Monday, September 26, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: Sunlamps, Sleep, and Side Effects

About a week ago I started using my sun lamp in the mornings.  I could feel my mood slipping as the days grew shorter, and after what happened last year, I needed to nip that in the bud.

The bitch of it is that sun lamps have their own side effects.  I don't know why this is, because they're only supposed to simulate the amount of sun you would get around noon on a clear day.  I've been outside at noon on plenty of clear days.  I've never experienced "side effects".

The common side effects of light therapy are what you'd expect from suddenly exposing yourself to a bright light source that you're not used to -- eyestrain, headache, etc.  Less common side effects include those of many psychiatric medications.  Like dry mouth.  And constipation.  And sleep problems.

I was already having hellish problems with dry mouth, but for the first several days after starting my sun lamp treatment, it was unbelievable.  I was constantly drinking water.  Even so, I would wake in the morning with my mouth feeling and tasting like synthetic carpet.

The sun lamp seemed to make my constipation worse too.  And sleep?  Well, using the sun lamp for half an hour in the morning has done a lot for my delayed sleep phase ... sort of.  I've been waking up at 9:30, which is almost like a normal person.  The kicker?  It's still a struggle to get to sleep before 2:30 or 3.  Mind you, I'm reasonably tired by midnight, so I've turned off the light at 12:30 or 1 am.  But sleep won't come.  My mind isn't racing, I'm not tossing and turning, I just can't get to sleep.

Granted, having to get up to pee every goddam fifteen minutes does not help with this.

My mood and energy have been slowly improving since starting the sun lamp, but the lack of sleep is still taking its toll.  I'm only averaging 6.5 or 7 hours a night.  It's kept me from exercising, which in turn probably keeps me from sleeping like I need to ... gotta love those vicious cycles, dontcha?

Last night was better.  I was at least falling asleep between having to pee.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 2 am.  7.5 hours of sleep!  Woohoo!  My mouth didn't even feel like carpet when I woke up.  Here's hoping the trend continues tonight.

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