Friday, June 17, 2011

sleepless nights

I did have other blog posts planned for this week. I promise. Unfortunately, I didn't finish any of them since my brain wasn't quite functioning properly.

Because I haven't slept.

I mean, I've slept. Just not well. Or much. This has been happening for a few weeks now, and it's gotten progressively worse. Last night was my most successful night of sleep, and it consisted of no more than 5-6 hours. While those hours weren't consecutive, they did manage to make a world of difference in my mood today.

Has anyone else ever suffered from bouts of insomnia? If so, what did you do to get your sleep patterns back on track?


Glass Case of Emotion said...

Yes, yes, yes, I have suffered.

I have tried the following:

1) Practice sleep hygiene. I go to bed before I actually need to so that I don't feel pressure to fall asleep right away. I keep to a routine. If you google, it tons of tips are out there.

2) No caffiene after 5 PM.

3) When it gets real bad, 3 mg of Melatonin and I'm out. A little groggy the next morning, but it wears off. Sometimes, it's worth it to be able to sleep.

4) Try to keep stress to a minimum after 8 PM.

5) Alcohol late can also cause problems. Alcohol is has a dual effect- it's both sedating and excitatory. I can be sleepy but not get good sleep after drinking.

6) Make a diary that you fill out right before bed that you fill with whatever you need to get thoughts out of your mind if you tend to ruminate.

7) I try doing the alphabet forwards than backwards. Or count to 100 forwards than backwards.

8) Try a relaxation script-

I'm sorry Katie, I've suffered with this since my teenage years, sometimes worse than others. It can be mega frustrating!

It Is What It Is said...

I never suffered from insomnia until I had my son. Now, I have suffered from it on/off for the last 4 years.

First, it took me too long to figure out that I was actually suffering from it. Now, the first night I have a sleepless night, I rein things in.

Routine is critical...following the same sleep routine every night prepares the body and the mind for sleep. We are like Pavlov's dogs in that way...we need to trigger our sleep pattern.

The counting backwards does help but it is one of the things you need to do to trick your mind into letting go (meaning, it needs to be a sleepless night habit). I count backwards (sometimes from 500, sometimes from 200, never from 100 as I'll always get to 1 without falling to sleep).

Replaying a mantra on endless loop in your head can also be efficient.

Good luck. Sending sleepful thoughts your way.

Naomi said...

Hi! Long time listener, first time caller.

Man, I will tell you -- insomnia is a killer. Fortunately I don't suffer from it consistently, but I do sometimes have small stretches of it and it is so much worse for your mood than anyone thinks.

A while ago a good friend of mine was venting to me about how her husband's snoring had gotten worse, how she hadn't been able to get a good night's sleep for over a week, and how she was seriously about to leave him. Like, move out and start divorce proceedings. She was practically in tears telling me this. And I pointed out to her that she was sleep deprived, and of course she felt desperate and cranky and at the end of her rope. Haven't we all seen overtired babies and kids? Look how they behave. I can so relate to that overwhelming frustration that just about prevents you from functioning. The day after I've been unable to sleep, I'm generally on the verge of tears all day.

So anyway, I realize I'm not offering you any solutions here, but just wanted to say: it's normal, you're not alone, don't make any big life decisions until you've had a chance to sleep solidly at least one night.

Willow said...

I've been having insomnia lately too, and my doctor just told me that chamomile tea and melatonin before bed "work like a charm." haven't tried it yet, but thought I'd pass her suggestion along. Hope you get more sleep soon--insomnia sucks!

Secret Sloper said...

For me, insomnia is always among my first signs of a bout of depression (only had it bad once in college, related to disordered eating) or anxiety (much more frequent for me).

Anti-anxiety meds helped a lot, as did therapy and making sure I ate enough calories. I've never had insomnia that wasn't related to mood disorders (except now, when it's related to physical discomfort)), so maybe my advice isn't the best.

Trisha said...

I only go through it when I have a lot on my mind. I've read that they say it's worse for women because we think about so many things. Their suggestion was to write down things that are bothering you or your to do list so you'll rest better. Hope it gets better soon!

serenity said...

I suffer on and off with insomnia, and it seems to be worst when I'm struggling with something that is giving me anxiety.

I manage it by upping my exercise, quitting caffeine, and staying up until I LITERALLY CANNOT keep my eyes open. (For me, sitting in bed TRYING to fall asleep is non productive.) I've tried melatonin too, but have had variable results. NyQuil HAS worked for me, but when I wean off it my sleep issues are worse, so it's almost not worth it. I also find that extreme temperatures make sleep issues worse - I do best in a cool environment, but not cold (i.e. I sleep in wool socks most of the year).

Hugs. Sleep issues are the worst. I really hope you get some rest soon.


Littlest True Blue said...

I take gravol on nights I can't sleep (almost every night!)It helps...sometimes. Give it a try! I hate insomnia and I hope you get over it soon!

someday-soon said...

I use to lie in bed and run over and over the lists of things I had to do. It helped me to learn to meditate and even take a warm shower or bath before going to bed. Hope sleep returns soon!

Slackie O. said...

YES to the strict bedtime routine.
NO to caffeine, alcohol or exercise in the evening.
NO TV/reading in bed (confuses your mind about what bed means).

Also, a hot shower/bath right before bed will raise your core temperature. The subsequent drop when you're dried off and in bed sends another "time to sleep" signal.

When I'm REALLY having trouble drifting off, I visualize a plain white piece of paper with only one word in the middle of it (the) and repeat "the" in my mind over and over and over. The word itself has nothing to it to conjure any images or thought streams. I just focus on the three letters: the. I suppose this way I bore myself to sleep :)

Good luck sweetie!

amiracle4us said...

No caffeine, read before bed, and Melatonin!!

Rebecca said...

I have definitely been there. And, tried all of the things you've been recommended. I wouldn't say that anything really "works" for me. It all kind of depends.

I used to swear by melatonin -- the sublingual type was by far superior.

I have to keep my brain distracted with something -- reading, TV in the background, etc. Otherwise I obsess and there's no hope. Reading on my iPad (with the page set to dark on the nook app) that turns off automatically if I haven't advanced the page in 5 minutes or so works well. I've found reading "The Book of Awesome" to work really well -- I don't know why but it always puts me to sleep in a happy way.

Damita said...

Best thing I do is try and read for a it before bed :)

Kelly said...

I have been dealing with insomnia for the last few years. Not fun. I have tried:
1. No caffiene after lunch
2. Not doing anything in the bedroom other than relaxing (no work, homework, etc)
3. Lavender
4. No TV
5. TV
6. Music
7. Getting up when I can't sleep so I don't feel pressure about not sleeping
8. Yoga
9. Benadryl (it's also what's in Tylenol PM and Advil PM)
10. Ambien

The only thing that keeps me asleep the best (even though it still takes me two hours to get to sleep after taking it and I still wake up once a night) is the Ambien.

Have you tried acu for this?

I hope it resolves itself soon. It's absolutely awful.

Logical Libby said...

I lie in bed and clench and release every muscle in my body individually from my toes to my face. Oh, and I try to remember all fifty states in alphabetical order while I am doing it.

sleep said...

You might want to consider sleeping. You know that it's not good for your health if you lack sleep.