Sleeping problems/insomnia and Prednisone

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/9/2009 11:58 PM (GMT -6)   
i have been on and off prednisone for the past few years, usually months' long courses at a time.
The higher doses 60-40mg often prove bearable due to the steroid-high but once i get below this i have huge problems sleeping, every course of pred the problem becoming more severe.
the first time i didnt quite understand what was happening and pushed through it, the next two times i used allopurinol until i had the neutropenia reaction with azathioprine.i now use temazepam but i am finding this becomes less effective. have been off it for the past few weeks as my Dr is obviously restrained in prescribing it to me and i thought i would try without it again. but i came to him in tears a few days ago as i just cannot cope with whole nights of sleeplessness anymore. then last night i took one and still didnt get any sleep at all!
even more annoying is i still have these problems even though i am down to only 9mg of prednisone.
does anyone else have these problems?
Any suggestions/ ways to help?
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Post Edited By Moderator (Red_34) : 8/10/2009 5:36:53 AM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 8/10/2009 1:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Sleeplesness is a fairly common side effect of pred especially when on high doses, it's extreamly important you take all of your pred at once as early in the morning as possible, this will more than likely aid with your sleep issues at night, it may take a few days once you start taking it early in the am before you notice the sleeplessness issue disolving.

Glad to see you're taking the Acia berry capsuls, hope they're helping but I thought I'd add that taking a good probiotic daily and indefinitely (flaring or remission) can also have great benefits for IBD symptoms.

Good luck and feel better soon :)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 382
   Posted 8/10/2009 9:38 AM (GMT -6)   

I don't have any suggestions for you, but I just wanted to say I'm having the same insomnia issues. I'm newly diagnosed, and am currently tapering off Prednisone. I started at 40 mg and am now on 20 mg. I thought it was interesting that you said once you started tapering down you started to have the insomnia. That's exactly how I feel, and I thought it was strange since I thought it would be getting better since I was taking less. I wake up every night to go to the bathroom and then cannot all back asleep. It's really starting to wear on me. I'm exhausted all day.

I take my doses in the morning too, and it doesn't seem to make a difference. Ugh. I hope that you start feeling better, and I'll let you know if I figure out anything that helps.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 8/10/2009 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Be sure to get exercise every day. Exercise will help you to sleep better at night. If you can't get aerobic exercise, due to your UC, you should at least be lifting weights til the point of muscle exhaustion. Not only will you sleep better but you will counteract the bone loss from pred. Also talk to your GI about a different drug to control UC. Pred use of over 4 months is considered "steroid dependent" and should be avoided.

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 8/10/2009 10:50 AM (GMT -6)   
I take a small dose of Trazodone, it helps me stay asleep.

Otherwise, I just don't even try to sleep when I have the prednisone effects, and find I don't really need to. I just get up and get stuff done around the house. Trying to sleep when you cannot will drive you crazy!
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol maintenance for 20+ years; used prednisone & Rowasa for flares.  Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), salmon oil (omega-3) when I can remember. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated wheat/gluten from my diet.
Bad flare in March, used prednisone. Humira denied, started Remicade 4/12 and doing great~ learning what normal is~ wow

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 8/10/2009 5:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I din't have sleeping problem at night when I was on Prednisone. I took them in one dose before 7 am and got back to sleep right after.
Ulcerative proctitis diagnosed in July 2006. Medications: Salofalk enema nightly.
Remission from Nov 2006 to Oct 2007. Then a bad cold and a bad flare for 1 year till Nov 2008.
Pancolitis diagnosed in April 2008. Current medications: Salofalk enema, Salofalk suppositories, Salofalk tablets 1000mg x 3/day, Entocort enema (tapering).
Supplements: Calcium with Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and psyllium capsules (Metamucil).

Jen O
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 8/10/2009 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I had horrible problems sleeping while on Pred, too. I complained (a lot) about that to my GI. He eventually broke down and prescribed Ambien. At first I was afraid to take it (there are warnings on it about driving while not fully awake) and was afraid that I wouldn't wake up when I had to go to the bathroom! Eventually I took it. It at least helped me to get 2 or 3 hours of sleep. But like others have said, once I woke up to go to the bathroom, I couldn't get back to sleep. If there is a next time on pred for me, I'll ask for the Ambien CR (controlled release) and try that to see if I can get back to sleep after getting up.

Age 34, Diagnosed with UC September 2008
Current Meds:
Started Azathioprine 100 mgs 6/22/2009 and Apriso 4 tabs daily 6/11/2009
Biotin 5 mg
Vitamin D 2,000 IU per day
Calcium 1500 mg per day
Flaxseed Oil 2000 mg per day
Also tried: Remicade, Asacol, Rowasa, Cantasa, Prednisone 2 times for about 3 months each

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 654
   Posted 8/11/2009 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been on 20mg of pred for about two months now.  I take my pills first thing in the morning.  I take a nap in the afternoon and I sleep about 8-10 hours at night.  I've had no problem sleeping while on pred.  I don't know if it is because I take my pills early in the morning.  Good luck.  UC makes me so tired.

Mom of Three(Two Boys and One Girl)
29years old
Ulcerative Colitis(severe whole colon)
Diagnosed March 2009
Allergic to Asacol, Lialda, and Imuran
Currently on Pred and Remi
Remi not going to well!(I think I had a reaction the first infusion they want me to try again)

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