Insomnia Relief

Hi, and thank you for reading my share concerning sleep difficulties. I have had a difficult time sleeping many nights over the last 6 months or so. I am concerned that I am often so tired in the daytime I can feel dizzy or lose my train of thought. I see it to as part and parcel of my over-active mind. The trouble with having sleep problems, which are new to me, is that they start to snowball and then you get actually anxious at the thought of another night with little (it feels like it anyway) actual time sleeping.

For some background, it started sometime shortly after I took Strattera. As I live in Japan it is the only medicine approved for ADHD, so I really wanted it to work. I did start having trouble sleeping while taking it, and actually learned that this is not a common side effect of Strattera, at least not to my knowledge.

So my psychiatrist started giving me a benzodiazapine to sleep. I needed to probably just give up on the Strattera at that point. Then a month later when I gave up on the Strattera I naturally just stopped the benzo. Big mistake, as I now know that those kinds of medicines can have long lasting withdrawal symptoms.

Yet, there are nights when I sleep OK. I may just be so exhausted that my over active mind gives out, or the lack of GABA in my brain from cold turkeying the benzo just gives out, or the Strattera that originally started the whole thing just gives out. I really do not know what is causing the recurrance of sleep problems, but I can say that I have a "propensity to be bothered" to quote the Buddhist author Pema Chodron.

I have had many other obsessions, not just the current one with sleep. But, if anyone has any thoughts on this issue, especially as I have read that ADDers often have sleep deprivation of one kind or another, I would appreciate your feedback and support.

All the best for us all to enjoy a good night's sleep tonight.

Bunny (Eric)

Hi, Eric, this article may be helpful to you:

Exercise is the number 1 best way to a healthy sleep cycle. Adding blue light in the mornings and limiting it in the evenings may also be helpful:

Or my personal favorite: read Tristram Shandy at bedtime. Happy sleeping!

Dear Dancermom,

Thanks very much for your reply.

Your two articles both "shed light" for me on some things I can do to improve my sleep hygiene. Getting up after 30 minutes of not sleeping is one which I should start to follow. I often go for a few hours, or even all night, waiting to go to sleep. But, this just exascebates the problem, because I become more focused on the time of night than on actually getting to sleep! So, even though tired, I will probably try to go to bed later and even though difficult, I will get up after 30 minutes to change my frame of mind. Reading does seem to help change the mood and the mental obsessional focus off of sleeping at all costs.

Second and most interesting is the blue light article from Harvard. It is curious that we recently brought out our air cleaner and this machine has an annoyingly bright blue light on its top. I sometimes would cover it with a book, but now that I read this article, I will be sure to tape it with masking tape to really darken my room.

So, much appreciated advice which I think will have a positive impact. I also saw that Valerian Root is recommended, but even though I have an unopened bottle, I think I will avoid another dependency and just continue substance free for now.

By the way, I am curious how you accessed these materials. Do you have difficulties with sleep, or do your kids? My daughter has ADHD and we tried stimulant medications two times for her but she just felt it was more difficult to sleep and was tired in the daytime, so we stopped it.

Take care.


Eric, I am a general research hound, though we did try blue light therapy for my daughter for seasonal affective disorder at one time, and I believe it helped. The blue light in the article is not so much a blue light on the air cleaner, but a part of the spectrum that is found in sunlight. You can buy special blue lamps for use in the morning, and you limit blue light at night by limiting illumination generally, with the fewest lights at the lowest settings, and limiting screen time after dark.

Here is a more comprehensive article about a type of sleep disturbance that is genetically linked to ADHD, and which could be the source of your problem:

Just a quick update. I seem to be sleeping better of late. I admit to taking an OTC sleep med. It and doing more meditation have been the keys. I believe I am detoxing from the benzo. but that if I am in the right frame of mind I can sleep more consistently. This, along with the sedating property of the OTC, which is not habit forming or creating a tolerance, have really helped. Thanks for your support!