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The Insomniacs' Thread

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Old 04-14-2013, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default The Insomniacs' Thread

I know that 3FC is a global forum and there's always someone here, but I thought I'd start a thread for those who are struggling with sleep issues that create obstacles with weight loss goals.

For me, I have an upper airway obstruction, so I use a CPAP device to sleep. I love it. I know it's not sexy, but it helps me fall asleep most of the time.

Having said that, I also have issues with falling asleep at times, especially when I'm stressed, it's too hot, the dog is hogging the bed (I'm getting her a crate tomorrow!), etc. Sometimes these issues prevent me from falling asleep at the beginning of the night, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and can't back to sleep.

When I don't sleep at least 7.5 hours, I spend the day dragging myself around task to task. I overeat in an attempt to get some sort of energy. (This is how I gained most of my excess weight, before the apnea diagnosis.) I keep working out, but not very enthusiastically. So grateful that I live just a few blocks from work and I can walk. Sometimes that wakes me up a little.

I have an alarm clock that simulates sunrise in the morning and I get up at a consistent time daily. I try to go to bed by 10, but usually my sons or the dog prevent me from getting to bed before 11. I try to stay off the computer from 5 p.m. onward. I know I'm on the computer now, but I'm wearing some amber sunglasses that block the blue light that is put off by computer screens and TVs. I put those on by 7 p.m. every night and take them off when I go to bed. I wear an eye mask as well as the CPAP mask to bed. And keep the room as dark and cool as possible. Summer is on approach, so the fan is on and I take a cool shower before bed. I do my weight training workout a few hours before bed, which is supposed to help my body cool down and get me sleepy. I stop drinking liquids by 8 p.m.

But even though I do all that to get a good night's sleep, it doesn't always work. So I'll may be here, with my amber sunglasses on, complaining about how I can't sleep.

Just took my calcium/magnesium capsules. About to take my cooling shower. Dog is in my son's room tonight. Fresh sheets on the bed. This better work tonight!
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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Well, I didn't fall asleep until after midnight. However, it's Sunday, the dog spent the night with her boy (my youngest son) and I slept nearly 8 hours! I woke up obnoxiously cheerful. It feels good.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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I try to stay off the computer from 5 p.m. onward. I know I'm on the computer now, but I'm wearing some amber sunglasses that block the blue light that is put off by computer screens and TVs. I put those on by 7 p.m. every night and take them off when I go to bed. I wear an eye mask as well as the CPAP mask to bed. And keep the room as dark and cool as possible. Summer is on approach, so the fan is on and I take a cool shower before bed. I do my weight training workout a few hours before bed, which is supposed to help my body cool down and get me sleepy. I stop drinking liquids by 8 p.m. But even though I do all that to get a good night's sleep, it doesn't always work. So I'll may be here, with my amber sunglasses on, complaining about how I can't sleep.
I'm a freelance writer and have done some research/writing about sleep. And you know something? I think a lot of the advice out there is BS. In my opinion, sleep hygiene is as individual as losing weight: what works for one person may not work for another, and what DOESN'T work for many people may be just perfect for you.

You know what helps me fall asleep more reliably than anything else? Exactly the sort of "stimulating" activities the experts advise against: reading in bed, doing crossword puzzles in bed, watching TV (we don't have a TV in our bedroom, but it works like a charm in hotel rooms), even exercising late at night. I've concluded that any activity that engages me helps me relax, which usually causes me to drift off sooner or later.

So I suggest you experiment with whatever helps YOU relax, even if it's shoot'em-up movies (just kidding to make a point).

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Old 04-14-2013, 02:54 PM   #4
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I'm a freelance writer and have done some research/writing about sleep. And you know something? I think a lot of the advice out there is BS. In my opinion, sleep hygiene is as individual as losing weight: what works for one person may not work for another, and what DOESN'T work for many people may be just perfect for you.

You know what helps me fall asleep more reliably than anything else? Exactly the sort of "stimulating" activities the experts advise against: reading in bed, doing crossword puzzles in bed, watching TV (we don't have a TV in our bedroom, but it works like a charm in hotel rooms), even exercising late at night. I've concluded that any activity that engages me helps me relax, which usually causes me to drift off sooner or later.

So I suggest you experiment with whatever helps YOU relax, even if it's shoot'em-up movies (just kidding to make a point).

Freelance
You are so right! I have never been a person who takes naps and I don't have problems falling asleep. But when I was in law school I used to read my text books when I got home from school in the early afternoon. Every afternoon, like clockwork, I'd fall asleep on my couch while I was reading my texts! If I was watching TV or something that would NEVER have happened! I think the kind of stimulation matters.
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Geo, I also use a CPAP machine. Before I got it (about 10 years ago or so) I was literally falling asleep at my desk at work because of my sleep apnea. Since I got it I sleep so much better. But my problem is that I also have allergies, so many times it is hard for me to breath - even with the CPAP - because my nasal passages aren't fully open. That is SO frustrating! Do you have issues with the CPAP?
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Started out at 405.5 on 7/31/12. Then lost 156 lbs to get down to 249.5 by 7/31/13. In the past year I have put back on over 40 pounds and reached a high of 291.5. But I have recommitted myself and quickly took off ten pounds by 7/31/14. I am now trying to take off the weight I put back on, and then lose the rest of the weight I was originally trying to lose. ---- Starting weight / Low weight / Current Weight / Goal Weight
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Old 04-14-2013, 03:24 PM   #6
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Freelance, I'm a freelance web developer/designer and content writer. I am on the computer A LOT. I have noticed that the longer I am on the computer, the more difficult it is for me to fall asleep. But my sleep issues have been with me for all my life. I think that for me, it has more to do with ADD than anything. My brain is ALWAYS running like a hamster in a cage!

I've noticed that I can get three or four good nights of >7.5 hours of sleep and feel awesome, but then have three or four nights of <4 hours of sleep right afterwards. I'm about to have some saliva tests run to have a look at my cortisol levels. My doctor suspects they are all messed up.

I've switched up my weight training workouts from morning to evening to help me sleep better because if I do them in the morning, they make me sleepy. I struggle to fall asleep when I do cardio later in the day, so I do that first, then the weight training or Pilates. The harder the weight training workout, the more apt I am to fall asleep within a couple hours.

I do read in bed, on my Kindle, but that's dangerous because I have trouble staying with the reading. I get distracted easily, an idea pops into my head as I'm reading about Norway, and suddenly find myself writing a research paper on ancient Viking lore and planning a traditional pagan Norse feast for the summer solstice. And then I can't fall asleep!

I don't like to go to bed unless I'm sleepy. Just too frustrating.

Don't want to take pills, but I may have to resort to it. Ran out of melatonin two weeks ago and forgot to get some. Perhaps today...

Joefla70, that's my same issue. The only skinny parts of me all live in my nose. I have very narrow nasal passages due to allergies, year round. The CPAP helps me breathe at night, as long as I don't have a head cold. Sometimes I've had to use the BreatheRight strips to open things up, but I forget to buy them. Will put them on my shopping list today!
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:08 AM   #7
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I was just in the living room watching TV when I started getting sleepy. I got up to head to bed, but then started to lock up the house for the night, put some food away that my son left out, saw that there were wet clothes in the washing machine that I had neglected to move to the dryer so I moves them, took the dog to the backyard for potty then put her in the kennel, then I had to use the toilet, and I checked messages on my phone, saw the boss had texted me about a situation, took care of it...

Wide awake and surfing the net. Darn ADD! And THAT'S why I have insomnia!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
You know what helps me fall asleep more reliably than anything else? Exactly the sort of "stimulating" activities the experts advise against: reading in bed, doing crossword puzzles in bed, watching TV (we don't have a TV in our bedroom, but it works like a charm in hotel rooms), even exercising late at night. I've concluded that any activity that engages me helps me relax, which usually causes me to drift off sooner or later.

So I suggest you experiment with whatever helps YOU relax, even if it's shoot'em-up movies (just kidding to make a point).
I completely agree with this. I used to read until my eyes were so heavy that I'd put my book down and bam, I was asleep. I've also done this playing solitaire on my cell phone. My problem is that I think too much and I give myself an hour to sort out what is bothering me, and then I think myself to sleep. I've been using an app that plays nature sounds (first a creek and now rain) for an hour, and I concentrate on those sounds to relax me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoblewis View Post
I was just in the living room watching TV when I started getting sleepy. I got up to head to bed, but then started to...saw the boss had texted me about a situation, took care of it...

Wide awake and surfing the net. Darn ADD! And THAT'S why I have insomnia!
I do this too. If I don't put my head down when I start to feel sleepy, then I'm wide awake for hours afterwards. I think that maybe you need to set a specific time to go to bed and then make sure all of the chores are done and your phone is turned off. I have my phone on airplane mode and silent overnight and I'm sleeping a lot better. I always give myself excuses and other things to do instead of going to bed, so I end up wide awake at 5 a.m. etc because watching youtube videos is more exciting than sleeping.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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I think that maybe you need to set a specific time to go to bed and then make sure all of the chores are done and your phone is turned off.
Such wisdom! Wish I had read this last night. Got an email from a disgruntled customer (skewed expectations on her part) and it knotted up my stomach for hours. I ended up working through some emotional cycles and came to the conclusion that I don't have to fix everything for everyone (I'm dangerously co-dependent at times). I know this sounds like a "Doh!" moment, but I have hung on to that idea, to my detriment, for such a long time. So, not wasted time, since I got something out of being awake, but I am going to need a nap today!

Good thing was that I didn't get up to eat my way out of the emotions. And I spent some time knitting. Actually, that's what put me to sleep eventually!
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:59 PM   #10
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I know this sounds like a "Doh!" moment, but I have hung on to that idea, to my detriment, for such a long time.

Good thing was that I didn't get up to eat my way out of the emotions. And I spent some time knitting. Actually, that's what put me to sleep eventually!
We all need those 'doh' moments every once and a while. Moments when we stand back from our situation and think of a better way Knitting is good because, although I've not spent much time knitting, it's relaxing and mostly slow paced. You sound like a 'thinker', like me, and so knitting would be the perfect way to be proactive and think at the same time.

As I read over your first post, I wonder if you are being too careful or strict about your routine. Does you find that you stress out of you, say, forget to wear your eyeglasses before bed time? If yes, then maybe this is preventing you from relaxing and getting to sleep because you are worried you didn't do enough to set your body up for sleep. It's just a thought
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:29 AM   #11
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My insomnia is destroying me! UGHHHHHHHHHH! I need my psychiatrist. But my next appointment is two weeks from now and I already scheduled an early appointment recently so I can't do that again. AND my sleeping pills aren't strong enough
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:39 AM   #12
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I'm not really an insomniac but my sleep cycle is way off. I sleep until 2 in the afternoon and then I'm not tired at night when I should be sleeping. I'm a freelance writer/web designer so I can work whenever I want but I prefer to be awake during the day and sleep at night. It's currently 4:30 AM and I'm just now getting tired enough to go to bed. I think my next 21 day challenge will be to wake up at the same time every morning, even if it's 2 PM. I'll do that for a week, then move it up to 1 PM for a week. I'll just keep moving it up and I should be back to normal by summer.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:49 PM   #13
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I WAS ABLE TO SLEEP LAST NIGHT NORMALLY WITHOUT MY SLEEPING PILL! All I had to do was ditch this herbal supplement I have been taking on and off for a year! PROBLEM SOLVED!
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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I don't use sleeping pills, I find they do absolutely nothing for me. I average about 5 hours of sleep a night sometimes less and on rare occasions more. I haven't slept 7 or 8 hours on a regular basis for years.
I have no solutions or suggestions.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #15
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I went to bed at my normal time but my bladder woke me up at 4:30. Couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and took care of things for the day. I'm really sleepy right now. I am not working this morning, so I think I'll go back to bed now.
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