45 thoughts on “Bipolar Medication Spotlight: Sleep Aids

  • November 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I have bipolar with sleep issues. I have been seesawing back and forth between Ambien CR and Lunesta, mostly due to which one insurance will cover on any given year. For example, I just had to switch from Lunesta to Ambien CR last month.
    I don’t really notice a difference. Usually, they help, but if I’m too revved, I still have trouble. Too much stimulation can be due to a late movie or dinner, or anxiety producing situations during the day or evening. So this stuff is not fool-proof. I have had trouble sleeping for many years even before I was diagnosed.
    On rare occasions (thankfully) I have been up all night despite being on 3 psych. meds, one of which is very sedative. I do wish that science could unravel this serious problem . Why do people like me have insomnia and others don’t.? I can’t even nap anymore.

  • November 8, 2009 at 12:16 am

    this is such a big deal for me i cannot tell you how happy i was to find it. why? it’s just so overlooked i think. people do not realize how horrible it is when you don’t sleep well. it’s beyond just a bad night here and there. i can count on one hand the times i’ve enjoyed REAL sleep in the past 3 years. i am so used to it i joke that i won’t know what to do if i ever wake up feeling rested! I’ve tried most meds you mentioned. nothing works! nothing! OTC stuff is total crapola. i tried trazodone but it does NOT sedate at all so i’m sick of people saying it’s just oh so sedative. HOGWASH! for me it didn’t help at all. i got laidoff 7-31. i still have no job. i have no insurance so ihave to go to a clinic where the psych doc tries but just keeps trying stuff on me which makes me feel like a guinea pig. then she wonders why i am so tired and angry and manic. DUH! i have tried Rozeram too but the only good thing about it is the cute TV commercials with the man and the talking Abe Lincoln and talking chipmunk thing. nothing’s hurt me but it doesn’t help either. i am DESPERATE for help with a sleep study. i’m willing to be a case study if needed but someone has GOT to help me get into a sleep study program. i am a lost cause at this point. and it’s horrible not being able to sleep well. also, to make it worse, we battled bedbugs for over a year so we have been sleeping on airbeds for a year. not good either for sleep quality. so anyone feel my pain? i am not a bad person. i am usually very energetic and happy but really, this lack of good sleep is getting chronic to say the least. something has to give. i now feel cynical when i read any warning on a bottle that “this product may cause drowsiness” i wanna scream OH YEAH? I DARE YA!

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I had insomnia off and on my entire life, prior to starting on medications with a sedative side-effect about 10 years ago. I don’t recall thinking of the insomnia as such a terrible thing (except for the nights I couldn’t get my brain to slow down), but it certainly contributed to pushing me in to mania and depression.

    I tried Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, Klonopin, and Trazadone, over the years. I developed a nasty dependency on Ambien and abused as my tolerance levels increased (this was prior to accepting treatment for bipolar disorder). The only thing that’s worked well for me has been Seroquel, which I’ve taken for about 8 years, now. I don’t seem to build up any tolerance to it, and it reliably knocks me out every night.

    The flip side of this is that I haven’t been able to sleep without it since I started taking it.

    I’m surprised you didn’t include Seroquel in your article. In low dosages, it has begun to be commonly prescribed as a sleep aid, even for people without a diagnosed mental illness. It’s been a Godsend for me.


  • November 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Hi, Waco–

    As Dr. Fink mentions near the beginning of her post, atypical antipsychotics and anxiolytics are sometimes used to help with sleep issues related to mood disorders, but this post focuses on meds designed specifically to act as sedatives.

    You’re right about Seroquel (an atypical antipsychotic). A Dr. I met in Slovenia told me she often prescribes Klonipin (an anxiolytic) to help with sleep issues, because she finds that it’s not prone to be abused. According to her, at high doses, Klonopin causes the tongue to swell, which isn’t a very pleasant side effect.

  • November 10, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Im starting to get a little desperate I can be dead tired but unable to sleep and if I do sleep its a broken nights sleep where I wake up several times per night – I take 400mg SR Seroquel, 2 Alodorm (sleeping tablet) and if that doesnt work I add 2 Valium and still I wake through the night when I finally get to sleep – I then wake in the morning feeling hung over and I might be able to sleep an hour or so during the day but thats it I have bipolar and the Seroquel seems to be helping all the mania etc but not the sleep side of things my psych recently told me to take 800mg of Seroquel for a few days to try to set off a sleeping pattern but it didnt work – well its 1.35am I took 400mg Seroquel and 2 Alodorm at 9pm Im about to take a couple of Valium as I am tired but cant fall to sleep – Im wondering where I go to from here??

  • November 22, 2009 at 5:31 am

    A typical week of sleep for me averages 10-14 hours, most of those on my days off laying around all day getting an hour here an hour there. This has been going on for 9 years. I work shift work, 5/12 hour days, 3 days/2 nites. It is common for me to only sleep 1-3 hours combined for all 3 days. I do better for nite shifts. Ambien will give me 1 1/2 – 2 hours sleep, but makes me sick and extremely tired the next day. My doctor prescribed Temazapan with little affect. My life is complete missery, I feel like shit all the time and have no energy. My job is physical and pays well, I dont have another option to make that kind of money. The only thing that has got me a full nites sleep in years was marijuana, since my job requires random drug test, that is not an option. I need sleep! My body doesnt feel like it can make it much longer.

  • November 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    I am bipolar.

    This article helped me plan a new schedule for my life.

    THANK YOU!!!! Excited to try it out.

    – WRITING IN A JOURNAL (right before bed)

    * Regular bed time and wake up times. It doesn’t matter what times I go to sleep, but it needs to be REGULAR.
    * It is bad when my body sleeps more than necessary and will cause fatigue.
    * Extra sleep will cause depression.
    * No coffee after 12 noon
    * No vigorous exercise in the evening
    * Turn off screens and phones, one hour before bedtime
    * Try to keep the bed for only sleeping – no work or other activities
    * No TV in the bedroom

    – Apartment with lots of natural light or “light therapy” style fake lights
    – Having some living plants in my house to take care of. If the plants are doing good, it shows that I am doing good.

    I’m going to post it on my fridge and bed stand and see how I do. Wish me luck….

    • December 13, 2018 at 5:58 am

      How’s that plan working out for you?

  • December 10, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Again, I have been on every sleep drug there is. The worse was Trazodone. It gave me severe nightmares and would make me feel drugged for hours after waking. I am taking Ambien now. It is ok, but I still get the medicated feeling sometimes when I awake and it I don’t always sleep through the night. In fact since being diagnosed with Bipolar I hardly sleep at all and usually have my nights and days mixed up. I think I am going to try Melatonin, and see if that may work for me. I use to use it many years ago before being diagnosed. My dad swears by it, but he isn’t BiPolar.

  • January 20, 2010 at 3:45 am

    seroquel is great but the weight gain is life changing…i to cant fall asleep without it..when i dont have any i have to take like 300mg of the over the counter sleep aid..and that doesnt really work i stay upp all night and sleep alll day like 12-14 hours and everything i do wont change it….

  • March 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I have been trying to deal with bi-polar and insomnia on my own for many years now, and finally got professional help just a few days ago. For a mood stabilizer I am trying lamotragine, and for sleep I was prescribed Trazadone and Clonidine to experiment with (maybe expiriment is a bad choice of words).

    Trazadone didn’t help me much and I awoke with a start early in the morning after four hours of broken sleep with some very major aggression and scary thoughts. A clonidine helped me relax and put me back to sleep. I discontinued the Trazadone and tried .1 mg of Clonidine last night, it made me a little drowsy, then another one and I got about six hours of sleep, only waking a few times. This was pretty amazing for me.

    Biggest downside so far is severe dry mouth and a little grogginess. We’ll see.

  • March 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    i need medicine for avoiding sleeping that are available generally in india with doses and i don’t want doctor prescreption on it.just suggest that one that would be healthier and no bad effect.

  • June 29, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Can you buy Halcion or generic anywhere with ou a script?

  • June 29, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Can you ourchase Generic halcion without a script anywhere?

  • June 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    i have spent hours on research containg no real intelligent ino on sleeping aids only the expert opion.i have tried ambien/restoril/xanax.i have narrowed my search for a sleep aid with minimum side effects to gabitril and remeron.of course all the info i read counterdicks side effects so i dont know what to believe

  • June 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    i would like a answer to my question concerning remeron or gabitril

    • January 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I asked which medicine has less side effects for sleep.gabitril is good but low incidence of seizurers in non-epilectics who take it.remeron is a poison pill.it can raise your trigliscerdes to 500 and the company did not do any studies if high tryglisercerdes are reversible if you stop the remeron.i don’t know how fda approved this med

  • August 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I have been having insomnia for 10 weeks…just right out of the blue. I was on Geodon and it knocked me out at bedtime it just quit working. I ended up in the hospital and they put me on Depakote er, and the sedating effects are killing my life, but still no sleep. Tried Trazadone, Ambian, Serquol, Zyprexa…nothing puts me to sleep. Need Help!

  • September 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    i have tried all the benzos and useless sleeping pills and they all stop working,currently on gabitril which my doctor said is safe for non-epilectics to use as sleep aid/what is your feeling on gabitril

  • October 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I have recently been diagnosed with bi polar, I’m extremely angitated and get angry quick and have lots of anxiety. I have been taking celexa 40 mg and its working great. I have had sleep problems for about 20 yrs. I have found that walsom, which is walgreens generic sleep med works good. I took it for about 7 yrs, then went 2 prescription halcion .25n its the higest dose but knocks me out EVERY night 4 the last 8 months. I do not feel bad next day. Its an old drug that is not prescribed a lot, but works great!

  • December 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve tried most of the usual bipolar meds; however, I have problems with the idea that I could gain so much weight I could get secondary health issues, or taking drugs that make me feel like a total zombie. Having facial twitches and other symptoms aren’t much fun either. I have been without meds and trying to go to school. I am not the type to abuse drugs and I will have an occasional drink now and then.
    During finals and test times I have terrible insomnia due to manics. I have had issues with finding a Doctor that is willing to treat the insomnia issue.
    If you can find a doc who is willing to treat the issue of sleep alone, that is a good thing. I wish I could.

  • March 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Lunesta works for me, if there is no anxiety involved. If I have anxiety, I need to take a xanax. Unfortunately, I can only get about 14 lunestas for every 2 months. It makes me feel like a drug addict. I don’t abuse, and I’m a hight-functioning bipolar. Any suggestions?

    • January 12, 2018 at 10:56 am

      I am in the same boat! I have bi-polar, thyroidism and 3rd degree kidney failure! Sleep pills only help for a while! I am 67 and cannot cope anymore! What do you use to sleep regularly?

  • June 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I wake up three or four times a night because my left leg and knee are aching. I have not had an injury to that leg so I don’t know what is causing this. I walk for exercise about 20-30 minutes at least five times a week with no problem. My leg does not bother me except at night when I am in bed (when I have checked the clock it is usually 4 or 5 o’clock am). This puzzles me but do not want to take a sleeping medication.

  • September 19, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Nice post! would like to see how this game plan pans out over time please keep us posted

  • October 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I am Bipolar and am struggling with sleep and a drug that controls my bipolar freakouts during the day. I have tried seroquel, lithium, risperdal and now my pyschiatrist is trying to figure out what next. any suggestioins? I’m going crazy and the lack of sleep does not help. thankz

    • December 13, 2018 at 6:12 am

      I had a lot of success with lamoctal/lamotrogine as a mood stabilizer over the past 7-8 years. I just recently added 20 msg of Latuda for the BP Depression so I’m hoping that helps. As far as sleep goes, Lunesta has helped some but taking it every night seems to lessen how well it works for me over time. Ideally, a 5 or 10 mg melatonin or a benedryl would suffice for me.

  • October 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I have had trouble sleeping for year — before I started seeing a pychiatrist would take cocktails of melatonin, nyquil, benedryl (up to 14-15 benedryl a day.) Yes, I agree with the person who said when it says, “causes drowsiness” I say, “I wish!” Bipolar runs in my family and we tend to be manic about 95% of the time and antidepressants of any kind cause us to have our head spinning — tarazadone threw me manic and I started shaking, not getting sleepy. Seroquel knocked me out so hard I couldn’t wake myself up from the horrible nightmares it caused – all my hidden fears came out and I had hand tremors for two days. I have been on Ambien (take 900 mg lithium daily, 1mg klonopin daily plus “causes drowsiness – NOT allergy meds) and it worked for 2 months, but kept taking me longer and longer to get to sleep until I finally couldn’t. Doc switched me to Ambien CR along with .5mg Klonopin which worked a few times, but now still I have to “jazz it up” with benedryl, melatonin and nyquil and sleep in a quiet room away from my husband as even his sneeze or cough wakes me up – which is no fun. Any thoughts? I’m 48 and going through the change and in the fall I get more manic, summers usually more depressed.

  • October 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    This is Becky again — I was taking 10MG Ambien (5mg didn’t do a thing); now on 12.5 MG Amien CR with .5MG Klonopin together – still trouble sleeping. WHen I mixed the two together I was knocked out great but doctor advised against it.

    • November 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Take what makes you sleep and get another doctor


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