17 thoughts on “Wanted: Sleep Tips

  1. See, I’m terribly silly when I drink. Terribly silly people think terribly sleeping spouses would appreciate being woken up to play Parcheesi and such.

    Turns out, not so much…

  2. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.
    Exercise more.
    Stop watching TV and/or using the computer at least an hour before you want to sleep. Some studies have indicated that the glow/glare of tvs/computer displays can muck with the body’s internal clock.
    Avoid non-sleep activities in the bedroom (e.g. no reading in bed).

  3. I suffer on and off with insomnia… What has helped me most recently is a biobrite clock (I reviewed it at http://budurl.com/47gt) The fading “sun” along with the white noise seems to help my brain turn off. In the past, I’ve tried relaxing my body starting with my toes and counting (VERY slowly, like repeating 1, 1, 1, until I think my toe are relaxed enough, then move to my foot, then ankle). Sometimes that works. Just turning my brain off is the hard part for me, I also take my PDA to bed with me so when I need to send myself a note or make a note (on a notepad even will work), I can brain dump onto a piece of paper and it’s done. That helps free my brain up.

    More recently, they put me through a sleep study because when I went in for the allergic reaction they wigged out over my heart rate not coming down. I’m not stopping breathing, but my blood oxygen level is pretty low, so they are doing a second one on one of those stupid freaking machines to see if that helps. It could account for the morning headaches I have sometimes as well as how tired I get in the late afternoon. Or not. Who knows.

    Good luck, insomnia sucks.

    Getting completely off caffeine (ahem) helps. I only have tea or soda when I go out now and even then I try not to. It’s a rare treat.

    I try to stick to a routine, in bed by a certain time, a long hot shower, then read for an hour or so, then turn on the biobrite.

    I keep a hepa filter air thingy going, that helps, the noise and the ability to breathe (laugh)

    Umm… this is getting long. I feel ya though. Sometimes it’s 3am and you look at the clock and think, “If I go to sleep RIGHT NOW I can get 3.5 hours of sleep”. At 3:15, you look at the clock and say, “I’m so screwed.”

  4. I used to have trouble from time to time, but have been much better for the last several years. I’m not sure what did the trick, but I give some credit to learning some meditation techniques. I’m not talking about any “mystical” stuff, just techniques for calming the mind, similar to the things that Candy has mentioned. Find something to concentrate on that will focus your attention away from all other thoughts — even something as simple as concentrating on your breathing, making it slow, calm and regular.

    Whatever is on your mind, write it down, then tell yourself that you don’t need to keep thinking about it because, don’t worry, you won’t forget to take care of it because it’s written down. Don’t drink before bed. It might put you to sleep, but you’ll wake up after a couple of hours and won’t be able to get back to sleep. Don’t keep looking at the clock. I’ve done exactly as Candy describes, every hour, all through the night: “I can still get five hours if I go to sleep now — I can still get four hours ….” Worrying about sleep is just like any other worry: it will keep you from sleeping.

    Try telling yourself that whatever is troubling you will still be there tomorrow but that you will be much better able to deal with it after a night’s rest, and that it won’t be as bad as it seems right now because you will be physically and mentally better able to deal with it in the morning. (Keep in mind the old joke, “Sir, you’re drunk!” “Madam, you’re ugly, but I’ll be sober in the morning!”) (Sorry!)

  5. They talk a lot about proper “sleep hygiene” – basically the things that others have already said. Body temperature is also important in sleep – your body temperature drops as you get closer to whatever your natural sleep time is (mine happens to be about 8AM) and falls further into the second phase of sleep, around 1° I believe. There is evidence to suggest that the sleep-disturbances seen in certain conditions aren’t effects of the condition, but of the condition’s effects on body temperature.

    I tend to run very hot perpetually – I start sweating around 70°. I put in a personal air conditioning unit (a floor unit) last year just before summer, because I knew what was coming, and discovered quite by accident that if I can get the room down to about 65°, I’ll start getting tired and be able to go to sleep long before I normally would. I read later that experts suggest keeping the bedroom cool (though, probably not quite as cool as I do) as well as wearing socks to bed (something else I do anyway). Apparently, the mix of cool environment and warm self (apparently warm feet = warm you) helps to induce sleep.

    One question that may shed some light on the source is, do over the counter sleep aids have any effect? I’m not suggesting you take them as a permanent solution, but if insomnia is being caused by too much caffeine or too much light or whatever else that is external to how your system runs naturally, then those kind of sleep aids ought to have some effect. From my experience (my own sleep disorder, several others in my family, and a number of fellow-sufferers I know) sleep disorders often won’t respond to OTC sleep aids, or Rx for that matter. If you’ve taken the OTCs or Rxs and they’ve not had any effect, I’d recommend making a doctor’s appointment to look into whether or not there’s something more going on, rather than fighting a losing battle against something you could be effectively treating.

  6. I second the biobrite clock. I love mine.

    To reiterate the important points others…

    NO caffeine after noon. None. Zip. Zilch.

    NO TV or computer an hour before your bed time.

    A hot shower or bath before bed helps to relax you and puts your body into relaxation/sleep mode.

    Do things that relax you and work from there. I’ve violated the no reading in bed rule since I was about six. However, when I’m having issues sleeping I read history or theology or other good books that are NOT suspenseful. Sure, it may take me a couple years to get through a book like that, but I got to sleep relatively quickly, and after reading the same page five or six nights I eventually learn stuff too. 🙂

  7. Keep a notebook by your bed, and write anything down that you think of while you are trying to sleep. (Trying to remember something will keep you awake, and knowing it is written down will allow you to let go.)

    I had a roommate once that swore by melatonin. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin) It is supposed to kick-in quickly and not be habit-forming. I have been meaning to try it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. They sell it at GNC.

  8. I use to sleep very little, but a few years ago I was put on Paxil for panic attacks and now I sleep soundly and often for 7-8 hours a night.
    Although I certainly don’t recommend Paxil just for kicks, that is the only thing that ever worked for me. Even as a little kid I slept 4-6 hours max.

  9. I wish I did have some remedy for you, but as it turns out I am having difficulty (now only once or twice a week) sleeping myself. If you find something that works, please let me know.

  10. A lot of good suggestions have been given already, but I’d like to add a couple of more.

    Drink enough water. Recent studies have shown even mild dehydration, defined as losing as little as 1/2 cup of body water, can cause low-grade chronic fatigue.

    Try changing how you eat, having dinner be a light meal with some carbs and load the protein early in the day.

    Try an herbal supplement called valerian. There is evidence it does help some people get better sleep, although it takes about 2 weeks to build up enough in your system to start doing any good.

  11. This is all too scientific. I watch TV and sit in front of the computer, 5 minutes before sleeping.

    On the occasions that I can’t fall asleep I do one of two things.

    1. Sounds cooky, but I try to clear my head of any thoughts. ANY! Force myself to a complete blank.
    2. Read myself to sleep. Just keep reading, until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.

  12. Work out. Since I started doing so I *crash* at night now. I use to have trouble falling asleep followed by constant waking up throughout the evening. Sucked. Now I sleep like a baby.

    Of course, insomnia is such a serious matter that I doubt any of our quick fixes will help you (although Candy really knows her way around this so hopefully her advice WILL help!).

    Good luck beating this one. Yuck. :/

  13. * do something during the day
    that’s on the to-do-list for too long
    * aspirine (paracetamol, like half a 500mg pill),
    it will kick in in like 20 minutes, as long as I don’t think too much. Works a lot of times, also
    helps after waking up in the night.
    * like the other guy said, sleeping until you drop,
    in bed, so you’re not comfortable at all after a while. Not too interesting stuff, or a book you read before
    * melatonin may help, but sometimes I’m wide awake
    at 3am because of it?

    Mistige

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