Problems sleeping

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by sze5003, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    I have issues trying to fall asleep. I usually want to be in bed by 11pm and it never happens. I get up at 6 to get ready for my commute in to work where I try to make it by 8am.

    I've tried exercise, not eating before bed, wine, neither really help. I can't remember the last time I had a good night's sleep. Usually if I'm at my gf's house I get tired there since we are sitting there watching tv, so I go to my place and try to sleep or use the pc until I'm more tired but I end up staying up pretty much half the night or more, even of I am laying in bed.
     
  2. nickbits

    nickbits Diamond Member

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    If I find I am thinking too much to fall asleep, I do an exercise I saw on some relaxation TV show years ago. Start counting. If you noticed you mind has wandered from counting (including "I'm gonna make it to 10 this time!") start over. That generally works for me.

    Also, cut all caffeine from your diet.
     
  3. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    I've always drank coffee and its definitely useful in my case as I am up and about so early. I wish I lived closer to work so I could sleep more but that's out of the question. I drink one cup of coffee each morning. There's even been times I'm driving home and I almost fall asleep and have to fight myself.

    Tried counting and it feels like it just keeps me engaged and awake more lol.
     
  4. nickbits

    nickbits Diamond Member

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    The trick with counting is focus and going slowly. You have to go slow enough (1 number very 2 seconds or so) that you mind can wander but then catch it. You don't want to be counting quickly, that is counter productive.

    As for caffeine, all I know is, if I have any, I risk not sleeping well.
     
  5. Saint Nick

    Saint Nick Lifer

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    Yesterday I had a crazy amount of caffeine and I couldn't sleep last night. I had two cups of coffee in the afternoon, then a huge Coke at McDonald's that night. I never have that much caffeine in a day, and I could definitely tell when I tried to get some sleep.
     
  6. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    I've had those days on weekends but I dont mind then. It's weekdays that are bothersome.
     
  7. blackdogdeek

    blackdogdeek Lifer

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    Do you do things in bed other than sleeping? Eg - browsing on laptop, watching tv, reading, etc. From what I've read, doing things in bed other than sleeping can put your brain in gear for activity and prevent it from learning that bed is for sleeping. In other words, you should try to do (mentally) active stuff elsewhere and then try to only go to bed when that's the one thing you'll be doing.

    Also, I find that the following can keep me from sleeping:

    - high sodium meals within 3 hours of bedtime
    - a very short haircut (this is due to my head getting cold and is usually alleviated by wearing a beanie or a hoodie to bed)
    - physical activity within 3 hours of bedtime
    - watching intense tv shows or movies right before bedtime
    - gaming right before bedtime

    In the past, when I was sure that my sleeplessness was entirely mental, I'd go through this exercise I read about a long time ago:

    Starting with your feet, clench all the muscles in the feet as hard as you can for a couple of seconds then release them, then mentally say "good night" to them. Do this with all your body parts working up from the feet all the way up to your head. What this does is physically and mentally cue your brain to rest your body and mind.

    Other times when my sleeplessness isn't so bad all it takes is a little meditative practice to get me to fall asleep, not unlike the counting that other posters have mentioned above. What you do is count to ten slowly, timed to your inhalation/exhalation, vividly imagining the breath entering your nose and traversing down your throat to your lungs and expanding your lungs on the one count and then the reverse for the two count for the exhalation and so forth. When you get to ten, just continue from one again.
     
  8. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    I don't do anything in bed but just lay there. I'll try what you suggested next time.
     
  9. tedrodai

    tedrodai Golden Member

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    I've noticed most of the things from black's list as well. Everything except for the cold head thing. And alcohol-aided sleep has never been restful sleep in my experience.

    But it's not just intense TV/games/etc...it's anything I get really involved in mentally. If it has my mind really focussed or has me really thinking about something shortly before bedtime, I'll probably have some trouble getting to sleep.

    Light physical activity doesn't really bother me, but if I work out in the evening, it definitely affects my ability to go to sleep. I used to do OK when working out at 4pm, but anything much beyond that is a no go. I currently exercise in the middle of the day, so pent-up energy is never a problem for me at night.
     
  10. polarmystery

    polarmystery Diamond Member

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    I'd like to add to this as well. I've been a habitual energy drinker for a long time and I decided to cut it all out (all caffeine) from my diet at the new year. One thing I did notice is that I am able to dream now. I was not able to when I had an energy drink, even in the morning and I only had one all day. I read somewhere that the caffeine was preventing me from going into further REM sleep. So maybe you could have the same issue? Now not only can I remember my dreams, but they are f'in weird.
     
  11. tedrodai

    tedrodai Golden Member

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    Sorry, a couple more things:

    While my head temperature doesn't really bother me, often the room temperature (or my body temp compared to room temp) can keep me awake. Just try to make sure it's comfortable.

    Also, being TOO tired can prevent you from getting to sleep easily. Try going to bed earlier than 11pm for a while...9 or 10 o'clock, even if you don't get to sleep quickly. Alternatively, try to get a short nap earlier in the day (yeah, not feasible for most of us).
     
  12. blackdogdeek

    blackdogdeek Lifer

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    IIRC, and again IANAD, complete REM sleep cycles are built to prevent you from remembering your dreams. If you can remember them it's because the sleep cycle was interrupted prematurely.
     
  13. radhak

    radhak Senior member

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    I assume you mean you are in bed by 11pm but are unable to fall asleep?

    The surefire way of fixing your sleep patterns is to reduce 'screen' time. That means your TV, your laptop, tablets and phones. There have been tons of recent studies that blame all these screens (ie, the light emitted by them) for sleep disruptions. I can point out a few : Light from electronic screens at night linked to sleep loss or Using a Computer Before Bed Can Disrupt Sleep or Using mobile phones and tablets before bed could be affecting your sleep

    So, along with the good advice in above posts, also reduce the time in front of such screens and see the difference.

    My suggestion (that has worked in my family) is

    a. Stop using TV, mobiles, laptops etc an hour ahead, say at 10pm (actually, our deadline is 9pm)
    b. Don't allow any gadgets in the bedroom at all; at the least, shut them off completely. Use an old-fashioned clock for alarms.
    c. Develop the habit of reading books or magazines before bed. Or, try and do some challenging or tough tasks in that time (eg, bill payment, academic or career-related study, etc). IOW, don't do something very exciting or interesting, those only stimulate your brain to stay awake and sharp.
     
  14. Murloc

    Murloc Diamond Member

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    wrong.
    In my experience, you should stop all physical activities 3 hours before you go to bed, avoid any screen before bed, avoid any artificial light in your bedroom (leds etc. especially if blue) or through the window, and read books or magazines before sleeping (preferably not thrillers, try some stuff that you don't mind stopping reading, it can't be too exciting).
    Avoid associating the bed with any activity that makes you nervous, otherwise you'll feel the impulse to start doing it. So no laptops or phones in bed.
    Also staying up because you're just not tired is not a good solution imho.

    Anxiety can keep you up so try some meditation techniques if that's the case.
     
    #14 Murloc, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  15. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    Well Ive been doing all the suggestions here, about to hit the sack see if anything helps tonite haha.
     
  16. radhak

    radhak Senior member

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    You may or may not see results today, or even the first few days - at least not full results. Your body has been attuned to a certain way, and it will need to be re-conditioned to be restful by the time your sleep time rolls in daily. Keep at it till your body gets used to the new regimen.
     
  17. Corporate Thug

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  18. Crono

    Crono Lifer

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    A little bit of exercise will give you energy, but physical exhaustion will give you the best sleep. An hour of intense cardio 1-2 hours before bed should do it.
     
  19. Crono

    Crono Lifer

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    I'm nocturnal: work nights and sleep during the day.

    Melatonin pills plus complete blocking out of sunlight from window helps me sleep well most days. Avoiding caffeine 8 hours before bedtime, getting exercise at least a few times a week, avoiding spicy foods hours before bedtime, blocking out sound with white noise (from fan and/or app on phone), and avoiding electronics 30 minutes before sleeping help. I also partly obscured my alarm clock with tape as the LED display was too bright.

    Melatonin itself isn't "strong", it's not really a "sleeping pill" in that it doesn't make you drowsy. But it does help to make me fall asleep a little quicker and stay asleep.
     
    #19 Crono, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  20. sze5003

    sze5003 Lifer

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    Yeah I've heard about melatonin maybe I should pick some up. Going to bed earlier is out of the question for me as I usually get home around 6 or 7 from work then have to go either visit my gf or my family some days. Which I get back around a little later.

    I can't rememember the last time I had a dream. Usually if I do its a weird one too. Sometimes for work I have to go in 4am to 12pm or later when we elevate changes and such. That throws my whole sleep cycle off.
     
  21. polarmystery

    polarmystery Diamond Member

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    I have mild-moderate sleep apnea, so that makes sense :(
     
  22. KIAman

    KIAman Diamond Member

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    I've always had a hard time falling asleep. Typically try to go to bed by 10pm and fall asleep by 1-2am. I don't drink caffeine or do any activities at least an hour before I go to bed. I am in the same boat as you but I've never addressed this problem.

    I don't feel sleepy during the day so I just thought I was the type of person that didn't need a lot of sleep.

    It is, however, VERY noticeable how good my lifts are when I slept for at least 7 or more hours. I feel like superman and after lifting weights, I feel like going out for an additional 5 mile run. I just wish I could feel that way every day.