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Insomnia Bleg

Been having some difficulty with sleep for the past week or so.  Not so much staying up until all hours of the night kind of thing, but frequent waking, and not feeling like I’m getting deep, quality sleep.  I usually end up waking at about 5AM and not being able to get back to sleep in any productive way (normal wake-up time is 7:30-8 for me, typical workday goes from 9-9:30 to around 7 or so, sometimes later).

Not the first time I’ve had trouble sleeping, but as best as I remember, it always just seemed to go away after a while.    The trouble with getting stressed about sleeping is it actually makes it harder to sleep, so it’s a bit of a vicious feedback loop.  Anyone out there have any advice on how to overcome insomnia without resorting to drugs and drinking?  I generally find benadryl or alcohol might help me get to sleep, but really just end up making things worse overall.  The real solution is probably to reduce stress in my life, but it’s kind of hard with job uncertainty, and the Hope and Change job market weighing heavily on my mind.

20 Responses to “Insomnia Bleg”

  1. Carl in Chicago says:

    Sleep apnea? It’s more common than most people realize?

  2. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think I have sleep apnea, but you know, my allergies are causing a good bit of post nasal drip, so that might be related.

  3. Jessup says:

    I have nothing original to contribute, but here it is anyway: You could be reaching the age where you are more sensitive to caffeine than you once were. Try avoiding it after mid-afternoon. I personally find its effects somewhat seasonal. Also, an almost subliminal ache or pain (that also can come with age) can affect sleep, and sometimes something as simple as taking two aspirins at bedtime can improve things.

    Or, maybe it’s just weather-related. FWIW I have not been sleeping as well as usual for the past couple weeks. Do you have a room air conditioner or fan producing background noise?

  4. Thomas says:

    I find that liquid melatonin works well for me. The bottle says 1-3 ml about a half hour before bed. It makes me really groggy, then it’s off to bed.

    Only downsides are, I can be a bit foggy first thing in the morning, and I swear it makes me feel a little dehydrated.

  5. Sebastian says:

    AC has been running. I’ve considered that might be what’s making me get shallow sleep. I usually don’t constantly run it, but have in these past few uncomfortable weeks.

  6. Rwilson452 says:

    One thing that works for me is some physical working out about an hour before bedtime. Do you feel tired before you go to bed or are you wide awake?

  7. Sebastian says:

    I feel tired physically, but have an issue stopping my mind so it can go to sleep.

  8. I’ll second the exercise. I usually go for a run before dusk. I find that it gets me tired (physically) and gives me a chance to prioritize tasks for the future and think about stuff (mentally). When you get back, you can do an hour of work or so — take care of those highest priority tasks that are bugging you — and then the endorphins are wearing off anyways.

  9. That means no IPODs, no distractions while running, by the way. Unless the music helps you think through issues.

  10. Carl in Chicago says:

    You need to drink more liquor … ;-)

  11. Peter says:

    Sounds like “”terminal insomnia,” a fancy word for waking up too early.

  12. Laughingdog says:

    FYI, you don’t have to snore or have active allergy issues to have sleep apnea. I’ve never slept well, but I don’t snore, and haven’t had real allergy problems since I moved near the ocean. But earlier this year, I learned from my girlfriend that I would stop breathing for long stretches when I slept. Granted, I learned this from her freaking out and waking me up.

    After a sleep test, it turned out that I stop breathing between 20 and 40 times an hour, which means I rarely actually got into deep sleep.

    Basically, sleep apnea isn’t always caused by obstruction. Sometimes, it’s just caused by your body wiring getting a bit off, and not always properly regulating your CO2 levels, until they get so high that your body goes “Oh Shit!” and bumps the adrenaline.

  13. Linoge says:

    Two things I learned in the Navy on deployment – try not to watch TV or use the computer for at least 30 minutes, and preferrably 60, before going to sleep. Both do funny things with the ways your eyes track, and that can affect going to sleep.

    Second, try to avoid fluorescent lights for about the same amount of time before going to sleep – the cycling of the light throws off our brains, amusingly enough. That one was pretty much impossible onboard ship, given 99% of the lights are tubes, but supposedly it works.

  14. Wyatt Earp says:

    I swear by Simply Sleep. It’s a Tylenol product. It’s not addictive, and it gets you counting sheep within an hour or so after taking a dose. I usually use them when I switch from night work to day work.

    Not sure if you want to go that route, but they work well for me.

    http://www.tylenol.com/product_detail.jhtml?id=tylenol/pain/prod_ss.inc&prod=subpss

  15. NJT says:

    Those anti-snoring strips that you see football players wearing to improve breathing, helped me with a similar problem.

  16. Weer'd Beard says:

    Another +1 for exercise. I get best results if I do it just before dinner. Tho if you do it around your lunch break that can work too. If I work out too close to bed it keeps me up.

  17. Ian Argent says:

    Simply Sleep is benadryl.

    Both have the active ingredient of diphenhydramine HCI.

    And Now You Know.

    (It also knocks me on my ass for far longer than 8 hrs if I use it for a sleep aid – I’ve used it both as a sleep aid and a decongestant, sometimes for the same illness).

  18. Ian Argent says:

    Also, would the avoid computer issue apply as much to LCD dispalys? (No question about CRT).

  19. Tina M. Hood says:

    When I have trouble sleeping I get on the treadmill for 15 minutes or so. I find that it clears my mind and also makes me more relaxed so that I can sleep. Good luck on getting some sleep.

  20. Brian says:

    I have had some similar issues – here’s some of the things that help me (in no particular order or priority) –

    No caffeine after 3PM. No alcohol after 8PM and never more than 2 of any tasty beverage. No computer after 9PM.

    If you smoke, quit.

    Sex.

    Enya or some old Windham Hill/ George Winston new agey stuff of the ipod. It’s like musical Ambien.

    Good luck!

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