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Sleep for EXACTLY 4hrs

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I'm bipolar II, taking lots of meds, one of them being 1mg of Xanax at night for sleep. I started taking that last October. I haven't had a medication change since.

About 5 weeks ago, I started waking in the middle of the night. Nothing changed in my life, meds, etc at that time. After a few nights, I realized that I was waking up around the same time. The next night, I made sure to look at the clock before I went to sleep. With Xanax, I wait 25mins then go to bed and get to sleep within 10mins. So I can pretty much pinpoint the time I get to sleep. I noticed something unusual--I was waking up exactly four hours after that point.

And I mean EXACTLY. No more than 10mins more or less. Without fail. After that, I couldn't get back to sleep until about 7-8am, but that's not useful if you need to be up at 8:30. So about a week later, I made an appointment with my pdoc (had to wait two weeks, grr), and started taking another Xanax when I woke up in the meantime. It worked for a few nights, but then I'd only sleep for about 2hrs on my second sleep.

Pdoc gives me Silenor samples to try, 6mg. No effect. Now it's day 3 of Lunesta, 4mg (2x2mg), no effect. My therapist wrote a note for my pdoc for me to try Ambien next. But that may not be for another week--pdoc only works half-days on Thurs and is off Fri.

I'm 21, full-time student, part-time job. I can't function if I'm not getting 8-9hrs of sleep a night. I am constantly exhausted, but not napping or drinking caffeine because I want to be able to sleep at night...4hrs is better than none. I basically feel permanently hungover.

Has anyone heard of something like this before? Any suggestions?

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I don't know if this applies to you, but for me, sleep problems are the first signs of my manic states. I'm glad to see that you are attempting to reach your doctor and get treatment.

I'm not sure off all the meds your on so I don't know what I can suggest to help you "hold over" until you can get further help.

The most I know that I read for sleep is 3mg of Melatonin before bed. I've heard that you can drink warm milk before bed (though I'm not sure how much). Benadryl can help with sleep but again, I can't make recommendations since I don't know your meds and interactions.

Doing Yoga at night can also help you to unwind and help improve sleep too.

I hope this helps a little.

I wish you luck,


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This suggests the length of action of Xanax, about 4 hours. Perhaps a longer acting benzo like Ativan or Restoril. Other options are Klonpin of ProSom. Silenor is the old TCA Doxipin, which comes in 25 mg capsules, you might try that.


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Yes, you should change the Xanax to something longer acting just so you can rule it out (or not take it at all and see what happens).. however I don't think that's the issue.

I don't have a solution or a reason.. but the same thing has been happening to me for awhile (maybe 6 months or more). It didn't use to.. and it's a bit more variable now (within 30 mins - with the norm being 10-15 mins), but it happens almost every night. I wake up and usually manage to go back to sleep at some point, but sometimes can't.. leaving me with the same 4hrs. It didn't start with any medication change, just on what I had already been taking.

I'm clueless. I've been considering a sleep study for awhile due to never being rested, so it may be possible to find a reason that way.. but that's simply a guess.

Edit: Yeah, probably more like 1 year +.. anyway, for quite awhile.

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