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    From a month and a half I have trouble sleeping. In particular, to fall asleep. It all started with an exam that I was preparing for university. I suffer from OCD, I am very anxious. Anxiety about the exam accentuated the obsessions. I used to sleep for about three days, two drugs (lorazepam and zolpidem). The first to sleep in the afternoon, the second to sleep at night. I already take daily prozac and fluvoxamina, and during that three days I decided to take more fluvoxamina (my doctor already say me to take more, but I was feeling well so I didn’t take more of it, but when I see obsessions increase I decided to take it). They helped me to deal with anxiety, but let me groggy during the day. Despite everything, however, I had the impression that my temperatures were better. I have now done this exam, I passed the first part, but I’m on vacation now … Yet I can not sleep well.I thought it was caused by the fact that I sleep in the afternoon, so yasterday I didn’t sleep in the afternoon. Last night I had less trouble falling asleep but still it took me a while to do so.
    Now I’m thinking that the problem could be the fluvoxamina I’m taking more.
    I’d like to be able to sleep at least 8 hours, but if I go to sleep earlier than my usual, I can not sleep …
    I think the lack of sleep is affecting on my metabolism. Do you have any suggestions?


    I was taking an over the counter medication (Unisom here in the US) to sleep every night for many years and now I can sleep with no medication.

    I have heard from other people that it can be really hard to stop the prescription sleeping medications, some folks need to carefully and slowly wean off them. If you are looking to get off the benzodiazipines, that can be tricky, I have some information about how to do that safely, it can be difficult if you’ve been taking them regularly.

    I can say that getting my body temperature up has pretty much cured my insomnia. I couldn’t sleep well for probably 15 years at least. I had my children at age 35 and 37 and they were poor sleepers, so I didn’t get much sleep during those years. I wound up with mono that went chronic and felt unwell in general for a long while. I am certain that lack of sleep was a big part of my problem, but the low metabolism actually prevented me from getting good sleep too.


    No, I don’t take benzodiazepins regularly.
    My regurarly medicines are prozac and fluvoxamina. :)

    The Real Amy

    Not sure about fluvoxamina, but prozac can cause insomnia in some people. You are pretty heavily medicated between all of these different things you are taking (4?), and that can cause all sorts of effects on the body–metabolic, psychological, sleep and otherwise. I think this is beyond the scope of 180 degree health and best explored with your doctor (and I would encourage some personal research, too, at the very least in the medical literature that comes with the prescriptions).

    That said, if you are looking for some help with the OCD and anxiety, the best strategy I can recommend is meditation, some cognitive strategies and breathing exercises, all of which also help with sleep. Claire Week’s book “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” is utterly life-changing. It’s so old-school and sounds a bit like she’s talking to a kindergartner, but her methods are extremely effective.


    I repeat: I only take prozac and fluvoxamina daily. Sometimes, if necessary (very rarely) I take lorazepam and zolpidem. :)
    Thank you all for you answers. :)

    The Real Amy

    Even if it’s only those 2 usually, still recommend investigating with your doctor. Even one drug (and especially with psych drugs) can cause major metabolic changes in the body, and when you have two interacting, even more so, as I’m sure you know. But it’s worth emphasizing that the methods recommended in 180 degree health are unlikely to overcome medication side effects.


    Thank you amy. I take these two medications from about 6 six years, under psychiatric advice (my doctor is a psychiatrist). I already decided to talk with my doctor, but I liked to know others “ideas”. :D

    The Real Amy

    Ok, great!

    For sleep, I had great success with the Deepak Chopra sleep CD, which has a very relaxing nighttime visualization, and breathing exercises to lower stress during the day. Within 2 days of using it, I was sleeping better.

    I will note that in my case, the other thing that helped was not fighting the insomnia but dealing with the emotional root causes behind it (a break-up, and many questions surrounding it that were in my head). I was fighting those thing, and saying, I need to sleep, I can’t think about this now. Once I finally said, ok, I will think about all of this now and try to find some resolution even if it means lost sleep, that helped, ironically. (And I have found this to be true in life overall: when I attack the emotional root causes head-on and deal with them instead of avoiding or band-aiding, things usually resolve in short order, and much more easily than doing the avoiding… a life lesson I have learned many times but sinks in more fully each time I learn it.)


    look up iphone application called TLM. I love it, it is from a guy who has recovered from anxiety and it really works! It’s expensive, but there is nothing else like it out there. It is about us perpetuating the anxiety out of habit and you take its power away by ignoring it. It works brilliantly, it has helped me more than anything else.


    There is an app called Deep Sleep Mediation that helped me somewhat. I got it from Amazon, only 99 cents.


    I’m double-posting this from another thread about insomnia:

    I’ve had ridiculous problems with insomnia, so I’ll share some of the treatments that have (and haven’t) worked for me.

    Bendadryl- Most antihistamines are somewhat helpful at inducing sleep, but it dries me out and I sleep horribly because the dryness makes my breathing worse. I may just be extra sensitive.

    Mirtazapine- This is an antidepressant that binds to an antihistamine receptor and also boost serotonin?in a pleasant way, unlike SSRIs. This drug was better than benadryl because of the combination, but it also made me tired all the time and I just couldn’t get anything done during the day. Another effect?which could be a positive or a negative?it will make you binge like crazy and could be a wonder drug for people with low appetite and sleep problems. Seriously, it gives you munchies three times as bad as marijuana.

    Z-drugs (like Ambien)- These were extremely helpful for me, but they’re also addictive and you probably don’t want to take them for more than a few months. Another huge plus for me: They didn’t create any hangover effects, making them almost the ideal sleep drug?if they weren’t induce tolerance and dependency. They also have a weird effect where you can forget the last half hour or so before you fall asleep?like a waking dream?and my wife would tell me funny stories about the crazy shit I would say.

    Alcohol- As long as you limit yourself to a night cap, alcohol is great for inducing relaxation. But if you drink too much it will disrupt your sleep during later cycles. The other obvious issue is to watch out for dependency.

    Marijuana- It can be helpful for relaxing, but sometimes I have such a good time looking at funny stuff on the Internet that I end up staying up too late anyway. Dependency isn’t much of an issue, though.

    Melatonin/5-HTP- These weren’t helpful for me, and they also made me feel groggy the next day.

    Kava- This was helpful for a while, but it’s basically just an OTC benzo.

    Trazodone/Seroquel- These made me sleep, but I was a dysfunctional zombie the entire next day.

    Other helpful ideas:

    Avoid caffeine completely if you can, but especially after noon.
    Avoid all other stimulants. When my sleep was the worst, I tried daytime stims like NuVigil and Concerta, but this just created a cycle that made the problem worse.
    Exercise, but not too late.
    Eat a ton of carbs, but not too much right before bed. You want to eat to the point that it makes you feel relaxed, which is the point (I suppose) that you’re lowering your stress hormones. Seriously, eating sufficiently is great for sleep.

    In the last half year, I’ve eliminated all sleep drugs (except some alcohol and marijuana) and I’ve actually found that increasing my calorie intake was the by far the most effective treatment for my sleep issues. If you haven’t tried it already, eat a TON of starch and sugar during the day and see how that affects you.

    As you can see, I have a lot of experience with this problem. I’d be lying if I said I’d fixed my insomnia completely, but I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve learned the best long-term and short-term solutions.


    David how are you sleeping now? I’ve done some of the stuff on your list – melatonin, 5 htp, antihistamines. Also loads of herbal tea etc. Always been to scared to go the prescription or even otc route as many conventional meds disagree with me. Most things I’ve tried either leave me too groggy, light sensitive, dull headache but mainly just dont work. 2 years of healing later I have many improvements but not the sleep! Tried the sugar/ salt / sugar & salt / big dinner / small “dinner / no caffeine after noon / gelatin / repeat. Kept sleep logs, stopped when inconsistency of results to all attempts made it clear there are no patterns or lessons I can discern and build on. Repeated attempts at regular intervals.some days I feel ok even after a bad night. Mostly not. Try not to nap to get circadian rhythms working and because naps give me same symptoms ( groggy , dull headache etc). I get to sleep fine so the relaxation methods are not necc. But then I wake up few hours later, toss turn doze ache try sugar / salt / a cookie / salty O.J. / Etc till 5 ish when enveloped by a sense of warm dreamy well being, I drift into th. e first satisfying sleep session all night , and 30 minutes later the alarm wakes me soo can get the family off to school /work. Breakfast and school lunches await, and traffic :'(


    I too, have struggled with sleep (mainly recently), and have OCD as well. I went down the path of Zolpidem (Ambien) and it made me severely depressed and anxious – I do not recommend ANY prescription medicines for sleep. Magnesium at night (600 – 1000 mg) works very well for me, though I will say that the most effective resource has been Sasha Cohen’s book, “The Effortless Sleep Method” – for those of us that obsess or worry about the lack of sleep and make it worse, this book helps restore your faith in your inborn ability to sleep, which we all have, by the way. The most effective thing for me thus far from Ms. Cohen’s advice has been to limit the amount of time I spend in bed; i.e., determine the minimum number of hours that you need to feel rested and functional, pick your wake up time (and stick to it every single day of the week – yes, weekends) and do not spend more time than this in your bed. If you find yourself waking up, not being able to sleep, then get up and read or listen to an audio book, work on a puzzle, etc. (in low light) until you are tired again and then go back to bed. This seems difficult, but it does work – it strengthens the sleep : bed association and lessens the anxiety associated with sleep. I would recommend a frank discussion with your psychiatrist about the medicines that you are on concurrently – they can certainly be contributing to your sleep issues – especially the zolpidem, as it is short-acting and is out of your bloodstream in a matter of hours, when it then begins to wake you up, and keep you up (often around 3-5 am).

    Hope this helps!! God Bless –

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