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anubisa
02 Jun 2015, 14:58
Hey everyone,

I'm hoping I can get some advice here. I have a real bad sleeping pattern. I take sleeping pills about 8:00 pm and end up waking up again about three hours later. I do try to stay up and read so I might be able to sleep later. I end up staying up about an hour or two then try sleeping again. What really is the problem is that when I try going back to sleep, I end up not being able because I have a lot of thoughts whirling around in my head. It's like a tornado. I try to meditate and push my thoughts out when trying to go back to sleep, but sometimes it takes an hour to get back to sleep even when i'm tired. Does anyone have any advice or have had this problem before? Thanks.

thalassa
02 Jun 2015, 17:42
What is your daily routine regarding sleep, sleep habits, and pre-sleep routine? Also, do you have any screens or anything with blue tint light on in the 2 hours before you try to sleep?

Willow
02 Jun 2015, 18:02
The only things that have ever worked for me to combat insomnia are writing things out at some point during the day and sticking to a pre-bed routine (which usually encompasses 2-3 hours before trying to sleep).

For me, it's a shower, reading a bit, and having a drink (not alcoholic, usually it's hot chocolate, iced tea or juice).

But I'll be honest and say that in the past year or so I've given up on sleeping a full night's sleep at a time and tend to sleep about 6 hours at night and take another nap sometime during the day when time allows.

anubisa
02 Jun 2015, 19:55
Usually because I can't sleep well during the night, I may sleep till 12:00 during the day. I then stay up till about 8:00pm and read. During the day, I do chores, cook, etc... Regular things like that. I haven't thought about drinking something warm before bed. I am going to stop taking sleeping pills after this last bottle ends and see if that might help me get back into some routine. Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

Medusa
02 Jun 2015, 21:48
Usually because I can't sleep well during the night, I may sleep till 12:00 during the day. I then stay up till about 8:00pm and read. During the day, I do chores, cook, etc... Regular things like that. I haven't thought about drinking something warm before bed. I am going to stop taking sleeping pills after this last bottle ends and see if that might help me get back into some routine. Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

We all know my suffering with insomnia all too well. I feel your pain. I found after I swim I'm physically tired, but in a good relaxed way. Also trying to give up the sleeping pills (until the doc can give me some good ones!).

anubisa
03 Jun 2015, 02:56
Thanks Medusa. Maybe I should try exercising before bed, then take a shower, read, and try to sleep. I'll try that after I finish my pill bottle. Not too many left.

thalassa
03 Jun 2015, 08:54
Usually because I can't sleep well during the night, I may sleep till 12:00 during the day. I then stay up till about 8:00pm and read. During the day, I do chores, cook, etc... Regular things like that. I haven't thought about drinking something warm before bed. I am going to stop taking sleeping pills after this last bottle ends and see if that might help me get back into some routine. Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

I have sleep issues. Not insomnia, but staying asleep issues. I've seen a sleep specialist, and basically it comes down to good sleep hygiene.
If I want to be able to sleep all night, I can't sleep in and I can't nap. I had to establish a schedule, and it can't be deviated from without paying the piper. If I stay up later than normal, I still have to get up in the morning at the regular time and not take a nap...and there is no sleeping in, no snooze on the alarm clock (this is a horrible habit in terms of sleep hygiene that messes up your sleep clock (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/why-hitting-snooze-is-bad-for-health_n_5630707.html)). No caffine after 6 hours before bedtime. No TV in bed, reading in bed, computer time in bed, regardless of time of day--the bed is for two things only, and one of those is sleep. No lights on at night--all our nightlights are red (we even have one regular lamp with a red bulb in the livingroom so midnight wakers can sit in the rocking chair til they feel like going back to sleep); blue and white light is a big no-no. Personally, I cannot exercise after 6 pm (unless its yoga or walking) without being totally energized and awake for hours.


Also, if you are trying to establish a health sleep pattern, try melatonin for a few weeks. Its something your body makes already to regulate your sleep cycle...take it about an hour or so before you want to go to sleep. If you wake up, don't read a book (or watch TV, etc)...find something non-stimulting to do that doesn't require light (light is basically like an alarm on your sleep clock)--a rocking chair, meditating, just sitting, etc. Consider a white noise machine (I use an air filter) to muffle any other noises that could startle you out of sleep. If you have pets, consider kicking them out of your bedroom.

It can take weeks or even a month or two to establish good sleep patterns...and it only takes a few days to wreck any progress you've made. I can realistically say that any time I mess up my sleep pattern for more than two days, I might as well be starting over.

Nue
16 Jun 2015, 07:29
Sleep problems can also be signs of vitamin deficiency as well. When I use to have sleep issues, I got it checked out and found out I was low in both iron and b12. Started taking the suppliments and it helped a lot... not 100% but still a drastic improvement. Maybe get a full check up

anubisa
16 Jun 2015, 19:42
Thanks Nue. I have started to take Melatonin, but the next time I see my physician which I think is in July, I will ask her for a work up. Thanks again!

iris
16 Jun 2015, 23:13
Also, try taking a few days of getting up early, despite having slept too little. It will be really tough days, but you need to establish a healthier rythm for your body... and sleeping late because you're tired does nothing good for you the following night.
I usually drink lavender tea before bed when I'm feeling uneasy. And regarding the thoughts keeping you awake, try just writing a diary every night before sleeping, let the thoughts onto the paper. It works for me :)

Kiesha'ra
22 Aug 2015, 11:21
I generally go the more natural route when I can't sleep. I drink Tart Cherry juice since it only has a few micrograms of melatonin naturally as opposed to the tablets which are 5mg! Thats a lot where melatonin is concerned. I also use Valerian root drops in my tea or under my tongue before bed, the only problem with Valerian root is your body can adjust to it so it's better to use it for only a few days then stop and use something else for a while. "SleepyTime" chamomile tea with Valerian root works well too.

thalassa
22 Aug 2015, 12:45
I generally go the more natural route when I can't sleep. I drink Tart Cherry juice since it only has a few micrograms of melatonin naturally as opposed to the tablets which are 5mg! Thats a lot where melatonin is concerned.

Not really...only something like 15% is absorbed into the body. If you take 5 mg, thats maybe .65 mg making it into your body as melatonin...by the time you factor in blood volume, it probably comes to a couple of micrograms per milliliter (the average adult has 4.5-5.5 million microliters of blood). Plus you have to account for weight and individual metabolism, other medications or foods that interfere with uptake, the fact that people produce widely variable levels of melatonin on an individual basis, and the problem of variability in the supplement itself. Considering that individual melatonin levels vary from something like 18-75 microliters per milliliter, a 5 mg tablet is pretty much nothing for someone thats a low melatonin producer.

faye_cat
29 Aug 2015, 07:01
Hello! I have struggled with sleep issues for a very long time, ranging from horrid insomnia to can't get back to sleep once woken. Various tips and techniques I've tried with moderate success over the years:

Someone already said melatonin, and I really agree. I took one a night every night for about a 3-4 weeks, an hour or two before bedtime. After I started getting into the habit, I reduced the nights I took it until I took it only once a week, and then every other week.

To help with waking up and being unable to go back to sleep, I kept track of what side I woke up on (I sleep on my side). I then purposefully lay down to sleep on the opposite side, because I know I flip flop anyways, and wait until I get almost to the point of sleep, then flip over to the preferred side and get comfy. Since I've started doing this, the nights I've woken up and been unable to sleep again has drastically reduced.

I also: keep water by my bed and take a sip everytime I wake up, do stretches (not necessarily yoga/meditation) before bed, used to sleep with a cd so that it would stop automatically after it was over, spray nice smelling stuff on my pillow/sheets, use extra pillows for my legs and arms.

October
02 Sep 2015, 16:44
When I'm on planes or having a tough time sleeping, I use an herbal supplement called Tranquil Sleep. It's a little on the expensive side, I'm afraid, but it works really well for me. I have a friend with really bad OCD and anxiety and she can get 6 hours out of a half dose and 8 out of a full one, and one a normal night she usually get 3-4 hours.

I have also make lavender tea, scented temple balms, pillow sprays, aromatherapy blends, etc for her, and they seem to help. Perhaps a combination of things, including meditation and yoga might work for you?

Sleep therapy is also expensive, it may be an option if you can afford it. It did wonders for my aunt and father.

Sinned
06 Sep 2015, 11:16
I'm a bad sleeper and after trying all the tricks I've found the best for me is to try and free up my mind, do some mild meditative stretches and put on some gentle calming music leading up to sleep time. I suffer from anxiety and stress alot so for me it really is about turning off and not taking the days stresses to bed with me.

Not using the computer/looking at a screen for at least an hour before sleep time is also a winner... but I'm practically glued to my kindle and devices so I spite myself with this one sometimes ^_^'

anunitu
06 Sep 2015, 13:36
I am I guess one of those weird people who can sleep through most anything. I have never had a hard time falling asleep. People always said I could sleep through anything,but truthfully I am a light sleeper,try sneaking up on me,and lights out for you. Might have gotten that way in the service.

October
06 Sep 2015, 13:48
I take a long time to fall asleep, and I'm a light sleeper. But once I've fallen asleep, even if I wake up, I'll go right back to sleep. Until morning. If I get woken up after 4, then I'm up. And that's annoying.

Jembru
08 Sep 2015, 04:40
How have I never posted here? Sleep is something I take very seriously. I work nights and there are a lot of health risks related to unusual shifts (although any long-term erratic sleep pattern can lead to similar problems, so it's not exclusively shift workers who need to take care of their sleep). Here's a photo of all the aids I use to help me to sleep during the day (I also have black out curtains of course, but some light comes in around the tops, and under the bedroom door, so I also wear an eye mask)...

http://i872.photobucket.com/albums/ab290/jembru/IMAG1278_zpscjead3r9.jpg (http://s872.photobucket.com/user/jembru/media/IMAG1278_zpscjead3r9.jpg.html)

I'm a big advocate of controlling light levels, in particular blue light. If you don't want to go to the extreme of changing all your bulbs (and if others in the home sleep at different times this could be problematic), and using apps that change your screen settings, you could try glasses that do the same thing. I don't have the option of changing the sun's light, so I had to go for this option. The glasses I got were surprisingly cheap (around 15 I think), and they're very good. I don't see any light at all, just blackness, when I look at the blue light on my PC, or the PS4 controller, through these.

If you control your exposure to blue light in the hours before bed, you shouldn't need to rely on melatonin supplements, which can be quite costly, especially long term. Your body should produce enough on its own.

Diet can also play a part. There is a TV program here called 'the food hospital', and in one episode a woman who had suffered from chonic insomnia for 30 years went to the clinic. They recommended eating foods high in the amino acid tryptophan such as pumpkin seeds, soy beans and chicken during the day, then having a heavy carbohydrate meal 4 hours before sleep (any less and it will have the opposite affect). They said that the carbohydrate releases insulin that helps the tryptophan to enter the brain where it's used to make serotonin, which in turn converts to melatonin in the absence of daylight. Apparently kiwi fruit just before bed also helps. The thing is, I already eat pretty much exactly as they suggested, except that I'd have kiwi fruit (which I eat for the omega 3) during the night, and tofu nearer bedtime. As it's not something I suddenly changed, I can't say whether or not it affects my quality of sleep. I don't usually suffer from insomnia (if I can't sleep, there's usually a reason, like roadworks outside my window), so it's worth considering.

Some people are very sensitive to light, even during the night, so you might want to invest in a good eye-mask. The one I use is amazing. It blocks out 100% of the light, and has these little cups over your eyes so it doesn't press on your eyes like regular masks do. Sounds too can be a problem, especially if you have a partner that snores. I have to use vaseline with my earplugs and even then they can irriate the inside of my ears. When this happens, like Thal suggests, I use a dehumidifier to block out noise without the need for the earplugs. I get great sleep with it on, but I don't like to do this too often because of the cost of running it, and the fact I can wake up with a dry throat because of it.

Something I didn't notice anyone else mentioned is that if you are going to control your exposure to daylight before bed, you need to make sure you're getting it during your waking hours. It's especially important during the winter. When it's dark in the evenings before work, I use a light box for 30 minutes after getting up. I take it to work with me, and use it again around midnight, and then at 3am. This imitates daylight and so helps me to adapt to my nights being my days. JP uses the box too early in the evening during the winter, because he's prone to SAD.

We also have a sunrise/sunset simulator clock. When you set it, it gradually gets darker, like a sunset. It then simulates the sun rising from 15 minutes before the time you set the clock, until it reaches full brightness 15 minutes later. This is mostly for JP, because he struggles to get up in the morning if the room is dark but I make use of it too.

Most people advise you not to watch tv in bed, and some go so far as to warn against reading, although there are just as many who insist reading before bed is good for you http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-successful-people-do-right-before-bed-2015-2?op=1 It most likely depends on the individual. In my case, I read outloud in Japanese before sleep, because this seems to help with developing motor memory. I drill the same 3 or 4 sentences over and over until the light on the clock is too dim to read by. Then I say the sentences from memory until it's dark. It stops me from thinking of other things that might keep me awake, and as it's repetitive, it's a bit like counting sheep I guess. It doesn't seem to interfere with my sleep at all, but it is part of my routine now, so I think doing this lets my brain know we'll be sleeping soon.

Oh and I also make use of a room spray. I always use the same one so that the room smells like bedtime! I put lavender oil on my pillow too. I try not to use sleeping pills if I can help it, but I do have some, just for emergencies. I probably reach for those once every couple of months, and usually when I've been doing a lot of overtime or my neighbours have been banging about for days on end.

Finally, I'm personally not in favour of setting the alarm for the same time every day. I guess I can see how this could benefit someone who needs to train themselves to wake at specific times, but I hate waking to an alarm. Of course I set them, because life doesn't work around our own personal time table, but being jarred out of deep sleep is really bad for me and I can feel sleepy for hours after getting up. If I wake naturally, when my body has had enough rest regardless of whether that's an hour earlier or later than 'usual', I fell wide awake and don't want to snooze in bed. I know there are alarms now that only wake you when you're in the light sleep part of your cycle, so I'd probably give that a try if I had no choice but to wake by a specific time.

Honestly, I could go on and on about my sleep routine as it's something very important to me.

anunitu
08 Sep 2015, 04:44
I will say I have NEVER been able to sleep during the day when I was working a graveyard shift. I had to quit that job,because sleeping became a problem.

Jembru
09 Sep 2015, 11:37
I will say I have NEVER been able to sleep during the day when I was working a graveyard shift. I had to quit that job,because sleeping became a problem.

It's definitely not for everyone. I know of only one other person who is a genuine night owl; the other girl who does the waking nights at my place. I think even if you are a night owl (characterised by being at your peak late in the evening, and struggling with mornings), it's very hard to do night shifts if you have conflicting demands such as a family, or if you're constantly switching from day shift to night shift. It also seems that a lot of people try to stay awake for a whole day after their last shift, so they sleep at night. Apparently sleep dept is a myth (a colleague told me he was told that while serving in the military), but I've read, or seen on tv, enough studies into the affects of too few hours of sleep over a prolonged period, to not want to risk such a drastic tactic, even if that extra day of free time does sound tempting!