Sleep

DeeDee Adelaide
I have always been a terrible sleeper, and now that I am middle aged it really bothers me, because lack of sleep is linked to all kinds of horrible things like diabetes, dementia, etc. It always takes me ages to get to sleep, or sometimes I’ll go to sleep fairly quickly because I’m really tired, and then 20 minutes later I’ll wake up and my body will be like, “That’s it - we’re done here!” Other times I’ll just wake up every hour or so and then feel like I’ve barely slept the next day. 

Books tell me I should sleep in total darkness and silence. The silence I can’t handle - when there’s silence I hear all the house noises, the outside noises, my own heartbeat - it’s so distracting. I usually have my phone playing Bob’s Burgers episodes with the light on it turned right down and the sound only just loud enough for me to hear. But lately I’ve been worrying about giving myself a brain tumour by having the phone close to my head every night. 

What kind of sleeper are you? Any tips for me without resorting to drugs (they make me dopey as hell the next day)? 
Freddy
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Comments

  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited June 28
    5 years of rotating shifts here, melatonin, silk sleep mask, must be silk yes it’s 50 bucks spend the money. 

    5mg melatonin supplement pills, take two about two hours before bed.

    that should work unless you have outright sleep apnea, if you’re staying still in bed and not sleeping well throughout the night or wake up after 8 hours and still feel tired you may need to see a sleep specialist, because that’s sleep apnea. Usually they prescribe a machine called a CPAP, which is a mask that pushes pressurized air through your airway while you sleep, people who are overweight or have breathing problems usually require this solution, if those apply to you seek help fast as this is actually a dangerous condition where you’re not breathing properly during sleep. 

    My industry is full of sleep apnea sufferers, I have to take some sleep tests to keep my job, and while I sleep fine, many of my coworkers have the CPAP mask, they say after years of shitty sleep it’s really a life changer 
    ChinaskiDee
  • You could try a white noise machine (or even just have a fan running) to help with the "deafening silence".
    ChinaskiDee
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    MrX said:
    You could try a white noise machine (or even just have a fan running) to help with the "deafening silence".
    that's what i do. noise machine, fan and or master bath fan running. i need 7-8 hours. i'm pretty obsessed tracking my sleep. i use an app through my apple watch that tracks when i fall asleep, when i wake up, how much restful sleep i got and what my heart rate was though out the night.
    Dee
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited June 29
    my favourite! I love sleep. i wish i could do it 10-12 hours a day. I wish I had the willpower but I find myself going to the cabinet if i cant sleep. 

    stay off electronics, ipads, phones, etc. 
    wind down for like an hour before, read a book or watch TV but turn your brain off
    exercise before, try to wear yourself out as much as possible
    dont eat for like 2-3 hours min before you want to sleep, stay away from any sugars/sweets
    white noise machines are pretty good, no TV! 
    i had some of those soothing music CDs back in the day, like rainforest/beach shore/etc 
    try to make it as dark as possible
    Or have an amazing mother that will read to you until you fall asleep (my mom did this for years when i was young and it was the only thing i could fall alseep to)

    good luck! hate when i cant fall asleep or wake up multiple times. It really sucks when you end up taking something for it and sleep like a baby for 8 hours straight then not take it again. its not surprising sleeping pills like xanax and others are so addictive. 
    Dee
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    Dee said:
    I have always been a terrible sleeper, and now that I am middle aged it really bothers me, because lack of sleep is linked to all kinds of horrible things like diabetes, dementia, etc. It always takes me ages to get to sleep, or sometimes I’ll go to sleep fairly quickly because I’m really tired, and then 20 minutes later I’ll wake up and my body will be like, “That’s it - we’re done here!” Other times I’ll just wake up every hour or so and then feel like I’ve barely slept the next day. 

    Books tell me I should sleep in total darkness and silence. The silence I can’t handle - when there’s silence I hear all the house noises, the outside noises, my own heartbeat - it’s so distracting. I usually have my phone playing Bob’s Burgers episodes with the light on it turned right down and the sound only just loud enough for me to hear. But lately I’ve been worrying about giving myself a brain tumour by having the phone close to my head every night. 

    What kind of sleeper are you? Any tips for me without resorting to drugs (they make me dopey as hell the next day)? 

    I just had a before/after test of this with my sleep.... light/moderate exercise that isn't too close to your bedtime. I went from many issues to no issues.

    Melatonin is good in a pinch, but I've heard it's bad to take long-term. Also if you do take it, you only need a 0.1-0.3mg dose.
    DeeCecily
  • MattyWeavesMattyWeaves Mid-State New York
    I have an oscillating fan going at night and an app on my old iPhone called "Relax Melodies" that let's you mix and match sounds.

    I've never liked a general white noise sound, so I usually mix different kinds of rain and some sort of wind, maybe crickets or peepers during the summer. During the winter there is one called Wet Snow I liked a lot.

    Mixing it up seems to do well instead of the same thing every time.

    That all helps a lot, but if I don't have cool sheets and a cool pillow, I can twist and turn for hours.
    Dee
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    Don’t at all mean to hijack this thread but the title made my mind instantly go to the doom metal band.  :#
    TaraC73
  • White noise machine is my #1 thing. I usually need a fan or two, and ideally the AC on. If that doesn't work, I will try melatonin. If that doesn't work, I'll try reading something on my Kindle, or something for work on my iPad (with the reverse black screen on to cut down on the blue light). Sometimes, if I have not gotten any exercise, I will still wake up. I try not to eat or drink alcohol after dinner if I really need to get good sleep. Final trick is to try and lucid dream...just use your imagination to put yourself in a story. For me, that eventually turns into a dream, and then I'm out.

    Back in the 90s I had a CD with Pachelbel's Canon overlaid with ocean waves. That would put me in a coma.
    Dee
  • White noise is good.  I don't like melatonin personally, I feel weird the next day after i take it and have more than usual trouble waking up.  Maybe (if you area coffee drinker), cut yourself off of caffeine earlier in the day?  Excercising during the day does help as well as others have suggested. 

    I have suffered from insomnia my whole life as well and wake up a lot in the middle of the night.  I have found no magic bullet cure but a lot of small things that help a little.  A lot of times I get night anxiety and I have found it helps to write what is giving me stress down in a notepad and it sort of clears my mind.  I may not be asleep but I am not stressed out as much anyways!  Sounds like that is not your issue but maybe writing helps more than anxiety.
    Dee
  • White noise machines and fans definitely help if you can’t sleep in silence and need background noise.

    Bedrooms should be as dark as possible when trying to sleep, if you need to have an alarm clock turn it around. If your phone is in your room put it on a dresser where it’s not readily accessible. 

    I had a sleep doctor tell me once beds are for two things sleep and sex. If you are doing other things in bed it can mess with your ability to sleep. 

    Also Cognitive Behavior training will say that if you are having difficulty falling asleep/staying asleep in bed, get up and do something boring/non stimulating until feel tired. The longer you struggle in bed the more you will associate poor sleep and being in bed. 
    Deerkcrawf
  • voodooratvoodoorat Atlanta
    I need to do a sleep study because I definitely have some apnea although it's also worse when I am heavier. I have a nightly ritual and take a melatonin most nights (it has no adverse effect on me in the morning). If I have to force the issue I will take a half or full benedryl which knocks my ass out but gives me a sort of hangover in the morning: it's hard to wake up and I feel groggier than normal. I also have to have some white nose, although usually a single fan is enough that I can't hear the silence. 

    I also have some blue light thing that my wife got which projects on the ceiling a breathing pattern to help me get to sleep--it does seem to help some although I rarely suffer from insomnia anymore. During the school year I have to help get kids ready so I average maybe 5.5 a night, during the summer probably around 6.5 during the week. 
    Dee
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    edited June 29
    We have 2 marpac dohm machines. One in our room and one in a child’s room. They were for the kids when they were babies but it’s still a must. Before kids there was this pre-existing vintage thru wall fan from the master closet that zonked us out until it threw a bearing and started to rattle.  On the road like I am now, I need this free app called “White Noise Lite” and I put it on the “Brown Noise” setting, then I dial in the volume just right to be there but in the background.





    Deerkcrawf
  • Long time shift worker here and when I was having terrible sleep issues, my GP prescribed slow release melatonin and it worked a treat. 

    These days I turn on a podcast and can be out very quickly, no meds required. I also shower at night as a way to relax. I think having an actual bedtime/sleep routine is the most important thing.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I think people sleep less as they age... I know I need less sleep than I used to at night, and I am more prone to napping nowadays.

    I don't have much trouble sleeping if I can sort of set my own schedule, but I'm a night owl, so if I have some reason I can't stay up until 2 AM and then sleep in until at least 8:30 or 9, I'm in trouble. 

    I do use my phone before bed, but I tend to either do mindless repetitive things like play word games or just scroll through Instagram, and I have IG edited to where I just have nice, pretty things to look at (yarn, food, travel, art etc, no politics, no crazy family or friends, etc). I used to read before bed a lot, and I still do sometimes, but sometimes I get too into the book and can't sleep then. When it comes to not using your phone- It has to do with the blue light of screens- You can get apps to turn it down so it's not as disruptive to your brain signals or what have you. Some of the newer phones have settings for this now.

    We have a sofa called "The Catnapper" which is the UGLIEST sofa I've ever seen, but it's so comfortable. It is basically two huge conjoined recliners that are probably each the size of a twin bed when fully reclined. If I can't sleep, I go sit on that and use a travel pillow (think the U-shaped one you put around your neck) and recline about halfway. If i get in that position I can't help myself from falling asleep whereas if I am laying down flat, sometimes I get anxious when I can't get to sleep right away. I'm not sure what it is about being in that half-reclined position with my head in the travel neck pillow, but it works really well. It also helps if you have any kind of illness where your sinuses are draining to sit with your head above your body like that.
    JaimieT
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Oh and I try to avoid caffeine after noon, but I don't always avoid it. I think you said you are a wine drinker? Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep (even though it might make you feel sleepy).
    Cecily
  • voodooratvoodoorat Atlanta
    edited June 29
    Alcohol badly disrupts my sleep, once it's out of my system I wake up even if that's at 4am. I use my phone before bed/in bed most nights although I have the night blue shade thing enabled and the brightness way down. Also just an app that does the same thing on my desktop once the sun sets, and generally start dimming lights in the hours before bed time. 
    akritenbrink
  • I've got a marpac dohm as well and it works pretty well, but I have tinnitus and I find it a little lacking as far as frequency and volume go. I ended up getting a relatively cheap air purifier for none sleep-related reasons and it ended up giving me that good good fan sound and I've all but abandoned the marpac.

    I also usually add podcasts or public radio on a sleep timer, it tends to stave off the spiraling thoughts of my inane bullshit. 
  • also these great at putting me in a sleeping mood:

  • fidozfidoz Houston
    When I was younger I would only sleep max 4 hours a night. Now without Ambien I'll go days without sleep. I just can't turn my brain off. I'll lie in bed for hours wide awake.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    If my cat doesn't get to go outside during the day, she wakes up at 4 AM and dive bombs me from the top of the headboard trying to get me to let her out. Seemed relevant.
  • NoelNoel Dallas, TX
    Exercising has always been crucial for my sleep ever since I can remember. I don’t feel good if I haven’t worked up a good sweat. I’ll use my off days to mow the lawn or clean around the house. Or at the very least I’ll take a nice relaxing walk or bike to the store to pick up tortillas or whatever I need. Always listening to BM of course.

    I’m also with everyone when it comes to white noise. I live fairly close to the freeway, just the right distance to where it’s perfect background noise (aside from the occasional loud exhaust or horn) and it’s amazing.

    And maybe this is a bit too personal but has no one else mentioned an orgasm? Whether you’ve been helped by someone else or going solo, it’s always a good way to relax!
    JaimieTakritenbrink
  • rkcrawf said:
    Final trick is to try and lucid dream...just use your imagination to put yourself in a story. For me, that eventually turns into a dream, and then I'm out.
    Are you a lucid dreamer? I used to love to do those. 
    rkcrawf
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Belle said:
    Long time shift worker here and when I was having terrible sleep issues, my GP prescribed slow release melatonin and it worked a treat. 

    These days I turn on a podcast and can be out very quickly, no meds required. I also shower at night as a way to relax. I think having an actual bedtime/sleep routine is the most important thing.
    You’re an Aussie, aren’t you? Is melatonin only on prescription here? I’ve never seen it in Chemist Warehouse. 
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Oh and I try to avoid caffeine after noon, but I don't always avoid it. I think you said you are a wine drinker? Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep (even though it might make you feel sleepy).
    I am hypersensitive to caffeine - I have two instant coffees (I know, I’m trash) first thing in the morning when I get up (between 5 - 6am) and then I have no more after that. 

    I have actually stopped drinking a while ago - I found if I had wine in the evening I was waking up at about 2am when it started to metabolise and then I’d be wide awake for hours. 
    JaimieTakritenbrink
  • Dee said:
    Belle said:
    Long time shift worker here and when I was having terrible sleep issues, my GP prescribed slow release melatonin and it worked a treat. 

    These days I turn on a podcast and can be out very quickly, no meds required. I also shower at night as a way to relax. I think having an actual bedtime/sleep routine is the most important thing.
    You’re an Aussie, aren’t you? Is melatonin only on prescription here? I’ve never seen it in Chemist Warehouse. 
    @Dee I think, you can get non-prescription melatonin at the pharmacy but definitely don’t get Restavit. It leaves you feeling like you’re hungover the next day. The melatonin I had on prescription was called Circadin. 
    Dee
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @Belle Ooh, my doctor said to try Restavit, but I hadn’t gotten around to getting any yet. I have sometimes taken Mersyndol as that knocks me right out, but I hate it because it makes me really groggy the next day and I struggle to wake up from it. Sounds like Restavit has a similar effect. :-/ 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Dee said:
    @Belle Ooh, my doctor said to try Restavit, but I hadn’t gotten around to getting any yet. I have sometimes taken Mersyndol as that knocks me right out, but I hate it because it makes me really groggy the next day and I struggle to wake up from it. Sounds like Restavit has a similar effect. :-/ 
    Mersyndol and restavit both have the same active ingredient which is a low grade sedative called doxylamine


    DeeBelle
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @emnofseattle Huh, well I’ve learned something today. 
  • aberry89aberry89 California
    Asmr  - 'nough said. 
    Dummy
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited June 30
    Restavit in AU is the equivalent to tylenol PM in the US. They both have about the same strength in terms of sleep and side effects the next day. 
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