This is just a shot in the dark and I agree with osteo that it might be a good idea for you to see a sleep specialist.
However, in the meantime, before you start any special treatment for this, you COULD take what I take to help me sleep. I only take this on tans-continental flights (I can't sleep on planes), OR if I'm extra nervous about something that might interfere with my sleeping. I DO NOT make a habit of taking this, though
What I'm getting at is low-dose Valium. I actually take a generic for this called ''Diazepam''. 5 mg. It works for me when I ''do'' need it, without leaving me overly sleepy upon waking.
Just a thought. It's a prescription med, as I'm sure you already know.
I would have to think that Loma Linda Uni WOULD have a department that specializes in sleep deprivation, though.
I just thought I would throw in my own personal experience. I don't think there is a sleep med that gives a refreshing sleep. Maybe a sleep med for the truly occasional situation. But if a person has a long standing sleep problem, as I did, the med route seems to be a bad choice because one really shouldn't get dependent on the meds. And, I was told that even if the med is not physically addictive, they can be psychologically addictive and then you just add another layer of problems. Also there is something called rebound insomnia, that is where you take the med to help you sleep and then if you stop you will then have insomnia for awhile.
Hi you two: You both are great!!! You still have the time to offer suggestions when you have your own problems. You're the BEST....
I can't take valium, for some reason it makes me very hyper. My experience with sleep meds has been the same as osteo mentioned so I have to wait and see what happens. Maybe I won't have as much trouble sleeping since I've gotten into a routine of being able to sleep for over 8 hours for about 5 months. I had forgotten what it was like to sleep like that.
I'll talk to my min met Dr about this because their sleep clinic is across the hall from her office. I don't want to jump into that yet, until I see what actually happens once the estrogen is out of my body. I would imagine that the horrendous night sweats will come back which was the main thing keeping me up. They are so bad you just can't sleep through them and you have to get up and walk it off 5-6 times a night plus change your clothes, so after you do all that so many times you are wide awake. My hair is also drenched, but I could try something for that, like going to bed with wet hair, I don't know I'm just grasping at straws here, and worried about losing the other many benefits I've seen on this.
Thanks again for your gracious concern...
Last edited by DesertBloom; 01-18-2008 at 08:37 PM.
DesertBloom- I am not surprised that your experience with sleep meds was like mine. On the sleep meds commercials they act as though you will have the sleep of the gods and goddesses - well, it never felt like that to me. Have you totally taken any stimulants out of your diet-incl. coffee, tea (other than herbal) , sugar, chocolate ? Also no alcohol? These are all things they say that can interfere with sleep or exacerbate the night sweats. And, are you certain to get at least 8 glasses of water a day. I am sure you are doing all of this already. Maybe the night sweats were a hormonal phase and you may be through that now. I hope so! Although coming off of the hrt may be another hormone transition all over again and that itself may bring on something you will need to go through.
Do you always get up at the same time, no matter how little sleep you have had? Recently I read in a magazine that a specialist suggested thatif you just can't get to sleep, keep your wake up time steady but go to bed 15 minutes later, and if that doesn't help shorten it up by another 15 minutes.
You say you don't want to jump into the sleep clinic treatment now and want to wait for the estrogen to be out of your body, I would encourage you to see what the specialist may have to say sooner than later. Then, you could have a partner to assist you as you go through the process of getting off of the estrogen. They may have some techniques that at least you could start to utilize . I would think that there are levels of treatment offered -where you start with certain steps and if those don't work you move on to the next level.
At this time, I mostly sleep ok unless my thyroid situation is wobbling which seems to be happening almost more than I can deal with. What has worked for me is to try to keep to my eating routine as best I can (low fat, low salt), no stimulants or alcohol, and so much exercise that I am physically exhausted. I know that with your pain that you cannot exhaust yourself through exercise probably.I am sorry about that . Then when I go to bed I am usually doing progressive relaxation and a visualization cd (by Dr. Martin Rossman Anxiety Relief)Dr. Rossman has the smoothest , softest, way of speaking. It is hypnotic to me. I strongly recommend this to you.I have a number of cds for this purpose but over the past 2 yrs.It is the Rossman one that I keep coming back to.He also has a Healing cd that really goes along the same lines as the anxiety relief cd.
I know that you will get the help that you need and this will get better. About 20 years ago I had a big sleep problem and there just wasn't the help then that there is now. I would have been ecstatic if there had been a sleep specialist that I could see . I don't think they will have a magic wand but I really do think that there are techniques that a person can be taught and various routines/regimes that may be helpful.This should be a problem that can be dealt with!
Last edited by osteoblast; 01-19-2008 at 09:57 AM.
When I suggested the generic Valium, I only meant it as something that ''might'' be tried occasionally, NOT as a permanent solution. But anyway, you say it makes you hyper, so would be out of the question.
If you're not lactose intolerant, a cup of warm milk at bedtime helps many people. Sometimes the simple things work best
Sorry I'm not up to date on all the latest studies, clinical trials, and what-not. Seems to me the info changes day by day and does more to confuse, than help For example, all the hoop-la right now about calcium supps ''maybe'' being a cause of heart probs in post-menopausal women!! This study was apparently not a ''definite'' conclusion (whatever that may mean). I'm not ready to stop using them just yet. If I did I'd probably try Strontium Citrate (unless they come up with something negative about that, too!). I don't think too much is known, though, about that particular supp. I certainly don't want to use bisphos (oral or IV).
The first year of menopause for me seemed almost unbearable at times, as far as night sweats(bed clothes drenchng wet & waking more than once nightly). Not being able to get more than 4-5 hours sleep. I know I was not functioning at my best for sure. At the time, also, I really didn't have anyone to ask. My older sister just sort brushed it off with(it passes). She was right though. It didn't really last more than a year-I guess. Anyhow, six years have passed, and I no longer have night sweats or hot flashes. I sleep 8 hrs. or more evryday. But because of that year of sleep deprivation- I still get very anxious if I should happen to not get a good nights sleep. So on occasion I will take 25mg of benydyl-knocks me right out. I don't think it is addictive, or harmful. I am planning a trip to Hawai in May or June, my dr. will write me a script for valium, as I know I will not be able to sleep on the plane.
Hi Osteo, Monte, Singer, and Tomato: Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll try the milk, and if that doesn't work will move on to Benadryl, warm mild used to help when I was little but I haven't tried it lately. Tomato, you were talking about the rx Benadryl, not the OTC stuff? I've tried OTC Benadryl, but that doesn't make me sleepy at all. I do have problems with the OTC Benadryl because it has something in it that causes my heart to pound. I think it's similar to whats in Sudafed, but if you are talking about the rx med, I don't think that has the other ingredients in it because it not used for sinus congestion.
Tomato, did you come up with any tricks to help with the nights sweats? All I can do is walk it off, several times a night and then I get real cold. Hopefully this will go away soon, but it's been going on for years now. I don't really understand how I could still be having post meno probs this long after my last mens (7 years ago).
Osteo, I'll look into that tape/dvd you mentioned maybe that will help too. If plant estrogens are the same as chemical ones, then why wouldn't the OTC Estroven, cause cancer too???? I took that for awhile, but it didn't work either.
Osteo, I'll have to get back to you on the NTx, but I think the first one was around 58, and the second one was "I think" 68. That's just a guess, so wait till I actually look it up.
Singer, I literally have a whole shelf of chammomile tea in my kitchen, which I drink at night, but it doesn't make me sleep. I don't know what my prob is, but I have a really hard time sleeping, my mom was the same way.
Tomato, have fun on your trip, oh and are you still taking the strontium, if so I hope you scores are improving greatly!!!
Thanks again ladies....
Last edited by DesertBloom; 01-20-2008 at 01:41 PM.
hi desert I never did figure anything out for the night sweats. I think I may have asked the doctor to put me on some knid of hormone or something, but he refused-because both my sisters had had cancer. Around that time I also had two surgerys one for parathyroid tumor and another for uterine fibroids. Also I 'm bi-polar(although it has't been a problem in over 20 years), but around the time of the night sweats I developed tardive dsykinesia(torsal body twitches)So along with the sweats my body was twitching uncontrollaby. Most people who develope this side effect from medication, never get rid of it. Thanks be to whoever, I was one of the lucky ones-it did go away.It was to say the least, one of thee most stressful times in my life. I really do feel for you, hopefully it will go awy soon. Were you on some kind of hormones? It does seem strange that this should occur 7 yrs into meno. As far as the benydryl-I'm pretty sure the OTC has nothing else except diphenhydramine in it. But thats something I'll have to check. As far as my dexa goes-I am do for one.
I find this thread to be very interesting, because I too have trouble falling asleep sometimes. It often happens when I've attended an evening meeting or class, and although I go to bed at the same time as usual, I just can't get my mind or my muscles to relax.
So when it seems like I'll be having one of "those" nights, I take Simply Sleep, or if I'm having pain I take Tylenol PM. The active sleep ingredient is a mild antihistamine called Diphenhydramine HCL, which is also in Benadryl and other OTC cold/flu medications that don't say "Non-drowsy" on them. (It isn't in Sudafed.) One usually does the trick for me, and I have no trouble getting going in the morning. My husband, on the other hand, can't take even one or he feels like he's dragging all the next day. So everyone reacts in their own way.
I haven't had as many intense hot flashes/night sweats that I expected while taking Evista, but I've noticed when I've had them on the nights when I took a sleep aid, I haven't had any trouble falling back to sleep afterwards.
Desert, the original Sudafed has Pseudoephedrine in it, but since the meth labs were using it to make methamphetamine they changed the OTC formula to Phenylephrine, named it Sudafed PE, and put the original Sudafed behind the pharmacy counter. Perhaps you tried the original formula which had the ephedra in it? That is a stimulant...it's also called ma huang in Chinese herbal medicine, and it was common in diet pills. That would make sense if you were having palpitations when you took it. It sure had that effect on me, and I couldn't take it.
Hi Aleta: Thanks so much for the info. I've never tried the Simple Sleep product, but I've seen it in the stores, and will definitely try that. I have tried Tylenol PM, when I have a cold, but it only helps a little for sleep.
What you said about Sudafed certainly makes sense, because I noticed that if you want to buy the original formula, which I just can't take, it's now behind the pharmacy counter. My mil takes that, and wondered why she had to go through so much hassle to buy it. They also made her show her drivers liscense, and sign a sheet that they keep for their records. I didn't know what the reason was and the pharmacy never explained it to her. That stuff makes me feel like I'm going to have a heart attack.
I'll also try the Sudafed PE, if one of these don't do the trick. I'm glad you aren't having really bad night sweats with the Evista, because I'm considering taking that, but when I read about the sweats, I couldn't imagine adding to the ones I already have-which are horrible. I'm really tired of changing my clothes and pillow case every night, but with the estrogen that stopped. It's weird though since for me right after the night sweat goes away you get extremely cold, so one minute you are kicking off the blanket-then walking around for it to subside, then you're freezing and need an extra blanket until the next night sweat hits. It's a non stop annoyance, especially with the walking, changing clothes, and sometimes actually drying my hair for a few minutes to dry it out some, no wonder I can't sleep.
Thanks for the info, are you seeing good results with the Evista? Also, doesn't that also cause blood clots, I can't remember? I've never had a clot, but I've had some scares where I had to go to the hospital for a US-after surgeries-because they thought I had one, but luckily never found one.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 01-20-2008 at 06:03 PM.
Desert - A month ago I was having a horrible time sleeping - I still don't sleep through the whole night unless I take a Lunesta -
But due to menopause - 'warm' flashes in the night - and just plain insomnia - I had to resort to Lunesta for a few nights. Also OTC Tylenol Simply Sleep works great. (I think it is really benedryl) Calm's Forte is homeopathic and has helped me- one night it didn't.
Once I got back on track, I eased out of taking them nightly (I switched them out every few nights) as Lunesta is expensive. it's awful not to get a full night's sleep or be able to even FALL asleep!
I've been on Evista for about three years, ever since I was dx'd at age 49. My spine was -3.0 (hip was -2.1). Last year it came up -2.7 but on a different machine. Next month I'll have my scan done on the same machine as last year so I'm hoping to get a better indication of how well the Evista is working. I'm now postmenopausal so I'm nervous about what effect that will have, but on the plus side I've been exercising a lot more in the last year.
You are right about Evista raising the risk of blood clots, but I'm not at high risk for them to begin with. I was on birth control pills for many years and never had a clot. However, I am at high risk for breast cancer (I had a Stage 1 tumor removed in 1999) so the Evista helps prevent recurrence of that. Of course, the birth control pills are probably the reason I got cancer in the first place!
Hi Aleta again: Sorry you had cancer, but I hope it's all gone now!!! I have fibrocystic disorder, so I always have at least 10 or more cyst with every mamo, but they always say oh that's normal. Does Evista get rid of fibro's, because I'm tired of having to have mamo's every 6 mos, with spot magnifications, FNA's, and ultrasounds. My other prob is I'm not convinced that the tests I have in my small town are all that reliable, I guess I'll have to go to da big city for a more thorough exam. When I do the self examine, I always find at least 5 lumps, but again "they" say it's normal with fibro. I hope they know what they are talking about. My family history has every type of cancer you can think of, but I don't have any 1st generation of relatives with breast cancer (sisters, mom) just aunts, and uncles on all the other types of cancer.
Hope you continue to do well with all your challenges
Hi again, DB. I waited to respond to your post until I got back from my gyno appointment so I could ask him about that. He says Evista has no effect either way on fibrocystic breasts.
When I do the self examine, I always find at least 5 lumps
For what it's worth, I never even had a lump. My tumor was caught as microcalcifications on a routine mammogram. I can only imagine how it would feel--emotionally--to discover an actual lump! I would definitely freak out.
I don't have any 1st generation of relatives with breast cancer (sisters, mom) just aunts, and uncles on all the other types of cancer.
Neither do I. I don't have many female relatives (no sisters, and only one aunt, who died of pancreatic cancer) but the closest one to have had breast cancer is my great aunt, and she was in her sixties when she got it. I was 44. However, I think my extended use of birth control pills was a contributing factor.
DesertBloom and others- Just wanted to start off with saying how much I love this board. Everyone chimes in with their experience and knowledge in an effort to help.
About the Simply Sleep - my experience was that while for an OTC it did work for awhile , it wasn't a real solution to my long standing problem. And, for those with long standing sleep issues- these quick fixes do turn into problems because of the psychological dependency that is inevitable. I don't think there is a quick fix.I think we "learn insomnia" and then we have to re-learn the process of falling asleep. Which is I think aptly called "falling" asleep because of that letting go process that has to happen. To me it's that loosening up on the daily mind set, and body set, and slipping into some other zone. And, it is very tricky-too much effort, anxiety , and it doesn't work. And, for me I had to approach this letting go zone not just in bed at night- but also during the day by taking one or two breaks , laying down and doing a relaxation technique to let go. I like progressive relaxation -starting with tensing muscles at the feet first, then calves, then thighs, then butt, then chest , then shoulders pinched together, then shoulders up to ears, then face scrunched. The method I use involves tensing- so laying down tip your toes towards your head and do 5 slow deep breaths, on the last out breath release the tension, then do 5 slow deep breaths without tensing anything , then repeat with the toes toward head and do the 5 slow breaths again while tensing, do the release, do 5 slow deep breaths without tensing and then move to your next section. I just work my way up to my head and start again. I do this for awhile till I either fall asleep or feel pretty relaxed. DesertBloom I hope that maybe you could just give this a chance- I know that you mentioned that you had tried some techniques before- but maybe not this one or maybe this time could be different and help. Even in the presence of pain this could be helpful I would think.
Hi Osteo: Thanks for the ideas... I definitely feel that I have a problem with relaxation, and letting go!!! My personality is such that I feel like I have to be doing something all the time or I go nuts. So this idea of yours is probably the key to my problem. Have you ever tried the white noise therapies? I haven't tried those but have often wondered if it would help.
We have neighbors with barking dogs that drive me nuts, and the slightest noise will wake me up, so that's why I thought of the white noise machine, but found them to be quite pricey.
I'll give your idea a shot and let you know how it works. I have tried this in the past, but I don't remember if it worked, I probably didn't give it a chance I need more patience and the ability to let go of "control" if you know what I mean??? Do you know of any good meditation tapes. I've seen some that look okay, but I don't know enough about that be able to rate the person doing it.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 01-22-2008 at 01:33 PM.
Hi DesertBloom; I'm a little late in responding but I tried something and I think it might help you too. For years, I would wake up between 3-4AM and not get back to sleep until around 5:30 (which is a problem if the alarm goes off at 6:30). Then it worsened so I had the above plus it was taking an hour to fall asleep. I saw a sleep specialist who ruled out apnea and gave me a prescription-which allowed me 5 solid hours but left me groggy and with a bad taste. I went on the sleep boards here but they didn't give me the time of day. Like you, I'm a very light sleeper.
Finally, I found a product in a health food store, made in VT by New Chapter; it's called Tranquilnite Plus. All herbal; you can take 1-3 capsules depending on your needs. I figured I needed at least a month of it every night just to re-establish a sleep schedule that had been screwed up for years. During this entire time, my husband was kind enough to use the guest bedroom so I didn't have any tossing/turning/snoring to interfere with my efforts. And guess what? For the first time in years, I'm averaging 7 hours a night and I actually feel rested and refreshed in the AM.
As for the night sweats etc. for some reason mine were over with in a matter of months. Don't know how I got lucky on that one; maybe the weekly acupuncture??
DesertBloom-I have tried a number of meditation cds. And , for me dealing with this past yr. or so it is the Martin Rossman MD-Anxiety Relief that worked very well. It is actually guided imagery exercises rather than meditation ,there are 3 different approx 20 minute sessions. The cd definetely involves the "letting go " aspect. I also have the Self -Healing With Guided Imagery - by Martin Rossman &Andrew Weil. For me somehow the Anxiety Relief was better. The two are so very similar though . If your library has either maybe you could try them first.I am convinced that this letting go thing is really at the heart of the matter.And, interesting that you think so too. Yet, knowing that letting go is key doesn't solve the problem. It's something you need to let yourself do by getting yourself to the place where it can happen. So for me the cd helped to take me to that place . And, the progressive muscular relaxation with slow , deep breathing-I hope I didn't make it sound too formal or rigid-just tailor it to suit yourself. Then it is yours. But, like watering a plant you love or taking care of your cat or dog, you need to take the time to do this stuff.And try not to just do it at night , give yourself a deep relax moment during the day too. Everybody will probably find something that just clicks for them. I have met several times with the woman who is going to teach the Kabat Zinn- Wellness class and this is what she says. For her, she took to meditation "like a duck to water" just following her breathing. For me there is something claustrophobic and even anxiety provoking about just noticing the breath in/ then out. But, I also think that what works now for me may not be what works at another time. So, she recommends people experiment with- progressive relaxation, guided imagery and visualization, and meditation on the breath-or on a phrase of your choosing tied in with the in breath and the out breath. Her name is Carolyn McManus and you can find three or four of her cds on line.Some of them have harp music accompanying her voice. I think she is wonderful and her cds very helpful. I like the Progressive Relaxation and Autogenic Training best but personally I wish the harp music wasn't there.She said some people love it, and some want no music. But for learning a technique the cd was helpful . I still go back to the Rossman cd alot and never seem to tire of that. His voice is hypnotic to me. Sometimes when I am in bed first and use the cd, and then my dh gets in bed and we talk- I have to tell him slow down , speak quieter , because the cd just gets me into a different time/space.And, my husband is a quiet , gentle person so it is odd . If it would help at all, I can tell you a little more about the Rossman cd- the first session involves quieting your body, and mind then he asks you to go to your special place and so you follow his voice and develop/imagine/go to that special place that is a comfort to you and you make it real to all your senses. And, of course you can always change what is your special place or have several regular special places-it is up to you. The second session involves a dialogue with your inner(wisdom) advisor-this is the one that I most love. The third is called evocative imagery and you identify and strengthen qualities you feel that you need more of to deal with things that provoke or stimulate your anxiety.I have tried a number of other cd's to meditate /relax. If you find something your thinking of , I might have heard it and can give you my opinion. Some seem very hackish ,even grating and unprofessional. Dr. Rossman and Carolyn know what they are doing . Carolyn said her best seller is the Progressive Relaxation at Amazon. She thinks most people take to this well. I have seen that Dr. Rossman has other Cd's -including one for sleep and for pre-surgery or pre cancer treatment. I am sure the sleep one would be great , but I didn't see it when I first bought the cd's and the Anxiety Relief has hit the spot. But, I would think the sleep one would be great- I just had a hard time finding it after having seen it once.
I have a white noise machine that I purchased about 18 yrs. ago from sharper image. It didn't cost much thenI do leave it on a very low level. We have a real quiet home situation now so I don't need to block anthing , I think I am just used to it now. I previously needed it to block out other sounds which it does pretty well. So you may find the masking aspect helpful with the neighbors dog-that is so annoying . I don't think that a white noise machine alone can solve a long standing sleep problem though it is just a small help in my experience to mask noises. It is somewhat similar to just using a fan in the room to block external noises. Although a fan with the air blowing is not always needed/wanted. But the effect is similar. It is not a magic solution to the issue .
This has gotten quite long but if it helps you in anyway then I am glad. Take care.