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Show ALL Forums  > Health Wellness  > How do I deal with insomnia?      Home login  
Joined: 5/24/2009
Msg: 2
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How do I deal with insomnia?Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I've been using melatonin very successfully.

It doesn't work for everybody, but for me it's like a sleeping pill. It totally knockes me out. Allegedly, it does not help to make you sleep through the night, but I have found that my sleep generally feels deeper with it.

In any case, if you wake up early and you have a few hours of sleep time left before you have to get up, I don't see why you couldn't try taking it then. Start with 3 mg.

Also, what the other posters have said is correct, as well. No caffeine, and definitely not in the pm, and go easy on the sugar and refined carbs.

Be physically active, but not right before going to bed.

Then there's the eye rolling trick, which simulates REM sleep, and that works for me, too. Three sets of 20 times back and forth rapid eye rolling. I know it sounds crazy, but I do feel that it makes a difference.
Joined: 9/8/2008
Msg: 6
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How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 8/26/2011 10:22:30 AM
You might also try 500 mg of GABA along with a B complex in addition to melatonin... these will set your mind in a restful state
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 8
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How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 9/1/2011 7:14:28 PM
you can try a bowl of lavender on your bedside table. or a few drops of the essential oil on a cotton ball under your pillow.

for a really strange, but effective trick, try smelling a raw onion. that always makes me sleepy, and i'm a devout insomniac with a hyperactive thyroid.

straight catnip tea helps as well.

if you decide to try anything with valerian, be forewarned. it reeks to high heaven!
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 10
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How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 11/27/2011 5:08:58 PM
Your age is 21 so be cautious with medications. Consider consulting a physician.

The Benadry(get the genertic Waldryl from Walmart or another generic--saves ) liquid for children might be helpful and you can use as little as you need.

Melatonin is also helpful.

READ up on all medications you may try.

Be cautious with Tylenol (Acetaminophen)-- it is effective but if a patient fails to follow the directions, this can lead to serious liver failure. IE---Tylenol pm is effective but dont add more tylenol for a headache.

READ up on insomnia--you will figure this out.
Joined: 1/1/2011
Msg: 12
How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 12/19/2011 2:19:20 PM
I find I can affect insomnia patterns by having a one hour sleep in the afternoon. I think it relaxes me and I believe being exhausted from too much activity, especially physical, but also having too many things to do and think about ruins my sleep.
 Molly Maude
Joined: 9/11/2008
Msg: 13
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How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 12/20/2011 12:25:36 AM
I was surprised to discover that my problems sleeping might have had to do with joint pain that I'd been ignoring ... I was using Benadryl for the allergy symptoms I thought was impairing my sleep and discovered that enhanced sleep ... but, when I took ibuprofen for something else altogether, I noticed I'd also gotten a good night's sleep ...

I've tried taking ibuprofen before bedtime a few times now and it works great ...

I also augmented my waterbed with a memory foam pad and that seems to help as well ... I think, in retrospect, my pain was preventing quality sleep ... so, here I was, analyzing all the psychological aspects that might be impairing sleep ... when it was probably physical!

when you hear hooves, think horses first ... you can explore zebras after you've eliminated horses ... or, this time of year, maybe reindeer!

Joined: 1/1/2011
Msg: 14
How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 12/22/2011 4:56:56 PM
OMG why does everyone medicate for everything? Ever try excecize? Try walking one to two hours after supper and see if that works. Everyone wants the quick fix. Try good old fashion exercize.
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 15
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How do I deal with insomnia?
Posted: 12/22/2011 5:39:54 PM
Insomnia has two parts; physical and mental.

For the physical:

Pain interferes with sleep
Treat any pain issues first. Go to the Doctor and figure out what is causing any pain you might be experiencing and treat it. Take a pain medication if necessary, but don't rely just on those as that should be temporary, since pain medication is tough on your liver and you can develop a tolerance for it and get addicted to some of them.

Light affects sleep
Make your living space as bright as it can be during the day and as dark as possible in your bedroom at night. Use a small red or blue light as a night light if you have to get up in the night. (A christmas tree replacement bulb in a night light works fine for this.) Red light doesn't wake you up as much as white light.
The body relies on sunlight to set the circadian rhythm that gets you to fall asleep at the right time. There is a small gland (the pineal gland) behind your eyes that registers all the sunlight you are exposed to throughout the day. So make sure to get sunlight in the morning and some throughout the day. Artificial light doesn't seem to work very well at all, unless you get the very bright natural spectrum SAD lights for seasonal depression. These are available by prescription from you Doctor if you get depressed every winter when there is less daylight. (You can also buy them on the internet or make one, with a bank of very bright lights with enough wattage to trigger the response in your brain.) The sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin. At night, make sure the room you sleep in is very dark. Get the light-blocking window shades available at any hardware store, or use heavily lined drapes to block out all light. But then open them in the daytime for the sun.

Hormones affect sleep
You can take melatonin as a pill 20 minutes before you want to sleep also. Cherry juice is high in melatonin. Melatonin is a natural substance your body produces, so you don't need a prescription for it.

Melatonin is used for jet lag for pilots and travellers. It is often combined with vitamin B6 to aid in regaining your sleep pattern after a change in your pattern.

Routines and habits affect sleep
Your body needs a pattern to follow. If you don't go to bed and get up at the same time every day, you won't have developed the hormones during the day that you need to fall asleep at night. You will have created "jet lag" in your everyday life. Try to stay on a regular sleep/awake schedule so your body can anticipate your needs and be ready when you need to sleep, and to stay fully awake during the day.

Temperature affects sleep
Your body's sleep rhythm also responds to temperature cues. It helps to have a drop in body temperature just before sleeping. Sleep in a cool room, and add layers of blankets until you are comfortable. Set the temperature at night to no higher than around 65 to 68 degrees. The sleep-inducing effect of cool temperature is enhanced if you take a warm to hot bath or shower just before bed. The drop in temperature after the bath is what triggers the sleepiness.

If you have muscle tightness in your legs or prickly feelings all over that keep you awake, put several cups (2 to 3 cups or more) of Epsom salts into your bath water and soak for 20 minutes. (Then rinse off before using soap and washing up.) Epsom salts are cheap, and you can get them at any pharmacy and at most grocery stores. Epsom salts are made from magnesium which helps your muscles to relax, and has a slight numbing effect on your skin. I used to use Epsom salts after a job that kept me on my feet all day -- works great for sore muscles.

Scents and smells affect sleep
The scent of lavender helps people feel sleepy, and now you can get Epsom salts with a lavender scent added, I just bought some from Walgreens. Or you can buy hand lotion with lavender in it and put some on before bed. A great Christmas gift is to take a pretty hand-size towel, and mix lavender into pillow stuffing and sew it shut.

Physical Conditioning affects sleep
Exercise helps a lot. But exercise early in the day. It raises your body temperature, and increases your metabolism to burn off any sugars in your system that can keep you awake if you have any excess sugar floating in your bloodstream before bed. (Think how children act after eating candy -- their bodies are trying to burn off the sugar so they don't have to store it as fat.) And exercise some every day so that you have a routine your body can adjust to.

If you want your body to work "automatically" to put you to sleep every night, give your body an automatic routine that it can adjust to and anticipate your metabolic needs. For instance, it takes 20 minutes to an hour for your body to produce the right digestive enzymes to digest your food before you eat a meal. If you eat at different times every day, your body is going to suffer from indigestion.

Set up the environment to succeed:

Sound affects sleep
Besides making sure that your room can be completely dark and cool while you are sleeping, set up your bedroom so that it is quiet, or has a neutral sound to cover up random noises from outside your bedroom. Some people run a fan at night (make sure it doesn't squeek or make other rattling sounds.) You can get a "sound machine" to produce a calming sound of crickets or waves, or a thunderstorm. I live near a railroad track, and this helped me get used to the sound of the trains going by at night. I don't need it anymore, though, because I adjusted to that sound.

Electromagnetic fields can affect sleep
I took the TV and a computer out of my bedroom. Before I could do that, I covered them up with a tablecloth at night. Now I have all the "technology" out of my bedroom. Its like they give off an "awake" energy that can remind you of all the things you have to do... plus, they do have minor magnetic fields that they generate that can interfere with your sleep. (Everything that uses electricity generates some magnetic fields while it is operating.)

I know some people who have an off switch for their entire house, so that they have "energy silence" throughout the house at night. I have connected all my technology onto a power strip/surge protector so that I can switch everything off at night. This saves energy, too, since a lot of electronic equipment has an instant on feature that means that it never is completely shut down even when it is turned off, unless you cut off the power.

Associations affect sleep
Don't use your bedroom for lots of other things besides sleeping (and intimacy.)
Don't exercise in your bedroom. I do stretches in the morning in bed, but I don't do heavy exercise there.
Don't do work in your bedroom, or keep work files, or other work-related material near where you sleep. You want your body and mind to associate the bedroom with sleep.

Don't store a lot of junk in your bedroom. Just have a few nice decorations that are calming and soothing to you. If you are sorting things, or doing crafts, put it all somewhere else when you are sleeping. Some people think of bedrooms as storage units, where you stuff everything you don't want people to see when they come over and then close the door. This stuff will penetrate your consciousness while you sleep and interfere with it. Its like a type of physical "noise" that never goes away until you move it out of the room. Don't store stuff under your bed. Let the air circulate under your bed. Reducing extra clutter helps with the next one:

Indoor pollution affects sleep
Dust and vaccume the room you sleep in. If you have a lot of dust, it can make you get stuffed up at night and not breathe well while you are sleeping. If you snore at night you are going to wake up many more times during the night and you might not even remember waking up, but your sleep is of low-quality, because you can't get to a very deep level of sleep then. Don't use a lot of chemicals in your bedroom, like air-fresheners, hair-spray, spray deodorants and perfume. These can interfere with your breathing and cause sinus problems. Make sure your furnace filter is clean and working.

Snoring affects sleep
If you snore, get a sleep study done and find out if you can get treatment for sleep apnea. There is a huge connection between snoring and daytime sleepiness. There are lots of treatments now for sleep apnea and most are covered by insurance, or you can get the equipment on the internet. Sleep apnea should be treated because it can make you gain weight, and can also cause you to have more accidents while driving. It also greatly affects the sleep of anyone you are sleeping near.

Oxygen levels affect sleep
Don't underestimate the power of fresh air. If you like your home's temperature at 72 degrees during the day, and you live in a cooler area, open the window in your bedroom for a few minutes before bed to cool it off and to get fresh air for you to breathe at night. In the winter, your room can have less oxygen for you to breathe. In older homes there isn't a fresh air exchanger connected to the furnace, so be aware that you are breathing recirculated air over and over again, and if you don't air out the house once a day, you aren't getting enough oxygen. Oxygen helps you metabolise energy. So without enough oxygen you can feel very tired and low-energy.

One way to offset this is to have a few green growing plants in each room. Plants exhale oxygen. They breathe in the carbon dioxide that we exhale, and clean the air a bit. There are some that are very easy to care for that you can try, but don't overwater indoor plants or they can get moldy. Plants aren't enough to replace airing out the room once in a while, though. If you have plants, they will remind you to open the drapes and let the sun in every day.

Diet affects sleep
Don't eat a large meal right before bed. It takes a lot of energy to digest a large meal, so eat lightly before bed, or not at all. Valerian and St. John's Wort are herbs that can help, but if you don't like the taste of them as a tea you can also get them in pill form. Milk and turkey are foods that can help you fall asleep.

Sugar during the day makes you have to use the bathroom at night. So avoid all kinds of sugar during the day.

Stimulants affect sleep
Diet drinks have aspartame in them, and aspartame is a brain neurotransmitter that can stimulate the brain and even cause brain swelling in some people. So avoid aspartame/nutrasweet during the day also. Avoid caffeine during the day. Try going caffeine-free for a week. Sometimes it takes a few days to really get it all out of your system. Don't forget that chocolate has caffeine in it too. Some painkillers have caffeine in them, so check the labels.

Drinking affects sleep
Don't use alcohol to fall asleep. Alcohol is a stimulant if you just have one or two, but then it becomes a major sedative, and this actually hurts your sleep, because you don't dream and have the same rapid eye movements that you would need to feel rested. Your body performs lots of maintenance functions while you are sleeping and alcohol interferes with all of them. A drunk brain doesn't sleep well, it is just unconscious. You will only feel like you haven't really slept. Then the next day you not only have to deal with that, but your body has to heal itself from the damage the alcohol has done. If you have a history of drinking, you might benefit from adding a B vitamin complex to your diet, and doing a liver detox regimine. If your liver has been damaged, you really have to avoid all stimulants during the entire day, because your liver can't get rid of them fast enough to help you feel sleepy by night time.

The second part of insomnia is mental:

If you read before sleeping, have a task light next to the bed, and try to only read positive, inspiring, or soothing material. If it is too stimulating your brain will be working overtime at night to mentally digest what you have read and it will affect your sleep.

Worry affects sleep
What you think about just before falling asleep will affect your sleep and your dreams and also set the motivations and incentives for the next day.

Take a few minutes to get ready for the next day before you go to bed. Put electronic things on their chargers, find the clothes you might want to wear, check your calendar for appointments, set aside things to go out the door with you by the front door so you don't forget them. Then try to forget about everything you just did.

If you are still doing more than planning and have slipped into ruminating about your problems, I find that journalling helps. Get a blank note book and a nice pen or pencil and put it by the bed. Write whatever it is that is bothering you down, along with things you are grateful for and anything else you want to express but haven't had the chance to. Then you can relax knowing that it has been put down where you won't forget it if you need to find it again.

Just before sleeping, tell yourself you want to come up with an answer for some issue you want inspiration for, and often your brain will be creatively working on it in your sleep. You might find the answer by morning. Don't do this all the time or you won't get good quality sleep.

If you wake up at 3am, this is the most creative time of the day. Write down anything that comes to mind and then go back to bed. If you don't like writing, use a tape recorder.

Depression affects sleep
If you have depression, get it treated. There are many more good treatments for depression than there used to be. Often the things that help depression also help sleep, so they are definitely connected. For instance, exercise helps both. Eating right helps both.

Your Conscience affects sleep
There is nothing better for sleep than a clean conscience, and nothing worse than trying to sleep well with something bothering your conscience.

This will help to clear a conscience;
first acknowledge what is bothering your conscience,
and this might take some searching to become really aware of it if you have let denial slip over your awareness.

Then tell someone you trust, or write it in your journal, or communicate with your higher power or god-like substitute. But somehow externalize the issue from inside your gut to outside. This will shrink its affect on you considerably.

Next, apologize, make amends, but not in any way that would hurt anyone. Do this step somehow even if the other person is gone or unavailable, perhaps use another person or an unsent letter as a substitute.

Then accept that it is in the past and that it is now possible to move on, go forward, or at least lighten up on yourself.

It helps to do this even when the other person is just as wrong as you are. What matters is that you are holding yourself accountable for the part that was yours in the issue. It doesn't matter if they apologize for their part or not, you can still do this and it will help. Of course, its always nice if someone apologizes, but human nature makes this very hard to predict, and I wouldn't hold my breath while waiting for it.

Addictions, compulsions and other unconscious behavior affect sleep
OCD, ADD, seizures, and anything that intrudes on your thoughts when you don't want it all are things to address before you can really sleep well. There are good treatments for anxiety, lack of focus, migraines and other problems. If you have a problem with any addiction, you are not in control of your life to that extent, and that can keep you up at night, not to mention all the other problems that they can cause.
Try to figure out what drives the addiction, such as anxiety, fear, stress, loneliness, perfectionism, or physical problems. All of these can be handled in another way than by succumbing to an addictive habit.

For stress, try meditation, yoga, religious practices like prayer and making meaningful social connections with others of similar beliefs.

Try to maintain a balanced life. Use moderation in all things. Balance your day with something for your mind, something for your body, and something for your spirit each day. Unhealthy habits are always there for a reason. Somehow you feel you are being rewarded for doing them, even if in the long run they have bad consequences for you.

So try to develop healthy habits and routines to replace the unhealthy ones, instead of just focusing on getting rid of the unhealthy. Make one change at a time and try to maintain it for 21 days to anchor the habit. Then do another. If you try to change a lot of things about your life all at once, that can cause further stress and push you to crave the unhealthy things again.

Good luck, God Bless, and never forget to leave something for the Sandman under your pillow just in case.
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