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Insomnia ruining my life. Please help. Also has anyone tried hypnotherapy?

(25 Posts)
Willievergettosleep Tue 23-Aug-16 13:16:57

I've been suffering from insomnia for just under a year. Before that I would say I was a fairly normal sleeper. Not sure exactly what brought it on but I am an anxious person with some OCD traits. I find it hard to relax. The problem is both not being able to fall asleep and also waking up in the night or very early.

I used to be very active but have been too tired to do much, I have put on a stone in weight and feel like crap. My skin is awful. I used to be very active but I am too tired to exercise beyond anything very gentle. I have had to cancel most social plans as too exhausted to cope with anything beyond going to work and basic things like (basic) housework and cooking. Obviously all this is causing me to feel depressed.

My job is suffering. My boss has been sympathetic and lets me work from home on occasion (which is a complete life saver as I have a stupidly long commute into central London) but I don't want to push my luck with regards to work.

I have been to my GP numerous times. I started off with Zopiclone sleeping pills then was prescribed Citalapram. Felt like I was better so stopped taking it (it also made me feel unwell so was keen to come off it asap).
More recently I have taken Zolpidem which does make me sleep but now my GP has refused to give me any more as it's addictive and only meant for short term use. I have been prescribed Amitriptyline which I have not started taking yet (will start over the long weekend in case I have a bad reaction).

I had a course of counselling / CBT but to be honest I didn't find it especially helpful, I didn't really find that the counsellor told me much that I didn't already know. Some of the tips for coping with anxiety were quite useful but certainly not life changing.

I am at the end of my tether. I am looking into hynotherapy and wondered if anyone has tried that for insomnia and whether it worked? I can't get it on the NHS so would have to pay privately and it's very expensive - but obviously worth it if it solves the insomnia.

Any ideas would be welcomed. Please don't suggest anything like avoiding coffee, chocolate, not looking at phone before bed, herbal remedies etc as I have tried all those things without success.


wfrances Tue 23-Aug-16 18:00:34

i was prescribed mirtazapine to target my insomnia , it seems to be better in lower doses .(7.5mg)
if you google it you can see its a very sleepy drug.
after about 2 weeks it stops working with me , so i leave it off and try again a couple of weeks later -at least some sleep is better than none.
ive tried hypnotherapy years ago for stress and it worked a bit ,but not worth the cost imo ,and i was told years later it didnt work fully because your supposed to have regular updating sessions.

Branleuse Tue 23-Aug-16 18:06:18

ive done hypnotherapy for insomnia, and whilst it gave me a few good skills for relaxing and emptying my mind, I dont think it made a massive difference. Certainly not enough to warrant £60 a session. It was pleasant though.

If I were you, and the insomnia is recent onset, I would try and look into therapy to try and work out what brought on the change and dealing with your anxiety. Sleeping tablets are only ever given for such short periods that theyre a waste of time, because a weeks sleep just reminds you of what youre missing. Plus of course all antianxiety/antidepressant medication has side effects.

Do you think it might be hormonal?

pizza1234 Tue 23-Aug-16 18:38:41

I completely empathise. At various times I've felt the same as you and I often have a fear of insomnia returning. My problems started as a teenager and at times of stress returned. I became anxious about "not sleeping" and of course that made the problem worse. When I was pregnant 6 years ago, it all came to a head and I suffered from horrendous anxiety and OCD. I had a long period where I didn't sleep at all and nights were filled with panic attacks.

I've had lots of counselling for the anxiety, which has helped lots, but my counsellor still didn't seem to fully grasp the terror I felt/feel about not sleeping. Last time I had a bad patch I stumbled across this book:

It really helped me. The person who wrote it suffered from extreme insomnia herself and she totally gets that OCD mentality. Her programme is really good and, more than anything else, gave me hope that I could change. I still have underlying anxiety regarding sleep but I'm so much better than I have been in years.

Let me know if you think it helps, but it was better than all the therapy I had.

Roseformeplease Tue 23-Aug-16 18:53:46

How old are you? I had similar symptoms but HRT sorted it. I also take over the counter anti-histamines (Piriton) which helps too (but is for my eczema).

Willievergettosleep Tue 23-Aug-16 20:54:41

Thanks will download that book
Am mid 30s

Lyndie Tue 23-Aug-16 21:00:26

Second that book. Someone on here recommended it 6 months ago and it's changed my sleep forever.

Branleuse Wed 24-Aug-16 09:48:33

ive now ordered that book too

TTAoD Wed 24-Aug-16 09:51:33

I watch the hypnotherapy videos on youtube and its free some of them really help me relax abd fall asleep

LC01 Wed 24-Aug-16 10:07:28

I could have written a lot of what you have put. Although my insomnia has been going on for most of my adult life. I don't worry about not being able to sleep anymore, but I do constantly wake throughout the night. My GP won't be me on sleeping tablets, so tried the CBT insomnia course, which basically limited by time in bed to 4 1/2 hours each night, but I still didn't sleep through the night. And tried Metatonin from the sleep clinic in Oxford which didn't work for me either.

I also thought about acupuncture - has anyone tried that?

Willievergettosleep Thu 25-Aug-16 17:00:15

Read the Effortless Sleep Method book. It certainly made lots of sense to me.

I've been making a lot of the sleep mistakes she refers to without realising that I was really doing much wrong. Very interesting book. It's also made me feel a lot more positive about tackling my sleep. Now let's see if it works...

Muddledupme Thu 25-Aug-16 21:30:34

If your really struggling ask your Gp for a referral to a sleep disorders clinic.They are really good at working out what's going wrong and how to solve it because they have home monitoring equipment and will have you in for a sleep study which they will analyse before working out treatment.

Anessav Fri 23-Sep-16 16:47:57

I used to have a similar problem. Try using a MindSpa, it's a hand held unit with headphones and glasses. Pulsated sounds and lights start off at a certain frequency and then slow down, somehow your brainwaves click into the frequency and it helps to relax you and helps you to sleep. I've been using one for years and have recommended it to loads of friends. It certainly helped me.

LuckyBitches Wed 28-Sep-16 13:22:58

I've also recently had some terrible insomnia OP - I've found 7.5 mg of Mirtazapine on top of all the sleep hygeine stuff (plus switching my phone off overnight) sorts me out, almost always. I've been on it for 3 months now, and have the occasional unnerving marathon-sleep. It's odd stuff but I like it. Best of luck to you - it's such a shit place to be in. flowers

whycantwegoonasthree Wed 28-Sep-16 14:40:38

Hi - I've been having a rough time for a few months and got to critical a few weeks back. GP prescribed Zopiclone to get me some respite short term. Worked like a dream, but is definitely not a long term solution.

Went back and was given Phenergan (antihistamine) which didn't work for me at all - so after a few more nights of no sleep went back to the GP.

Now have Sertraline to try and tackle the long term issues of anxiety behind the insomnia, and another week of Zopiclone to tide me over the worst of the side effects - hopefully.

First few days have been really, really rough - I'm hoping to see improvement too, but am very nervous about what happens when I stop the Zopiclone...

Have booked in some counselling/phsychotherapy/CBT appointments to try and work at it from both angles.

The whole things is very scary. I feel your pain and anxiety. x

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Wed 28-Sep-16 14:48:32

Have you had a physical check up ? I.e. Thyroid / hormones/ hba1c/vit D and B12 etc? Basically get them to check thyroid, pituitary and hormones.

I'm a lifelong insomniac. Melatonin is the only thing that's helped me and even that not much. Mirtazipine is very bad for weight gain. Zopiclone didn't work at all for me.
Ds is also a total non sleeper so I haven't slept more than 90 mins in a row for almost a year now. I feel your pain.

OllyBJolly Wed 28-Sep-16 14:51:20

I had hypnotherapy for insomnia on the NHS -but it was 23 years ago. It worked brilliantly for me. I find it hard not to fall asleep as soon as I go to bed (probably why I was single for 15 years!). I've since used it for stress and for pain control.

Mindfulness might be an alternative and there seems to be a lot of free classes?

Insomnia is awful and there should be treatment for it on the NHS. It makes everything - physical health, mental health, life - so much harder to cope with. I couldn't take drugs as I was on my own with two young children and breastfeeding. I hope you find a solution that works.

RockinHippy Wed 28-Sep-16 14:59:42

Please ask your GP to check your B12 levels & get a print out of your results if you are told its "normal" as too often isn't that straight forward. Insomnia is a big symptom of deficiency, along side the anxiety symptoms you describe & much more.

We tried everything over the years for our DD, nothing really helped, it git so bad that 2 hours was a good, though by then she had a lot more symptoms too. Her first B12 injection had her sleeping 8 hours, which she has done ever since, bar when she needs more B12


misscph1973 Wed 28-Sep-16 15:14:42

Prescription sleeping pills are definitely not the answer. I totally understand that you are desperate, but you need to get to the bottom of this. My DH is an insomniac, and I have been having sleep trouble myself.

Do you do all the usual suspects? Ie. regular bedtimes, no screens after 8pm, a dark, cool bedroom, no coffee after 10am, no alcohol?

Try bedtime yoga every night, there are plenty of you tube videos. Try meditation.

Good supplements include 5-htp, GABA, valerian, hops, magnesium (I take all of these an hour before bed).

whycantwegoonasthree Wed 28-Sep-16 15:38:35

Just wondering - there's no harm in taking B12 & magnesium supplements alongside all the other stuff (sertraline, zopiclne) is there?

RockinHippy Wed 28-Sep-16 16:02:44

Please DON'T take B12 supplements before you get tested for deficiency, unless you are strict vegan, then you will not be deficient without a good reason. There are lots of reasons why many people can't absorb/process B12 properly & taking supplements will only serve to skew your blood test results, but are unlikely to have much, if any affect otherwise - its all explained in the link I posted below.

I would be a bit cautious with supplements such as SAMe/5htp, these can definitely help, but they also mop up Homocysteine, which is another test used to confirm B12 deficiency, so if you have taken these ahead of tests, your Homocysteine results will be skewed too - we made that mistake

whycantwegoonasthree Wed 28-Sep-16 16:57:36

I have also been wondering if it's menopause related. I'm only in my early forties, but hit puberty late and according to my mother 'start late, finish early'… I don't know how to find out about that though. Speak to GP I guess. I was too addled from lack of sleep to remember at my last appt.

Any thoughts?

RockinHippy Wed 28-Sep-16 17:35:32

I'm only in my early forties, but hit puberty late and according to my mother 'start late, finish early'…

Have a look at the link I posted in my PP, late puberty is another sign of B12 deficiency, usually the hereditary form "Pernicious Anaemia"

I was late to puberty, I also had my DD very late at 41, according to the Gynaecologist I was under, starting late meant menopause would be later too - it wasnt, it was early, which with PA, now makes sense

whycantwegoonasthree Thu 29-Sep-16 12:44:27

RockinHippy - that's really interesting. Reading the links and looking at it on the NHS there are alot of parallels - I have always had issues around anaemia and low blood pressure/fainting, and have always been very pale. Didn't hit puberty until I was 16.

And the palpitations I have been having increasingly - which I've just put down to anxiety, along with the insomnia.

And am currently having tests to try and get to the cause of bowel problems. (Currently investigating IBD/colitis via a colonoscopy.)

So it seems like it's worth mentioning to my GP and seeing what she says. At least to get it ruled out. Thanks for the heads up.

RockinHippy Thu 29-Sep-16 16:14:18

That makes a lot of sense & does point to some sort of B12 malabsorption problem.

My DD was diagnosed with allergic colitis (turned out to be caused by soy & Cochineal) She had a really bad 6 week long flare of it just before she injured her hip running for the bus - she ended up in a wheelchair for over 18 months & nobody could actually explain why her hip subluxation injury just wouldn't heal.

The B12 injections got her walking again in under 2 weeks, plus sleeping normally again. She was a late developer, she also went from being the tallest at 0-8 years, to the smallest at 8+. She grew several inches & changed cup size 3 times in the month following her B12 loading dose!

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