The past several days have been a bit awkward because I decided to change the time I take my meds. As you can see within my “Bio” section on the right-hand side of the page, I take Effexor, Zyprexa, Welbutrin, and Clonezapam for BPD and depression. For the past 10 years I’ve taken the medicine upon arising in the morning. Then, a couple hours later (with a few exceptions on really busy days) I inevitably returned to bed for a long nap, because I felt very depressed and sleepy. I was getting “tired” (no pun intended 🙂 ) of sleeping for part of the day and decided it would make sense to take my meds at night when I’m supposed to feel tired.
So far, the change hasn’t exactly produced the dramatic effects I thought it would. On one hand, I’ve noticed that the combination of taking my meds at night plus my nightly Clonezapam does get me to sleep sooner than before. Instead of tossing and turning in bed or staring at the wall, I now get to sleep within an hour, opposed to up to 2.5 hours previously. This is a welcomed change and it definitely means the “efficiency” of my nighttime rest has improved.
On the other hand, however, I still find myself creeping into my room for an afternoon nap; a habit which I thought would be eliminated by taking my meds at night. During the initial days of the change, I’d fall asleep in the afternoon for a shorter period of time, but would have nightmares and fitful sleep. I would wake up a little confused and would remember my nightmarish dreams as if they happened in real time. My mind was straddled between two worlds: reality and my sub-conscious (or wherever dreams emanate from). Although it is certainly better to have a shorter nap, the trade off of waking up “dazed and confused” makes me wonder whether or not my decision was prudent.
Another side effect is a much longer nighttime sleep cycle. This is to be expected since I’m combining all the meds plus my clonezpam at once. Now, I usually fall asleep by 3:30 AM – 4:00 AM and wake up late at 1:00 PM or even 2:30 PM. Yes, I get my “8 hours” of rest, but I completely erase the morning from my day. My cat sits at my door and starts to cry at 11:00 AM because that’s when she used to get her morning food and playtime. Now she has to wait another two hours; and she’s not very happy about that 🙁 .
During the past three or four days, some of the daytime nightmares have passed. Unfortunately, they have been replaced with longer periods of sleep and depression after waking up.
It probably sounds crazy to most people: I wake up at 12 or 1 PM, work for about 2 hours, return to my bed for a nap by 4 PM, then get back up about 7 PM and continue with the rest of my day. My productivity is strongest between 7 PM and 2 AM, however that time period includes an hour of TV to wind down after highly concentrated work at my computer for a few hours straight. My dinnertime is 9 PM and lasts about 30 minutes.
My psychiatrist used to say that some people are “wired” to operate better in the evening to late night hours. I definitely agree this is true and I can use myself as an example. Unfortunately, 90% of the world doesn’t operate on this schedule: the post office, banks, and most supermarkets where I am open early and close by 9 or 10 PM at night, just when I’m hitting my stride working at the computer.
As an aside, if nighttime productivity is an inherited behavior, I wonder what on earth my relatives did during the days when electricity didn’t exist. Did they just try to sleep at night and tough out the daytime? Maybe that process resulted in greater need for sleep and emotional tension? If I suddenly had to return to a 9 AM to 5 PM lifestyle, it would be EXTREMELY difficult and I’d no doubt start nodding off to sleep at 3 in the afternoon after lunch.
The only mitigating factor that I can think of in this complex balancing act – aside from taking my meds at night – is my Type 1 diabetes. Blood sugar naturally rises after meals, and this usually produces sleepy moods in most people, diabetic or not. Observe a 2 PM college class just after lunch and you’ll see that nearly half the class is dozing off to sleep. Speaking personally, I also notice that my mood changes with my blood sugar. High blood sugar produces depression and sleepiness, while low blood sugar produces drunken behavior, angst, and agitation. Perhaps I should monitor my blood sugar more closely and see if it is indeed throwing a wrench in the works?
I wouldn’t suggest changing the time you take your meds unless you consult a medical professional first. The only reason I did it rather spontaneously is because I see my USA psychiatrist once a year and don’t have the luxury of weekly appointments to discuss my progress and symptoms. That’s why I unilaterally decided to try this experiment.
Has anyone else altered their med schedule? What happed? I’d be very curious to know…