Re: should i try sleeping pills
Sleep is important for everyone. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, really it is, I'm not making this up. It's crazy that we can be so exhausted and not have restful sleep, isn't it?
I finally relented to my doctor's advice and had a sleep study done a couple of years ago. I didn't fit the profile for sleep apnea, but I was desperate enough to try it. I didn't find out anything that I didn't already know -- I have interrupted sleep patterns, or in other words, I "wake myself up a lot". (The technician kind of made it sound like I was doing it deliberately.)
The doctor said I was, "an interesting case". (Apparently he hasn't seen a lot of CFS patients... ) He recommended Provigil to give me more energy during the day so I could theoretically sleep better at night. It made me sick. It works for some people.
Like you, I am very sensitive to prescription meds. The smallest possible dosage of the pills my doctor prescribed for sleep (early on in my diagnosis) knocked me out for days. It's worth trying so you can cross it off your list if it doesn't work, and rejoice if they actually do work for you.
Techniques described for getting to sleep are things like -- warm bath, not eating 3 hrs. before bed, not using bedroom for anything besides sleep, not watching stimulating tv before bed, deep breathing/yoga, and so forth. Diet and exercise are kind of tricky for CFS patients, but you can always track what you are eating and on good days try to walk a bit if you can, and see if there is a difference. (I bet you've probably tried these things.)
A lot of times doctors will prescribe anti-depressants because they are supposed to help patients with getting a deeper sleep.
You're not alone. I know that doesn't help you sleep better, but it helps with the dreary days.