Friday, October 26, 2007

Perchance to Dream


I've been having trouble sleeping sometimes lately. Oh, who am I kidding? I've always had intermittent insomnia, lately it's bothering me more for some reason. I'm lucky: if I don't sleep well, I don't feel it the next day, and so I've learned not to worry so much about it. If I go a few days with restless nights, I start getting irritable, and then I usually sleep well for a bit until the cycle repeats. A friend insists I'd sleep better if I turned off the computer and TV by 10 or 11 pm. I'm usually IN bed by 11:30, and I'm not much of a TV watcher, so I don't think that's it-- I sometimes get on the computer after that if I can't sleep, but I've tried first. Then she said it's the Diet Coke I have with dinner. Fine, I've given up caffeine after 9 am. I've had no Diet Coke in almost two weeks. I don't miss it, but it's not making much difference. Some nights I sleep well, others I don't. Last night, by the way, Roy was in my dreams....

So with that as a prelude, the New York Times has an interesting piece on sleep medications. I prescribe sleep medications sometimes, and I really don't think they're a problem for short term issues-- someone who sleeps poorly because of an acute stressor. And SSRI's often disrupt sleep, for some people the combination of an SSRI with trazodone seems to be helpful for both sleep and depression. Getting back to the New York Times article, "Sleep drugs found mildly effective but wildly popular"-- Stephanie Saul writes,

But if the unusual pitch makes you want to try Rozerem, consider that it costs about $3.50 a pill; gets you to sleep 7 to 16 minutes faster than a placebo, or fake pill; and increases total sleep time 11 to 19 minutes, according to an analysis last year. If those numbers send you out to buy another brand, consider this, as well: Sleeping pills in general do not greatly improve sleep for the average person.


The article goes on to say that while total time asleep is increased by 25 minutes or so, that sleep satisfaction amongst insomniacs is greatly increased. The article goes on to theorize why that is, to talk about some specific problems with certain hypnotics, and to say that the perfect sleep agent hasn't been found.

And with this thought, I've changed the sidebar poll-- Please vote for your favorite sleep medication. In Roy's honor, I've tried to be a bit more complete. And once again, in my pursuit of useless data, I don't care who you are, if you take or prescribe it, or if you merely like the idea, just tell us your favorite.

Oh, and finally, I should have put this on my last post about the Red Sox, but if you didn't know it, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is a blogger-- do check out 38pitches.com . Funny, but his posts get more comments than our Shrink Rap posts get. I wonder why.