General chatter - Dealing with insomnia




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underanalysis
01-23-2014, 01:57 PM
Hey chicks.

I've always had a very different sleep pattern from the people around me, even as a kid. I stopped taking naps at age 2, and 25 years later I haven't taken a nap since.

I have a hard time turning off my brain to fall asleep a lot of nights - a good night is one where I only lie awake in bed for half an hour - and I always wake up early (7:30-8:30 AM) even on weekends or when I stay up till 3 AM. Even when I'm sick, I never sleep past 10:30 and have trouble making myself rest.

I think that some of this is insomnia, and some of it is probably just the way my body and mind work. I always hate saying stuff like this, but I think it's a factor: I have a very high IQ. Sleep bores me, and so does waiting for sleep. My mind searches for stimulation constantly, and I think that exacerbates my problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

As a kid, I was taught that if I couldn't sleep I should "rest my eyes" by staying in bed with the light off and my eyes closed for however long it took to fall asleep. But I sometimes have nights where I wind up doing that for 3-8 hours, and when my alarm goes off I've been laying in the dark awake all night. (And yes, I've tried sleep aids. I've actually had nights where I took sleeping pills and then didn't get any sleep a couple times.)

Recently, I've started to wonder if "resting my eyes" is really the best course of action. I'm sure it worked great for my parents - who never believed I had trouble sleeping - to tell me to just lie in bed quietly all night, but is it really the healthiest option? I'm wondering if it might not be better to get up for a bit, turn a light on and read a book or take the dog for a walk, then try again.

Anyone else have trouble sleeping? How do you handle a bad night?


alaskanlaughter
01-23-2014, 05:07 PM
i occasionally suffer from this as well...where i can't turn my brain off in order to go to sleep...i'm not particularly stressed or upset when this occurs...it just happens...

i do believe that it's a high IQ thing, as i'm similar in that regards, and i also think that I have undiagnosed ADD (not ADHD with the hyper physical part) but one that doctors see more in girls where they are more mentally distracted than physically off-task...at least that's how multiple doctors have explained this over the years

my son is diagnosed ADHD and our niece was only undiagnosed because she refused to go to appointments when she lived with us (whole other story)

there are nights when i CANNOT sleep and will just lie there quietly, relaxed, with my brain going 100mph and I'll do this almost the entire night, sleep around maybe 3 a.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. and feel JUST FINE...like i'm not even tired or anything...it's weirddddd

i find that i have to be sufficiently physically exhausted to go to bed and fall asleep....i work a full time job...i go to the gym nearly daily...i raise our two kids and 3 others who also live with us (relatives' kids)...i am involved with a board of directors in town and various subcommittees of that...i have a leadership role in my work that keeps me busy...i am involved in my younger son's cub scouts...etc etc etc

so i go to bed at night and generally fall asleep...i find that if i'm awake longer than half an hour or so (which is generally how long it takes to fall asleep) then I could be awake for a very, very long time

i've never tried melatonin...have you?...sleep aids work iffy at best with me and I've only taken a few my whole life

Crazziemomma
02-13-2014, 07:31 PM
I have real trouble sleeping too and I always feel at my best late at night when its supposed to be time for bed!
I have always been a night owl and maybe should have chosen a career at night! I tend to just lie there and then in the end I just get back up again. I tend to do this for a few nights then finally I must be so tired I just sleep for hours.
I find it very difficult with 4 children and a husband who gets up at 4am every day for work (normally I am just wandering around but he is used to that!)
I must admit that I have been getting more sleep since starting to lose weight and giving up smoking - at the same time......insane I know!


PatLib
02-13-2014, 08:05 PM
This is use to be my problem. I have this weird timing thing that if I don't go to bed between 7-9, I won't be able to fall asleep until about Midnight to 2:00am.

Here is an interesting article about bimodal sleep patterns that people use have http://disinfo.com/2013/08/how-our-ancestors-used-to-sleep-twice-a-night-and-highlighting-the-problem-of-present-shock/

There was another article I read but can't find that some people who have insomnia problems actually benefited from doing this.

Koshka
02-13-2014, 08:25 PM
I have a lot of trouble sleeping. What works the best for me is to get up and do something else when I have trouble sleeping. If it is 3 AM and I'm tossing and turning then I get up for awhile and that seems to help some. Also, FWIW, I find that on days that I'm active and get more exercise I find it easier to go to sleep at night.

Pattience
02-13-2014, 08:51 PM
IQ and sleep problems, what a load of twaddle.

If you can't go to sleep its partly because you do not know how to quieten the mind. A busy mind is not necessarily about high iq. Its more about anxiety and just a lack of relaxation.

So how do you quieten your mind. Learn to meditate. I prefer the follow the breath method but there are quite a few others that are also good. You should learn from a skilled teacher and not from a book. Yes it can be boring but while you are practicing this technique, you are building your brain in a number of good ways for example, you are learning impulse control, attention skills, and emotion regulation.

IF you have ADD then it will be difficult but you should keep trying. Start off with only five minutes at a time but do it every day twice a day. If you can go for longer, start off with 15 minutes.

There is a lot to pay attention to when you meditate this way. A good cheap way to learn is to go to a 10 day retreat at one of the Goenka vipassana centres that are all around the world.

And make sure you listen to your self talk and stop all the usual blather about how i am this or that or can't do this or that. It is all just deepening the unhelpful neural pathways that you have built up over a lifetime of practice.

I'm not saying that many of us are not more night people than day people but we can all improve out sleep patterns.

And if you only need four hours of sleep a night and have enough energy in the day time, then good for you. YOu can be more productive than the rest of us.

This technique takes discipline and determination and you may not notice immediate results but if you persist it will change your life. Especially if you learn all the rest of the stuff that goes with mindfulness meditation training.


I also find reading before going to sleep is a good for quieting the mind. Meanwhile the computer is not and i have found that not going on the computer after dinner is a good way to prepare the mind for sleep. Try to go to sleep by around 10pm.

Apparently in sleep our mind goes through a cycle. I can't explain it very well but i am sure you can look it up. But i have noticed it too. Tehre are times when the body is more ready for sleep and times when it won't. So that's why i say about 10pm. If you are awake at 1pm, it is harder to fall asleep. Its to do with the brainwaves. God that sounds bad but look it up. I'd try sleep cycle wavelengths and words like that.

Scarlett
02-14-2014, 08:16 PM
I have anxiety/insomnia issues. This is what works for me.

Cutting out caffeine and drinking a few tall glasses of water every day (I'm a former coffee addict so it's tough, but this helps)
A good sleep mask.
Melatonin pills (if I need them).
Also like Koshka said if you can't fall asleep after a half hour or so get up for 10 min. Staying in bed stressing just makes it worse. Watch TV, read a magazine get your mind off not sleeping then try again.

CanadianCutie
02-14-2014, 11:58 PM
I have nights were I can't sleep. Reading helps get my eyes/mind tired, I have a book light that I can attach to my books (one for hardcover one for paperbacks), so the light doesn't bother my hubby. If that doesn't work or I don't feel like reading, I'll get up and putter on the computer, play some facebook games, or plants vs. zombies, or maybe some Sims 3. Then I'll try again. Sometimes taking a shower also helps.

JzBelle
02-23-2014, 04:01 PM
I have insomnia sometimes. I had it terribly for 4 months after taking some meds for shingles--part of tapering off them seemed to mean NO sleep.
I also get 'the worries' sometimes--it always seems to be nights when I MUST get up early the next day.
I have tried a few prescription sleeping pills, but they all seem to give me migraines.
The insomnia seems to be much less if I read a bit before trying to sleep.
I also fall asleep to an audio book most nights--I set the volume to just a little lower than I need it to hear all the words.
On really bad nights I have a CD of ocean waves crashing that I find soothing and it usually works too.

I hope you find something that works for you!

SeeMyFeet
02-23-2014, 04:55 PM
Yep, tough time falling asleep me whole life. Plus big time crazy wild dreams. Tried melatonin once, but that made the dreams worse and felt exhausted the next day. DS was the worst ever about sleeping--better now that he's a teenager (yay! teenage hormones). Finding and sticking to a routine helps. For DS, it involved singing and rubbing his head when he was little--rasputinesque, I know! As a little tot, he would ask that his head be rubbed at night because "my brain is drawing scribbles".

I always thought naps were weird and couldn't relate to those who needed to sleep late in college. I can nap now, but still have trouble falling asleep. Like JzBelle, if I have an urgent need to wake up, such as an early flight, I get no sleep. Lately, I've been trying rainfall sounds after a hot bath to help give me a "go to sleep" cue, and I know I really should watch the caffeine more. Others I know have a completely dark and quiet bedroom (seems like a coffin to me), eye masks (I feel strangled), and things of that sort. Timing of food and drink is also important. Having a 30min pre-bed routine that preferably doesn't include TV, computer or other light stimulation may help, but is difficult to implement. My life is not conducive to routines.

khat
02-23-2014, 06:17 PM
I know this will sound very bad but.. Alcohol helps..
When I work I usually sleep from 1am to 8am with no problem. But now I am finishing my masters degree and when I go to sleep I can't shut off my brain. I eat good, I exercise, I meditate, I do breathing techniques and I don't know what. But in the end I have realised what makes me sleep the best is a glass of good wine or two :)
And honestly I can't see how a sleeping pill can be any better for you anyway..
Just my 2 cents

khat
02-23-2014, 06:17 PM
(dont get me wrong, I don't practice this every night :) )

Bellamack
02-23-2014, 06:55 PM
Hey chicks.

I've always had a very different sleep pattern from the people around me, even as a kid. I stopped taking naps at age 2, and 25 years later I haven't taken a nap since.

I have a hard time turning off my brain to fall asleep a lot of nights - a good night is one where I only lie awake in bed for half an hour - and I always wake up early (7:30-8:30 AM) even on weekends or when I stay up till 3 AM. Even when I'm sick, I never sleep past 10:30 and have trouble making myself rest.

I think that some of this is insomnia, and some of it is probably just the way my body and mind work. I always hate saying stuff like this, but I think it's a factor: I have a very high IQ. Sleep bores me, and so does waiting for sleep. My mind searches for stimulation constantly, and I think that exacerbates my problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

As a kid, I was taught that if I couldn't sleep I should "rest my eyes" by staying in bed with the light off and my eyes closed for however long it took to fall asleep. But I sometimes have nights where I wind up doing that for 3-8 hours, and when my alarm goes off I've been laying in the dark awake all night. (And yes, I've tried sleep aids. I've actually had nights where I took sleeping pills and then didn't get any sleep a couple times.)

Recently, I've started to wonder if "resting my eyes" is really the best course of action. I'm sure it worked great for my parents - who never believed I had trouble sleeping - to tell me to just lie in bed quietly all night, but is it really the healthiest option? I'm wondering if it might not be better to get up for a bit, turn a light on and read a book or take the dog for a walk, then try again.

Anyone else have trouble sleeping? How do you handle a bad night?

Ditto

I, like you have always been this way. I am one of 4 children and my mom said that no matter what time she looked in on me, I would say "hi mom, I'm not tired" I get up and write down things all night long, whenever I have a brainstorm. I hate having insomnia.

Bellamack
02-23-2014, 07:00 PM
I know this will sound very bad but.. Alcohol helps..
When I work I usually sleep from 1am to 8am with no problem. But now I am finishing my masters degree and when I go to sleep I can't shut off my brain. I eat good, I exercise, I meditate, I do breathing techniques and I don't know what. But in the end I have realised what makes me sleep the best is a glass of good wine or two :)
And honestly I can't see how a sleeping pill can be any better for you anyway..
Just my 2 cents

alcohol makes insomnia worse for me

novangel
02-23-2014, 08:43 PM
alcohol makes insomnia worse for me

Same.

Could it be just high IQ causing your brain to reel all night every night since childhood? I suppose...Anything is possible but not being able to shut your brain off and needing constant stimulation sounds a lot like ADHD. Also mentioning that a sleep aid gave you the opposite effect is another indicator. It's not anything bad, just something to look into as a possibility. A lot of people are like this.

Pattience
02-23-2014, 09:02 PM
Its not likely to be the case with the OP but in many very overweight people, sleep apnoea is a factor. For that you need to do a stint getting observed in a sleep clinic. i think light sleeping, which is what you are doing when dreaming, could be a clue to that. Being stressed also makes you sleep more lightly/have more vivid dreams.

Some people go for years and years of undiagnosed sleep apnoea. Such people are always tired.

I know if you are studying or have a lot going on, even though you meditate it can still be very difficult to quieten the mind. Then i find you have to meditate yourself to sleep. And that can get boring when your mind is overstimilated. So its a good idea to stop stimulating your mind early in the evening. I'd recommend by 7 or 8pm, no tv, no computer no studying. Just mind quieting tasks like craft, reading, maybe light housework.

Makemethin80
02-25-2014, 08:42 PM
I have always had issues in sleeping. As a kid, it used to take me a long time to fall asleep as I used to think about everything that happened that day as soon as my head hit the pillow. I just can't help it, I'm a heavy thinker and my brain seems to work most just as I'm about to sleep!

My sleep problems have become worse ever since I started my diet and exercise. It now takes me about 3 to 4 hours just to fall asleep, and if I do, then my sleep is not a deep one, I keep on waking up throughout the night. It's very frustrating, I wake up really tired and sleepy. Lately, I found that napping during the day for one or two hours really helps me feel less tired.
Also, a hot drink is supposed to make you sleepy but I haven't tried that yet.

alaskanlaughter
02-25-2014, 11:05 PM
ive also had a harder time sleeping since I've been working at lowering my carbs....I don't know why...I also sleep less deep since i'm tracking my carbs as well as my calories...not sure why that is....