Hi Marilyn! I don’t comment often, but had to write in to commiserate with a fellow insomniac. Ugh. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I’ve had sleep issues all of my (almost) 50 years and have found no easy solutions. You’re doing and exploring everything the right way.
A few thoughts/learnings from my time being desperately tired and seeking something… anything… to help get to sleep (and get back to sleep!).
- Sleep hygiene works. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things in getting to bed at a consistent time, putting technology away at least an hour before bedtime, reading before bed… the only things I might add would be adding a sound machine (like the sound of rain?) if white noise would be at all helpful and adding a consistent bedtime meditation practice. I have done a 15 minute meditation via Headspace on my phone each night for over a year and a half and I think it’s incredibly calming each night. (It’s also been helpful in other areas of my life.)
2). Melatonin works… up to a point. My sense (and this is only my sense!) is that your body gets used to the extra dose that you introduce and the effectiveness of it wears away. I try to only use melatonin a couple of times a week. Ambien, for me, is also magical, BUT will rebound easily and result in nights upon nights of insomnia. I limit myself to 1-2 nights (not concurrently) of it at most each week.
3). Other supplements: I take magnesium nightly; supposedly this helps with insomnia? Others recommend a bath with Epsom salts? Possibly worth trying. I also have chronic migraines so take other nightly medications that may help with sleep - would be happy to discuss over PM.
4). Other medications you may want to discuss with your dr… other family members have suffered from insomnia and have tried other medications. This is really a bear to deal with and when it gets to the point that your ability to function through the day is hit, you need to talk with your physician. Friends/family have tried a number of other things, but common suggestions to begin with have included Benadryl or Tylenol PM, which I know that you have tried, but you might want to ask about increasing your dosage (I am a small person who requires the dosage of a 240 lb man! It’s crazy!). Also, other friends have been on a nightly dose of Trazodone for a number of months and experienced no side effects and it was easy to come off of.
Anyway. I am so, so sorry you are going through this. Of course I don’t know exactly what you’re feeling, but I’ve been there with not being able to sleep and not being able to get back to sleep. So incredibly frustrating and exhausting and you feel like it’s never going to end. I hope you can find some relief soon. Please feel free to send me a private message. xo - Jessica