Author Topic: defeating insomnia  (Read 2396 times)

SlowMustachian

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #50 on: September 10, 2017, 08:06:08 PM »
I've suffered from insomnia on and off since adolescence.  For me, what works is meeting particular needs every night (or as close to it as possible):

- Go to bed at the same time every night (and get up at the same time every morning) - This is essential.  After a couple months of following this pattern you will start to feel tired at the time you normally go to bed, and will start waking up before your alarm clock.
-   If you can't get to sleep after an hour or two, don't sweat it . . .  get up, read a book, take a crap, whatever.  DON'T fall into the trap of sleeping in and fucking up your schedule, you're going to have a tired day the next day.  By sticking to the schedule though, you have a better chance of getting good sleep the next night.
- Cool, quiet, completely dark room.  Get some blackout blinds, make sure that you're not being woken up by weird sounds (a white noise type generator can help with this if the noise is beyond your control), make sure that you aren't overheating (this is a really big one with me - interestingly enough I've found that sleeping without a pillow keeps me much more comfortably cool at night - YMMV).
- No screen time (of any kind) within an hour of bed (try something else that's relaxing . . . have a shower or a bath, do a little reading, whatever helps you calm down)
- No hard exercise within an hour of bed (I used to come home from Jiu-Jitsu practice and it would take me two or more hours to relax because I was so keyed up)
- Regular, daily exercise.  If you spend all morning sitting, all afternoon sitting, and all night sitting . . . is it any wonder that your body doesn't feel tired?  The nice ache that you get from exercise helps sleep happen.
- No caffeine of any kind after 1:00 pm.
- No liquids of any kind within two hours of bed (sucks to wake up to pee).
- No phones in the room that you sleep.



Things that suck for insomnia:
- Booze makes it easy to get to sleep, but tends to give you a shitty /non-restful sleep
- Memory foam beds are very comfy . . . but I've found that I sink into them and tend to overheat much more quickly than if sleeping on a typical firm mattress or even the floor.
- Partners.  Yeah, they're awesome in the day (and evening), but sometimes they can snore, hog the covers, toss/turn, and generally make your evening miserable.  Have a second place set up in your home where you can leave the room and sleep if they're interrupting your sleep.
- Sleeping pills.  They're almost all addictive, and none of them will work long term.  In fact, once you've developed a tolerance for them you'll find that it's even harder to get to sleep.


Insomnia gets worse the longer it goes on . . . it's like your body gets stuck in a rut that prevents normal sleep.  By the same token though, once you're on a sleep schedule that works it helps keep you sleeping properly.

Agree with this!  I had to go to a sleep therapist and found out that insomnia is a learned behavior.  I had to track all of the things above in a spreadsheet and send them to my therapist daily.  The biggest thing for me is that I cannot sleep in on the weekends.  If I do, I have trouble falling asleep Sunday night and then my body gets in "flight or flight" mode when I go to be because I'm scared I wont fall asleep.  I ended up having to do CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) for it.  I now try to wake up earlier on the weekends, not stress if I cant sleep (just watch TV), and not go to bed till I am tired.

Peony

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #51 on: September 10, 2017, 08:07:32 PM »
I have occasional insomnia and nighttime anxiety. It's been a lot better since I moved into the smallest bedroom in my house, which I painted a very dark blue. There is only one window, at which I hung a sound-absorbing blanket (made for recording studios; about $24.00) as a curtain. In addition to being sound-absorbent, it is black and fully blocks out the light. In my home, my room is known as the Chamber of Sleep.

I use a fan for cooling or white noise, if needed. I also use a free app called f.lux on my laptop; it changes the screen light throughout the day to be more yellow, in sync with natural light, so I'm not getting a blast of energizing blue light when use my laptop in the evening.

frugaldrummer

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2017, 10:03:07 PM »
You've gotten excellent advice,, including magnesium/dark room/ sleep study etc. The one thing I haven't seen mentioned is restless leg syndrome. This causes difficulty falling asleep due to an urge to move your leg ( my ex had it, every 9 seconds he would move). Deficiencies in magnesium, iron, B12 or thyroid hormone can contribute to this.

Also, do consider hypomania as a possibility, since your symptoms tend to come in waves.

You may also be a natural born night owl - in which case, finding work that lends itself to the evening shift might be better.

ubermom4

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2017, 07:07:14 AM »
OP -- I have suffered from insomnia forever. It is very annoying for me but I am able to function. It definitely impacts my health and feelings so I have been trying to better focus on it. There are so many great suggestions here. The only thing I can add that helped me is keeping a sleep journal/log. It was annoying but very insightful. I wrote down -- how I felt in the morning, the weather ( a huge impact for me and not controllable), what I ate and when, activities (exercise, sitting, meditation, outside time, etc). I wrote everything down in one journal. Some nights I slept well, others not so much. Sometimes I felt great but had few hours of sleep. Hmm.  After a few weeks patterns started to emerge and I was able to change my habits when I saw that certain things were working.  Often I had to try things for several nights, one aspect was not a magic bullet. For me the things that help are -- no caffeine, no alcohol, meditating every day for a few minutes,  no technology for at least an hour at night, darkened room, warm bath  every day (with epsom salts/magnesium 3x a week), reading with reading lamp in dark room. I need to start keeping the journal again because I have been having trouble sleeping once again. Thanks for posting about this -- I learned a whole lot. Hope this helps you.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2017, 03:21:16 PM »
2 simple ideas that may help:
1. In bed, write all the ideas or thoughts in your head in a journal. Get them all out so they aren't swimming around.
2. Masturbate. Twice if you have to.

CopperTex

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2017, 05:34:09 PM »
2. Masturbate. Twice if you have to.

Best advice so far.

shelivesthedream

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #56 on: September 14, 2017, 05:18:14 AM »
I just wanted to come in and perhaps add a slightly different perspective on "soft" methods of helping you sleep. A lot of insomnia advice is focuses on letting your body know that bedtime is time to sleep. But it's also important to let your body know that the morning is time to be awake - to get it going for the day and give it a contrast to nighttime. It sounds like you know a lot about good bedtime routines - what about focusing on morning routines?

For example:
- Wake up at the same time every day with an effective alarm clock.
- Get out of bed and immediately go and exercise outside (go for a run or just do some stretches in the garden... Whatever floats your boat)
- Come back in and take a cold shower
- Have a breakfast that contains coffee and the components of a full, balanced meal (e.g. scrambled eggs and fried tomatoes on toast) while doing something intellectually stimulating on a screen
- I'm sure there are some other "Hey! Time to wake up!" things you could try

So it's reframing they day not so much in terms of sleeping and waking as in terms of time to do things and time to rest.

Then, count backwards nine hours (8 hours sleep plus one winding down) from your ironclad getting up time. This time is rest time. So don't obsess about going to sleep or getting into bed at a particular time, but you are only allowed to do slow activities in dim light. Reading a book or listening to an audiobook would be ideal. Go to bed when it feels right. If your body hasn't slept as much the night before or has had a busier day, it will feel tired earlier.

Maybe this is all beginner stuff, but I'm always somewhat uncomfortable with the massive weight placed on BEDTIME for insomniacs. It seems quite stressful to me, and that the first port of call should be to try to manage waking up in the hope that it will improve the evening. Obviously resting isn't a substitute for sleeping, but it is still restful!

ooeei

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2017, 08:14:02 AM »
In researching a headache issue, I found that Vitamin D deficiency often contributes to insomnia. Consider supplementing it for awhile.

In my own personal experience, blacking out a room can have a significant impact that you don't notice until you're used to it. I usually put a shirt over my eyes now because we can't black out the room. It was annoying the first few times but then you get used to it.

Laserjet3051

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #58 on: September 14, 2017, 09:22:56 AM »
I succesfully transitioned from severe chronic insomnia to sleeping really well almost every single night. Sleep quantity AND sleep quality. The two core things that catalyzed this (sloooow) transformation were:

1) Discovering EXACTLY what was causing the insomnia through self-discovery and addressing the root cause(s). Seems like an obvious strategy, but the PATH walked was real.

2) Abandoned the "defeat insomnia" mentality. Instead, transitioned to completely "surrendering" to the insomnia. This was instrumental in defusing the fear component of insomnia/not sleeping.

As severe and chronic as my insomnia was, I never thought I would get to this point. My quality of life (during waking hours) has skyrocketed immensely. I feel great upon waking and have inner feelings of well-being during day for the most part.

milliemchi

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Re: defeating insomnia
« Reply #59 on: September 14, 2017, 09:28:46 AM »
I succesfully transitioned from severe chronic insomnia to sleeping really well almost every single night. Sleep quantity AND sleep quality. The two core things that catalyzed this (sloooow) transformation were:

1) Discovering EXACTLY what was causing the insomnia through self-discovery and addressing the root cause(s). Seems like an obvious strategy, but the PATH walked was real.

2) Abandoned the "defeat insomnia" mentality. Instead, transitioned to completely "surrendering" to the insomnia. This was instrumental in defusing the fear component of insomnia/not sleeping.

As severe and chronic as my insomnia was, I never thought I would get to this point. My quality of life (during waking hours) has skyrocketed immensely. I feel great upon waking and have inner feelings of well-being during day for the most part.

Care to share?