Fighting insomnia

Insomnia - Sad face of someone having insomnia. I drew it myself! :P
Singapore
February 26, 2007 9:59am CST
What do you guys do when you simply cannot get to sleep yet need to? I know some people believe that having too much energy can be a cause. I tried running just before bed, running till I am tired.. yet it didn't really seem to make a difference. Counting sheep? Well I tried counting dollars :P but it didn't really work too. Thinking about your problems? Goodness... just made my sleep a restless one full of energy-draining dreams. What methods do you use? Last night I tossed and turned on my bed from 3am till 6am before falling into dreamland.
17 people like this
38 responses
@kritipen (4083)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Well i did have sleeping problems before. I always used to listen to some good music but it was not always effective. This was what my husband adviced me-think that you are not going to get up from the bed and there is no other option except to sleep and concentrate on the breathing that you are inhaling and exhaling. And it is working for me.
5 people like this
• Singapore
26 Feb 07
Breathing meditation. I tried that too and yes, I agree it does work quite well. But the thing is, I find myself too bored by the counting. I am an impatient man by nature and this is half as bad as counting sheep. LOL :P
2 people like this
@twilight021 (2060)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I suffer from insomnia too. It looks like you got some great advice already, but I thought I might throw in some things that have helped me. My insomnia is almost always casued by stress. Just too many things on my mind...and you are right, there is not much you can do about that. But what I try to do is anticipate when I think I might have trouble sleeping...and plan ahead. For example if I know I have had something big on my mind, and it's an hour before bed, it's still really stressing me out, I will try to take an herbal suppliment (I like valeriean root, or meletonian-these are both available in heath food stores, over the counter). Taking it an hour before bed gives it time to get into my system and will hopfully help me to fall asleep faster. This might sound a little crazy, but sometimes If I am wide away...I get up and do stuff. Catch up on cleaning, email, and other things that have fallen to the way-side. If I am stressed out about not being able to keep up with my own life, getting a few things done (even you are folding your laundry at 3am) gives me a little peace and helps me to fall asleep. Good luck!
• Singapore
26 Feb 07
I tried that too - just getting up and doing stuffs. And hey, this is uncanny... I folded my laundry at 3am before too! Ha!! But the thing is, I try to refrain from getting up - because when I get up and do things, it will just delay the hour I "start sleeping"... it seems to be "bad" - and half the time when I tried that, it didn't help me sleep better when I went to bed the "second time" too.
3 people like this
@beaniegdi (1966)
26 Feb 07
I don't think running before bed will help. You need to be relaxed to sleep, being exhausted isn't enough. It maybe that yu have a lot on your mind that is giving you anxiety and that will definitely affect how well you sleep. If you think you may have depression and anxiety then your doctor will be able to advise you. If you think that is nt the cause then you need to look at your routine during the day and evening. You may be drinking tea, coffee or cola that contain caffeine, if you do switch to decafinated as the caffeine will definitely stop you sleeping. Even early in the day drink decaf - never any drink with caffiene. Try to get a routine going in the evening where you might take a warm bath and then have a milky drink - there is a substance in milk that promotes sleep. Also having a routine lets our minds know tht this is the time for sleep and it begins to recognise the routine as a lead up to sleep which can help. Obviously make sure your bed is comfortable. Lavender is an essential oil that can help you sleep, put some in the bath and sprinkle some in your bed. You may have to try a herbal supplememnt that is designed to help promote sleep, ask at your local health shop for anything they can recommend. You can buy sleeping pills from the chemist to take for a short time to help your body get back into the routine of sleeping. if all else fails visit the doctor for some medical advise. I hope this helps.
• Singapore
26 Feb 07
I do drink lots of green tea in the evening but I don't think that's the cause - since tea is very low in caffeine content as compared to coffee, and since abstaining from them matters not at all (yea, I did conducted experiments :P). Too many things on my mind might be the cause but it's just not possible to remove this factor. Nowadays, I am sleeping because "the time is now". It's like e.g. it's already 6am, if I am not gonna sleep, when should I sleep?
2 people like this
@irishka (33)
• Moldova
6 Mar 07
i hope I can help you.Try before you go to sleep: 1 To make a hot shower 2 make itself a massage of the foot and of the heands 3 Drink a hot cup of tea from mint with natural honey
@charms88 (7541)
• Philippines
3 Mar 07
Hi wizard. I happened to see your discussion right now. I also had insomnia myself before. I bought this supplement Vitamin B with valerian roots. The first time I took it, I slept like a baby. The first week was kinda hard because my body was still adjusting to the supplement. My doctor told me to take 2 capsules a day. You can imagine that I'm always sleepy the whole day. But after a week, I'm feeling better. Like I can hit the bed easily around 10PM. Avoid taking valerian roots in high dosage. Its really strong. You can check this in some of the health stores in your area. Hope this can help you.
• Singapore
3 Mar 07
Umm.. valerian root. It seems to be a mild sedative as well - from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/valerian.asp . I also read from there that "evidence from clinical studies of the efficacy of valerian in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia is inconclusive." Though I must say that this is quite the case for most supplements too. :P And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_(plant) , it seems that "large doses are known to cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped, as it, as well as most all sleep aids, may result in dependancy"... so do be careful there charms88... Also, from http://www.anxiety-and-depression-solutions.com/articles/complementary_alternative_medicine/herbs_supplements/valerian.php , "Some people, however, experience adverse reactions to valerian. Rather than feeling the calming or sleep-inducing effects, they suddenly feel nervous, anxious and restless after taking the herb and may experience heart palpitations." Just be careful and be really to stop if you feel anything not right.
3 people like this
@charms88 (7541)
• Philippines
3 Mar 07
Thanks for posting those interesting sites. I took valerian at a very minimal dosages only. It was supplemented with the vitamin B. But I'm not taking it anymore. My sleeping pattern is back to normal. Appreciate your concern.
4 people like this
• Singapore
3 Mar 07
I am glad you are off that. I always prefer to take internally things that are safe - well, at least as much as possible. And glad your sleep pattern is ok now. ;-)
3 people like this
• United States
3 Mar 07
First I take my meds. I have fibremyalgia. I take a darvocet and a zanaflex(which is a muscle relaxant)I also take a couple of benedryls. Then I play online solitaire until my eyes grow heavy then fall into bed and snuggle with my hubby. Although it is after 4 a.m. and I am up chatting with you guys so hmmm maybe it works maybe it doesnt.
• Singapore
3 Mar 07
How long have you been playing online solitaire? Not bored yet?
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
Well part of the boredom is half the solution. If you get me. I kind of bore myself sleepy. Then when my eyes get heavy I try to lie down and rest.
3 people like this
@nancyrowina (3850)
4 Mar 07
I find waking up an hour earlier really helps though it's hard if you don't sleep. Do relaxing things like having a warm bath with lavender oil (very relaxing) I also have a relaxation CD I listen too that has really helped my sleeping pattern. also leaving the computer at least an hour before you intend to go to bed helps as that can actually keep you awake.
4 people like this
• Singapore
4 Mar 07
I tried lavender incense but didn't work too well for me.
2 people like this
• Malaysia
4 Mar 07
Avoid doing exercise at least 5-6 hours before sleep. Avoid go to bed with empty stomach but also avoid eating at least 2 hours before sleep. Place your pillow between your knees or under your waist,it may help you to feel comfortable and relax. Or go to www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS001887/DSECTION=8 And go to this one,i think it can be very helpful www.helpguide.org/life/insomnia_treatment.htm
4 people like this
@PIITZY (749)
• Romania
4 Mar 07
you should try drinking a lot of cola so that you would stay awake till the next day,this way you will just skip sleep :P,just kiding i have this problem and i havent found a solution for it yet so im anxious to find some answers to untill then happy insomnia :))
4 people like this
@kerbausama (1336)
• Malaysia
4 Mar 07
well..i experienced that before and rarely for now..i just close my eyes and think about something else that calm me down..i just keep myself comfort and not to think about ghost,problems or other thing which cause misery in my mind..i just keep going,trying if i cannot sleep.make sure dont hear a song when you wanna sleep..it disturb us to sleep..
4 people like this
• India
1 Apr 07
Your predicament reminds me of the opening scene of the movie Fight Club in which Edward Norton asks his doctor to prescribe him pills to enable him to sleep, saying that he is actually in pain. His doctor tells him to take a look at cancer people to get an idea of pain. He finds the solution to his problem by interacting with people suffering from terminal illnesses! While that won't help your cause much, you could try reading a book. It works brilliantly for me. Don't pick up some racy and fast paced novel as it would have the opposite effect. Instead, pick up one of these Booker prize winning books. They are the best. They are absolutely trashy, absolutely overrated and absolutely guaranteed to send any insomniac to the deepest depths of blissful sleep! Try it and let me know!
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
Oh yes, I remember that scene. Nothing as serious lol... I can't read a book. You know why? When I read an interesting book, I just can't stop reading! I have to FORCEFULLY stop reading else I can probably go on forward. If I read a boring book, it is just so boring. I might fall asleep while reading but that will become a nap. When I wake up after realising I have fallen asleep, I might not be sleepy anymore. :P
@DeaXyza (577)
• United States
1 Apr 07
oh no wizard when you exercise you infact are waking up your body which is a no, no for a case of insomnia! Infact you should exercise atleast 2 hours before bedtime. don't have anything caffienated for atleast an hour before bedtimes yeah that includes low caffeine teas and sodas. Don't think about breakfast, it will infact excite you leading to insomnia. Also remember to forget what you will do tomorrow. I find a cup of hot chocolate helps really well in aiding sleep the mix of chocolate and milk is soothing for the system and read a real boring book( not the latest thriller please ); a book that you hate to read, a book that you think you will read tomorrow, believe me 2 pages down and you shall sleep like a baby!;) Goodluck
2 people like this
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
I was trying to make myself tired... :p
@Marie2473 (8519)
• Sweden
6 Mar 07
One thing that I find working for me is taking a bath just before going to sleep. That makes me relaxed and in the mood to just lie there and sleep. usually i suffer from insomnia though coz i tend to THINK to much before falling asleep wich causes me to sleep wth worries in my head =)
2 people like this
• Singapore
6 Mar 07
Yes, a WARM bath. Definitely not a chilly cold one.. that will only keep you awake. :P
• India
27 Mar 07
There had been various occasions when I was not able to sleep. I tried few of these things: 1) Thinking about what I have done today and what will happen tomorrow. 2) Thinking about a girl who is worth fantasizing and did a lot of things while fantasizing to lose my energy. 3) On a couple of occasions went for a walk which eventually tired me. I was able to succeed after doing this.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Mar 07
You know, i have found that there is nothing i can do for my insomnia, but i know the only chance i have at sleep is if i have noise. i sleep with my iPod on. i usually tak online utnil 2:30 am, then i sign off, find a band i feel like listening to that i have on my iPod, set it to play all their albums, ant they lay there silently. Hopefully the music will send me off to sleep before it has gone through all the albums. SOmetimes it doesn't and i have to start the process all over again. Try listening to soft music at night. A lot of peoe need some noise, but for it to be soft noise. i, however, do just as well with hardcore music as i do with softcore music.
@craftwave (1338)
• United States
9 Mar 07
Try a herbal med call melatonin. It is a natural substance that your body makes and is usually triggered by the lessening of light. You can find it in your herb and vitamin section at you local store. I get mine from Wal-mart. There are no after effects. My husband who is on high blood pressure medicine took it once and it kept him awake. So if you are on other meds ask your Doc before taking. I am not on any other meds so it works just fine for me. And I'm not drowsy in the morning.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
1 Apr 07
Good morning Lordwarwizard, Sorry to hear you haven't been sleeping well. That is a real drag. You've received some fine advice in this thread. Special mention goes to: Nancyrowina, Irishka, and Tetchie, and your best answer choice. I will add a couple of other things, that might more easily bring restorative slumber. Insomnia can have a physical or mental source, or a combination thereof. So, it's best to attack the problem duofold. First: the Human body is designed to perform different functions during waking and sleep hours. Mixing the two is problematic. As such, the warnings you've received about the problems associated with aerobic exercise too close to sleep are accurate. If you are compelled to exercise in the evening, it's wiser to perform slow, breath conscious anaerobic exercise, like gentle stretching, and restorative yoga poses. Rather than release seratonin and adreneline as with aerobic exercise, anaerobic will focus on seratonin and oxygenation, without the adreneline. Furthermore, restorative, anaerobic stretching will help to shut off the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. A brief analogy is the typical reaction to a professional massage. Most people doze off. This is because the sympathetic nervous system is deactivated by massage, leaving the more relaxed, sub-conscious parasympathetic nervous system in a position of predominance. So, Irishka's suggestion of a hot shower with a foot and hand massage is very wise indeed. In addition to, or in lieu of the hand and foot, an ear massage will often quickly deactivate the sympathetic nervous system. The ears contain a vast array of meridian points, so relaxing those meridians can often produce very rapid results. Do remember to massage the entire ear. The sage advice given my many to avoid heavy digestion too close to sleep is also accurate. Digestion takes a great deal of the energy. So, rather than relaxing the body, eating before bed activates many physiological functions. Sadly, this also includes your use of GREEN TEA before bed. Green tea is lower in caffeine than other teas, but high in anti-oxidants. Those anti-oxidants are quickly snatched up by the body, and incorporate into your immune system. A tasty, and easy substitute is Chamomile Tea. This was also mentioned by another sage MyLot member in this thread. Chamomile is a natural relaxant, not a sleep inducer. So, there's no risk of dependency, or any known side-effects. Chamomile will also help to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system, which can aid in digestion as well as ready the body/mind for sleep. Someone else mentioned mint tea, which is a real boon to digestion, but it it also somewhat stimulating. Perhaps green tea until dinner, then mint with, followed by chamomile. Sounds like alot of work, eh? Also the couple of references made to the use of melatonin are helpful as well. As we age, we produce less melatonin. This is the direct result of decreased digestive efficiency. Particulary essential fatty acids/amino acids -- which are the nutritional pre-cursors to hormones, of which melatonin is a small yet significant part. Tryptophan is also another amino acid that is linked to more restful sleep. Yup, the old sleeping after Thanksgiving Dinner thing. However, tryptophan supplements have long been discouraged. Better, to get it in your food source -- chicken and especially turkey. Nancyrowina also mentioned two other valuable points. The first being aromatics (essential oils) and the second being a relaxation tape. I'll address the aromatics first. Pure Lavender essential oil is fabulous for a whole host of physical ailments. It is a natural anti-biotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, detoxifier and a mild sedative. However, because it activates the immune system, it may not be the best choice for those with underlying malady. No aromatic works as well as hops (unless someone has an allergy to it) for gently inducing sleep. There are hops pillows, and sachets available for purchase. Of course, it's really easy to grow ones' own hop plant, or purchase hops from any homebrew supplier, then sew them into your own sachet. It doesn't have to be pretty to work. Lastly to Nancyrowina's and Tetchie's suggestions to use self-directed or guided imagery to train the mind to shut off 'on command'. This is much easier to do than many people realize. Guided imagery cd's are available in many online and brick-n-mortar health and book stores. Many people find that guided imagery is helpful when first learning to shut-off the mind 'on command'. Many will work themselves up to self-directed imagery. Both are a form of self-hypnosis. It does take some practice, but once mastered it is the only infallible remedy for mental insomnia. I'll also add that you might benefit by making an appointment with a certified, clinical hypnotherapist, who can often provide remedy with a single visit or session. Any reputable hypnotherapist will tape your session, and provide a copy of the tape for you. If you do pursue this route, make sure to ask for a tape of the session ahead of time. Then, you can replay the tape at bedtime until you've established a healthy sleep pattern. Those with the quickest, sharpest, and highly agile minds are most often those subjected to self-induced sleep deprivation. Without sufficient sleep, our bodies suffer because they cannot restore and repair. So, nipping this problem in the bud will have fabulous overall health benefits. Best wishes on resolving your insomnia quickly!
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
Thank you my friend for your very informative response. As you would have noticed, this discussion was posted a month back. What happened from then to now was that I had "given in". Instead of trying to sleep at 2, 3 or 4am, I just sleep later at 5 or 6am. Less hours to struggle against insomnia lol. The tea alternatives you brought up reminds me of a tea party. I am not quite sure I am game enough for 3 kinds of tea after dinner. :P As for hops, interesting! I will check it out when I come across a shop that sells this. Thanks again. ;-)
1 person likes this
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
Haha, thanks for checking back. I will look out for these hops. We have some "scent shops" in Singapore. I just need to find them - they have largely gone out of business somehow. :P
1 person likes this
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
Actually that's is my problem too. I do have an insomnia and its really hard for me to sleep well at night. I dunno, they said its psychological and i think yea it is. There's a tendency that its really hard for me to catch a good sleep coz there's a lot of things that lingering on my mind. For some reasons that i dont know why, there's so many things that keep on flashing on my mind and i cant help but to think about it thought i dont have to. There's also an tendency that i dont wanna take a nap before bed time coz i wanna reserve it till the best time for me to sleep comes. But then, even its bedtime now, it is still hard for me to sleep. It really su**s my life for about 6months now. I am not sure how to cure it but im doing such a lot of efforts just to over come this insomnia of mine. I wanna share with you something that im doing, for me to get a well rounded sleep at night. I am not taking pills bydway just to help me to sleep well coz i dont wanna be dependent with it. What im doing is that, i always make sure that im feeling tired before sleep time so that, it would be easy for me to sleep right away. Sounds like im desperate huh? Well yeah i think so. But that the only thing i know to help me out of my insomnia. Have a nice day ahead!
1 person likes this
• Singapore
27 Mar 07
tsk tsk - The best response has been marked, but this is one that would have been in the running!
Having a tired body helps, yes... but sometimes, even if the body is tired, the mind refuses to rest.:(
1 person likes this
• Philippines
1 Apr 07
Yea i agree!
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
1 Apr 07
funny I should come across this topic right now, as I just finished asking myself....what in the world am I doing up at 5:47 in the morning, not having yet gone to sleep! oh boy, Glad honey is home tomorrow so I can grab a nap in the afternoon and he can watch the kids :) reckon I better go read a book, that usually helps me go to sleep.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
Well, you have 13 min more. I slept at 6am last night. :P
• United States
1 Apr 07
I wouldnt recommend exercise before bed. That only wakes you up not tires you out. You arent supposed to do any exercise for like 3hrs before bed. I hear drink something like milk and eat fruit?? I eat stuff before bed btw I gotta I get too hungry and sometimes up kinda late! Write it down. If you cant sleep after 20 mint get up but dont put on too much light. Do something quiet (read or like I do fill in's) in a dark but kinda light area. Try again in a few. Dont look at the clock. In fact keep a light up clock GONE dont look at it! It will only reck stuff. Dont think about stuff. Write it down if need be but dont think about it. Good luck. Latelly I dont get much sleep so tonight I will sleep well. Two days now I got up at 4:30am, tomorrow 9:20am its sleeping in! *L* ;)
1 person likes this
• Singapore
1 Apr 07
Alright, alright..