Hi, Yvonne. Glad to hear you had a decent night at last. Hope it's the first of many! Like you, I was worried about being dopey next day, and I asked my GP to prescribe the pills least likely to do this. She gave me Zopiclone (that's the generic name, I think there are several different brand names) at a very low dose, 3.75 mg, which I think is half the normal dose as the leaflet talks about 7.5 mg. I've found that it works very well and doesn't leave me at all dopey.
I do envy you the ability to eat wickedly - I PILED the weight on and couldn't lose it while I was on tamoxifen (is this the most hated medication in the world, I ask?). Managed to lose some of it when I stopped after 4 years, but it was a hard slog.
For pretty sound advice on herbal medicines try http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/11570.cfm (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre) - it's an American site that gives a good evidence-based rundown on a huge number of herbs, for professionals and consumers. I always get a bit irritated (sorry, Jo) when we're advised to ask our doctors about what to take, as most of them know NOTHING about herbs, so the only advice they can give is 'don't' (which admittedly is probably the most sensible). I got interested in this after taking black cohosh for hot flushes and then finding that there's a big question mark over whether it's safe if you've had oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer. And it didn't work anyway. Huh.
Fingers crossed for you and Cynthia tonight!
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Oh, Yvonne, it could be me speaking in your message! I was diagnosed ten years ago. Every alternative and complementary therapy invented, every form of relaxation and meditation, I tried it, it was useless. Three things helped me cope: sleeping pills, getting the temperature right and putting it in perspective.
I have to say the sleeping pills were the most effective. You're right to be wary of them, since the effect can wear off so that you have to take more and more and can't sleep without them, so what I used to do was allow myself one after three sleepless nights. I'd sleep like a log that night, and it would help me over the next three nights - it was something to look forward to. Mustn't cheat, though - if you have a good night naturally, you have to start counting again!
Cooling down the room and bed helped. The lightest weight duvet then available (4.5 tog) was much too hot for me so I I had a 2.5 tog duvet specially made at John Lewis at incredible expense - you can get them easily and cheaply now, so we're obviously not alone. Because my husband likes to be warmer, we went to two single duvets, with his much heavier than mine, instead of one double. And because he's a saint, he'll put up with no heating in the room and a portable air conditioner going full blast in summer (sorry, environment).
The perspective thing is interesting. It didn't help me sleep, but it did stop me being miserable about it. I would ask myself why I was so bothered about not sleeping, and the answer was first that it was boring being awake (and how serious is that?) and second that it was being worried and upset about not being asleep that was the problem, not the being awake itself, if you see what I mean. So I made myself think about things I was going to do the next day, or what to give to people coming round for supper, or anything that would alleviate the boredom and stop me thinking about not being asleep. As I say, it didn't put me to sleep, but it made being awake matter less.
The good news is that it does get better over time. In my case it was rather a long time and I still get the occasional hot flush at night, but I believe that most people improve rather more quickly. Hope all goes well with you - it WILL improve.
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