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Can't sleep.

desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm repeatedly having evenings where I cannot get to sleep easily.

I will roll around in bed for hours until my alarm clock goes off and I can't tell if I've been asleep or not.

My mind seems to be swimming with layer upon layer of thoughts, but none of them are really front of mind, so it's more or less just white noise. I have a fan blowing to create some white noise, as I find silence really distracting. I've tried sleeping to the sound of the television. Not good.

Any tips on getting to sleep within the hour? Also, I have some sleeping tablets, but I need to be up in 6 hours and they seem to required 8 hours - plus I need to drive in the morning so I don't want to be too wonky. Would taking half help?

desperaterobots on
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Posts

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    How is your diet? What are you doing before you hop into bed?

    A few hours before going to bed (normally 3 so you don't burn yourself out) I'd recommend doing some sort of exercise. Also don't drink caffeine throughout the day and see if that helps. Have you tried soothing music? Lots of lounge music makes me relax.

    urahonky on
  • UnterpreizUnterpreiz Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If I'm remembering correctly, you have a fairly sedentary job, and you art a whole lot, right? Are you getting enough exercise along with the job and painting? Even a 45min walk can be a massive improvement, giving you more energy, and when you want to fall asleep...allowing you to do so. I started running last summer when I found I had low energy all day, and when I needed to sleep I was restless. It worked like a charm. Are the sleeping tablets, melatonin?

    Unterpreiz on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I am sure, nay, positive, that more health-conscious people will warn that this is a horrible idea, but for the sake of convenience....have you considered having a large dinner, very late?

    I've had trouble sleeping for on the order of almost two decades now, and it was particularly bad when I was around 8 or 9. Besides being exhausted from a daily routine, one thing I found that worked for me was when my schedule required I skip lunch. I would either work or attend classes from 10 till 6, come home, tiredly cook myself a large meal, and upon finishing it, collapse asleep wherever I was. I probably fell asleep at my table at least once. No alcohol required.

    It's not good for your health, I'm sure, but neither is loosing sleep, and this is less likely to cost you your sanity.

    Synthesis on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You know, I was really, really tired about 8.30, but I thought I'd push through it so I didn't wake up at midnight and have this same problem again.

    Seems I made the wrong choice.

    I exercised before bed last night and last night I had the same thing, rolling around for hours and then the alarm clock going off, not sure if I'd slept a wink. Actually said 'How the fuck is that possible?' when the alarm went off. :\ Not saying it's a bad idea, just saying it doesn't appear to be the kind of quick fix I'm hoping for right now. :P Any one know if half a sleeping tablet is a good/bad idea?

    Tablets aren't melatonin, they're the kind that advise that you require a full 8 hours sleep and may be drowsy the next day. So, you know, actual medicine. :P

    desperaterobots on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Robots, what I do is I mentally prepare for sleep. I look forward to it and scheduel it like a meeting. It helps me calm down and get into a the proper mood.

    MagicToaster on
  • StormCrow420StormCrow420 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I have major stress-related insomnia.

    I eliminated caffiene from my diet, held myself to a normal sleep cycle (even on weekends) and started smoking pot again regularly. Also I make sure my apartment is at a comfortable temperature in the summertime.

    And I have seen some results, although I still struggle. Caffeine needs to be eliminated, replace with exercise and water.

    StormCrow420 on
  • CrapfestivalCrapfestival Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Reading for about 20 or so minutes before actually sleeping I find helps tons, too. I actually get in at least an hour each night, and it really clears out my head.

    Crapfestival on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Don't go to bed unless you are sleepy. Stay in your living room or office or whatever and read a book until you get sleepy. Then go to bed. The more you toss and turn in bed, the more your body equates "bed" with "toss and turn." If you have a TV in the room, ditch it, or don't watch it while you are in bed because then "bed" means "place to watch TV." You want to train your body to only equate your bed with sleeping and not with any other activities.

    Quoth on
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I tend to have some trouble in this department, as well. I'm beginning to exercise and change my diet, but if you're just not sleeping well I'd recommend melatonin. You can buy it at most any pharmacy or grocery store and if not used as a crutch, can help ensure you get better quality sleep in situations like this.

    Now, this is by no means a permanent solution, but I find that if I'm really wound up or if I really need to ensure that I get to sleep by 10 instead of 11 I pop a melatonin about half an hour before I want to be "out cold".

    I wouldn't recommend it as an every night proposition, but it may help to support your new, good habits while allowing you not to toss and turn all night. I take one maybe 1-2 times a week, and many weeks take none at all. It does help to place me in the right mindset (tired!) to get a full night's rest.

    If you're really feeling like you aren't sleeping even though you know you are (the whole "not sure if I'd slept a wink" thing) you may want to speak to your doctor.

    The Crowing One on
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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2009
    You should avoid using your computer for a while before going to bed. I've always found that when I'm reading or just chilling out before going to bed I sleep much better than when I hop right into bed after using the computer.

    As far as melatonin, you might want to consider trying it out. I take them irregularly, especially when the weather changes, and it seems to help me out a lot. Although that could always just be a placebo effect.

    Unknown User on
  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    To deal with the racing thoughts thing, I had always heard writing stuff in a journal was a good help.

    Also whacking it can make people sleepy, right?

    cooljammer00 on
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  • StormCrow420StormCrow420 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009

    Also whacking it can make people sleepy, right?

    Like you don't know...

    Also, motion to include (Clowns will eat me) in the title of this thread.

    Yes, I just limed myself, that's how I roll.

    StormCrow420 on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2009
    Man I never get sleepy after that sort of thing.

    Unknown User on
  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    I've had problems sleeping for the better part of my adult life, primarily because it's hard for me to "shut off" at night, much like you. I've tried changing my diet, more exercise, not watching TV while I fall asleep, melatonin, valerian, etc. The only thing that actually helps me are prescription sleeping pills. I take them very rarely, so it's really not a problem from an addiction standpoint, but it may be something you want to talk to your doctor about. Better living through chemistry and all that.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You could always stop sleeping, think of all the things you could do with that gained time!

    In all seriousness, I worked as a Baker for 6 months. The hours for a baker vary, but my shift usually ran from 2 am to 10 or 11 am. For years afterward I had trouble resetting my sleep schedule. But, while it took a long time, the schedule is what gave me the ability to sleep. I always go to sleep at the same time, and I always wake up at the same time.

    Oddly enough, what finally got me out of my sleep-funk was a 48 hour awake-a-thon. I got some friends to help me out, and someone stayed with me as long as I could physically stay awake until the time I wanted to sleep (at that time 11 pm). Once I passed out, I had someone wake me up when the time I wanted to wake up came around (6:30 am). After the first time, I used alarms to do the rest, and I was pretty regular in sleeping after that.

    I'd stay away from non-perscription pills.

    Enc on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I exercised before bed last night and last night I had the same thing, rolling around for hours and then the alarm clock going off, not sure if I'd slept a wink. Actually said 'How the fuck is that possible?' when the alarm went off. :\ Not saying it's a bad idea, just saying it doesn't appear to be the kind of quick fix I'm hoping for right now. :P Any one know if half a sleeping tablet is a good/bad idea?

    Tablets aren't melatonin, they're the kind that advise that you require a full 8 hours sleep and may be drowsy the next day. So, you know, actual medicine. :P

    You don't want to exercise right before bed. Exercise during the day, or at least a couple hours before you need to go to sleep.

    As for sleeping tablets... I've used Tylenol PM before and it worked really well. It claims to be non-addictive, and I certainly was able to stop using it without any issue. I used it for about a week to get myself on a schedule and then just stopped taking it, no problem.

    A warning, though... after I stopped using it, I had extremely vivid dreams (not nightmares, just very vivid) the first night... might be why it's not addictive... it worked wonders and after that one night without it I never want to use it again. =)

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • CrapfestivalCrapfestival Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    I exercised before bed last night and last night I had the same thing, rolling around for hours and then the alarm clock going off, not sure if I'd slept a wink. Actually said 'How the fuck is that possible?' when the alarm went off. :\ Not saying it's a bad idea, just saying it doesn't appear to be the kind of quick fix I'm hoping for right now. :P Any one know if half a sleeping tablet is a good/bad idea?

    Tablets aren't melatonin, they're the kind that advise that you require a full 8 hours sleep and may be drowsy the next day. So, you know, actual medicine. :P

    You don't want to exercise right before bed. Exercise during the day, or at least a couple hours before you need to go to sleep.

    As for sleeping tablets... I've used Tylenol PM before and it worked really well. It claims to be non-addictive, and I certainly was able to stop using it without any issue. I used it for about a week to get myself on a schedule and then just stopped taking it, no problem.

    A warning, though... after I stopped using it, I had extremely vivid dreams (not nightmares, just very vivid) the first night... might be why it's not addictive... it worked wonders and after that one night without it I never want to use it again. =)

    This, pretty much. I used to make that mistake. All it does is get your heart rate way up, keep adrenaline going in your system, and boost your metabolism for hours afterward, actually making it more difficult to hit the hay. Getting exercise out of the way as early as your schedule allows is best.

    Crapfestival on
  • TK-42-1TK-42-1 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    I exercised before bed last night and last night I had the same thing, rolling around for hours and then the alarm clock going off, not sure if I'd slept a wink. Actually said 'How the fuck is that possible?' when the alarm went off. :\ Not saying it's a bad idea, just saying it doesn't appear to be the kind of quick fix I'm hoping for right now. :P Any one know if half a sleeping tablet is a good/bad idea?

    Tablets aren't melatonin, they're the kind that advise that you require a full 8 hours sleep and may be drowsy the next day. So, you know, actual medicine. :P

    You don't want to exercise right before bed. Exercise during the day, or at least a couple hours before you need to go to sleep.

    As for sleeping tablets... I've used Tylenol PM before and it worked really well. It claims to be non-addictive, and I certainly was able to stop using it without any issue. I used it for about a week to get myself on a schedule and then just stopped taking it, no problem.

    A warning, though... after I stopped using it, I had extremely vivid dreams (not nightmares, just very vivid) the first night... might be why it's not addictive... it worked wonders and after that one night without it I never want to use it again. =)

    this. if youre going to work out, you need to do it afterwork before dinner. atleast as far as sleeping goes. get home from work, go running for an hour, then come back and cook dinner while youre cooling down. eat and take a quick shower to clean off. it should be around 7:30-8 by now. do something for a while and then just sit and read or do a puzzle or something for 45m before bed.

    you want to avoid stimulation like a computer game or something for a while before bed. you could use that last hour before bed to try to meditate too. it helps sleeping if you practice slowing your thoughts. grab a picture to study while you sit there with no music or anything else on. try to focus on just that picture and take it all in. it really helped me with my racing mind.

    TK-42-1 on
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  • VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I find that when I exercise close to bedtime, it's harder to fall a sleep. Exercise during the day, though. That'll help.

    Also, you could look into some herbal remedies. Valerian, for example is nice at times. But don't go overboard.

    You could also try scenting your pillow slightly with lavender extract.

    Visti on
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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Quoth wrote: »
    Don't go to bed unless you are sleepy. Stay in your living room or office or whatever and read a book until you get sleepy. Then go to bed. The more you toss and turn in bed, the more your body equates "bed" with "toss and turn." If you have a TV in the room, ditch it, or don't watch it while you are in bed because then "bed" means "place to watch TV." You want to train your body to only equate your bed with sleeping and not with any other activities.

    I have CFS, and poor/disturbed sleep is a symptom. I went on a group CBT course to help me manage my symptoms, one thing I knew I was doing well was managing my sleep. If you lie in bed awake fretting about not sleeping, your body and brain will associate being in bed with lying in bed, fretting. Give yourself 15 minutes in bed, then if you're still awake, get up, go into another room, make yourself a milky drink (without caffeine) and try going back to bed again after 1/2 an hour. Rinse; repeat. Keep doing that, every night. Don't have naps in the day time, they will only make sleeping at night harder. Set your alarm for in the morning for when you need to get up, then get up. Don't worry about how much sleep you've had, or what time you need to get up by, just do it.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    There are all sorts of factors that could contribute to your difficulty sleeping. If you give us a run down of your routine up to going to sleep then we'd be able to offer better advice.

    What temperature is your room? There was a recent study that found 68 degrees farenheit was the ideal room temperature for sleep.

    Do you watch tv or do stuff on your computer before you go to sleep? It's a good idea not to do anything involving watching a screen for an hour before you go to sleep.

    oldsak on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    oldsak wrote: »
    There was a recent study that found 68 degrees farenheit was the ideal room temperature for sleep.

    Can you link something? I would love to shove it in my girlfriend's face. =)

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • WileyWiley In the dirt.Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Regarding taking half a sleeping pill, the best thing to do is call up your pharmacy and ask the Pharmacist about it.

    Wiley on
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  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    There was a recent study that found 68 degrees farenheit was the ideal room temperature for sleep.

    Can you link something? I would love to shove it in my girlfriend's face. =)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/health/04real.html?_r=1&em

    I wouldn't blame you. I totally did the same.

    oldsak on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Score!

    Thanks. =)

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • NocturneNocturne Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    oldsak wrote: »
    Do you watch tv or do stuff on your computer before you go to sleep? It's a good idea not to do anything involving watching a screen for an hour before you go to sleep.

    All real-life anecdotes prove this to be false. Playing a video game may not be a good idea, as it may keep your brain too active. However, watching television does wonders for getting me to sleep, because it effectively turns off my rambling brain.

    Nocturne on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Nocturne wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Do you watch tv or do stuff on your computer before you go to sleep? It's a good idea not to do anything involving watching a screen for an hour before you go to sleep.

    All real-life anecdotes prove this to be false. Playing a video game may not be a good idea, as it may keep your brain too active. However, watching television does wonders for getting me to sleep, because it effectively turns off my rambling brain.

    Depends on how interested I am in what I'm watching for me.

    I found myself watching five episodes of a show on Hulu when I meant to watch two and then fall asleep on a couple occasions.

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • NebulousQNebulousQ Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Eliminate caffiene from your diet.

    Center yourself before you get into bed. This can be done in many ways that have already been mentioned: meditation, writing a journal, thinking about the events of the day, discussing the day/week with a close friend, praying, etc. The goal of this is to get control of your thoughts, slow them down, and try to bring the events of the day/week and your worries or questions about them into conclusion or some sort of satisfaction.

    While your are in bed, I have found it helps to not consciously "try" to fall asleep or to fret about not falling asleep yet, but to just try to let your thoughts wind down and to not really focus in on any one thing.

    NebulousQ on
  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    NebulousQ wrote: »
    Center yourself before you get into bed.

    You, sir, are a giant bed-hog.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
  • FiziksFiziks Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    One thing that helped me was to stop taking prolonged naps during the day. I would get home from class take a 1-2 hour nap, and at night I would have problems sleeping.

    Along with that I started making a routine out of going to bed. I would take a nice cold shower, and either read/watch tv in bed until I felt tired. Eventually I started getting regular amounts of sleep. Another thing I did was to hide the clock, or make an effort of not looking at the clock. I would be tossing and turning, look up and see it was 3 AM, and just go "Oh shit, I have to sleep fuuuck." Which just makes you panic and furthers sleep loss.

    Also, I'd suggest that if you're tossing and turning all night, and you can't sleep, just stay up. Especially in cases where you are going to wake up in 2-3 hours anyway, just don't even bother, you'll end up feeling more tired if you do happen to fall asleep.

    Fiziks on
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  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    personally if i can't get to sleep i play pokemon

    it is so mind-numbing and repetitive that i often fall asleep while the gameboy is still on

    Fletcher on
  • Ash of YewAsh of Yew Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Something that helps me is to first get as comfortable as possible then take some deep breaths. Close your eyes and try to focus on nothing but the darkness, as in essentially trying to see with your eyes closed. For me at least you start to see shapes/dots/whatever. Focus on these, and try not to really think about anything big but instead let your mind wander with whatever comes into your imagination. Wow this shit sounds pretty goofy writing it out but it works for me. You'll probably get that feeling of being on the verge of falling asleep and suddenly waking up, but just repeat it. You'll drift into sleep. I guess this is probably similar to a really general form of meditation or something, and it does take a little bit of practice to keep yourself from drifting back into serious thoughts about the day, your job or whatever which is why focusing on the subtle spots/shapes you see helps as a starting point.

    I also second excercise and eating right. Avoiding the cafeine close to bed or entirely too.

    Ash of Yew on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    NebulousQ wrote: »
    While your are in bed, I have found it helps to not consciously "try" to fall asleep or to fret about not falling asleep yet, but to just try to let your thoughts wind down and to not really focus in on any one thing.

    The old hypnosis trick of imagining yourself walking down stairs, one step for each deep breath, tends to work well. It wont necessarily put you to sleep on its own, but it will relax you enough that you can fall asleep.

    Also, something I remember from meditation, imagine your breath traveling through your body with each inhalation and exhalation. Basically: Into your lungs, out to your shoulders, in to your hands, out to your shoulders, into your abdomen, out to your feet, into your abdomen, out through your mouth. Just keep repeating that with measured, deep breaths (as in breaths you would use to relax, not hyperventilating... breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth).

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • KotenkKotenk Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I find imagining actual processes to help too. Similar to what was said above, but with things like driving. I imagine getting in the car, starting it up, etc.

    Kotenk on
  • FandyienFandyien But Otto, what about us? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Benadryl, klonopin, or xanax.

    Sleepytime.

    Fandyien on
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  • NorfairNorfair Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    NebulousQ wrote: »
    While your are in bed, I have found it helps to not consciously "try" to fall asleep or to fret about not falling asleep yet, but to just try to let your thoughts wind down and to not really focus in on any one thing.

    The old hypnosis trick of imagining yourself walking down stairs, one step for each deep breath, tends to work well. It wont necessarily put you to sleep on its own, but it will relax you enough that you can fall asleep.

    Also, something I remember from meditation, imagine your breath traveling through your body with each inhalation and exhalation. Basically: Into your lungs, out to your shoulders, in to your hands, out to your shoulders, into your abdomen, out to your feet, into your abdomen, out through your mouth. Just keep repeating that with measured, deep breaths (as in breaths you would use to relax, not hyperventilating... breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth).

    I suffer from pretty extreme insomnia, but in all but the worst cases I can control it with this method (thinking about my breathing). I also like to think about gentle rocking motions, like being on a boat on a calm lake, or something similar.

    If I really can't sleep, then I just get up and do something non-taxing (usually reading, maybe having a cup of decaf tea) for an hour or two.

    Norfair on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    All awesome suggestions. I'm going to go for a walk right now.

    I did manage to fall asleep an hour or so after my previous post. I actually just put my bedside light on and 'rested my eyes' after a small glass of milk. I think telling myself I wasn't trying to go to sleep actually helped a lot.

    Still, I had to be propped up on caffeine today - I'm doing extremely boring training for a new job, so early mornings, small, warm, dark rooms, lots of sitting looking at a screen. So ready to sleep, but not able to. Frustrating!

    desperaterobots on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    All awesome suggestions. I'm going to go for a walk right now.

    I did manage to fall asleep an hour or so after my previous post. I actually just put my bedside light on and 'rested my eyes' after a small glass of milk. I think telling myself I wasn't trying to go to sleep actually helped a lot.

    Still, I had to be propped up on caffeine today - I'm doing extremely boring training for a new job, so early mornings, small, warm, dark rooms, lots of sitting looking at a screen. So ready to sleep, but not able to. Frustrating!

    Next time you have a day or two of down time, actively try to stay awake as long as possible. It really sounds like you are in the same funk I was in.

    Enc on
  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Also, sex (if available) or masturbation are great sleep aids. Seriously. I was kinda surprised for a minute that no one mentioned 'em, but then I remembered what site I was on.

    underdonk on
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