Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sleep Disorders, Pills, and Phenibut
It is very hard for him to fall asleep at a regular time, despite trying all of the normal sleep advice and trying many different kinds of sleep pills.
Very few pills work consistantly for him. Unfortunately, the only one that does always work is Seroquel, but it's expensive without insurance, causes health problems (seems to lower his immune system, increase his feelings of pain, messes with his internal thermostat) plus it lasts way too long (12+ hours of grogginess!).
When he was taking Seroquel regularly, he was also taking a medicine during the day to "wake up." This causes personality changes and more side effects and ultimately we've concluded that it is easier and safer to accept his strange sleep pattern than it is to try to induce a normal sleep pattern.
So he sleeps when his body tells him to. Sometimes it's at night, but it is just as likely it will be during the day. It makes for a bit of a random shedule, but we're coping. At least when he is awake, he can be his true self. And that is worth a lot to me :)
If he is also experiencing other mood symptoms or just has gone too many days without sleeping enough, then he often feels that he has to take something to sleep, and so, we've experimented with many different kinds of sleeping pills and the one that I want to talk about here is one you've probably never heard of: Phenibut.
We bought Phenibut after he was doing lots of reading and searching one night. You can buy it online at iHerb.com and get $5 off your first order.
To my surprise, I found out that I really like how Phenibut makes me feel. It is probably the closest thing to a benzodiazepine that is sold as a supplement. Like benzodiazepines, it can be addictive and it should only be used for about 4 days in a row. It also becomes less effective if you use it for more than several days in a row.
What I like about it, is that gives me this wonderful feeling of calmness that extends into the next morning. When I wake up in the morning, I feel relaxed but not groggy. I think it lifts my mood, as well. It also makes music sound better. Yesterday was a particularly stressful day for me (unexpected plumbing problem - ugh!) and I was feeling jittery, over stimulated, nervous, etc. The phenibut calmed me down and helped me to fall asleep.
The chemical name of Phenibut is Beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid.
To make Phenibut easier to remeber, we call it "FUNNY BUT"
Phenibut acts like a real drug, in that its effect is strong and it is important to take the correct dosage. If you take too much, it can cause a bad headache.
Both the powder and the Relax All are good. The Relax All contains other ingredients that must work well together, as my husband gives it a thumbs up for anxiety. The phenibut powder works better for just inducing sleep and is also cheaper per dose. We've also tried phenibut capsules but found that they seemed weak. The powder is bitter but tolerable mixed into juice.
Although Pheibut is really good, like almost all sleep pills, it does not guarantee a good nights sleep for my husband. It will make him feel good and help him relax, but when the sleep comes on is still a nightly mystery. Sometimes he will get sleepy in about an hour, or it might take many hours. He is just different that way.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsome1/3422512294/