So I've had it really bad for nearly a year. I can't get to sleep until 2, 3, 4, 5 o'clock, depending on the night. I'm willing to try anything at this point. I've tried a variety of different things, but I'm willing to listen to any and all advice that'll help get my butt to sleep at night.
bigh0rt wrote:So I've had it really bad for nearly a year. I can't get to sleep until 2, 3, 4, 5 o'clock, depending on the night. I'm willing to try anything at this point. I've tried a variety of different things, but I'm willing to listen to any and all advice that'll help get my butt to sleep at night.
Battled this problem for quite some time before doing a few things that helped. I honestly don’t think most people recognize what a significant problem this has become and it’s impact on society and the economy. Ultimately I think you need to analyze what are some of the factors that prevent you from sleeping. The thing that keeps me awake is having things on my mind that are creating stress. If you have medical, professional or personal issues that are nagging you, deal with them immediately to the greatest extent possible. Other than that, I can only offer a few points that probably you have already thought of:
1. Exercise. I can’t understate how important this is, especially during periods of high stress. The feeling of relaxation and well-being after working out will carry over when you finally hit the sack at night. But, do NOT do this immediately before going to bed. You will still be too alert to fall asleep. The exercise must be done at least a few hours before bed.
2. Have a feast. And I do mean a FEAST. Eat a very large meal a few hours before bed. Ever wonder why you want to sleep after Christmas turkey dinner? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the turkey, but the large meal itself with all the carbs, fats and protein. It stimulates your serotonin production, which in turn produces that sleepy feeling. Personally, I eat not much at all during the day, but then eat a very large meal at night. I have found that this helps a lot, but your dietary/lifestyle issues might be different.
3. Many people suggest having a routine regarding going to bed. I have found this to be one of the worst things to do. The routine itself places too much pressure and stress on oneself because you are constantly watching the clock and reminding yourself that you have to go to bed. Instead, I try to make sure everything that needs to be done in advance for the following day is done early so that I can relax and allow myself to doze off whenever I want even if I’m not in bed. I find that if I doze off on the couch or easy chair during the evening for an hour or two, it’s usually easier to get back to sleep when I go to bed. With this in mind, I definitely recommend the trick of not sleeping in your normal place as a means of getting to sleep. Not sure why this trick works, but it does for me. So, if you fall asleep on the couch feel free to stay there.
4. The TV and computer monitors can be sleep killers. It’s been said that the light from these two things essentially tells the brain that it’s still daylight outside and that you shouldn’t be sleeping but instead be outside hunting and gathering. Not sure how true this is but it sounds reasonable.
5. Make sure the place you are sleeping is dark. I mean ZERO light. Think “cave.” Put a piece of tape over the light on the clock radio.
6. I recommend avoiding drugs of any kind.
7. Avoid sleeping in too much. It might seem difficult if you haven’t slept the night before, but soon it becomes habit forming. It’s one of the worst habits I ever developed.
8. Do you have a wife or girlfiend? If so, they should be involved in uh, er, ah (nervous laughter), “helping you” with this problem. If not, you’re on your own…
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Those are all great suggestions, Train. I've battled this for some time, too. I have never tried the "feast" method, but exercise, a set "bedtime" and utter darkness in the bedroom have helped me. Still with all of that I'm doing good to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, and just about ANY little noise jolts me wide awake.
h0rt, you could try to "relieve stress" in that magical way that we all do. The endorphins released when you do that (with or without partner) are supposed to help you sleep. Hopefully you have a partner to help out, but if not then flying solo has equal benefits, even if it's not as much fun.
Some other things that you should do - NO caffeine after noon, and I mean NONE. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Avoid sweets after 6pm. No matter how tired you are in the AM get up at the same time every day. Don't take naps.
If you want to try drugs then I would suggest nothing stronger than benadryl, and a low dose at that. Drugs should be a last resort. If nothing else works then go see a doctor who can suggest a sleep specialist.
Good luck. I know how frustrating this problem can be, especially when you have a regular job waiting at 8am every morning.
Here is what worked for me... it's sort of like the "routine" that Train says is one of the things you can do, but there's a huge flaw by trying to follow a routine and that is that pressure to go to bed at a certain time.
I had a lot of trouble falling a sleep in college, mostly due to various distractions and a lopsided daily schedule. Here is how I fixed that... and it was with a semi-routine.
Decide what the latest time is that you can get up in the morning; lets say, 7:30 AM. Now, instead of having a set bed-time, that will be your set wake time... and then don't deviate from that wake up time, no matter when you fall asleep.. If you couldn't fall asleep until 3:00 AM the night before, you still have to get up at 7:30 AM. You need to train your body to know that you're getting up early and it WILL get tired.
For instance, if you get 4 hours of sleep one night by getting up early, that night you will be tired, although it may take a few nights to get acclimated. But being tired and sleeping are two different things.
The next step is recognizing when you start getting tired; if you get up at 7:30, it will probably be around 10:30 PM (at least that's what it is for me). At that time, you should be in bed. You don't have to go to sleep; reading is probably the best thing to do at this point, although watching television isn't so bad... just don't watch something too stimulating... I usually watch Discovery or History before bed. It's both interesting and sleep-inducing. Also, make sure that lights are low or off and that you're warm.
Now, as a final note, I once read about this great way to get yourself up early no matter how much sleep you get. It's a conditioning practice with your alarm clock. I read all about it, this guy basically trained himself to get up.
Everyday, he would simulate morning conditions in his room... dark and quiet basically. Then he would crawl into bed and set his alarm clock. He would do this in the afternoon or evening... didn't matter, he'd crawl into bed and "pretend" he was sleeping. When his alarm clock went off, he'd turn it off and immediately get out of bed, and start his morning routine.
He would do this several times a day for WEEKS. Once he was conditioned, no matter how much sleep he got, when his alarm clock went off, his body was conditioned to turn it off, wake up and start his routine. I'd love to try something like that.
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I think most of what Big Train pointed out is spot-on. I've had times where it would take me a while to doze off on given nights (an hour at most) because the last few hours before heading off to bed, I was doing work on my laptop. Both the work and the fact that I have my eyes affixed to the screen for a good bit keeps my brain circulating various thoughts and it takes a while for my brain to slow down.
These days, I usually go to bed at 10:30 PM or 11:00 PM (when wrestling is on) and wake up at 5:30 AM (yeah, I know an ungodly time to wake up) to jog a few miles and hit the gym. I find myself quite tired when I wake up (a bit groggy), but find that once I run the first 1/2 mile, I'm pretty peppy thereafter, the adrenaline I suppose. So, throughout the day, I'm feeling relaxed and very alert, despite being a tad stressed (and on some days, teetering on the edge of burnout). This facilitates me to fall asleep earlier, but I find that 10-20 minutes of watching TV from a 12 foot distance in the dark right after I use the computer gets me ready to doze off.
The tricky part for me is that I wake up early Saturday or Sunday to catch the soccer games at the pub, depending on how important the game is. The hardest part is getting up, but after a few pints in the morning, I think it's good enough for me to have the recommended 9-10 hour sleep on the night of. I don't nap or sleep in during the day.
I'm not too crazy about getting stuffed at dinner to sleep well. When you're sleeping, your metabolic rate accelerates and the more your body has to burn, well, that bogs things down. But then again, the most important thing is getting to sleep after all.
unfortunately this happens to me too. im still in college so obviously the day is sorta shifted back somewhat. i dont usually schedule classes before 11, mostly because i know ill be tired for them. i usually never go to sleep before 3 am, but not because of choice. ill be dead tired at 10pm and end up doing nothing rather than sleeping. if i try to fall asleep it just wont work. i usually end up being so tired on the weekends when i have work at 2pm that no matter what i need to sleep until the last possible minute(usually 1pm). its just not possible for me to get anything done before work on the weekends.
last night i was extremely tired from moving out of my apt. i ended up falling asleep at 930. awesome right? well i woke up at 1130 and tried my hardest to stay asleep but it didnt work. ended up falling asleep after 5am and im just waking up now. its frustrating. im going to try to follow some of your advice guys. seems spot on.
I have the same problem but the others covered most of the cures for it.
I will recommend one more thing: ZMA. Its a natural based pill consisting of magnesium, zinc, and something else I can't remember off the top of my head. It really helps you fall into a deeper sleep (wth crazy dreams might I add) and stay that way. Its fairly cheap as well.
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i have some lunesta which is some pretty strong stuff.
I also have some over the counter Melatonin which is natural and has no side effects, it has worked for me, It works best though when you are in a daily routine (such as going to bed at like 11 and getting up at 7 etc..) Its a pretty cheap, over the counter all natural pill that has definetly come in handy. i would recommend the "natrol" brand
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