Sleep trouble - any tips??

by Super_Becka 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • Super_Becka

    Argh, I'm a little on the frustrated side right now, so I'm looking for some help.

    I'm usually quite good at getting lots of sleep, I'm usually in bed at a decent hour in the night and can usually get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night (more on the weekends, of course), but for the last week or so, I've been having some trouble sleeping. A scattered night of sleeplessness can be expected from time to time, but it's been about 10 days now, that's a little excessive. I do all of my usual things during the day - classes, homework, chores, cooking, cleaning, errands - and I never nap during the day, I avoid all forms of caffeine after 5pm, and I always go to bed feeling like it's time for me to go to sleep, I'm usually tired at bedtime, but lately, it's been taking me forever to get to sleep. I go to bed at midnight, and I'm still looking at the clock at 4am. I was awake until 5am this morning.

    I've had this trouble before. Last year, I spent 6 out of the 8 months I spent in here university trying to get rid of a nasty bout of insomnia. I was only sleeping about 4 hours a night, sometimes less, and no matter what I did, I could never sleep before 5am or 6am. I avoided caffeine completely, I never napped during the day, I would take some time to relax before bedtime, but I just couldn't sleep. It didn't resolve itself until I went home for the summer. I think that episode was caused by the stress of school compounded with the stress of a bad relationship and consequent breakup (my boyfriend had been cheating on me for months with my roommate, and after the breakup, they continued their relationship in the room next to mine - not what I needed). Once I got home and away from all of the stressors - no schoolwork, no ex-boyfriend, no backstabbing roommate, etc. - the sleep problems just disintegrated. I slept 16 hours my first night at home last April, it was great, and I haven't had any sleep problems since.

    Until now, that is. And to make matters worse, I don't know what could be the problem this time. School is going well, I'm in a good relationship with a great guy who treats me very well (and my family likes him, too, so all the better), things are even going well at home, no arguments with my parents at all. I have lots of big plans for the summer, lots of travel planned, and I'm going home for a visit in a couple of weeks to spend some time with my parents and my new baby half-brother, things are going nice and smoothly. I can't think of anything that could be horribly wrong, everything seems to be working out quite well. I don't even have anything gnawing away at the back of my mind that I'm trying to ignore, my mind and conscience are clear. I just can't sleep.

    So aside from figuring out what the hell is wrong with me this time around, does anyone out there have any tips for insomnia?? Anything tried and true methods of getting to sleep?? I've tried counting sheep, it doesn't help, it just makes me bored and then I lose count and just give up. I've tried getting up and doing something for a while, then going back to bed, but that never works, either. I've tried listening to some nice, quiet, relaxing music at bedtime, but that doesn't work. I've tried reading in bed, to help me relax, but it doesn't work. I've tried everything I can possible think of, so now I need some suggestions.

    So, oh wise JWD posters, what do you recommend??

    -Becka :)

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    There are several ways to go.

    If you want to "go it alone" you can try techniques adapted from autogenics: starting at your feet, progressively tighten and then relax your major muscle groups. With practice, performance improves.

    You could try just following (not really counting, per se, but paying attention to) your breathing. When you become distracted, just gently bring yourself back to the task of following your breaths, flowing in, flowing out.

    A little high tech help is offered by SPEED SLEEP, and their product works. It's a CD you listen to that walks you through a relaxation exercise.

    If you want to try over-the-counter herbal help, you might want to look at Kava-kava and Valerian. Kava kava gives you a relaxed feeling similar to a couple of glases of wine but with no alcohol. Valerian helps releive anxiety. (It also smells rather like an old smelly cheese, so be warned.)

    How about a dose of over-the-counter antihistamine - specifically Benadryl? I find half a tablet (1/4 dose) is enough to make me sleepy.

    If you take the kava, valerian and/or beadryl, take it early in the evening, say 8 or 9 PM so that you will be able to wake up on time the following morning.

  • blondie

    I have been sleep deprived for years and nothing worked.

    Now I use works great for me.

  • garybuss

    If I have trouble sleeping from worry or frustration, I get myself tired, really tired. I work or work out, I walk and go to the steam room and whirlpool. I find if I get up at 5 am a couple days, I'll for sure sleep good the second night. I've had prescription drugs like lipitor mess up my sleep. In fact I can't take lipitor for that reason.

  • Super_Becka
    If I have trouble sleeping from worry or frustration, I get myself tired, really tired.
    I find if I get up at 5 am a couple days, I'll for sure sleep good the second night.

    Hmm, tried it. I'm actually really really really tired right now, completely exhausted, just like I was when I went to bed last night, but I still can't sleep. Meh, maybe I'm just weird.

    Hehehe, and I'd try getting up at 5am for a few days, just to see if I could be tired enough to sleep after a few really early mornings, but I'm generally still awake at 5am. Can you still call it "getting up" then if you haven't really "gone to bed" yet??

    Looks like I'm not the only one here with at least occasional sleep trouble. I'm trying to stay away from medication, but I've had some friends recommend taking Gravol (the anti-motion sickness OTC medication) before bedtime because it tends to make you really drowsy. Anyone ever try that?? I'm just concerned with becoming dependent on something, prescription or otherwise, especially because I have a hard time remembering to take something every day (I can't even remember to take a multi-vitamim every day!!) and I don't want to depend on medication to do something that should come naturally.

    -Becka :)

  • serendipity

    Hi Becka,

    I had sleep problems when I took my multivitamins at lunch or in the evening. Once I started taking them in the morning, the sleep problems disappeared. Also, I had problems when I was on a high protein diet. All those amino acids caused me to be very alert at night.

    The other thing I've heard is that cold feet can keep you awake, so keep your tootsies warm. You might try a warm bath before bed time as well.

  • What-A-Coincidence

    Super B. As mentioned in the pm ...

    2 of the suggesetions:

    1. Sunlight Exposure
    Getting Sunlight into Your Eyes the Instant You Wake
    You must get sunlight into your eyes in the first few minutes you wake up. This will
    instantly give your body temperature rhythm the message that it's day time. Your
    body temperature will begin to rise and melatonin levels will drop.
    This is why it's such a good idea to exercise in the morning hours.
    When you reduce your sleep time it's a good idea to set your “awake” time at

    Getting High Intensity Light during Long Indoor Times
    If you are forced to spend a lot of time indoors because you work in the office or at
    home, this is the time that is most detrimental to your body temperature rhythm.
    Ask yourself: What can I do to get the most sunlight possible during work?
    Are you going to move your desk next to a bright window?
    Are you going to take your lunch break outside in the sun?
    Are you going to convince your boss to buy some artificial bright light generators?

    Reducing Your Use of Sunglasses
    Do you currently use sunglasses?
    Reduce your use of sunglasses as much as possible. If you live near the equator,
    use sunglasses with common sense. UV radiation is harmful to your eyes, and is
    highest during when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Avoid wearing your
    sunglasses just for style.

    5. Proper Hydration
    Proper hydration to your sleep system is like engine oil to a car. If you truly want to
    optimize your sleep and increase your daily energy through the roof, take the steps
    explored in the earlier section of this book to hydrate your system.

    Proper hydration allows our body temperature rhythm to rise and fall easier. Your
    body temperature rhythm will adapt to the new schedule you set for yourself much

  • doofdaddy

    Gotta say it.

    I reckon sex is the best way to get a good nights sleep. Truly

  • blondie

    If you are having long-term sleeping problems and common sense measures are not working, see your doctor.

    There are so many reasons, and we aren't doctors. As Gary said, it could be a side effect of some medication you are taking; or the sign of some illness you have developed; or some stress in your life from external reasons that need to be adjusted.


  • ballistic

    Well several things...

    Firstly, don't try alcohol to solve it, it only makes the problem worse

    Secondly, here in England we can't buy hard core sleeping pills because we're not allowed but as I have to take antihistamine once a day anyway, I take it at night. (it makes you sleepy)

    (not recommending you do that of course)

    Lastly, my mother told me when I was a child, "if you need sleep badly enough, your body will make sure you get it"...

    which while it may be a very simplistic view, kinda works, because it stops you lying there worrying about.... sleeping itself.

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