Sundog, Lake Marie Oregon 2018

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better Sleep / RLS Medication

This whole process has really done a number on my sleep!

My mind just doesn't want to turn off, and I have been awake long into the wee hours more nights than I care to count.  Some nights it's been worry, some just  thinking and planning.

I don't like to take sleeping pills because I don't want to be dependent on them and if I take them  late in the night I am totally groggy for most of the morning.

Many nights I will take a Benadryl  because it helps the "post menopausal" itchy skin, and sometimes helps me fall asleep without having a morning hangover effect.

I also have had a life long battle with RLS  "Restless Leg Syndrome."  Some nights I don't know how Craig can sleep so peacefully next to me as I thrash and kick.  I had actually worn a large whole thru the foot area of the last set of sheets I replaced.  Some evenings my legs are so restless I find it hard to sit in my chair and read.  Other nights they don't give me any discomfort until an hour or so after I'm in bed.

I have a wonderful medication I can take for this.  It is Clonazepam.  But, the doctor advised me not to take it every night because it is both addictive and can loose it's effectiveness.  With this in mind I only take it when I can't stand the RLS anymore.  I find that if I take it for 3 nights, I really "Want" to take it the fourth. So I never do.

When it was first prescribed, I looked it up on the web to see if there were any side effects that I should know about.  I learned that the primary use of it is as an anti-anxitey medication.  Calming restless legs is a secondary effect.  

Since I haven't used it for over a month, my legs have become increasingly jumpy so I decided to take one last night.

Wonderful!  I had a very peaceful, restful, calm nights sleep.  I caught my mind wandering toward a few worries, and then felt myself relax and think, "That's no big deal."  "All will be well."  "Life is good." "You can answer that question tomorrow."  

The nice thing is I wake rested and not groggy the next morning.

Sometimes we just need a little help!


  1. I have RLS, CRS and can't sleep at night because my brain won't shut the heck up. You know what the CRS is right? :)

    My legs are going always, when I'm on the train, at home, in the car, heck driving the RV I drive people nuts with it.

    I'm not going to take any meds though, I'm on enough already. I'm glad it works for you though! I have tried the relaxing and telling myself to think about stuff in the morning, but my brain ignores it and keeps on going.

    There has been times I have felt like asking my wife to knock me over the head with a hammer, it may hurt in the morning but I'd be out for the night! :)


  2. Sounds like you have a good handle on the medication and it's effects. I totally agree, sometimes a little help is necessary. When I have a few nights where I haven't slept well, I take 1/2 of a Tylenol PM and that does the trick for me.

    Although, since we've been on this fulltiming journey, I sleep so much better than I used to. The only time I've really suffered from sleeplessness has been if it's windy and the awning cover is flapping.

  3. Although I don't have RLS, I do notice when they get jumpy, sitting with my laptop on my lap. I hope I don't get it. I sure know about the itchy skin though! Benadryl works wonders :)

  4. Just noticed the blog name change - love it. Did you know that Benedryl can really irritate RLS? My sister has suffered with it for years and years. Been to Mayo Clinic, been in a few tests, and it still sometimes drives her to almost suicide. I have a touch of it - long rides - especially on planes, really set them off. But usually I'm okay and it doesn't last long.

  5. What a coincidence! I was planning a post about sleepless nights (with a post-menopausal angle).

    See if your MD or NP will prescribe Flexeril. It's a non-addictive muscle relaxer that can help with those nights when you just HAVE to get a full night's sleep. Not sure if that would also help your RLS.

    Also, I've begun to take Benadryl when I wake up in the middle of the night (not before bedtime) and find that it is more effective that way.

  6. I take two lorazepam each day for Essential Tremor. Sure helps with sleep at night. Prior to being diagnosed with Essential Tremor, I took a sleeping pill 'as needed' when I just couldn't sleep. Our bodies need rest and sometimes a little help is needed.

  7. I had to get a sleeping pill prescription when we were finalizing our move into the RV. I just made a rule that I wouldn't take them on consecutive nights. That fixed the dependence issue. I still have a bunch left for emergencies :) I agree with Margie. Sometimes a little help IS needed!

  8. Al also has RLS, but maybe not as bad as you do. He can't sleep unless he has "sleeping pants" on his legs. I sometimes use Dramamine to help me doze off because Benedryl sometimes works too well.

    I'm sure you'll do better once everything settles down with the new motorhome!

  9. When exciting things are happening, it is really hard to shut off the spinning brain! I have a 30 day prescription for Ambien that I make last about 6 months. It doesn't make me feel weird or groggy, but I don't use it often either, just when my brain has been spinning for days and I am getting more and more strange from having no sleep.

  10. Glad you got a good nights sleep. That always makes for a more pleasant next day. My legs ache at times so much that I can hardly stand it. Oh well.....

  11. I get RLS on occassion, and found that calf stretches can help. They are described midway down this page: http://helpguide.org/life/restless_leg_syndrome_rls.htm

    Good luck--I hate missing any sleep, but it happens a lot with work and kids.

  12. Love your "new name"!

    Good for you for taking charge of your body. Sometimes we all need a little help and shouldn't feel bad about doing what we need. When I was working I took Ambien almost every night. I don't take it at all anymore but when I needed it I was glad to have it.

    I sometimes get RLS and take 1/4 of a Flexeril and I can get to sleep. More than that and I am zonked! Good luck.

  13. Hubster has RLS; neuropathy and phantom pains in both his legs... He has run the pill mill with VA and private physicians trying to overcome this. Some nights he pounds on his legs in anguish. Currently he's taking Lyrica and it seems to be doing the best of anything he's been prescribed.

    I love your new name!!! Things will settle down and you'll be sleeping like a baby in there! Are you going to name your rig like so many do???

  14. we all need a bit of help once in a while..here we use gravol if we can't sleep!!..sure helps!!

  15. Time for an update on the new rig.... :)~


  16. I also love the new blog name. yea! I totally understand not being able to shut off the brain. During menopause my worst symptom was sleep disturbance and I often only slept 3-4 hours. That episode made me really appreciate being able to sleep through the night. I am always impressed by your common sense, making sure you only use it when you need and not for too many consecutive days. There would be less addiction to prescription drugs if people thought the way you did. Glad you've gotten some good sleep. :)

  17. Love the new name and yes everything can be addictive...a slippery slope for sure. Thank you for your last comment on my dad...I do know I am very lucky to have this time with him...it has been special. The only thing that makes me sad now is when he is really really sick....that is the hardest thing to see...

  18. I too have problems with my legs at night. I don't know if it is RLS or not, but I do get cramping. The doctor says that quinine helps, but they don't prescribe it any more, suggested getting it from Tonic Water. I usually get a couple of bottles of tonic with quinine(it's on the label). I usually have a little bit before I go to bed when my legs bother me. I also sleep with my knees elevated and sleep through the night.

  19. The best help for sleepless nights that I use is Calmes Forte, it is made by Hyland's and is non-habit forming.

    It isn't as strong as Benadryl or the other sleep prescriptions, and I don't know how it would affect RLS. It is a botanical combination of minerals and herbs that naturally helps your mind calm down. I find it works best when I know that I am physically tired but my mind just keeps racing. I take 3-5 Calmes forte, and create a nice quiet space where I sit for about 30 minutes to sink into the calmness before getting into bed. It may be the whole process that helps, though CF has really gotten me through some crummy sleepless cycles.

    Congrats again on the rig!


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