Sleep has always been difficult for me. For years, I have suffered from insomnia. After trying various non-drug therapies such as biofeedback and relaxation techniques, I visited my family doctor to find out what my options were to help my insomnia.
My doctor gave me a complete physical and discovered I had no underlying health issues which might be causing my sleep difficulties. Following this, my doctor suggested I try an over-the-counter sleep aid containing antihistamines and diphenhydramine called Sominex. I did, but I experienced a great deal of grogginess on the days after I took it. Since I travel for my job, I was concerned about the “hangover” feeling I had when I used Sominex, so I went back to my doctor to see if there was anything else which could be done.
The next step my health professional took was to begin me on a dose of Lunesta. Lunesta is considered to be a “new” prescription sleeping pill. In the past, benzodiazepines and older types of sedatives were prescribed to help people sleep. These older sleeping pills had high rates of dependency and were often deadly when people inadvertently mixed taking them with drinking alcohol. “Newer” sleeping medications such as, Lunesta, Ambien and Sonata are considered to be “safer” but still should not be mixed with alcohol and should only be taken under the close supervision of a physician. It is recommended prescription sleep medication be taken on a short-term basis and for no more than 10 days at a time.
I tried Lunesta for about two weeks with mixed results. Lunesta did help me fall asleep, but I was surprised that it took about an hour before I began to feel the effects, even the over-the-counter Sominex had acted in a shorter amount of time. However, once I fell asleep, I did sleep through the night. When I took Sominex, I would sleep in four hour shifts.
As with Sominex, I did experience grogginess the day after I took Lunesta. The grogginess did not last as long as it had with Sominex, but it was a little more intense in the beginning. One of the things I noticed when I stopped taking the Sominex, was my insomnia cam back and was even worse after I stopped taking the over-the-counter medication. After I finished my trial of Lunesta, I found the same thing happened. In fact, it seemed I was almost “dependent” on the Lunesta to get any type of sleep.
My insurance did not cover Lunesta and I ended up paying about $80 for my fourteen day trial. This was about eight times more expensive than what I paid for Sominex.
So, while I was thrilled to get an entire night’s sleep while taking Lunesta, I remained concerned about the side effects. For me and my type of insomnia, Lunesta was probably not the best solution. If I were a person who suffered from short bouts of insomnia, the type which come from stress or travel, I might consider Lunesta.
If you are going to try Lunesta, be sure to discuss it thoroughly with your doctor. Make sure you know your sleep patterns and be open to trying a variety of interventions. If your doctors do suggest Lunesta, ask your health care provider about Lunesta’s free trial offer. The company which makes Lunesta will often give doctors free samples of the product and they offer consumers a seven day free trial of the medication. (Your doctor may have to contact the company to validate the offer.) As with any new medication, if you notice any unusual side effects, seek medical assistance immediately!
Sweet dreams and good luck in your quest for a night’s rest!