What do you do when you can't sleep?

April 4, 2008 6:25am CST
Last night I couldn't sleep and after about 2 and a half hours of not sleeping I finally got up and went into the living room to do some writing. It gave me an idea for a discussion on here in fact, what do you do when you can't sleep? I've read that it's a bad idea to lie in bed awake or sit in bed and read as that just teaches you to do things other than sleep in bed so it's best to get up and go and sit somewhere less comfortable as when you return to bed you are more likely to sleep. So I like to get up and write down my thoughts as not being able to stop thinking is often what keeps me awake. I don't make myself a milky drink as needing the toilet also keeps me awake, even if I only slightly need to go I won't sleep till I have got up and gone.
11 people like this
55 responses
@whittby (3073)
• United States
4 Apr 08
Sometimes when I can't sleep, I'm also too tired to get up too. Just exhaustion probably. I'll read then, and I know the exact time to put the book down and I'll go right to sleep. I really like reading in bed as it's relaxing (except when I have one of the darn riveting books I can't put down!). My husband used to watch TV in the bedroom and it was ridiculous. He'd watch TV, doze, wake up watch TV, doze. When we don't have a TV in the bedroom, he'll do this in the living room. He doesn't get any kind of good sleep, although he keeps saying it's helping him get to sleep! If I am in one of those really can't sleep moods, I jump up and do what will stop my mind going - I'll make lists, get on the computer and play solitaire or other games, read. I completely understand about the bathroom business, if I wake up even slightly needing the toilet, it's no going back to sleep until I get up.
3 people like this
4 Apr 08
I always thought reading helped but apparently it's bad to read in bed if you are really bad insomniac. It is more relaxing than watching television or using the computer, late at night all my American friends are online too so if I'm up I'd stay awake all night talking to them. So now I turn the computer off at night and go and sit in the other room and watch TV until I'm ready to sleep.
2 people like this
@whittby (3073)
• United States
4 Apr 08
I'll tell you one thing, with the selection of TV shows on late at night here, I'd get sleepy fairly quickly watching then. I don't have a high level of interest in reruns, paid programming and movies I've already seen. I might be able to bore myself to sleep hah.
1 person likes this
@Darkwing (21590)
4 Apr 08
Have you tried lavender? It's a great relaxant, but I'm sure you're aware of that already. I have a plastic jar full of lavender flowers which I keep the lid on, until I go to bed. Then, I mereley unscrew the lid and place the jar beside my pillow or on the bedside cabinet. It works wonders. In the morning, I screw the cap back on and give the flowers a shake, so that they're ready for the next night. If the lavender loses its scent, then either replace the flowers, or add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the jar. Lavender flowers are very cheap to buy, and I used an empty plastic jar from some nuts I had at Christmas once. If you prefer, you could just put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow each night. You could also take a lavender bath before going to bed, which will also relax you ready for sleep. Just add a few drops, (not too many.. 3-6) to the bath water, and relax for twenty minutes in its scent. Brightest Blessings, my friend, and sleep well.
4 Apr 08
Yes I have used lavender in the past, there's a good range of lavender bubble baths out now too I might invest in one of those as well as some more essential oil.
2 people like this
@Darkwing (21590)
4 Apr 08
Yes... quite a few can be found on E-Bay too, if you deal through them. They're cheaper and just as good.
2 people like this
@Darkwing (21590)
7 Apr 08
Thank you so much for BR my friend. Did you get to try it out yet?
• United States
4 Apr 08
i mylot LOL. i'll work on crafts,catch up housework,watch a movie.. i try to find something useful to do so the time isn't wasted since i'm up anyway.i'll just flop around like a fish if i stay in bed.
4 Apr 08
Apparently the best thing to do is to get up and do something else for a while so you are on the right track.
2 people like this
• Philippines
5 Apr 08
Do you like playing games on the computer?like online games?If I cant sleep, i get up too and play online games or just play Command and Conquer with my boyfriend and his brothers, till my eyes get tired and my head aches then i go back to bed and sleep..LOL
3 people like this
• United States
5 Apr 08
OMG..someone else in my house plays C&C late night.. i can't help but laugh when i wake up to "aaaa-aayah" from the other team's air strikes LOL it's such an odd thing to wake up to
1 person likes this
@makingpots (11928)
• United States
4 Apr 08
I am just like you in this respect, nancy. It is usually my inability to turn off my thoughts that is keeping me awake. I too have heard that it is best to get up rather than starting a habit of needing to read in order to fall asleep. Like you, it helps me to write down my thoughts and just get them out of my head. Also like you, it does not help me to drink a milky drink because I am only delaying the process until I am able to go to the restroom. I enjoy writing in journals and sometimes my best journal entries come at all hours of the night when I am unable to sleep.
2 people like this
4 Apr 08
I sometimes write things to put on my blog the next day which is good as I'm doing something productive, last night I thought up this discussion for Mylot so it's not all bad.
@makingpots (11928)
• United States
4 Apr 08
That is good to know. I will bookmark your site and visit it some nights when I can't sleep. We'll be kindred insomniac souls.
@freak369 (4724)
• United States
4 Apr 08
I used to toss and turn and try to fall asleep again but gave up on it; now I go online or read. I have a mild form of restless leg syndrome so it feels like I am dancing when I'm in bed sometimes lol; when that happens and I know I won't be getting any sleep I figure I might as well do something productive.
2 people like this
4 Apr 08
yes I saw a TV show about a sleep clinic where they actually recommended getting up and going and sitting in the most uncomfortable chair in the house for 15 minutes. It did work for the woman they tested it on as well, I do it but I leave it too late, it's normally nearly 4am before I give up on trying to sleep and get up on a bad night.
@dfinster (3538)
• United States
4 Apr 08
If I can't get myself to sleep I'm ususally pretty slow about getting out of bed to go somewhere else. I have a hard time sleeping and am a very light sleeper when I do fall asleep so I need to learn to just get up and do something relaxing like reading a book or something like that.
2 people like this
4 Apr 08
Once I'm asleep I don't wake up again it's just actually falling asleep I have a problem with which is annoying as I can't sleep to the early hours and end up not getting up until midday.
@bubblyapple (2655)
• Philippines
4 Apr 08
when i can't sleep, which is isn't that often, i read books that have been waiting to be read... i usually buy books that i intend to read...and moments like these, when i can't sleep, are the times when i get a chance to catch with the reading that i want to do...
2 people like this
4 Apr 08
Yes late at night is the only time I seem to have to read books these days, I used to read much more but now the time I would have spent reading I spend on the Internet.
@shynie (556)
• Philippines
4 Apr 08
Usually if I can't sleep, I just turn off the lights in the bedroom and turn the tv on. I watch until I get my eyes weary and tired. Eventually, I get to sleep without my knowing.
4 Apr 08
I don't have a working TV in the bedroom at the moment but when I get a splitter socket for my aerial I'll have one with a working digital TV box too so I'll probably stay awake all night watching that.
@o2bnocn (2896)
• United States
4 Apr 08
Well I usually just sit up and watch some television. I guess I should stop doing that if you are not supposed to be in bed. I don't have that much trouble sleeping though.
2 people like this
4 Apr 08
They say watching television just before bed makes your mind over active too, but all the best shows are on late at night so I'm guilty of that one too. Glad to hear you don't have too much trouble sleeping anyway I wish I could say the same.
1 person likes this
@wolfie34 (26881)
• United Kingdom
4 Apr 08
Then I am doing it wrong because when I can't sleep I sit up in bed and read a few chapters of my novel which I keep on my bedside table. I turn my computer off so I don't go on there and that is fatal because I won't come off it, so I leave it alone. I usually get myself a drink of water, I won't drink anything other than water because if it's sugary it will then start attacking your teeth whilst you sleep! I also have a puzzle book as well to tire my brain out or a notepad is good for writing out stuff on your mind which won't rest.
4 Apr 08
Yes apparently using a computer keeps your brain wide awake somehow so I try to stop using the computer a couple of hours before I am going to go to bed. I like to rad in bed too I thought it would help you to unwind, but apparently it's bad to do anything in bed other than try to sleep as it teaches your mind that bed is not for sleep if you get what I mean.
1 person likes this
• Indonesia
5 Apr 08
nancy....hehehe The only thing I always do when I cant sleep is wake up my wife and make-love with her. She understands well this my habits. She will know why I cant sleep, and sometimes she gets to smile as a clue to ease my tension. After this, all is running well. No more tensions, and I get to sleep soundly....
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Apr 08
Thanks for reminding me :( it's the absence of my man that is keeping me awake tonight.
1 person likes this
• Indonesia
5 Apr 08
So where is ur man, lady? Perhaps he is doing job over there? I hope he will not stay for a long time there. I myself also sometimes leave my wife for many days, but not more than 3 days. She knows what to do before I am leaving. She will serve me that nite, so I will be ok during my stay over there....
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Apr 08
He's at a weekend long training. I know he's not sleeping either, probably laying awke thinking of me right now. But non the less, I'm awake and can't fall asleep. And yes, I know what to do to make sure he's thinking of me ;) But this is the first time in almost 4 years he's been gone while I'm home with the kids.
1 person likes this
@TiffanieC (827)
• United States
5 Apr 08
I can't sleep right now and so I'm toolin' around online. I may take a Simply Sleep pill here in a bit.
1 person likes this
• Indonesia
5 Apr 08
Pill serves no good, lady. It will hurt you. Why dont you invite your bf to join with u? Sharing 2gether tonite with him will lead you to enjoyable nite.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Apr 08
Cute. I'm married. My hubby is snoring away next to me right now (part of what keeps me from sleeping). When you have had insomnia for as long as I have you take sleep any way you can get it.
2 people like this
5 Apr 08
Yes I take sleeping pills when I have them but I don't want to become dependent on them so I try to avoid it.
@derek_a (10903)
5 Apr 08
I often wake in the early hours of the morning and use it as a opportunity to practice meditation. Like you, during meditation ideas often come into my head that I can use the following day.
1 person likes this
6 Apr 08
Yes I find writing the idea's down helps to calm my mind, I've thought of a fictional character I might start a blog about if the idea gets better, I need to think of some more characters to go with her.
1 person likes this
@derek_a (10903)
7 Apr 08
Oh Yes, I know what you mean there. When I am writing fiction, during those wakeful hours I often think up a character and his complete life story. The writing down is easy part then.. :-)
• United States
4 Apr 08
My sleep doctor told me if I wasnt asleep with in 15 mins. to get up and read something or write. Then when you feel sleepy go back to bed. If you still havent fallen asleep do it again and also get up at the same time everyday..
1 person likes this
5 Apr 08
Yes that's what they say, though it always takes me at least half an hour to 40 minutes to get to sleep so I's be up and down all night if I did it to the letter. If I'm not asleep within an hour of going to bed I get up and do some writing or something.
• United States
6 Apr 08
My wife drinks warm milk sometimes to help her to sleep. Writing is a good thing too. Keeps your mind pre-occuiped. Good luck with it..
4 Apr 08
When I cannot sleep which is a rarity, I will put on a cd of the sea, this is so relaxing also I have a brilliant Paul McKenna Sleep like a log hypnosis cd, I am gone within seconds. I prefer to go to sleep with the TV on as I hate to go to bed in a silent room, as my brain starts thinking too much. I hope you get a good sleep tonight Nancy x
1 person likes this
4 Apr 08
I do have one relaxation CD I can use but anything else keeps me awake, my partner likes the radio on but I have to switch it off when I come to bed as otherwise I lie awake listening to it.
1 person likes this
4 Apr 08
My partners like you. Once I put the hypnosisncd on and he lay there wide awake waiting for it to finish before he could get to sleep while I was already in the land of nod!!
@Bizziebod (3526)
14 May 08
I suffer from bouts of insomnia and not much helps apart from getting up for awhile perhaps having a cuppa (and a ciggie for me) and then trying to go back to sleep. I normally only get it when I've got to wake up for work the next morning which makes it worse! I do read books before sleep and they normally help, if not try a meditation CD, that usually puts me to sleep!
1 person likes this
14 May 08
I've lost my relaxation CD I can only find the case, luckily my insomnia hasn't been too bad recently.
• United States
8 Apr 08
I take an Ambien!
• Philippines
8 Apr 08
i usually have those sleepless nights, well im insomiac, what would i expect, i hate taking sleeping pills, i never took them, well i think for a couple of times, but i hate it, so instead of taking pills and forcing my mind to go to sleep, i take milk, that works sometimes, or should i say raretimes, but if milk wont work, i make myself enjoy and make use of that sleepless night, i read books, surf the net, make my cross stitch, or sketch, until im not bothered about these sleepless nights..
1 person likes this
8 Apr 08
Yes some nights I just don't sleep at all and it does help you to sleep the next night, it's not that bad for you to go for one night without sleep.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
5 Apr 08
I usually go to the washroom, and then go back, lay my head on the pillow, close my eyes and hope to go back to sleep. Sometimes I am thinking about something and it bothers me so much that I will lie awake thinking of it, but I decided to not do it so that I can sleep better. I figure that in the morning, it will sort itself out. I have not gotten up and wrote since that would entail getting on the computer, since I can only write by hand for so long before my hand hurts. So in main what I do is to close my eyes and not think of anything. That does help.
1 person likes this
6 Apr 08
Yes there are meditation techniques for clearing your mind one has been mentioned above on this page, that helps me sometimes.
@deeeky (3669)
• Edinburgh, Scotland
5 Apr 08
Get in a comfortable position and relax. So you start at the toes of one foot and relax each toe in turn then when all five are done concentrate on the ankle then the whole foot. When the foor is done then relax all the muscles in the lower leg. Then move to the knee and make sure that it in a relaxed postion. Mow the upper leg all the way up to the hip making sure that you have relaxed all the muscles in that leg. Now repeat what you have done in that leg and apply the same to the other leg. When both legs are done then you know where to go next and I'm sure with so many parts of your body have been relaxed completely you have been to busy to think of anything else so By the time you have reched your brain you will have forgoten where you relaxed the last part when you wake up the next time you wake up!
1 person likes this
6 Apr 08
Yes that's the technique I was taught too it's a good one for clearing your mind. It doesn't always work for me sadly but it is a good way to relax.