Author Topic: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?  (Read 2797 times)

Captain FIRE

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Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« on: January 20, 2022, 07:34:11 AM »
I'm having trouble stopping thinking about work long enough to fall asleep lately.  I've even resorted to taking Nyquil a couple of times.  I've never had this problem (more than the rare one off night) before, but I took a new job 7 months ago and I am experiencing challenges with my boss.  Unfortunately, I can't leave for another 6 months (primarily pension vesting, but jumping ship after 1 year isn't a good look either).  So I need to figure out a way to stop obsessing and shut my brain down at night, so I get enough sleep to survive at work/deal with young kids at home.  Can you recommend any focus exercises?

crazy jane

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2022, 07:43:08 AM »
I do the breathe in for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7 and then exhale for a count of 8 technique. I repeat this three or four times. Breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. I have also used a body scan by visualizing my toes relaxing and working up to my head. Take your time with this one really focusing on one section at a time. Hope you find something that helps. Wishing you a good night's sleep.

LifeHappens

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2022, 08:00:00 AM »
Fellow insomniac here. One thing that works for me sometimes (nothing works all the time) is listening to a sleep podcast or sleep story. The Sleep With Me podcast is good, and there are several apps with sleep stories. I use Calm at the moment, but I'm not partial to any of them in particular.

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2022, 08:06:59 AM »
I'm at the point now where I've had to restore to prescription meds to keep me asleep (zoplicone).....but back when I was working and it was getting to sleep that was the issue, I found doing sudoko puzzles helped me get to sleep, they required just enough concentration to help shut out all the other noise in my head, and were easy for me to put down part way through a puzzle when I felt sleepy.   Books never worked for me, because if it was a novel good enough to read, I'd read to 3am.....now technical manuals for my job - sleepy time.

GuitarStv

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2022, 08:12:04 AM »
First, I'll go over basic sleep stuff:

- The room should be cool (people tend to fall asleep and stay asleep better when temperatures are lower), quiet (see if you can even reduce small noises like the sound of the furnace or A/C kicking in), dark (blackout blinds/room in basement/only low wattage bulbs in bedroom, etc.)
- No screens within two hours of bed time.  If you absolutely have to look at a screen in this time, make sure there's a blue blocker in place.
- No caffeine.  Even if you fall asleep perfectly fine after drinking coffee/coke during the day, your sleep quality will suffer.  Caffeine is a long lasting sleep disruptor.
- No strenuous exercise within 2 hours of bed time . . . but make sure you get 30 minutes of hard exercise every day.  Beyond just feeling tired at the right time, exercise helps your body regulate your hormones and this results in better sleep.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time.  Your body likes cycles, and your hormones will trigger based upon the cycles you get used to.  Making it a habit to go to sleep and get up at the same time all the time (including the weekend - no sleeping in/staying up super late) will improve your odds of falling asleep properly.
- Have sleep habits that you find relaxing that you follow.  Something like taking a hot bath/shower, and reading something relaxing for 30-40 minutes can really help your body prepare for sleep.
- Don't do anything in your bedroom but sleep and fuck.  If you're working, make sure that you're working in a different place.  This helps keep your mind from looking at a pile of work and worrying.

Mindfulness techniques - I've had good luck with kind of zen style meditation before bed.  Just sit perfectly still and try to live completely within the moment.  Pay attention to the tiniest sensations - the floor under you, a puff of breeze on your skin, the beating of your heard, and your breath.  When thoughts about other things from your life start to creep into your mind, work on dismissing them and paying attention to the now.  I've found that even 10 - 15 minutes of this a day to be beneficial.

As far as drugs go, I've found that 15 - 30 mg of CBD oil taken sublingually about half an hour before bed a is very beneficial to my sleep.  My insomnia tends to come and go . . . like I get in a groove and can sleep well for a few weeks, but then something goes wrong and I'll have multiple weeks where I can't sleep.  Using CBD for a week or so seems to help me get back into the groove more quickly, and then I'll discontinue use and keep sleeping properly for several weeks/months afterwards.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 08:17:05 AM by GuitarStv »

ToTheMoon

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2022, 08:18:00 AM »
When I have these bouts, I also find a podcast or sleep story to work the best. Only once or twice have I ever heard the end of them. That, and cutting out alcohol in the evening - a daytime beer is fine (though rare) but anytime in the evening will have me wake up a few times throughout the night, and when your mind is spinning that is NOT a good combo.

My current favourite is the podcast Nothing Much Happens; bedtime stories to help you sleep. (I skip the first minute of the annoying podcast promo stuff and get to the goods.) :)

I have also found having a ginger tea before bed, with a touch of honey and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar really helps me sleep. I read about it somewhere, thought it sounded gross and tried it anyhow. I thought it was delicious and whether placebo or not, definitely helped put me in a better state to get to sleep.

Sibley

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2022, 08:29:21 AM »
Have you tried journaling? If your main problem is shutting off your brain, and you can't get work out of your head, do a massive dump of all that. If writing it all down gets it out of your brain, problem solved. At least until you've solved a problem.

RE short stints at jobs: a short stint isn't necessarily a problem. It's a pattern that is the problem. So don't worry too much about leaving after a year. Just try to choose better next time.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2022, 08:35:11 AM »
Journal before you go to bed. Put everything down on paper that comes in to your head wether it makes sense or not and or if you sound like a serial killer. You dont even have to write it legible. This will clear your mind of a lot of things.

Another thing that really works well is being able to control your thinking and of one thing. Sit in a chair upright with the light at the very least dim off is better. Come up with something you know by heart like a Psalms if your religious or anything that is a few paragraphs. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and either softly out loud or just to yourself start reciting what you chose. As soon as anything else comes into your mind go back and start over. The first couple days its very challenging BUT in a few weeks you will be surprised at how far you can concentrate on one thing. A lot of restlessness falling asleep is thinking about one thing, then another , and then getting anxiety about not falling a sleep.

Finally, all the things @GuitarStv are defintes to do as well imho.

Best of luck!

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2022, 09:01:47 AM »
First, I'll go over basic sleep stuff:

- The room should be cool (people tend to fall asleep and stay asleep better when temperatures are lower), quiet (see if you can even reduce small noises like the sound of the furnace or A/C kicking in), dark (blackout blinds/room in basement/only low wattage bulbs in bedroom, etc.)
- No screens within two hours of bed time.  If you absolutely have to look at a screen in this time, make sure there's a blue blocker in place.
- No caffeine.  Even if you fall asleep perfectly fine after drinking coffee/coke during the day, your sleep quality will suffer.  Caffeine is a long lasting sleep disruptor.
- No strenuous exercise within 2 hours of bed time . . . but make sure you get 30 minutes of hard exercise every day.  Beyond just feeling tired at the right time, exercise helps your body regulate your hormones and this results in better sleep.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time.  Your body likes cycles, and your hormones will trigger based upon the cycles you get used to.  Making it a habit to go to sleep and get up at the same time all the time (including the weekend - no sleeping in/staying up super late) will improve your odds of falling asleep properly.
- Have sleep habits that you find relaxing that you follow.  Something like taking a hot bath/shower, and reading something relaxing for 30-40 minutes can really help your body prepare for sleep.
- Don't do anything in your bedroom but sleep and fuck.  If you're working, make sure that you're working in a different place.  This helps keep your mind from looking at a pile of work and worrying.

Mindfulness techniques - I've had good luck with kind of zen style meditation before bed.  Just sit perfectly still and try to live completely within the moment.  Pay attention to the tiniest sensations - the floor under you, a puff of breeze on your skin, the beating of your heard, and your breath.  When thoughts about other things from your life start to creep into your mind, work on dismissing them and paying attention to the now.  I've found that even 10 - 15 minutes of this a day to be beneficial.

As far as drugs go, I've found that 15 - 30 mg of CBD oil taken sublingually about half an hour before bed a is very beneficial to my sleep.  My insomnia tends to come and go . . . like I get in a groove and can sleep well for a few weeks, but then something goes wrong and I'll have multiple weeks where I can't sleep.  Using CBD for a week or so seems to help me get back into the groove more quickly, and then I'll discontinue use and keep sleeping properly for several weeks/months afterwards.

This is all great.

Re mindfulness, @Captain FIRE , I use the headspace app and recommend the 30 day anxiety pack. You develop labeling techniques that help you sort of dismiss the thoughts that get stuck in your head. It won't work right away, but after time it gets easier to navigate those nights.

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2022, 12:12:21 PM »
I find that Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps a lot because it both focuses your mind and gives you a subtle work out while never leaving the bed.
You don't need a formal program, just work your way either up or down your body one small muscle group at a time, doing each one twice before moving onto the next.  Examples are: point your toes, pull your toes up, press your heel into the bed, squeeze your butt together, tense your stomach muscles, make a fist with each hand, press your elbows into the bed, pull you shoulders up, push your shoulders down, raise your chin to your chest, take a deep breath and hold it before letting it out, smile hard with your mouth closed, pucker your lips hard, squeeze your eyes shut, raise your eyebrows.  Do everything as hard as possible and hold for a few seconds while saying "tense" to yourself, then "relax" when you let it go.  After about 15 minutes of that, I find I'm much more relaxed.

I also sometimes use some nature CDs I have - birdsong, water sounds etc.  I usually fall asleep before it's finished.

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2022, 12:42:32 PM »
I try a few things; which ones work shifts over time.

Sometimes I count to 20, over and over. Sometimes I count down from 100 by 3's, over and over.

Sometimes I do a progressive relaxation exercise, where I tune into each part of my body and intentionally relax it.

Sometimes I find something else to focus on, like a fiction story idea or a plan for when and how I'll exercise the next day. Even if it's stimulating, it's a distraction from the thing that's keeping me awake.

Sometimes I switch positions; that has helped surprisingly often.

On really bad nights, I sit up, turn the lights on, and read for a while, until I feel like my mental space has shifted. Then I lie down again and use one of the previous techniques to prevent my brain from going back into stress space.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2022, 01:47:56 PM »
I had a very similar problem during a stressful few years at work. Bluetooth earbuds + drifting off to sleep watching ASMR videos helped for a while. I don't get the ~tingles~ that people are so excited about, but a lot of the video contents - soft spoken, soothing actions and words etc. help take my mind off things.

I've also found certain sleep supplements like Olly gummies to work wonders in getting me relaxed and sleepy before bedtime. Ordinary melatonin supplements don't do anything for me, but strangely enough I can feel my body and mind actively chilling out after one or two of these.  I've also taken CBD oil to a similar effect, but that only seems to calm my body and my overactive brain doesn't necessarily follow suit.

Dee18

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2022, 04:57:33 PM »
I have had sleep issues for several years. I fall asleep okay but would wake up between 2 and 5 am and not get back to sleep.  I think I tried everything mentioned above.  What finally worked for me was a little CBD oil at bedtime and listening to a "sleepcast" from the Headspace app.  You can try it for free. Now if I wake up in the middle of the night I just turn it on again and it puts me back to sleep. I think it's a combination of the soothing voice and just enough of a story to distract me from ruminating.

American GenX

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2022, 05:58:56 PM »
I have had sleep issues for several years. I fall asleep okay but would wake up between 2 and 5 am and not get back to sleep.  I think I tried everything mentioned above.  What finally worked for me was a little CBD oil at bedtime and listening to a "sleepcast" from the Headspace app.  You can try it for free. Now if I wake up in the middle of the night I just turn it on again and it puts me back to sleep. I think it's a combination of the soothing voice and just enough of a story to distract me from ruminating.

Same here.  Getting back to sleep is the problem!  I fall asleep just fine and will sleep pretty well early in the night, then I'll wake up somewhere in that same time frame and not get back to sleep or just lie there for a long time before I can get back to sleep.  Sometimes I can't stop thinking about stressful things in my life, but other times I'm thinking about more pleasant things and still can't get back to sleep.  I researched and made a lengthy sleep document that includes all these things people are saying and more, but nothing has really helped me get back to sleep quickly, yet.  I have Calm and tried different sleep stories and sleep music on other occasions, but with limited success.   I've never tried CBD since I fall asleep fine, but I have taken Unisom on occasion at bedtime, which seems to help a little, but it loses effectiveness with frequent use, so I try not to use it more than once in a week.  I also tried Melatonin but can't say that helped me stay asleep.  Exercise doesn't seem to make a difference.  I biked for at least 50 minutes per day, often times much longer, most days over the summer and lost 20 pounds and had the same issue with waking up and not getting back to sleep as during periods where I got much less exercise.

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2022, 06:08:18 PM »
I have had sleep issues for several years. I fall asleep okay but would wake up between 2 and 5 am and not get back to sleep.  I think I tried everything mentioned above.  What finally worked for me was a little CBD oil at bedtime and listening to a "sleepcast" from the Headspace app.  You can try it for free. Now if I wake up in the middle of the night I just turn it on again and it puts me back to sleep. I think it's a combination of the soothing voice and just enough of a story to distract me from ruminating.

Same here.  Getting back to sleep is the problem!  I fall asleep just fine and will sleep pretty well early in the night, then I'll wake up somewhere in that same time frame and not get back to sleep or just lie there for a long time before I can get back to sleep.  Sometimes I can't stop thinking about stressful things in my life, but other times I'm thinking about more pleasant things and still can't get back to sleep.  I researched and made a lengthy sleep document that includes all these things people are saying and more, but nothing has really helped me get back to sleep quickly, yet.  I have Calm and tried different sleep stories and sleep music on other occasions, but with limited success.   I've never tried CBD since I fall asleep fine, but I have taken Unisom on occasion at bedtime, which seems to help a little, but it loses effectiveness with frequent use, so I try not to use it more than once in a week.  I also tried Melatonin but can't say that helped me stay asleep.  Exercise doesn't seem to make a difference.  I biked for at least 50 minutes per day, often times much longer, most days over the summer and lost 20 pounds and had the same issue with waking up and not getting back to sleep as during periods where I got much less exercise.

I have the same thing with the not staying asleep. When I was going through a really stressful time at work I started on trazodone.  At first I needed 100mg to sleep all night but was able to back it down to 50mg once my ssri kicked in and I got some stress off my plate. If I don't take it I sleep like garbage. Once in a while I'll still wake up around 3-4 but usually can get back to sleep if I have a cup of coffee and read for a little bit. 

Melatonin didn't work for me. Never tried CBD.

SunnyDays

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2022, 06:29:41 PM »
Waking up during the night is called Middle Insomnia.  It can be caused by all kinds of things, such as shifting into lighter stages of sleep, anxiety, reflux and low blood sugar.  For me, it was the last one and just eating something small, like a cracker, helped me fall asleep again.  I kept some on the night table so I didn’t have to get up.  Eventually it stopped being a regular occurrence.

mm1970

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2022, 07:06:12 PM »
I just got a bunch of recommendations from a coworker, which I'm copy and pasting below.

For me, when I went on venlafaxine for my menopausal mood swings, my insomnia also went away.

Quote
So here is my list for how to get better at sleeping:

1) View sunlight by going outside within 30-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset. If you wake up before the sun is out and you want to be awake, turn on artificial lights and then go outside once the sun rises.

On bright cloudless days: view morning and afternoon sun for 10 min; cloudy days: 20 min; very overcast days 30-60 min. If you live someplace with very minimal light, consider an artificial daytime simulator source.

Don’t wear sunglasses for this practice if you safely can, but contact lenses and eyeglasses are fine.

No, you don’t have to look directly at the sun, and never look at ANY light so bright it is painful to view! That said, you can’t wear a brimmed hat, sunglasses and remain in the shade and expect to “wake up” your circadian clock.

2) Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy. Pushing through the sleepy late evening feeling and going to sleep too late (for you) is one reason people wake at 3 am and can’t fall back asleep.

3) Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime. Dr. Matt Walker (sleep expert from UC Berkeley) might even say 12-14 hours. I do fine with caffeine at 2 pm and I go to sleep at ~10-11 pm. Dr. Walker was on the Huberman Lab Podcast and we discussed this in detail.

4) If you have sleep disturbances, insomnia, or anxiety about sleep, try the zero-cost research-supported protocols on the Reveri app (for Apple or Android phones) Do the Reveri sleep self-hypnosis 3x a week at any time of day. It’s only 10-15 min long and will help you rewire your nervous system to be able to relax faster.

5) Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am. Here is a simple rule: only use as much artificial lighting as is necessary for you to remain and move about safely at night. Blue blockers can help a bit at night but still dim the lights. Viewing bright lights of all colors are a problem for your circadian system. Candlelight and moonlight are fine. (Shift workers should see the Huberman Lab Podcast on jetlag for offsetting shift work negative effects. Same for jetlagged travelers.)

6) Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all. I love naps as do many of my colleagues. I tend to nap for 30 min most afternoons… maybe 45 min, but never longer.

7) If you wake up in the middle of the night (which, by the way, is normal to do once or so each night) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR protocol when you wake up. Enter “NSDR” into YouTube and the top 3-4 options have different voices, durations for you to select from. Or simply do a “Yoga Nidra” protocol (enter “yoga nidra” to YouTube; 100s to select.)

8) You might consider taking (30-60 min before bed):

145mg Magnesium Threonate or 200mg Magnesium Bisglycinate
50mg Apigenin (Swanson is the only source I know of; we have no affiliation to Swanson)
100-400mg Theanine
(3-4 nights per week I also take 2g of Glycine and 100mg GABA.)
*I would start with one supplement (or none!) and then add one at a time as needed. Some people do not need any supplements, and some people like theanine but not magnesium, etc. so you have to determine what is best for you.

**Don’t take theanine if you have overly intense dreams, sleep-walk, or have night terrors.

***Also, some people (~5%), get an agitated stomach from magnesium supplementation, in which case, do not take it.

****I use supplements from Thorne for all of the above, except the Apigenin, as they don’t make it. Also, they do not manufacture Magnesium Threonate either. Magnesium Bisglycinate is a good replacement for Threonate. You can get 20% off all Thorne supplements at https://www.thorne.com/u/huberman or you can pick another source you like and trust. Thorne does not ship outside the USA.

9) Expect to feel really alert ~1 hour before your natural bedtime. This is a naturally occurring spike in wakefulness that sleep researchers have observed.

Don’t freak out if it happens. It will pass!

10) Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove.

Your body needs to drop in temperature by 1-3 degrees to fall and stay asleep effectively. Body temperature increases are one reason you wake up. Thus, keep your room cool and remove blankets as needed. If it’s too hot you would have to use a cooling device and that’s harder than simply tossing off blankets if you get too warm.

11) Drinking alcohol messes up your sleep. As do most sleep medications.

This was discussed on the Huberman Lab Podcast Episode with Dr. Matt Walker.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2022, 07:14:12 PM »
First, I'll go over basic sleep stuff:

- ...
- Go to bed and get up at the same time.  Your body likes cycles, and your hormones will trigger based upon the cycles you get used to.  Making it a habit to go to sleep and get up at the same time all the time (including the weekend - no sleeping in/staying up super late) will improve your odds of falling asleep properly.
- ...

DING DING DING! We have the winner! For me, all of that other stuff (room cool, no screen time, etc) combined pales in comparison to this one. Once I started getting up at the same time EVERY day (give or take maybe 30 minutes), 95% of my insomnia problems disappeared!

begood

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2022, 08:03:29 AM »
After trying many varieties and dosages of CBD and Delta 8, what ended up working for me was the lowest dose I tried - an 8mg Delta 8 "8BALL" from 3Chi - think Skittles with kick. I absolutely HATED how I felt on the "average" dose of 25 mg. With the 8mg dose, I take it at 9 pm, get a little sleepy by 10pm, read my Kindle in the dark for about 10 minutes and then BOOM out like a light.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2022, 11:23:58 AM »
Thanks all.  Some really good ideas here I'll try out.  I had a longer reply written but the computer ate it.  For the short version:
- Bedtime is roughly the same (though we're trying to move it back a little as it's too late) as is wakeup (kids don't understand "weekend").  If my daughter goes back to sleep after my son gets up and goes downstairs, I might be able to fall back asleep myself for a bit, but that's only 30-45 minutes at best and rare.
- I don't want to keep my spouse up, so I'll aim for relaxation/journaling techniques first over ones where I listen to something
- I don't work in the bedroom
- I have 1-2 cokes a day (working on cutting back), sometimes 1 alcohol drink instead with dinner, but I don't drink coffee.
- ETA: Room is blackout dark, no visible glowing electronics (e.g. clocks).  It's fairly quiet, but I'm not turning off the heat in the dead of winter to minimize all sounds (and that mutes any road sounds).  Road/heat sound usually doesn't bother me.

It's a recent issue of both trouble falling asleep and then sometimes issues getting back to sleep if I wake up.

And yes, to @Sibley I definitely need to choose better next time.  There was only the barest whisper of a red flag, but I need to look under the covers next time.  It was also a very good career move, but that's not always the best personal move.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 02:25:57 PM by Captain FIRE »

LateStarter

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2022, 11:48:25 AM »
Just variations on previous themes here, but these are the main things that work for me.

Exercise:
Be physically tired.

Temperature:
General: cool / cold bedroom and, if possible, just be quite cold at bedtime.
Hardcore: 20min hot bath followed by 2-5min cold shower until cold.
Extreme: contrast shower (10s H & 20s C repeat x10) - I find this exhausting and it can knock me out for excellent deeeep sleep.
Contrast Shower timer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIm16OcDUyQ

Dark. Very dark. Blackouts and/or a good sleep mask.

Quieten the mind:
Mindfulness / meditation - just standard breath focus.
Distraction by reading or listening to an audiobook or similar.

Wake up anxious in the night ? - (No longer a problem here since FiRing !)
Don't just lay there ruminating. Get up, go meditate somewhere cold - go back to bed relaxed and cold.
Distraction by reading or listening to an audiobook or similar.


Summary: tired, cold, dark, calm/distracted

American GenX

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2022, 04:19:42 PM »
Being too cold can be bad.  My bedroom has dropped down to about 66 degrees overnight before, and I woke up feeling cold, so then I couldn't get back to sleep for a while, and only after warming things up.

I don't think anyone mentioned it, but weighted blankets help some people.  I bought one a couple years ago of the recommended size/weight for me, but it didn't seem to help me at all, and since it was heavy and not as comfortable as a light blanket, I stopped using it after a few weeks.  I might give it another shot.

One or more suggestions say to wake up at the same time every day.  The problem for me is that I'm waking up when I wake up and can't get back to sleep.  So, I can't control when I wake up when I'm often waking up at 3 or 4 AM and don't need to get to ready for work until 6 AM.  Falling asleep isn't the problem for me, it's waking up way too early.

use2betrix

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2022, 07:30:17 PM »
My sleep techniques are far from healthy, but not getting sleep is even less healthy. Quitting my job would be the trick, but, well, that’s not happening for a bit..

As others have mentioned here.. no caffeine, strenuous exercise, or food within a few hrs of bed (I’d go further to say probably no caffeine within 6-8 hrs of bed).

The good: very healthy diet, go to bed at 9:30 p.m., wake up at 4:30 a.m. and either run 4ish miles or lift weights for 45 minutes, 6 days/wk.. I’ll go months without missing a single workout.

The bad: I get prescribed xanax for anxiety. Typically take .5-1mg/day, but aim to take a couple days off each week so I don’t get dependent. Lately, I’ve been having 1-2 drinks per night (wine, beer, etc.). Also usually take a full serving of zzzquil each night.

“Most” nights I sleep like a rock. Not the healthiest habits but also could be much worse (i.e. sleeping meds, drinking a 6 pack, not exercising or eating healthy, etc.)

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2022, 09:41:37 AM »
Things that help me sleep:

Lift weights. Even using a 20 pound dumbbell and doing 10-20 minutes of weightlifting a few hours before bed makes a huge difference. Do it while you watch tv.

Weighted blanket. Worth the money.

I used NyQuil to help myself sleep when I was in law school and super stressed out. Trust me, you don’t want to go down this road.

rosarugosa

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2022, 04:48:56 AM »
I did an online course provided by my former employer called "Sleepio" that was supposed to assist with insomnia.  It included all the standard advice, but I often use one little tip that was offered.  When my minding is racing, and I can't fall asleep or fall back to sleep, I repeat in my head "the-the-the-the..." It actually helps because my brain needs to focus on something, but by focusing on something so boring and meaningless, I can bore myself to sleep.  Of course, it can be another meaningless word, but boring repetition is the key.

Dicey

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2022, 09:53:36 AM »
PTF.

ObliviousRecidivist

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2022, 09:24:35 PM »
I've been taking melatonin, which can sometimes help counteract caffeine if I've been careless and drank coffee too late in the day.

My mindful technique is to count as high as I can (slowly) AND try to visualize the each number in my mind as I do it.  Kind of like counting sheep, but I use it as a focus technique to crowd out "work problems" etc.  I rarely get to 50.

I started doing this last fall when work got more stressful and I was always (involuntarily) trying to solve some work problem in my head around 1 am etc ...

BikeFanatic

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2022, 03:27:53 AM »
so many great ideas PTF.
I have used Melatonin and it does help me sleep at night but if I wake up at 0300 AM like I did today it does not help me at that time.  If I take some CBD with (hemp derived THC) that really helps and it is Legal in all 50 states ( although 2-4 states have blocked CBD sales). I will give a few links
but the correct dose for me is 12.5 mg CBD with 2.5 mg THC, you can double the dose or take more. I do not like getting high it takes 5 mg THC to get me high so I take 2.5 mg.I do feel the plain CBD without THC does not work for me.
This dose is very sedating but I wake up refreshed at a normal hour. YMMV. I like the high dose CBD mixed with the low dose THC so I order the 25/5 mg tabs and take half. ( this THC /CBD combo is all derived from Hemp so legal in all states thanks to the farm bill signed by Pres Trump that makes all hemp products legal.

Here is mail order reputable company Five CBD---https://fivecbd.com/

Also medera 2 mg gummies are great
and Diamond CBD

goodmoneygoodlife

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2022, 06:15:39 AM »
Sleep stack:
ZMA + Kiwi.
Temperature: No more than 70F.

You may mitigate insomnia derived from waking up in middle of the night if you do intense exercise 90-120 mins before bedtime.

Other supps:
Rested AF from Steel Supplements is quite potent in falling and staying asleep for me.

Melatonin hasn't/doesn't work for me for some reason if I have insomnia. Doesn't matter if I try to OD on it. Just not an ounce of sleepiness.

On top of everything, you can try the military technique to fall asleep ASAP:
https://www.fastcompany.com/90253444/what-happened-when-i-tried-the-u-s-armys-tactic-to-fall-asleep-in-two-minutes

It takes about ~6 weeks to master, but it's just a protocol to intensify and relax various parts of the body.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2022, 07:16:21 AM »
Sleep stack:
ZMA + Kiwi.
Temperature: No more than 70F.

You may mitigate insomnia derived from waking up in middle of the night if you do intense exercise 90-120 mins before bedtime.

Other supps:
Rested AF from Steel Supplements is quite potent in falling and staying asleep for me.

Melatonin hasn't/doesn't work for me for some reason if I have insomnia. Doesn't matter if I try to OD on it. Just not an ounce of sleepiness.

On top of everything, you can try the military technique to fall asleep ASAP:
https://www.fastcompany.com/90253444/what-happened-when-i-tried-the-u-s-armys-tactic-to-fall-asleep-in-two-minutes

It takes about ~6 weeks to master, but it's just a protocol to intensify and relax various parts of the body.

This army method reminds me of a sleeping app called Deep Sleep by Andrew Johnson. He let you lay down in bed i a comfortable position and talks you through relaxing your body, one bodypart at the time. And then imagining a good night sleep. It often works well for me. The app speaker says it will work best if you use the app for a couple of weeks, like the army method.

I think it helps trying out all other natural methods before using sleeping pills.

GuitarStv

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2022, 07:29:12 AM »
I would always recommend that all non-medicinal approaches to sleep be attempted and exhausted before resorting to drugs and supplements.

SYNACK

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2022, 04:42:03 PM »
I was having issues with this in the past (the going to sleep part because brain is too busy). Followed a tip from a friend to stop eating few hours before bed. That was a big help. Gradually I modified this into basically IF and here's what I've been doing:
  • No food after 6PM. I initially started with 8PM then gradually moved that to 6PM
  • No water after 8PM to avoid having to go pee at night
  • I get about an hour of exercise or a walk 5-6 times a week
  • No caffeine after 1PM
I've been doing this for a little over 3 years. Beer/wine (even just 1 drink) seem to give me vivid dreams at night. So I keep them for special occasions and no more than 1 drink.

I do focus on breathing mentioned by others when I go to bed and takes me 5 min or so to fall asleep. I get about 7 hours or sleep and I'm up by 6AM. I don't take naps during the day.

Oh and I lost weight too because of IF especially since now I skip breakfast too,

Captain FIRE

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2022, 07:35:52 AM »
Huh, why no food?  I usually don't snack much after dinner anyways, but I wouldn't have thought of that.

SYNACK

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2022, 03:57:29 PM »
Huh, why no food?  I usually don't snack much after dinner anyways, but I wouldn't have thought of that.

Not sure why it worked. I've researched it before and didn't find a good explanation. But I'm not complaining. I lost weight and sleep much better than before. It also has no cost and fairly simple to implement. Yeah it needs a lot of self control.

big_owl

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2022, 04:15:51 PM »
I have, unfortunately, a fair bit of experience in insomnia. The clue in your OP about early awakening is they key part.  Early awakening (called maintenance insomnia) is a hallmark sign of depression and anxiety disorders.  Often you can try various methods to force yourself to sleep initially (onset insomnia) but the maintenance insomnia is the tell.   

It's very unlikely your insomnia is going to improve.much unless you get to the root of any underlying anxiety or depression.  Especially with anxiety, you may not think you have much day to day but even a little bit can totally wreck your sleep.  And then eventually you also develop sleep anxiety and a vicious circle develops. 

Life changes, therapy, medication...those are all things you can explore for anxiety.  Z drugs might be helpful to get to sleep but they are not often as effective for maint insomnia.  The best medication for sleep I ever came across was mirtazapine as it also helps to treat anxiety and depression.

But even then, my insomnia and associated anxiety didn't start to improve substantially until I made the hard life changes that were underpinning the whole thing.  Once you do that you will find things like sleep restriction therapy work very well. 

exterous

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2022, 08:14:07 PM »
Some good suggestions here but I'll note one thing that helped me particularly with work concerns:

A Notes app on my phone. Often my swirling thoughts were around work. A big project. A litany of small tasks I needed to do that I was too busy during my work day to do but my brain remembered when I was trying to go to sleep. How I should word a particular outreach for the best effect. Sometimes it was just a quick note to myself and I was off to dream land. Sometimes it was 8 different notes before my brain calmed down. Sometimes it was 2 paragraphs about a particularly thorny issue. I learned to accept that sometimes I would need to take 20min to get something down in my app and revised 6 times before I could go to sleep.

The app worked well because I could see what I was doing without having to leave the bedroom or turn on a light and wake up my wife.

Also you may want to consider avoiding anything that gets you keyed up or you find particularly interesting right before bed. For me I have found that this includes really good TV shows, video games, or books. My brain wants to review, analyze and try to figure out what's next in those mediums as opposed to settling down for the night

CodingHare

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2022, 12:02:16 PM »
Sleep hygiene, so no phone screen for at least 30 minutes before bed.  Audiobooks are good though. I like to have two options, a book that is engaging so I focus on it and not work if my brain is wound up.  Second option, the Sillmarillion by Tolkien.  It always puts me... to.. Zzzz.

Exercise, even 15 minutes is better than nothing.  I like to exercise after work to complete the stress cycle.  You brain was evolved to be stressed out by a lion, run away, and then feel good that you made it.  (Vastly simplifying the science there.)  So harness that biochemistry!

Less alcohol.  Night caps may help calm the brain in the short term, but at the cost of worse sleep.

Check you pillow and mattress for comfort.  Invest in the furniture you spend a third of your life on.

Finally--I had a super stressful job that I stuck out for resume reasons.  I'm not convinced that was worth the burnout I suffered as a result.  It has lowered my ability to deal with routine bullshit just in general, permanently.

GuitarStv

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2022, 12:18:44 PM »
Sleep hygiene, so no phone screen for at least 30 minutes before bed.  Audiobooks are good though. I like to have two options, a book that is engaging so I focus on it and not work if my brain is wound up.  Second option, the Sillmarillion by Tolkien.  It always puts me... to.. Zzzz.

Agreed, the Silmarillion is a particularly potent sedative.


Check you pillow and mattress for comfort.  Invest in the furniture you spend a third of your life on.

Comfort while sleeping is a strange thing.  I found that my sleep improved significantly when I threw my mattress out and started sleeping on the (carpeted) floor . . . so would advise that you experiment with this one and not expect that the investment need be significant.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2022, 12:34:47 PM »
I keep Jane Austen on the bedside table. I love the novels and practically know them by heart, but they are very soothing since nothing really bad happens in them. The language is sufficiently complicated that you have to pay attention, but they are great for the 3 am wakefulness. I just hate turning on the light in the middle of the night!

I also listen to the History of Rome podcast sometimes in the middle of the night. It's not always effective because it's interesting and I want to hear the end, but the guy's voice is very soothing (and he's occasionally funny) and it's not cluttered with too many ads or music that have a different sound level. It helps put my brain in a different space and sometimes helps me get back to sleep. And there are nearly 200 episodes!

Dee_

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2022, 02:01:58 PM »
Oh, this is me. I developed sleep problems after a particularly traumatic series of life experiences. I would lay awake at night with a racing mind, and my brain was usually hell bent on imagining all the horrible and unlikely ways my loved ones could die gruesome deaths.


First, install a blue light filter on all your electronics. I know the recommendation is to just give them up, but start easy. Once you start getting some rest maybe you can wean yourself off the dopamine hits from screen time.
Second, listen to a sleep podcast or a very boring audiobook. I started with the headspace apps, which are great because they start with a breathing/anxiety reducing exercise before going into the boring story. Also their narrators are all calm and I don't find their voices annoying. The key here is you want something which prevents you from knowing and worrying about how much time has passed. At some point I was using a podcast which repeated the story twice, but it was counterproductive because I knew every podcast was 40 minutes long and when the story repeated 20 minutes had already passed (!!!! ohgodI'mneversleepingagainIneedtowakeuptomorrowwhatifourcarbonmonoxidedetectorsareallbrokenandwedieinoursleep)

Captain FIRE

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2022, 08:20:08 PM »
It's very unlikely your insomnia is going to improve.much unless you get to the root of any underlying anxiety or depression.  Especially with anxiety, you may not think you have much day to day but even a little bit can totally wreck your sleep.  And then eventually you also develop sleep anxiety and a vicious circle develops. 

I have no doubt of this.  In brief, my boss is creating a toxic work environment, and I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of what he wants at times and my professional responsibilities.  He will make a lot of comments that individually are not that bad, but all together make me feel that I am denigrated in front of other employees, belittled, not valued, trusted, etc. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 07:33:24 AM by Captain FIRE »

Linea_Norway

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2022, 01:18:45 AM »
@Captain FIRE
Is your pension build-up really that substancial that you want to risk your health for it for another 6 months? We have in the past experienced that we personally saved 10-fold the amount that we could build up in pension in a year. Therefore pension isn't quite as important as it seems.

What about your options to move around inside the organization?

Moving jobs within a year can be okay when it is a total mismatch.

The other option is to make a plan to leave on date x and mentally start looking out for that. Then have the mindset that don't need to care at all anymore of what you boss says, as you are going to leave soon anyway. Working life becomes easier once you have made the decision to leave.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2022, 09:07:32 AM »
@Linea_Norway

The pension itself isn't that substantial tbh, but it comes with a health care wrap that I think can be very valuable from a financial and peace of mind perspective.  I'm working on leaving as soon as I can after it vests.  I'm looking for jobs internally but there aren't any so far.  So I've started updating my resume and begun looking at postings to get an eye of what's out there.  I need to update my (virtually non-existent) LinkedIn profile as well.  Ideally, I'd find a new job to start two weeks after I vest, to make sure there are no errors/issues on the vesting schedule.  I think once it gets down to only a month or two or weeks left, or even after that date, it's far more bearable.  I'm anticipating the hiring process could take as short as 6 weeks (unlikely) so my goal is to start submitting applications end of May.  I don't want to jump from bad to worse though. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 07:35:26 AM by Captain FIRE »

Dee_

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2022, 12:32:42 PM »
I've got a lot of sympathy for you Captain. I'm in a similar situation- about 9 months from escape. I'm in a doctoral program so my salary is set to quadruple once I get my first postgraduate job. My advisor turns into a hypercritical dbag when he's nervous about looking bad, i.e. every time I'm set to present or write a paper.

Sleep first. All else flows from that- I'm sure you remember from when your kid was younger.

ghsebldr

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2022, 09:26:29 PM »
I usually wake up around 2 or 3 nightly after about 4 hours of sleep. The best way I've found to get back to sleep is to start reading either the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. Overheard at work and Overheard on facebook work the best for me. It usually takes 15 minutes or so until I doze off for another 2 or 3 hours.

partgypsy

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2022, 10:34:51 AM »
Posting to follow. Ironically I should be an expert on this since I am currently working on a study that uses cbti for insomnia, AND, since going off bc and going through menopause, been having issues with my sleep.

What I've found out for myself. Other than tea, I can't really drink coffee anymore. Even if I drink it early in the day, I have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep that day. I do sometimes drink coffee on the weekend where I can sleep in late, and make it 50/50 decaf.
I need to exercise every day. I think part of my problem is just achiness. So exercise and stretching, I have to do in some form every day.
Work has been busy and hectic. Journalling is best, but at the very least at the end of the day before bed in a doc I make a to do list of stuff I have to do the following day plus add to calendar alerts so I won't forget stuff that needs to be done.
Getting on the phone and doomscrolling was really messing up my sleep. Don't know if chicken or egg thing. So I sleep much better if I look at a mystery, or nonfiction book before bed versus stuff on my phone.
This is a meditation I listen to sometimes before bed. I find his voice uplifting/soothing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP2gb2fSYXY

Captain FIRE

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2022, 12:03:54 PM »
You peoples.  I do not like all the suggestions to exercise!  (And avoid wine.)  Can we compromise on a suggestion to eat cookies instead?

Journaling or writing to dos seems to be helping some.

bmjohnson35

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Re: Need sleep help - mindful techniques?
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2022, 07:51:58 PM »
I won't duplicate the many other good suggestions.  I listen to a thunderstorm recording on Alexa, but you can find similar on YouTube or some other device.  It's kinda like white noise and it helps drown out light snoring of your SO.

I just saw this on Yahoo:   https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/tiktok-freaking-over-military-sleep-170700902.html

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!