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Breaking the Cycle of Insomnia with…. Benadryl???

22 Feb

This whole, awesome TBI (traumatic brain injury) web blog is an inspiring story in and of itself. Put  together by someone who’s dealing with it every day, it’s designed to inspire, educate and assist any of the 5.8 million people (and growing fast every day) affected directly by TBI, plus their families, docs and therapists. And it does - a very good thing, too, because until recently, very little was known about TBI, even though the incidence has been growing exponentially, thanks to sports injuries, domestic abuse, auto accidents, bombs and IED’s – improvised explosive devices.

The blogger, who remains nameless for reasons that are fully explained on the site, is brilliant, honest, thorough, credible, responsible and wonderfully informative (and I’m not just saying this because she likes guided imagery!).  Please send people you know with TBI or suspected TBI over there.  It’s a great resource.  She fills in a lot of blanks.

One of the more common symptoms of TBI is sleep disturbance. (We’re hoping a new study with imagery and TBI will start soon at a V.A. hospital in Arizona – stay tuned!) This blogger writes about her insomnia a lot.  (I’m assuming this is a her. Not sure if that’s ever spelled out or if it’s even true...but she uses a lot of explanation points for a guy!!!)

In this blog, the allergy medication, Benadryl, gets a shout-out.  Even though the writer is a little chagrined about having to use it, she’s reporting truthfully on how it helped her break a vicious cycle of insomnia.  I’m going on record here to say that I think this was a good move.  Insomnia can indeed take on a life of its own, creating a level of exhaustion that is utterly resistant to normal efforts at falling asleep. Break the cycle with meds if you need to, then get back to your regular ways of dealing with it.  

Here is her posting:

Finally got eight hours of sleep…

Okay, so I succumbed. I took something last night to let me sleep through the night. I am not a big fan of sleeping pills, but Benadryl allergy and sinus does it for me. I did wake up once overnight, but I was able to get back to sleep, which is huge for me.

I also got a three-hour nap in, yesterday, which is no small matter.

I get to the point, sometimes, where I’m so tired I literally cannot rest. My nerves are all a-jangle, and I wake up with my heart pounding so hard I feel like it’s going to jump out of my chest.

It helps, if I listen to Belleruth Naparstek’s “Stress Hardiness Optimization” CD — the last two cuts on the CD for relaxation and restful sleep. I put on my headphones, set the volume fairly low, and let myself just listen and relax… and I usually can get to sleep.

Unless I’m over-tired, which I’ve been for a few weeks, now.

This morning, my mouth tastes funky with that after-Benadryl chemical taste. And I’m still a little out of it. But I slept till 7:00 this morning, which is a real change form the past couple of weeks of waking up at 3:30… 4:30… 5:00 and not being able to get back to sleep.

I’ll try again tonight to sleep without some help, but if it comes down to it, I may take something again.

All I know is, I need to sleep.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award