Insomnia and Seroquel

I can trace a good deal of the issues in my life to my struggles with insomnia. I think most experts in the field of medicine can agree that sleep is one of the most important parts of mental health. It is no wonder why when I fail to sleep well one night in can snowball into many nights in a row of no sleep. When this happens in my life, it means all bad.

My psychiatrists over the years and my therapist believe that my own current struggles with depression and social anxiety have its roots in my issues with insomnia. Looking back at my life, the problems that I have with sleep go back to when I was seven. I can’t remember a time when sleep was not an issue in my life.

As a kid, I would spend my nights honing my skills and Role Playing gamer usually until two or three in the morning. Gaming became my way to fill time when sleep failed to find me. As a teen, I would spend even more time at night not sleeping and it was common for me to go day or two with no sleep. I got better at being an RPG gamer simply because it made the time pass with no sleep interesting.

I was a teenager when I first found sleeping medication a helpful way to finally get sleep. I wouldn’t use it every day, but when my sleep got to levels that would become a familiar part of my life, days without sleep, it was common to reach for a sleeping aid. Most of my teenage and young adult years I used over the counter sleep medication to curb my insomnia.

In my early twenties, just before my diagnosis with Bipolar One, I was prescribed my first prescription strength sleeping medication. I will always remember my experiences with Ambien because it affected me in funny ways for the month that I took this sleeping medication. At least I can laugh at it now. I know these experiences only through word of mouth from my family, but with I took Ambien it was common for me to sleepwalk and once I was found outside my house in the cold.

Perhaps the weirdest, or funniest I can’t decide, is that sleepwalked falling through a glass table without injuring myself (I often slept in a zip-up hoodie.) I was found asleep laying in the glass from the table by my family.

Insomnia has always been an issue that leads to other problems including depression and anxiety. Over the years, my doctors prescribed me with several different sleeping medications to supplement my Seroquel. As of now, I am off sleeping medications because over the years they have become ineffective. Now I must rely on Seroquel alone at night.

Seroquel is a well known antipsychotic and I have taken this medication every day for the last ten years for my Bipolar one issues, but I also use this medication for sleep. It has been the most effective medication to combat my insomnia. There is good and bad when it comes to Seroquel and my life. It is effective in high doses. I have taken as high as the maximum allowed (according to my psychiatrists) at 600mg.

Over the years I have worked to lessen the need for Seroquel in my struggle with sleep. At points in my life I have taken as low as a 300mg dose, but in the last few years, my struggles with the effectiveness of taking Seroquel for so many years has made it a battle every night. My dosage now varies on a night to night based on how much sleep I got the night before. The unfortunate reality of my life is my dosage has been at 500mg most nights.

Insomnia is the one thing that seems to be unmanageable in my life. I have my struggles with depression and social anxiety daily, but I have found solace in my writing, meditation, and of course coffee. I am able to manage my other issues with the right combination of medication. But insomnia continues to bother me and it is a real unwanted companion. 

There have been nights lately where a maximum dose of Seroquel doesn’t equate to sleep. It is something that will worry me moving on.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t need Seroquel to sleep, and I believe fully that it is an addiction, but the flip side of that is not being able to sleep. It’s a tough road to be on and I don’t know what will be in store for my future.

Will I find a way to be less dependent on Seroquel or find a way to be off it all together? It is something for the future J.E. Skye to deal with I guess.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: HS LEE

40 thoughts on “Insomnia and Seroquel

  1. God bless you, James!! I know the problem. ..forgive me for being selfish – riddle me this? Now on the verge of possible hypno-mania after sleeping 8hrs soundly & consecutively I’m utterly exhausted?!?!

    Personally, I think that it could deal w/ how calm we are & are not are… I’ve been on “full steam ahead” since 4am this morning. Xx ❤ /\

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, man. We have too much in common! lol… I too became very good at RPG’s thanks to insomnia. I also took Ambien and slept walk. Rather I cooked. Whole meals for the family at 2 to 3 AM. I would come back to bed and give my wife plates of food like steak and potatoes and fresh baked goods. Don’t remember any of it. I would have complete conversations with friends staying with us. Nothing of what I said or did. I also would have burns show up on my hands, arms, stomach and couldn’t remember where I was getting them. Ambien is a dangerous drug indeed. I haven’t sought help for my own mental issues in quite some time. I’m trying too, but not succeeding very well… I hope you find the drug free self you are looking for. Never abandon your tools too soon though. Especially if you think it helps make you the person you need and want to be! Thanks for sharing man!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi There, I too have suffered from insomnia, along with bipolar, anxiety/panic attacks, depression, OCD and PTSD. At one point I was taking 600 mg of seroquel, 300 mg of trazadone, 900 mg neurontin, and .10 mg of Klonopin. I still had difficulty with sleeping. Now, I just take the trazadon, klonopin and 10 mg melotonin. Let me tell you… It made such a positive difference in my sleeping cycle. It’s at least something to look into.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have talked to the people that manage my case all the time, psychiatrists and therapists, they are so focused on me sticking with the Seroquel. I will talk to them again with the advice that you gave me here because something has to change. I am back on such a high dosage it’s unreal. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It blows my mind sometimes how everyone’s system works so differently to the same medications and different dosages. My body wouldn’t be able to handle a dosage and mixture like that, but we all have to find what works for us and that for some can be a long and trying process, but worth it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I know what you mean. I have severe insomnia too and was prescribed Seroquel. It was amazing finally being able to sleep. But within six months it stopped working for me. My doctor did tell me that he can increase the dosage but it is an addicting drug. Doctor did tell me that I need to manage to not depend on it since it could damage other organs. I gained so much weight since I began taking all these medications that I hate it. Thanks for sharing. I’m trying to find other things to do to get tired and hopefully sleep. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ever since I was diagnosed as well I have been taking seroquel to aid my sleep. There has been only 2 nights where I haven’t taken it, and one of those was on purpose (per my doctors approval) because I was participating in a 2 day long race. Both of those times I didn’t sleep, and like you I also have a range dosage if I am having a harder day or night or days or week or whatever. I don’t know if it’s ever something we can come off of, but if not we have to be okay with being on it, because the alternative is usually not good. Sometimes I get curious just to see what would happen without it, but I know it’s a dumb idea for me to just quit taking it. I don’t mean to just ramble about me here, I guess my point is, I can definitely relate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly don’t mind. It helps to know that there are others like dealing with Seroquel in their lives and know the feeling that we may never get off the medication. Thank you for taking the time to share your own experiences with this topic. Have a good night!


  6. Pingback: Insomnia and Seroquel – The Militant Negro™

  7. Seroquel is a very effective medication for bipolar disorder. Full disclosure, I do not take it because I react poorly to sedatives. The strongest dose recommended for Bipolar 1 maintenance therapy for a person 18+ is 800 mg/night. I know you feel you are on a strong dose now and that your dr advises 600 as the max, but I’d be curious to ask he/she why. Maybe a minor increase could do the trick?

    I hope you’re able to get the sleep you need sooner than later.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to take Seroquel every night., I’d put the pill directly under my tongue and it would do its magic. I was so grateful for the fact that it worked, but the side effects weren’t quite so magical. Still, I stayed on it for some time. (And, of course, not everyone has the same side effects I had; I don’t want to malign the medication. Like all meds, you need to try it and see how it affects you.)

    Now I have Seroquel in my purse for emergencies. I only use it once in a great while for bouts of hypomania & insomnia.
    I appreciate how it COMPLETELY nips both of those conditions in the bud!!!!!!! I just wish it didn’t make me so groggy the next day after I take it – I’m unusually sensitive to it and even 25 mg affects me in a significant way.

    I wrote the following post a while ago—I thought you might be interested in it since it’s a “twofer” – I discuss Seroquel *and* memoir writing! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an interesting post. My older son is the one who has bipolar, but he sleeps really heavily these days, partly because he’s on Clozapine. My younger son, however, has a sleep schedule very like the one you describe here, though I think he likes it that way. Plays games with the Europeans all night and then goes to sleep when most Americans are getting up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can be both good and bad when it comes to medication affecting sleeping patterns. Some days I can wake up early and others the Seroquel is so strong in my system it takes hours to get out. Gaming for me is therapeutic and it’s a great release of energy. Thank you for sharing a little of your families life with me and my blog.


  10. Yup. Ditto on the account of consecutive days without sleep triggering/heightening my depression and social anxiety. Then the OCD comes in… Vicious cycles of mental health. Thank heavens for psychiatric Drs to let you know you’re not alone and that you’re just a text book case. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just started taking Seroquel so it’s the best thing in the world right now but I’m sure I’ll me in your boat soon. Hopefully I’ll have enough sex to not need a higher dose. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can relate to the length of your insomnia. It has also plagued me since childhood. I have been on many a sleeping pill, both with and without Seroquel. Seroquel alone was never effective for me. I needed a high dose sleep med. Eventually, I was taken off Seroquel (man, was that ROUGH!) but it never really mattered in terms of sleep for me, since it didn’t aid in sleep for me. I’ve finally found a good option for me. Sonata. I was even off of it during last fall but had to return to it when Spring came around due to the sun being out longer. I have yet to go off of it this year. I depend too much on good sleep hygiene to maintain my mental health. There are times when I miss being on Seroquel. It was a good drug. I wish the best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seroquel has its good and bad, as it is with all medications. I have heard of Sonata. I do fear the reality of getting of Seroquel because I have trouble sleeping without this medication. I am not sure it’s possible to ever get off. Thank you for sharing your own story with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been taking trazodone for sleep for years, and it’s helped. I even took it while taking Seroquel (which wasn’t prescribed for me for sleep). I’ve taken the highest doses of trazodone (can’t remember how high), but the most recent dose is 150mg. I’v’e been able to cut it down to 75mg, and recently 50mg. I’m hoping to cut it out altogether, but I’ve been taking it for like, 10 years at least, and I can’t imagine being able to sleep the whole night through without it. They tried Ambien for me once, but that was too weak. I’m glad you didn’t hurt yourself on the table!

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. I also suffer from insomnia and have done for my whole life… I was just wondering whether you think there’s correlation between your insomnia and your mental health issues, and if so, in which direction? (i.e. did one cause the other)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my sleeping was the cause. It’s hard to know for sure but everything tracks back to my insomnia. That’s not to say the insomnia is the only cause of my mental health issues, I also believe bipolar disorder runs in my family, but the less I sleep the deeper into depression and even mania I go.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi! In your post I read that you meditate. What type of meditation do you practice? It is interesting to me, because the biggest reason why I started to meditate was my insomnia. After some months of Transcendal Meditation I now manage to sometimes nap in the afternoon (impossible before!) and I learned how to fall asleep within 10minutes, rather than tossing and turning.

    Liked by 1 person

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