Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alexa can't sleep: the saga continues

Sleep Experiment Day 1: Ambien

Yesterday, I discovered what it's like to REALLY take Ambien. The first time I took it, I swallowed the pill without first reading the warning labels on the outside of the bottle - turns out, you're supposed to take it on an empty stomach. I had already eaten breakfast.


I got home from work yesterday morning at about 7:30 am. I was exhausted. I am used to taking Tylenol PM when I get home and then watching a little TV or reading a book for 30 minutes before my eyes start to get heavy. I figured I would do the same thing. I took the pill with some water (no breakfast), sat on the couch, and turned on an episode of Friends. No more than 10 minutes later I was seeing double. There were 2 Ross's and 2 Rachels on the 2 TV screens that I was looking at. Whoa. Time to go to bed.

Now let me reiterate. I don't do any kind of drugs. I barely even drink. Seeing double is NOT normal for me.

I got up to go to bed and immediately lost my balance. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was a BIG struggle to get myself down the hall, to the bathroom to pee and brush my teeth, and then to my bedroom to pass out. I left a wake of destruction in my path where I knocked things off my coffee table, kitchen counter, bathroom sink, and dresser because I had to grab ahold of these things (along with the wall) in order to stay upright. I woke up covered in bruises and with a very sore funny bone.

I guess Ambien has some crazy side effects such as sleeping while: driving, talking on the phone, eating, and having sex. I don't think I did any of these things? I live alone, and I barely have any food in my house. Maybe I should check the dialed calls log on my phone.. I wonder who I would call in my sleep?!

Taking this shit is like being shot with a tranquilizer! Next time I take it I will be sure to be in my PJs and in my bed so that I don't have to move once it's in my system. I actually only slept for about 4 hours. I woke up at noon and couldn't fall back asleep. However, when I was asleep, my cell phone buzzed with a text message and it was approximately 2 inches from my head - and I slept right through it. Normally, my phone buzzing from a text while in the NEXT ROOM is enough to wake me up.

When I went to the mall yesterday afternoon to return a winter coat to L.L. Bean, I wound up in Brookstone where I bought this sound therapy system. It was kind of a spontaneous purchase and rather pricey (which I am trying to not do) but if it helps me, it will be worth the money, and if it doesn't help me, I can return it (per the Brookstone employee I talked to).

If it's not obvious, I am starting to get desperate for more than 4 hours of sleep at a time. This desperation is resulting in me taking controlled substances which I am not in favor of doing, and spending lots of my hard-earned money on an f-ing sound machine.


  1. Ugh...I hope the sleep comes soon!!

  2. Youchy! You think diet might be a cause for the insomnia? You could always go to support groups or start a fight club!

  3. I'm so sorry you're not sleeping well! I really hope you get some good sleep soon!

  4. That sounds like a scary experience. How long will you be working nights? Is it a permanent situation? Hope you get some rest soon...you might also try melatonin for a non-drug option.

  5. how did the melatonin - sleep machine combo work out?

  6. Jon - it might be.. I don't eat well at all when I'm on nights because I never feel very well.

    Whitney - I work 2 weeks of nights out of a 5 week rotation.. it's permanent as long as I have this job.

    Rachel - the melatonin sleep machine combo actually worked fairly well. I'm optimistic about it.

  7. Alexa-

    hope you get some sleep soon!!

    so, quick Q....before the ambien, did you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for a decent amount of time? here some tips I got that help me, and I am sure you have already tried most of them, but thought I would share just in case.....

    I've found (not saying its the same in your case), having trouble falling asleep has different remedies than staying asleep.

    basically, staying asleep could mean you need to get some shit out of your head. When I would wake up after 2-3 hours, it was always an issue I was stressing about that woke me up. Until I would vent this with someone I trusted; it was hard to kick this. Once out of my head and into the world, much easier to sleep. Write everything down, and then talk about it with people close to you....

    Actually falling asleep, some tricks that help:

    warm bath/shower right before bed
    very cold room
    sleep in basement, very dark
    avoid the high intensity stuff in training
    no caffeine

    anyway, I hope you dont mind my unsolocited advise.....

  8. Mike - advice is always welcome!

    I have always been somewhat of a "troubled sleeper." (I tend to not fall asleep immediately and I wake up throughout the night, mostly due to noise, having to pee, or my cat). It tends to come and go. When I am busy with not much on my mind - I sleep pretty well. When I am worried or upset about something, I can't sleep.

    It has never been so consistent as it is now - usually if I can't sleep for a night, the next night I CAN sleep. Sleeping during the day really screws me up AND I have had a large amount of stress in my life in the past 2 months that have also been playing a part in it.

    I need to try journaling (like actual journaling, not this training blog). I think it would help.

  9. Just came across your story. Scary! Pharmaceuticals and I don't get along either. Looking for more holistic approaches to what ails me.


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