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SAD effecting my sleep patterns or something else?


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No matter what I can't seem to get a normal sort of sleep pattern, especially in the winter. My goal is to be to sleep by 3 and up before 12 and not feel tired all day. I used to be up by 12 then it became 12:30, then 1 etc. Last night I got to bed at around 3:50 but I didn't get up til practically 3. I shouldn't require 12 hrs of sleep to feel rested.

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Hurray! Sorry, I know your situation is frustrating. I'm just glad to see someone with the exact issue I have. However, I'm now able to sleep a regular amount and go to bed when I choose. I'm in the fortunate position of being fascinated with medication. I love trying new medication. I love experimenting with supplements. And I love the control medications can allow you to have over things like sleep pattern and fatigue. Here is my little story:

I've always slept a lot. If the world revolved around me, I would sleep 10-12 hours a day. I will sleep 10-12 hours even after weeks of getting that amount of sleep. My depression was a problem, but I was dealing with it. As a University student, however, I had a more serious problem at the time. I couldn't get up for class. Most people don't understand this, and it's frustrating to deal with their judgments. However, I needed help so I turned to my doctor. He referred me to a sleep specialist, but there was a significant wait time for this. It turns out he ended up forgetting to do the paperwork, but anyway...

Part 1: Stimulant Dexedrine (no longer using it)

Until then, I needed to get up for class. He prescribed a prescription stimulant, dexedrine. I gradually moved from 10mg up to 30mg. Dexedrine has tolerance issues, but they vary from person to person. I seemed to be somewhat stable at 30mg. The positives were this drug gives you a high. Some people get addicted, but it is fairly uncommon. Still, I do find myself missing it occasionally. That's probably because I'm dealing with depression still and don't get a lot of regular "high" from life. That being said, there are some issues with stimulants:

1. Tolerance. Gradual reduction is dose is recommended when stopping. I stopped instantly because it was interacting with another medication, but it did make me really tired to do this. For me, it interacted with Effexor (but only at 75mg). I don't take either of them now.

2. I forget the medical terminology. However, stimulants generally decrease some sort of thing in the brain. This thing in the brain allows you to experience pleasure and works with antidepressants. Thus, they can create a dependency and it takes your body time to rebuild its little "brain receptor stores."

3. For me, it made me too focused. I did math tests where my writing was really erratic. I went back and read my test. It looked like a high person read it. For me, I needed a dose that was too high for my concentration (though this might have been because my mental faculties were worse due to depression). However, it was the dose I needed to wake up.

Pro: Makes you a lot happier. I'm pretty sure drugs of this type instantly make anyone happy, for the most part - hence why people end up with drug problems. The addictiveness is rare, though. Less than alcohol, I believe.

Important part: It did let me wake up with whatever amount of sleep I choose.

Part 2: Current situation

I eventually saw the sleep specialist. He did a simple test. I was waking up in the middle of the night. He suspected allergies and gave me a corticosteriod (nasal spray). This improved my sleep quality significantly, but things were not perfect. I am in line to get an overnight sleep study done. I could have any range of things causing sleep issues. People often assuming depression causes the sleep problems. While it can contribute, it isn't always the major factor. In fact, the sleep issues can even cause the depression.

Eventually, I got a Pdoc. He recommended melatonin. I also used seroquel for a time, a sedative. Even without the seroquel, I can get to sleep whenever I want with melatonin (take it about 30-60 minutes before I want to sleep). It's over the counter and relatively inexpensive.

My problems crawled back. This time I'm pretty sure it was depression. I started taking modafinil (is for narcolepsy but used for depression). I can get up whenever I want, for the most part. I still sleep longer than I intend sometimes because, to be honest, taking wakefulness enhancing drugs lets you cheat on sleep. So when I am too tired to wake up with a drug, I probably need the sleep anyway. I take 200 mg, twice a day. I don't necessarily need that much, though. Sometimes I forget to take the later dose. It depends on what's going on and how tired I am. I don't know how to explain it. I take Wellbutrin now which helps as well. So here is my regiment:

1. Wake up. Take 200 mg modafinil, 300 mg Wellbutrin. Go back to sleep

2. Wake up 30 minutes later. Drugs give a boost to alertness. Take 2 puffs, each nostril of nasal spray.

2. Other non-related (well, depression related) drugs that may help but aren't deserving of the credit here.

3. Modafinil 200mg in afternoon, from 12-5:00. I can get to sleep easily with this if I want (unlike dexedrine).

4. Supper. Other supplements and such.

5. Pre-bed (usually reading or gaming on iphone). 3mg melatonin, some other random things, and nasal spray.

6. Sleep

1. Wake up, repeat.

Sorry that I had such a long post. My first recommendation is to try melatonin. I think I can recommend non-prescription drugs to people. If I can't, someone let me know as I don't read law textbooks.

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