Over the last little while, sleep has taken a hit again. It appears to be very random, and I could sleep relatively well one night, and then it all falls apart the next.
This is becoming such a frequent issue, that I now consider myself a “career insomniac” with periodic “reasonable” sleep – reasonable being more than six hours. I have resurrected the FitBit Ultra that’s sitting on my desk, and have taken Ativan (Lorazepam) and Doxylamine Succinate (Costco’s Sleep Aid) sporadically over the last couple of months because:
- I desperately wanted some sleep that night
- I wanted to see if the drugs made any difference at all
- I had to measure it somehow, and I had a long, long run with Zeo – now it was time to really test out the FitBit.
So this is my report – it won’t be the same as yours, but it’s one more data point on the road to getting better sleep..
The FitBit Ultra
When I used the FitBit Ultra before, I would wear it in combination with the Zeo, using Zeo as the reference. They didn’t seem to track each other that well at all, and any time I was perfectly still, but awake, the FitBit would show me as “sleeping”. This time, the Zeo remained in the drawer, and the FitBit was attached to my wrist for the night.
I started the measurement when I turned out the lights, and stopped it when I got up in the morning, so it would have an accurate time of my “attempting to sleep” period. Because of the tremendous amount of data I’ve collected from Zeo over the past months, I knew what to expect – somewhere between 10-15 awakenings per night, and sleep time around 5-6 hours.
Without the additional information that Zeo would provide, this result seems reasonable, and well within my expectations. So, for what it’s worth, I now believe the FitBit Ultra is a reasonable estimator of sleep. I’m going to keep using it for a while and see if I change my mind (might even go back to wearing both the FitBit and the Zeo to see if I now think they track better).
Lorazepam – A Benzodiazepine (Ativan)
I gave in one night and had a 0.5mg sublingual Ativan (a relatively potent version in the benzo family) before I went to bed. I believe it had zero effect on my sleep, and had little to no hangover effect in the morning (about 8 hours later). I really want to thrown these in the trash (OK – return them to the pharmacy for proper disposal), but they’re like a security blanket after all these years. Even though they don’t work, I feel better knowing that they’re around. And if we have a Zombie Apocalypse, their anti-anxiety qualities would come in handy. I guess I could also sell them on the street for extra coffee money too.
Doxylamine Succinate 12.5mg (Costco’s Sleep Aid, cut in half)
This has now become my “go-to” drug of choice when I absolutely, positively, need to get some sleep at night. The problem is, the next morning, every time, I say to myself
“Why Did I Do That?”
They do help me sleep, and I think I get a good quality of sleep (still multiple awakenings, but REM and Deep Sleep seem unaffected). But the hangover effect the next day is almost worse than the insomnia it was meant to treat. I feel groggy at least until noon, and it still has lingering side effects till late in the day (lethargy). I really should throw these things out (OK – pharmacy again), and I swear I’m going to do it every “morning after”. But I haven’t done it yet. Somebody do it for me, please….
Addendum: I’ve found that I can now take 1/3 tablet of the generic Costco branded sleep aid, and get a predictable night’s sleep. The benefit to this is the morning hangover – it now only lasts about an hour (till about 8am). I know I shouldn’t be using the stuff, but with it’s effectiveness and reduced (almost eliminated) hangover, I’m finding it hard to say “no” and suffer with another lousy night. I now use it every couple of weeks when I’ve had a few bad nights in a row.
Now – this is where you come in – please post a comment and tell us what you take and how often you take it. Does it work? Do you have a next-day hangover?
I want a conversation about this …. statistics tell us that a huge part of the population relies on sleeping pills!!