posted

      yes, mirtazipine too as well as elavil. serroquel and everything else would make me drowsy of course but not put me to sleep, unless you added a benzo. mirtazipine was the most horrible! i felt so drugged for 2 days...seroquel too, i felt so confused and had vivid dreams/or hallucinations. i think that in a hospital setting, bcs they switch things daily, its hard to know whats gonna work if u keep taking it longer...they try to figure things out quick, but you end up feeling so drugged and confused and it adds tot he anxiety. it made things worse for me to go to the hospital...it surely added to my fear.

      bcs i only responded mildly when on venzos, i know for a fact it has to do with gaba depletion, and ive been doing more investigating into that... for me im sure it was chronic stress, which depleted gaba, and creates and excess of glutamate that becomes excitotoxic (makes sense bcs this is linked to OCD, which i have). Once that happens to the extent that it has been, its hard to get back to balance , especially when youre having NO sleep , and things seem to further deplete, youre extremely depressed and anxious during the say etc. ive been trying all natural supplements once again, since last week (no luck yet, but im sure it takes some time even in a normal sleeper to see benefits).... im trying to tackle the serotonin, gaba and glutamate stuff by doing the following daily (i knownits a lot but i feel my issue is very extreme):

      AMINOS: SAM-e, NAC, 5htp, also ill be adding Glycine at night (ordered today)

      PROBIOTICS: there are certain strains that help w/ both the serotonin systen and the gaa/glutamate inbalance

      VITAMINS: zinc, D, magnesium glycinate, B-complex vitamins espec B6, 12, and l-methyl.folate plus inositol

      OTHER: tumeric/curcumin (better that prozac apparently), cashews (high in serotonin)/leafy green/bananas for potassium, and Omega-3 oils

      MIND/BODY: accupuncture, chiropractic, rosen method, walking a lot, listening to positive affirmations, gratitude practice, meditation, recently started CBTi again w/a different therapist, Yoga nidra (supposedly one hr equals 4 hrs of sleep and its the only thing tahts gotten me to survive this long, alrhough it does not equal deep sleep).

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    • Posted

      wow - thanks! i can see you are fully on your game...i will try some of these too. have you ever tested your cortisol levels? high cortisol can cause issues. i too think my insomnia may also be gaba depletion as well.

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  • Posted

    Im dealing with the same crap right now since july 15th. Ive tried every natural supplement under the sun but whenever i get close to drifting off i jerk awake i haven't slept but in maybe a single 4 hour block since July 15th. I get maybe 1-2 hours of sleep a night. Im so scared im gonna die of sleep deprivation im going to a GP on Monday hopefully he can help fix it. Im so anxious 24/7 about not getting enough sleep im hyper focused on it and i just cant relax. This has been the worst last 4 weeks of my life. I dont wanna continue like this i just want to sleep again.

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    • Posted

      dont worry, if ive survived 5 months on very little light sleep only, you wont die...so i woydl just say, dont focus on how long its been bcs it made things worse for me when i started to fear that. i really hope you get your issue under control soon bcs it truly is torture, and i feel for you. it feels like the longer you go on like this, the more the anxiety and learned helplessness further exacerbates the problem. if you have any luck please keep me posted!

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    • Posted

      The worst part is the feeling of being trapped with the anxiety and the inability to take my mind off it. I have had periods of anxiety before but they always got better over a period of months. I know that if i could just get a couple nights of at least decent sleep ill get the confidence back and ill heal my brain. Id really rather avoid prescription drugs as my dad had addiction issues that caused all sorts of issues for my family.

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    • Posted

      i hear you. you know what, to be honest im not even that anxious anymore, but im more saddened by the fact that my brain has learned to be this way, i feel like even surrendering hasnt alleviated the problem. i think maybe that putting so much effort i to sleep for so long has messed me up, at this poitn now that im not all that anxious about it, the brain is doing what it learned to do to survive---light/coon cious sleep. it is agonizing.

      have you tried CBTi? i hear it works for most folks...i tried it during a time that i was too anxious and it didnt work for me...but i know i have severe anxiety/ocd that was heightened around the time it all started...maybe it will work for you? also, see the natural supplements i wrote about in my comment above---you might have luck w/ them since they seem to work for a lot of folks. i think for me its not knowing the differnece btwn what feels normal during the day since i realized i was verrrrry anxious and always running on adrenaline before my episode.....and thats how it feels right now....a blur of veryyyy tired but wired.

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