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Thread: trouble sleeping

  1. #1

    trouble sleeping

    I was just wondering if others with SCI have problems falling asleep and then staying asleedp. My son tells me he can not fall asleep anymore. Then when he does he wakes up with the feeling like his legs are falling through the bed. He has SCI incomplete T5-T6. We see the his general medical doctor tomarrow.
    He also is having back pain and we are hoping that when he gets a chair that fits him a higher back will help.

  2. #2
    Without the aid of medication, I have the same problems as your son: falling asleep is a huge challenge, and if I do somehow manage to get to sleep, I wake up again anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours later and start the battle again. [BTW, I'm an incomplete quad with cord damage from C2-T4 and was a walkie from 77-99, and have used a chair since then.]

    Has your son tried any prescription sleep aids? The extended release formula of Ambien [Ambien CR] solved both problems for me. When I took a 12.5mg Ambien CR 15 minutes before lying down, I fell right to sleep and stayed asleep for at least 4-5 hours without feeling groggy in the morning. If your Rx formulary covers it, give it a try. If it's not, try the regular Ambien.

    Unfortunately, I never found anything that helped me with the strange sensations upon waking. For years and years after my SCD first occurred [I'm talking decades], I woke up feeling like I was falling out of bed. I wasn't of course, but as soon as I started to wake, the sensation would overtake me and I'd let out a little scream and grab on to the bottom sheet for dear life. I was 15 when this started, and my Mom and I thought that perhaps sleeping in the center of a double bed [instead of my twin] would make a difference. It didn't. Neither did side rails or anything else we tried.

    A few years later, I started having the sensation that I was falling out of whatever chair I was sitting in. I'd be sitting in class or a meeting and suddenly feel like I was pitching forward out of the chair toward the floor. As with the falling out of bed sensation, it was so real that I'd give a little yell and clutch at the arms or seat of the chair for dear life even though I never actually moved.

    I never found anyone else who experienced something similar, nor was I successful in finding anything that prevented these feelings of falling except time. It took almost 30 years, but I'm finally free of both.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar

  3. #3
    agree with above. Sleep is very important. It is a significant factor in chronic pain especially if your son is in his teens. But for everyone really. So whatever it takes to get good sleep is a good thing. Over the counter sleep aids like benedryl are worth trying. I use zolpidem or ambien. Consider amitriptyline if your son has neuropathic pain. It has a side effect of sleepiness which can help. Pain meds if in pain. Don't know how new your son's injury is but with time, we all get used to things including waking up and not having sensation of one's legs.

  4. #4
    My insomnia was so bad after my accident that I was put on ambien. Nothing over the counter worked. As the poster above has mentioned, sleep is extremely important. I found that out the hard way myself. I either take 1/2 ambien before I go to bed, or I take 2-3 benadryls. Sometimes even taking everything together doesn't work. I feel for your son.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Domosoyo's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    My daughter had tough time the first year too. She took one or two melatonin for quite awhile and the last dose of gabapentin was before bed.

    She slept with wrist orthotics, elbow splints, and heel guards for a few months. She loves to sleep on her stomach and all the hardware prevented that. Then one night she was too hot, so we ditched all the hardware and she got to sleep on her stomach for the first time since her accident. Ever since that "hot night" she sleeps on her stomach and doesn't need any sleep aids. She also reads before bed and that helps her too.

    Sleep is tough. Everyone's different but at least you could try melatonin before looking for a prescription. Good luck!

  6. #6
    thank you for all your advise and experiances. He has tried melatonin and over the counter sleep aids and they have not helped. He is incomplete T5-T6 since 12/6/11 and is age 20 soon to be 21 in May. We have an appointment with his MD today. I have been concerned about using ambian and sleep aids like these as of all the conflicting data on side effects etc. However, now he needs to get a sleep pattern going for him as he is exausted.

  7. #7
    I snooze with morning laggings for me. However, I sleep 4 hours a night. After that, its leg jumping time with the hip flexor spasms and thigh muscle jerks. Sipping water helps some, but if you cath, then it isnt a viable option.

  8. #8
    now he needs to get a sleep pattern going for him as he is exausted.
    Sleep was difficult for me in the early days I had a lot of anxiety then and now it remains a problem mostly due to pain nowadays. I use zopiclone sleeping tablets, not every night but when I need to "reset" my sleep patterns. I really understand what you say about the exhaustion of a prolonger period of little sleep or no restful sleep. It might be worth getting a sleep aid which not only helps him get to sleep but also helps stay asleep through the pain (my electric shock pain wakes me no matter what I take). This can be a short term measure to get past the exhaustion and back to a healthier sleep pattern. I usually need about 7 consecutive nights on sleeping meds and then I find I can gradually get back to some natural sleep patterns.

  9. #9
    We had a Dr appointment yesterday. Very helpfull in getting Rx for evaluation for wheelchair and hand controls. Insurance needs this to go ahead.
    For the sleep problems Dr put himon Nortriptylin. 25 mg. 1 -3 as needed. He is to start useing one for 3 nites if that does not help up to 2 for 3 nights if needed he can take 3 at once. If that does not help back to the Dr. Hopefully this helps.

  10. #10
    Is he exercising at all to tire him out?

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