Nitrous Oxide for use as a sleep aid?

Posted by Andrew Hendershot @ahendershot, Tue, Apr 2 3:59pm

I have been dealing with neuropathy pain for around five months, not very long. Everything I have read on the subject suggest that I’ll have it from here on out. I hope that my pain can be managed better in the near future, as I cannot imagine my “sleep” getting any worse.
A recent byproduct of a thought experiment I ran through the other day on the subject of pain relief, left me with an intriguing question. Could nitrous oxide, aka “laughing gas”, administered at night through a nasal feed in a metered fashion, create enough distraction to the conscious mind for some quality sleep?
I do not know anything yet regarding prolonged use toxicity or side effects, but it seems to have promise in my tortured mind.
Does anyone have information on the acceptable use and or limitations of using nitrous oxide in the setting?
Andrew

Hi, @ahendershot – I, too, hope your neuropathy pain can be under better control in the future, and that you can get some sleep.

@windwalker, a member who has talked about nitrous oxide therapy in a completely different context, about treatment for treatment for abscessus & cystic fibrosis, may have some thoughts for you. @pfists also participated in the discussion on this topic and may have some input on your question about the potential use of nitrous oxide at night through a nasal feed in a metered fashion to promote some quality sleep. @bernese53 @jenniferhunter @contentandwell and @johnbishop also may have some insights on this.

Have you run this concept by your primary care physician, neurologist or a sleep medicine specialist? If so, what did they say about this possibility?

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@ahendershot I agree with Lisa that this needs to be discussed with your doctors. I question the safety of trusting your life to an anesthesia gas that is administered by a machine and if a malfunction could put you at serious risk. This reminds me of the death of Michael Jackson because of anesthesia drugs that were used improperly for sleep. It is too easy for a mistake to happen. Wouldn't it be better to try to find the cause of your pain, and explore treatments that could help? my suggestion would be to look at physical reasons for your neuropathy like nerve entrapment that can be caused by overly tight tissues and muscles. Here is a link to a discussion I created about Myofacial Release which is a form of physical therapy than can help a lot of conditions and neuropathy that is physical in nature. I always look for a natural way to heal the cause first before becoming dependent on a prescription to treat the symptoms. You might be able to improve the condition and learn how to prevent it.

You can also use headphones and music to create a distraction of the mind. I do that when I am upset, and often it helps me sleep and I sleep to very low volume of music all night.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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@hendershot – I would definitely discuss it with your doctor as Lisa and Jennifer have suggested. I personally would not want to try it because I already have neuropathy and there is the potential to make that worse.

A Young Woman With Unusual Progressive Neuropathy: A Case of Nitrous Oxide Abuse
https://www.consultant360.com/articles/young-woman-unusual-progressive-neuropathy-case-nitrous-oxide-abuse

Neuropathy and Nitrous Oxide Exposure
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/374450

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@jenniferhunter

@ahendershot I agree with Lisa that this needs to be discussed with your doctors. I question the safety of trusting your life to an anesthesia gas that is administered by a machine and if a malfunction could put you at serious risk. This reminds me of the death of Michael Jackson because of anesthesia drugs that were used improperly for sleep. It is too easy for a mistake to happen. Wouldn't it be better to try to find the cause of your pain, and explore treatments that could help? my suggestion would be to look at physical reasons for your neuropathy like nerve entrapment that can be caused by overly tight tissues and muscles. Here is a link to a discussion I created about Myofacial Release which is a form of physical therapy than can help a lot of conditions and neuropathy that is physical in nature. I always look for a natural way to heal the cause first before becoming dependent on a prescription to treat the symptoms. You might be able to improve the condition and learn how to prevent it.

You can also use headphones and music to create a distraction of the mind. I do that when I am upset, and often it helps me sleep and I sleep to very low volume of music all night.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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I certainly agree that a physician’s advice should be sought to fully understand all possible complications and risks.
From what I’ve been reading and hearing in conversations with my dentist, nitrous oxide is not used as an anesthetic, and is generally mixed with oxygen. Its use in dentistry was tailored to calm nervous and or over stimulated minds, so as to make a dental procedure easier and less traumatic for both. Patients would rarely sleep under its influence, in fact, the dental practitioner wants the patient awake for feedback during the procedure.
As I recall from my dental visits as a youth, the only memories I have of nitrous oxide use, I never felt as though I would fall asleep. With the mixture I was given, the experience was more like I had been given a light stimulant, while feeling disconnected from my body and being totally ok with the prospect.
The delivery system I envision would rely on a single mixture to reduced the possibility of a mixture control failure. It would also only be operational for limited time periods, reducing the dangers of an overdose. I realize there is not a single medical device, or procedure that is foolproof. It all comes down to risk vs reward.
Andrew

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