View Full Version : Sleeping: better or worse on medication?


Emso
08-07-10, 02:51 PM
Hi there, I had an assessment a few weeks ago by a doctor who diagnosed me as ADD. I'm meeting with her in six week's time to talk about what paths I might want to take. I do want occupational therapy to help with the problems, but would also like to try medication. However, my doctor has said that medication may not be a good solution because it will exacerbate my sleeping problems. I really want to know what the experiences of others are with regards to medication and sleeping.

I don't have any diagnosis for my sleeping problems, and am not currently taking anything to deal with it. Typically I sleep odd hours and usually a little more than others. I have extreme difficulties maintaining any kind of sleep pattern. At the moment I am a student and so can work whenever and however I please, thus making both sleep and ADD problems I can work around. I would like to solve them both and be able to work/have a normal life in the future, but know that solving one while worsening the other would not help achieve that.

So, how have other people found their sleep has changed once they've begun taking ADD medication? Has it become better or worse, or stayed the same?

For information, my doctor will probably prescribe Ritalin.

Thanks

Imnapl
08-07-10, 04:21 PM
Has your doctor suggested a visit to a sleep clinic? I sleep better on medication, but I spent years fine-tuning my sleep hygiene before I started medication. I can see why your doctor might be reluctant to prescribe medication until you develop a more regular sleep pattern. Sleep patterns can be changed, but some people need professional help to do it.

Emso
08-07-10, 06:01 PM
Has your doctor suggested a visit to a sleep clinic? I sleep better on medication, but I spent years fine-tuning my sleep hygiene before I started medication. I can see why your doctor might be reluctant to prescribe medication until you develop a more regular sleep pattern. Sleep patterns can be changed, but some people need professional help to do it.

No, not yet at least. She simply said that it could get worse on medication and so she would be cautious of me taking anything. I honestly don't think that at this stage my sleep pattern is going to get much better without some intervention, and certainly not in a short period of time like six weeks.

emma13
08-08-10, 10:09 AM
for me it worked like this:
- non-medicated, i would be exactly how you describe.
- while on Strattera (non-stimulant meds) my sleep pattern improved significantly, but that was about the only benefit
- switched to Concerta (stimulant) and i am my old me again in terms of sleeping. but not worse in any way. by the time i should go to sleep the meds are out of my system anyway.
- today doc added Straterra back in the menu together with Concerta to help my sleep. i will have to see how this works on long term.

if it won't work well, i will just have to keep looking for a good sleeping regulator. thing is, as long as i will let things be as they are, they won't change. i tried, and i beat myself for years for being so stupid and just not sleeping enough. still didn't change a thing, just made things even more frustrating.

OnlyMe
08-08-10, 11:48 AM
melatonin helps my kids get to sleep at night. That might help you too.

BrokenMirrors
08-08-10, 04:44 PM
Ritalin leaves your body in some 4-6 hours. You can use this knowledge if it has bad influence on your sleep. I don't take it less than 3 hours before I sleep, but I know if I'm tired I can take 20mg of Ritalin and take a nap no problem.
For me medicine definitely helped. I don't have such rat race of thoughts any more; I exercise regularly and sleep well, because I'm tired. Wellbutrin can make vivid dreams and make you wake up early. I like to wake up early thou :)
My biggest problem for a good sleep is the computer with an internet access.

ZiggyFry
08-08-10, 06:01 PM
I sleep much better when I'm medicated. When I'm not, I'm a total night-owl.. staying up until I realize the sun is starting to peek through the trees.

Sin.Ziggy.

βĩο₱Ħعℓĩᶏ
08-08-10, 06:08 PM
Meds (adderall) has made me sleep better, more restfully. Before meds I was very tired because of background anxiety/stress and slept too deeply (it's bad when I have contorted my body in a bad way and don't notice till I wake up).

Azella
08-09-10, 04:28 AM
When I'm not on any medication I am a night owl and have difficulty keeping a schedule. On Ritalin, it didn't make too much of an effect either way because I took it in the morning. On Strattera I can sleep earlier in the night but am groggy during some of the day. On my depression medication I am extremely tired all the time unless I get an afternoon nap.

peripatetic
08-09-10, 05:24 AM
the only concern i have with sleep is that i find it incredibly difficult to force myself to go to bed. once in the bed, i'm out for ....maybe 7 hours. but i have to get there.

without medication i just won't go...or i'll go an hour or two before sunrise. since i'm very photosensitive, as soon as the sun starts to come up, i'm up.

with medication i'd say i'm less inclined to either be absorbed in something, trying to finish what i've not done during the day, running around doing nothing but 1/2 organizing and fully mess-making and/or sitting trapped on the sofa in a semi-haze (someone called it 'couch lock' once and that's exactly what it feels like). basically it comes down to saying that with medication (ritalin and dexedrine) i'm more inclined to recognize the hour and go get in bed.

Imnapl
08-09-10, 12:18 PM
May I recommend an interesting, yet entertaining read?
Sleep Thieves by Stanley Coren. If your local library doesn't have a copy, there are used copies available at Amazon.

Emso
08-09-10, 06:23 PM
Thanks everybody, these are really great replies, and it's good to hear your experiences.

I'm inclined to pursue Ritalin and see if it doesn't affect me too much, but also to look into something for better sleep as well. I was kinda downhearted when I learnt that they were two separate problems, as I was expecting to solve them both in one go. But oh well.

Imnapl
08-09-10, 06:48 PM
Emso, wackie sleep hygiene is not hopeless or unfixable - Sleep Thieves even mentions some scenarios about how they helped a graduate student try to alter his irregular sleep so he didn't forfeit all of his education. Most people are quite capable of doing this themselves with a few instructions from people in the know.

I don't work in the summer months and my sleep pattern can get really wonky after two months of not having to set the alarm the majority of the time. If I let it get out of hand, I pay for it big time in September. Long before I knew I had ADHD, I had to figure out the best before sleep environment and routine for me. Then I had to train my mind to cease and desist so I could fall asleep. It didn't happen over night and I got so good at it for so long, that when I do have the odd night when sleep won't come, I'm pressed to remember the steps I used to follow to induce sleep.

I've never been in favor of sleeping medication - listening to others, they don't seem to work very well over the long term.

joklem
08-09-10, 06:50 PM
I've slept 4 hours in total since I started Dexedrine on Saturday. I bought a bottle of Valerian/passionflower/hops capsules today, I'm trying that tonight.

Edit: it's weird but my energy levels and mood are normal. I'm not tired or groggy, but I'm not overly wired due to the amphetamines either. Obviously amphetamines can't replace a healthy sleep schedule, though.

Emso
08-09-10, 08:03 PM
Emso, wackie sleep hygiene is not hopeless or unfixable - Sleep Thieves even mentions some scenarios about how they helped a graduate student try to alter his irregular sleep so he didn't forfeit all of his education. Most people are quite capable of doing this themselves with a few instructions from people in the know.

I don't work in the summer months and my sleep pattern can get really wonky after two months of not having to set the alarm the majority of the time. If I let it get out of hand, I pay for it big time in September. Long before I knew I had ADHD, I had to figure out the best before sleep environment and routine for me. Then I had to train my mind to cease and desist so I could fall asleep. It didn't happen over night and I got so good at it for so long, that when I do have the odd night when sleep won't come, I'm pressed to remember the steps I used to follow to induce sleep.

I've never been in favor of sleeping medication - listening to others, they don't seem to work very well over the long term.

I understand. My sleep hygiene only went out of the window though when I found I couldn't get to sleep. I spent many nights when I was 12-13 years old lying awake for five hours trying to get to sleep, despite having a dark quiet room with no distractions. Indeed, I can sleep in the middle of the day with distractions all around me if that's the right time for me to sleep, but even when I have the imperative of work I still struggle to sleep at the right time. Staying up and doing other things is simply a reaction to the boredom and waste of time that trying to sleep becomes.

Imnapl
08-09-10, 09:51 PM
I understand. My sleep hygiene only went out of the window though when I found I couldn't get to sleep. I spent many nights when I was 12-13 years old lying awake for five hours trying to get to sleep, despite having a dark quiet room with no distractions. Indeed, I can sleep in the middle of the day with distractions all around me if that's the right time for me to sleep, but even when I have the imperative of work I still struggle to sleep at the right time. Staying up and doing other things is simply a reaction to the boredom and waste of time that trying to sleep becomes.Puberty reared its ugly head and altered your sleep patterns. My daughter was a wonderful sleeper from birth . . . and then puberty hit and I found myself telling her to go to sleep so the rest of us could.

There are true night owls and there are people who are efficient sleepers (get right into restful sleep - I wish), but from what you've described, it's just become a habit for you. I hope you post about any changes you notice when you start taking stimulant medication. As someone has already said, there is a short time frame as your medication is wearing off that is really conducive to going to sleep. I can remember feeling that and then ignoring it, knowing that my ADHD symptoms would return and I would gain a second wind. That was often a poor choice.

I discovered that as the body ages, it doesn't recover from sleep deprivation like it did when I was younger. One of the conclusions made by the author of Sleep Thieves was that we should all have two naps a day plus a longer sleep at night as opposed to one long sleep.