Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Sleeping Pills Linked with Early Death

with 6 comments

I was once offered sleeping pills by a GP but they didn’t make any difference to my sleep pattern at all so I stopped taking them. I know it sounds nuts to give sleeping pills to someone with narcolepsy but if I remember correctly it was to help control my sleep pattern whilst traveling. Perhaps you have been offered them too?

Study: Sleeping Pills Linked with Early Death


Written by Queen of Sleep

February 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Over-the-counter sleep pills are a big part of my maintenance regimen. Making sure I sleep well at night makes a big difference in daytime sleepiness. Ambien and Lunestra never worked for me, but simple Diphenhydramine HCl helps me a lot.

    The study is interesting but despite the large number of participants the number of deaths was so small that the numbers could get exaggerated. Remember that if you have one death out of 10 000 in one group and 4 in 10 000 in another, thats 4x the likelihood, but a real increase of .03%.


    February 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    • Thanks for pointing out the exaggerated numbers!
      What do you mean with “simple” in the context of Diphenhydramine HCI? Common over the counter?

      Queen of Sleep

      February 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      • Yes, sorry, I suppose “simple” might not have been the best word. I’m referring to over-the-counter sleep aids like “Unisom.” I use a generic equivalent and it works well for me to regulate my sleep. YMMV.

        William Behun

        February 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm

  2. Hi Queen of Sleep,
    I am a fellow person with narcolepsy (without cataplexy) and I’ve found that I need both a sleep medication and day medication in order to live life “normally”. If I don’t have my sleep medication I feel as if I’m lacking something. My sleep cycle is very disturbed with out sleep meds.
    I take ambien occasionally but my main sleep aid is trazodone (as an off label use). I originally was only on nuvigil but when I took the higher dose of it I had an adverse reaction to the stimulant. I currently take 150 mg of nuvigil and 15 mg of adderall during the day. At night I take 200 mg of trazodone and if I need a boost I add ambien to it.
    As a college student I’ve found that this trifecta of meds has helped me by leaps and bounds. Last spring I had a 3.75 GPA (out of the max of a 4.0 GPA) I never would have achieved that average if I hadn’t been on my meds.
    -Felicia (from the USA)


    February 29, 2012 at 5:03 am

  3. Hi Felicia! congratulations on your GPA! Ever since I tried Modafinil a few years ago with terrible side effects I have been trying NOT to be too anti-pill/medication minded. I have cataplexy so the anti-depressant I take clomipramine helps me sleep at night. I never feel that my sleep cycle is under control only managed so if I watch a film my sleep might be ruined depending on how emotional it makes me feel. If I forget to take clomipramine I wake up and feel as if I have not slept at all. It obviously has made a huge difference in your life to take trazodone and I might ask my specialist next time I see him if he thinks it is a good idea to give sleeping pills a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Queen of Sleep

    February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    • Thanks 🙂
      I originally started with modafinil and it didn’t do much; the amodafinil works better for me (I just can’t take too high of a dose or else reality seems to split). I always tell people that my brain can’t distinguish between waking and sleeping and that at night I deal with the opposite of what I deal with during the day. My brain just can’t seem to stay sleeping (the “joys” of narcolepsy)- so the EDS is just part of narcolepsy but the most obvious of the symptoms and that’s what most of my friends think when I tell them I have narcolepsy.
      I’ve found that my depression has lessened with using all three meds (except for when I get stressed out and then everything is crazy).
      I hope that if you and your doctor decide that trazodone is a good option that it works for you as it has worked for me.


      February 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm

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