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Thread: Insomniac Help!

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    Insomniac Help!

    So I can't frickin' sleep. I haven't been able to sleep properly for well over a year. It started towards the end of my pregnancy, then all the baby sleep hell stuff, and now my sleep cycles are destroyed and beyond recognition.

    I do the basic stuff already. Cup of herbal tea before bed, no screen time for at least an hour before bed, go to bed and wake up at the same times. It's not helping.

    Melatonin makes me sleepy, but if I wake up, I rouse too completely and often can't go back to sleep. This pattern comes and goes. Sometimes it's not so bad. Sometimes it's a disaster.

    I'm *thisclose* to call my doctor and going the Ambien or Lunestra route. I don't want to do it, but I'm seriously considering it.

    Any stories or advice are much appreciated.

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    A few years ago I had serious insomnia problems. Do you ever fall asleep in other parts of your house? I had no difficulties falling asleep on the couch in our family room, so when I was awake in the middle of the night I'd go downstairs and sleep there. Not ideal, but better than not sleeping. I did take Ambien occasionally too.

    My biggest problem was that my brain wouldn't shut down; I wouldn't even be thinking of specific things, or worrying about anything in particular, it just felt like my brain was running on a hamster wheel. When I explained that to my doctor, she gave me a prescription for a very very small dose of Ativan (a tranquilizer), which did the trick most of the time. My long-term solution, which I still use (no longer take meds) is to calm down my brain by what I call organizing things. I make alphabetical lists of random things: band names, flowers, car models, girls' names, boys' names, skaters etc. I think it works by calming down the extraneous thoughts enough for the falling-asleep process to work.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe.

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    I find that exercising in the afternoon/evening helps a lot. Not right before bed, but about an hour. I take a warm bath/shower then, too. To relax in bed, I count backwards from 100, slowly. I time my breathing with it so that I "listen" to myself, too. It's an old stress management technique from the 1980's, but it works for me.

    When my mind is racing over all the things I have to do, I spend five minutes making a list and keep the pad/pen by my bed. That puts my mind at ease and helps me sleep.

    When it's house-related stuff and I really can't sleep at all, I just get up and do something: a few loads of laundry, some mending, clear off a bookshelf, anything to feel like I've accomplished something. That puts my guilt to sleep.

    I've been waking in the night lately and I finally figured out why: our bedroom window overlooks a cul-de-sac some distance away. When the *^^(*)) security guard does his rounds, he makes a u-turn and the lights shine right in our window onto my side of the bed. I tilt the blinds up at night (to redirect the light, but not block the morning light) and I can now sleep through the night again.

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    Cereal. My husband and daughter both have insomnia quite a bit and when it comes, they get up, have a small bowl of cereal and can go right back to sleep. Maybe it's the combination of the carbs and milk.
    If this is to end in fire
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    Yes, I love having a small snack before bed too, and exercising and tiring yourself out some time before bed is a must. And don't put mental pressure on yourself to get to sleep either. You'll still function fine the next day even if you can't get to sleep on time, so don't overthink it

    My long-term solution, which I still use (no longer take meds) is to calm down my brain by what I call organizing things. I make alphabetical lists of random things
    OMG, I thought I was the only one that did this! This definitely helps and keeps your mind from racing. My latest was list countries by alphabetical order. I tried to get at least three for each letter, but the H countries killed me

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    OTC MidNite worked wonders for me. It is all natural. Just melatonin alone did nothing for me.

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    I have problems with Insomnia, I usually eat something before bed(bad I know but I can't sleep on an empty tummy and it's not hurting my figure). If it's really bad,benadryl. Ambien does nothing for me.They gave me Ambien when I was preggers with my eldest,they said "Now you need to go home because you'll probably fall right to sleep in 20 mins"....I went home,cooked myself something to eat,sat down and watched tv, THEN went to bed and only slept about 4 hrs. Excercise helps too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahclear View Post
    Melatonin makes me sleepy, but if I wake up, I rouse too completely and often can't go back to sleep. This pattern comes and goes. Sometimes it's not so bad. Sometimes it's a disaster.

    I'm *thisclose* to call my doctor and going the Ambien or Lunestra route. I don't want to do it, but I'm seriously considering it.

    Any stories or advice are much appreciated.
    I take melatonin and valerian. Sometimes I wash them down with Sleepytime Tea. They help me get to sleep, but I always wake up at the same time, and toss and turn until its time to get up for work. I make up for my sleep on the weekends (although they say this doesn't help) You are not alone and I hope you find a solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex View Post
    I take melatonin and valerian. Sometimes I wash them down with Sleepytime Tea. They help me get to sleep, but I always wake up at the same time, and toss and turn until its time to get up for work. I make up for my sleep on the weekends (although they say this doesn't help) You are not alone and I hope you find a solution.
    http://www.midnitesleep.com/

    It won't work for everyone, but I had one hell of a struggle with insomnia until I found this stuff. You can even take it if you wake up at 3 in the morning.

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    I feel for you, Hannah. . . dh and I have both had bouts with insomnia, him moreso as we (FINALLY!) figured out he has an anxiety disorder AND was a perfectionist all these years after masquerading as a nutty artist.

    Lots of good suggestions here. I'd add yoga or stretching, which i still do sometimes before bed to relax myself.

    Also, I know cognitive-behavioral therapy helped dh a lot--could it be that there are simply issues or adjustments you're still needing to make to motherhood that you need to work through/talk through? Interestingly enough, dh's insomnia started RIGHT after our daughter was born--he had 3 weeks off and then had to go back to work and COULD.NOT.SLEEP. He tried every drug under the sun, believe me. (Ambien is scary. Or was for us, at least. Lunesta works better for him but is pricey.) The anxiety of "would he get enough sleep or would the baby keep him up and then he'd be totally exhausted the next day" and "ohmigod, I'm now the main breadwinner in the family" and "ohmigod, I have a kid now" in addition to other stuff going on really, really threw him. It was a lot of adjustment and we were just not prepared for it! (He still experiences the mind racing bit way too often, even with Lunesta.)

    I hope you can find some good solutions!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahclear View Post
    I'm *thisclose* to call my doctor and going the Ambien or Lunestra route. I don't want to do it, but I'm seriously considering it.
    Why are you reluctant? Both of these medications are to be taken as needed and are not meant for long-term use every day. In other words, you can take one and see what happens. If it works, take it again, only when needed. If it doesn't work, then don't take it again. Ambien can be split in half because some people are extra sensitive and only need half the smallest pill. Lunesta leaves a bitter taste for many people that lasts throughout the day. It also only lasts a few hours. Sonata is another short-term medication for nights when you don't have 8 hours before you wake up.

    If your insomnia is caused by anxiety, then I'd consider a low dose of Ativan, Klonopin, or Trazadone. Insomnia caused by anxiety has to be treated differently than insomnia caused by other reasons.

    All this assumes that you're not breastfeeding, of course.

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    Are you breastfeeding? If you're not and you aren't opposed to alcohol, I find that a very small amount of wine (3 oz max) helps immeasurably. I rarely have insomnia so this helps, but I don't know how it would work if the insomnia occurs more frequently. I know people that still swear by a glass of warm milk too.

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    I've had a few issues with sleeping, mostly from waking up multiple times. I bought a "sleep aid" from the store that has diphenhydramine, a drowsy agent in cough syrups. Works like a charm, and it's non-addictive, too.

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    As a chronic pain patient, I have an extremely hard time sleeping. It takes both Ambien, Librium [anit-anxiety pill], melatonin, & a small amount of pain medication for me to sleep. Sometimes I can sleep all night, sometimes not. I've used herbal tea or warm milk to relax, heating pads or ice packs to reduce the pain before trying to go to bed [at approximately the same time each night] & getting up in the mornings at the same time. It's really irritating & I know that different things work for different people. Good Luck to all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyNC View Post
    Are you breastfeeding? If you're not and you aren't opposed to alcohol, I find that a very small amount of wine (3 oz max) helps immeasurably. I rarely have insomnia so this helps, but I don't know how it would work if the insomnia occurs more frequently.
    I wouldn't reccomend wine--your body can actually wake you up when it's done processing the alcohol.

    http://sleepbetter.org/home/sleep-so...sleep-alcohol/

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    I do think worry and general "things on my mind" have something to do with it. Usually, I wake up because my son is making a little noise. I don't go in unless he can't settle himself, but it sends my nervous system into active mode.

    I think leaving his door closed all night may help. Don't know why I insist on opening it anyway. We live in a very small space, so if he really had an issue, I would eventually hear it (or hubby would).

    I think I'll stick with melatonin for now and use the journal technique and a relaxation technique I already know. The cereal is a good idea too.

    I don't want to do anything heavier for a few different reasons. I'm afraid of becoming dependent on the sleeping pill and I'm considering having another baby.

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll give you all an update tomorrow.

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    I took a workshop about sleep disorders/ problems and the presenter said the best thing you can do is go to bed at a regular time and get up at the same time everyday.

    Avoid direct sun for I think at least 3 hours prior to bed.

    Make a to do list for the 'things on your mind'

    Do not work on anything like finances prior to going to bed.

    Go to sleep when tired not exhausted. (Exhausted could just be physical not the sleep inducing exhausted)

    If you feel yourself dozing off, then you will fall asleep.

    Normal falling asleep time is approx. 30 minutes. If you don't fall asleep get out of bed and do a mind numbing activity.

    Set your alarm, but turn it away so you don't get caught up in I only have 'this many hours to sleep'.

    If you wake up through the night do some kind of mind numbing activity... read a book, watch TV, listen to music etc. Then go back to bed after 1/2 hour.

    Find out if you are a lark or an owl. Larks need to go to bed early. Owls need to go to bed late.

    And final note, women's menstrual cycle can cause sleep issues. Just prior to our period we have more trouble sleeping.
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    I feel for you Hannahclear - 'm a chronic insomniac and find that the supplement 5-HTP helps.

    Contrary to what iloveemoticans says, I do not function if I don't sleep. I did when I was younger, but not anymore. Mind you, I'm referring to no sleep at all. I generally wake up every hour or two and can get by on five or six hours of such broken sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronika View Post
    I wouldn't reccomend wine--your body can actually wake you up when it's done processing the alcohol.

    http://sleepbetter.org/home/sleep-so...sleep-alcohol/
    Not mine. I rarely drink alcohol, so that might make a difference.

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    Lots of people have given great suggestions - I've also found that acupuncture helps reduce the worry/anxiety insomnia, which it sounds like yours might be.
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