Who Needs Sleep
Skater Boy

THRILLING UPDATE: I'm Still Awake

Who needs sleep? Apparently: ALL OF US. Heavens, but we are a sleep-deprived bunch.

I have a confession: After I wrote yesterday's entry, I was secretly sort-of sure that last night would be different, and that I'd make it through the night without waking. Because! Of course it would! I WHINED TO THE INTERNET ABOUT MY PROBLEMS. That's usually a one-way ticket to a mea culpa the next day about "oh hey! never mind about that thing after all, all good now." 

Ha. Yeah. No.

Instead, because I'd been soooooooo emphatic and smug-ass confident that falling asleep "wasn't the problem," I was awake and wild-eyed until well after midnight. I woke up at 4:30, fell back asleep around 6:15 or so, only to wake up 15 minutes later because the cat decided it was time for a snuggle. I DID NOT PARTICULARLY AGREE.

But seriously, THANK YOU for all your comments and sleep aid ideas. I am definitely going to try several that came up the most (melatonin, tryptophan, anxiety/task lists), possibly see a sleep specialist that local reader Allyson recommended, and I will report back. I know! Sit back down! You're going to sprain something from all this excitement and anticipation.

(My mom emailed me yesterday too, and said "PLEASE be careful about Ambien," which in My Mom's Speak is pretty much the equivalent of me screaming at you guys in all caps and adding lots of OMGWTFBBQ!!!!ONE!!1!!s at the end. It's just how she is. Turns out both she and my dad have taken it at different times, and both of them experienced all the crazy sleep-walking and furniture over-turning and memory-loss stuff you hear about. AND had a really hard time sleeping without it, even after just a couple nights. So...I don't think so, especially since prescription medications and I have not exactly been a great combination in the past. [I'm always the patient who gets that one weird less-than-2%-of-users side effect, like the time I tried the birth control shot and spent the next 72 hours walking into walls and tripping over microscopic cracks in the floor.} Although the idea of like, sleeping and organizing the basement at the same time sounds pretty cool. I'm guessing I wouldn't do anything productive though. I'd probably just pull clothes out of my closet for awhile and then go outside to hurl juice boxes at cars.)

(No, I don't know why I made that whole thing a parenthetical. I tend to do that more when I don't really have a firm grasp on what I plan to write about, and start interrupting myself with random thoughts.)

(And then I feel the need to explain myself, like that. And like this.)

(And again!)

(OH LORDY IT'S GONE OFF THE RAILS NOW.)

(WE PROBABLY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.)

In summary, I am still tired, but grateful for a fresh list of suggestions. Although it's a shame that "more chocolate pudding cups" wasn't one of them. Although I'd like to see anybody try and let that stop me. 

Comments

Stephanie

Yeah, I took Ambien once because my MOM gave it to me (she uses it all the time without incident). Apparently you're supposed to go close your eyes and go right to sleep. I didn't do that. Instead, I started tripping out. My husband had four eyes and the ceiling seemed to be crashing down on me. NOT good. Freaked me out. Never took again. I do, occasionally, take Tylenol PM, which works great for me. Good Luck!!!

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)

I'm glad someone mentioned Melatonin to you because it worked for me. Take one each night with a chocolate pudding chaser and you should be good to go. The chocolate pudding is really the key.

Jamie

Tryptophan has long since been shown to have no effect on sleep in double blind studies. I wouldn't bother with it (although there was the potential for placebo effect until I pointed that out...).

Heather

Hey Amy, I have a great sleep aid for you to try...SEX. Works for me everytime, stress relief at its finest.

Angela Noelle

Count me as another melatonin fan. And if pudding cups don't work, how about those Jello chocolate mousse cups? They must at least cure the common cold, because they are that. Good.

tracey

From one parentheses junky to another (I've got it bad, girly. Parentheses and CAPITAL LETTERS are how I express myself.) (That and asterisks. Love me some asterisks.*), I understand.


*Especially when I can insert what I deem to be "humor." I love that I think I'm funny...

Christine

Jamie's right, the tryptophan doesn't do anything in all of the double blind studies. Anything you can do to shut your brain off will help, my mom does that by listening to books on her iPod. She's heard Harry Potter hundreds of times, but she says it makes her stop redecorating the living room while she lies there, or listing all the stuff she has to do. That and pudding cups will get you through until you get into that sleep specialist.

Oh, and I'm a doctor (really, see I can explain it over and over again too), so that chocolate pudding suggestion does need to be taken seriously. For realz.

Christine

Jamie's right, the tryptophan doesn't do anything in all of the double blind studies. Anything you can do to shut your brain off will help, my mom does that by listening to books on her iPod. She's heard Harry Potter hundreds of times, but she says it makes her stop redecorating the living room while she lies there, or listing all the stuff she has to do. That and pudding cups will get you through until you get into that sleep specialist.

Oh, and I'm a doctor (really, see I can explain it over and over again too), so that chocolate pudding suggestion does need to be taken seriously. For realz.

Amy

Melatonin works for me, too, definitely. But only when taken with chocolate pudding, of course. Good luck!

Alias Mother

I missed the previous post, but it doesn't really matter because if I had a suggestion that worked I wouldn't be perennially up at 3 a.m. myself. But I have found this: on nights I can't sleep, I actually find it better to DO SOMETHING rather than just lie there. I now have a booklight by my side of the bed and after about 15 minutes of trying to go back to sleep, I give up and read. I don't get back to sleep any faster, but I somehow feel slightly less tired the next day.

Weird, but true.

Lori

I keep a copy of The Brothers Karamazov in my nightstand for "can't get to sleep" nights. I never make it past the third paragraph.

Get checked for apnea. I'm sorry I didn't scroll through all the comments to see if that had been suggested, but a trip to the sleep clinic revealed my best friend stopped breathing something like 234 times in four hours.

Sweet dreams.

Bethany

I had heard that while tryptophan won't put you to sleep, it can help calm you down. This was told to me by a psychiatrist going over potential things I could do anxiety/ADD issues and I asked "what's the lowest chance of side effect thing possible?"

Ioma

I took Ambien a few years ago and...no. Just, no.

I took it on a Friday night and regained my grip on reality on Sunday evening. I was "gone" for two whole days, and the only things I'm sure of are that I ate an entire bag of fun-size Twix and a huge jug of cashews, my body was covered in bruises (I have some very vague memories of slamming into my bookcase and falling into my bathtub), and I kept finding random things in the strangest places (TV remote in the mailbox, I kid you not).

Oh, and I answered my phone several times. I have no idea what I said or how I sounded (probably like I was on drugs!).

I can only pray that I kept my clothes on.

As far as prescription meds, Elavil (amitriptyline) is great for putting you to sleep with few side-effects. Also has antidepressant effects.

Non-prescription...reading before bed instead of watching TV does the trick for me.

Amanda

You didn't count backwards from 300 by 3's, did you?

Seriously. Try it. I'm adamant. I'd be yelling at you in all caps, but I try very hard not to yell. ;)

duchessbelle

My uncle is a pilot and uses a sleep aid pretty regularly due to his schedule. He hated and had crazy side effects from Ambien but sings the praises of Lunesta from here to whatever remote distance he's currently flying to. Still a medication but if the pudding cups fail, may be worth a shot.

Alias Mother

Checking in again to say: these Ambien stories are freaking me out, man.

lisa

Me too - bad sleeper.

BUT! I have gotten better. Some things I've discovered:

1. White wine is bad for sleep & gives me a morning headache, and causes weird dreams

2. Chocolate in the pm means bad sleepy

3. its true, regular exercise helps

4. sometimes its better to just get up if you know its hard to fall back asleep. Give yourself permission to go watch a bit of TV - but avoid movies - too long

5. food and drink near bedtime can be disruptive. I feel like I should go pee at every suggestion so I don't wake up in a peepee frenzy. It never happens, but I'm over vigilant for some reason.

6. Hormones can cause havok. See your GYN or PCP

7. Keep a list to write down the thought fragments.

8. No hot baths right before bed - too stimulating.

9. Tell yourself at least one positive thing you did that day (even if it's brushing your teeth!) for some reason it's very calming.

Good luck! I'll look forward to see what the sleep specialist has to say.

lisa

Me too - bad sleeper.

BUT! I have gotten better. Some things I've discovered:

1. White wine is bad for sleep & gives me a morning headache, and causes weird dreams

2. Chocolate in the pm means bad sleepy

3. its true, regular exercise helps

4. sometimes its better to just get up if you know its hard to fall back asleep. Give yourself permission to go watch a bit of TV - but avoid movies - too long

5. food and drink near bedtime can be disruptive. I feel like I should go pee at every suggestion so I don't wake up in a peepee frenzy. It never happens, but I'm over vigilant for some reason.

6. Hormones can cause havok. See your GYN or PCP

7. Keep a list to write down the thought fragments.

8. No hot baths right before bed - too stimulating.

9. Tell yourself at least one positive thing you did that day (even if it's brushing your teeth!) for some reason it's very calming.

Good luck! I'll look forward to see what the sleep specialist has to say.

Sarah

My mom always swears by taking Gravol (anti-nauseant, the drowsy kind) when you can't sleep. It definitely works and doesn't really have any side effects but I've found if I take it too many days in a row, I have trouble sleeping without it. But if you just need a one time dose to sleep through the night, you should be good. :)

Haley

I have major issues with falling asleep, but not staying asleep. I sleep though everything (earthquakes, tropical storms, you name it, and I've probably slept though it). Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a heavy sleeper, but it can take me hours to get there, so I guess it is a double-edged sword. On nights when I must go to sleep asap, a hot bath soothes and relaxes me far better than any pill.

kate the great

Ambien made me hallucinate wiiiiildly. Which was fun, but probably not good if you've got two kids in the house.

Kelly

I am a registered nurse and I work rotating day and night shifts, with absolutely no pattern. I am not really on a set sleep schedule anymore. When I started rotating shifts a year and a half ago, I had such bad insomnia that I would clean the house and do laundry in the middle of the night. I tried lots of "non-medicinal" things, but nothing helped. I went to my doctor about it and he put me on an antidepressant, Pristiq. It works like a charm. I used to take Zoloft years ago to help with sleep and serotonin levels. Now, I have almost no problem sleeping, but on the nights that I can't sleep, I take benadryl. Works everytime! Good luck finding something that works for you. Being sleep deprived can be a bitch!

Lisa

Valerian tea usually helps me when I get my bounts of insomnia. Sleepytime extra (gotta be the extra) has a lovely mint taste. that and moving to the couch when I do wake up and putting on something sort of boring like cnn. little snippits you can not really watch, but keep your mind entertained enough to go back to sleep - on the sofa. with or without chocolate pudding cups.

Elsie

Amalah:

Seriously, this sounds awful. I would look around for recommendations for an amazing acupuncturist (we have a couple here in LA that specialize in pre/postnatal, so they are awesome with moms) and try that a couple of times. I don't understand why acupuncture works exactly, but it DOES. Good luck!

Heather

Be careful with Ambian. I didn't fall asleep right away one night, I ended up hallucinating which freaked me out and I pulled a knife on my husband. If it wasn't for him tackling me to get the knife out of my hand I would have killed him.

Mermil

Kelly the Nurse was spot on. A lot of times, anxiety and depression mangle good sleep habits. I went off anxiety medication when I got pregnant, and have stayed off it-- and my sleep patterns have definitely changed for the worse. Now I just get up, have a snack, and go back to bed with a book (and a flashlight, so as not to awaken my husband). It may take an hour, but dude, I have REALLY boring books and eventually I drift back to sleep.

CE

I take Ambien every night, pretty much. Just go directly to bed and you know, stay there.

I've never done anything weird on it, but I've stayed up and done normal stuff I would have done anyway and not remembered.

I'm also on pain management and if you take your vicodin and then forget you also took your Ambien and then have sex with your husband, you might think you're having sex on a barn floor. I hear.

And then have no idea you had sex the next day.


*** I promise I'm not a junkie, I take everything as prescribed for my specific medical condition.

Shannon

Sounds like lots of people are melatonin fans and while I've never taken it, I have also heard good things about it. Good luck!

Annie

This is so spot on for me right now. I have been this way since last summer, about the time we moved states, I got a new boss, my daughter started showing signs of being on The Spectrum, my husband went into year 2 of battling chronic depression and also got a new job...whew. I find myself awake (AWAKE!! is more like it) at 4 am dream-thinking about work issues for hours. I started an anxiety journal, which has helped, but I haven't slept w/out Tylenol PM in more than a year. I think I'm picking up some melatonin tonight. My husband also had major major hallucinations on Ambien - as in he had to be hospitalized.

Annie

Also, good luck and I hope you feel better soon. Not sleeping sucks.

Natalie

I just wanted to warn those talking about melatonin: this is something your body produces naturally, and if you start taking it too often, you can stop producing it on your own and thus become dependent. So, be careful. It works, but take it sparingly.
I don't have a whole lot of sleep problems, so feel free to disregard what I say. What usually works for me is kind of like daydreaming. I think of all the things I would do if I had tons of money, or didn't have to work, or had a different house, or even decorating the same house. It lets me forget about my real problems and I fall asleep in no time.

kelly

Melatonin works - just be sure you have 8 hours to sleep because it makes you a bit groggy if you wake up before that. I take 3mg.

Sherri

Tylenol PM and Simply Sleep both contain Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Most of the anti-nausea meds that people swear by contain a relative of Benadryl. They can all make you sleepy but it's hard to get off them and you aren't really getting all the way to sleep. I used to swear by Dramamine for sleep, but I'd get up having slept but not feeling rested. A lot of sleep meds do that. A few don't. If you really want to feel your normal energy, it's better to try one that doesn't. It's safer in the long run to avoid melatonin because you will have a very hard time sleeping without it. I had a harder time getting off melatonin than getting off Buspar or even xanax. That's my advice, and believe me, my partner and i have tried everything. And I'm throwing it out there again...to all of you insomniacs...get your Vitamin D checked. 90% of my sleep problem was gone when I realized mine was abyssmal and I got the prescription strength supplement. Good luck!

MargieK

I didn't read all of yesterday's posts, so I don't know if anyone mentioned Valerian root (I see someone mentioned Valerian tea, above, though).

I've bought the capsules and used them with success. They don't necessarily help with falling asleep (in my experience), but with STAYING asleep. So take it before bed, not in the middle of the night when you can't sleep, or you won't be able to get up with the kids do (or maybe you'll get up but wish you hadn't).

(I like parentheses too!). ;)

Nellie

Also a fan of melatonin and I find the this works for me, as I don't particularly like prescription drugs. I didn't read through ever comment, so i don't know if someone already suggested this to you. I get it at my local pharmacy or nutritional supplement store.

Hope it helps. Start with 1, two was a little too much for me.

http://www.nationalnutrition.ca/detail.aspx?ID=2803

Cheers!

Julie

More chocolate pudding. More chocolate pudding!

Have you possibly tried yoga?

NinaN

Just want to say the the chocolate pudding cup totally works. How do I know??? I just happened to eat one last night (with whipped cream on it, OMG, what is wrong with me??? Oh, right, I am pregnant, so it is allowed). And I slept all night and didn't even get up to pee ONCE all night. And that NEVER HAPPENS!!!!

Kara

I've had the sleep study done- it's a royal pain but gave me some good information. Turns out I am a healthy weight and have none of the risk factors for sleep apnea, but nevertheless have one hell of a case of it. I refuse to get a CPAP, so I live with the frequent wakings with the help of a two benadryl cocktail at bedtime. I still wake up, but fall right back to sleep MOST of the time (there are still those nights, but they are fewer and farther between...)

Tressa Morgan

I'm going through chemo right now and the first three weeks I hardly slept at all. The dr gave me Lunesta. It works great for me and I don't feel hungover the next morning.

Superjules

I was given Compazine for nausea and ended up with A PARALYZED NECK AND FACE. It wore off, thank god.

ssheers

Exercise might help.

Also: milk (possibly warm) at bedtime. I can't stand the thought of drinking a glass of milk, so I eat yogurt at bedtime or if I wake up at night. It works for me.

Also: put a pen and a pad of paper by your bedside so you can do a brain dump and get rid of those pesky thoughts running around in your brain.

Also: if you've ever taken a yoga class, at the end they have relaxation time where you start with your toes tensing muscles and then releasing them all the way up your body until your whole body is relaxed. You could get an audio tape of that or some other relaxation technique.

And finally: breathe in, breathe out count ONE, breathe in, breathe out count TWO all the way up to TEN and then start again at ONE.

Good luck.

Teri

Terrible sleeper here. I sometimes take Tylenol PM or Benadryl when I go to bed, then leave one on the nightstand, so when I inevitably wake up at 2:34 (seriously), I take it and can sleep another couple of hours (usually). It's miserable losing sleep. It's like being jet lagged ALLLLL the time.

MommiePie

Also, maybe try a new pillow or mattress...or white noise machine...I don't know, just throwin' some ideas at cha!

eva

Can I vote for acupuncture again? And yoga?

And seriously, I don't believe in them...really...except that they kinda seem to maybe work for me and my lifelong crappy sleep. For me the problem is just finding time for them, and avoiding that rut of making myself too busy or prioritizing new shoes over acupuncture.

eva

Can I vote for acupuncture again? And yoga?

And seriously, I don't believe in them...really...except that they kinda seem to maybe work for me and my lifelong crappy sleep. For me the problem is just finding time for them, and avoiding that rut of making myself too busy or prioritizing new shoes over acupuncture.

Leeann

Yeah, ambien. I have to echo all the weird ambien stories.

I did some crazy shit on that stuff including driving into the mailbox after going on a cigarette run when I don't smoke and apparently waking my husband to do acts worthy of a porn movie. Again, while no slouch, not my usual, erm, style.

Oh, and once telling him in painful detail all the things that I don't like about him. And having no recollection of it at all the next day. I still have no idea what I said but it goes without saying that his feelings were hurt.

So yeah. I would take a great big PASS on the ambien. That stuff can really f*#) you up.

Leeann

Yeah, ambien. I have to echo all the weird ambien stories.

I did some crazy shit on that stuff including driving into the mailbox after going on a cigarette run when I don't smoke and apparently waking my husband to do acts worthy of a porn movie. Again, while no slouch, not my usual, erm, style.

Oh, and once telling him in painful detail all the things that I don't like about him. And having no recollection of it at all the next day. I still have no idea what I said but it goes without saying that his feelings were hurt.

So yeah. I would take a great big PASS on the ambien. That stuff can really f*#) you up.

Jessica

I take Trazadone, which is also an anti-depressant and it has NO side effects and gives me completely lovely deep sleep, don't know if anyone has suggested that yet but I definitely reccomend it.

Lisa

For years I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I could fall asleep standing for crissakes. But I couldn't stay asleep. My mind raced with ridiculous thoughts and worries and then all the stuff that I needed to get done the next day, the next week, etc. I just figured I was a "worrier" and/or stressed and dealt with 3 hours of sleep a night for YEARS.

Come to find out, by a total fluke (I caught pneumonia and spent a week in the hospital) that I have sleep apnea. Not sure if someone suggested this possibility in the other post, but here it is - you stop breathing in your sleep. So your brain wakes you up because you aren't taking in any oxygen. You don't realize that's why you keep waking up because when you wake up all the thoughts/worries/stress whizz through your brain. Now I wear a very sexy mask over my nose at night (SO NOT SEXY) that pushes air into my lungs so I won't stop breathing. I sleep a good 7 to 8 hours non-stop, without barely moving. I have energy. I can think straight again. I don't fall asleep anymore WHILE MY BOSS IS TALKING TO ME. :)

Just a thought :) xoxo

Tracy

Catnip and chamomile tea works wonders with my autistic son. The one who used to never sleep. Made with 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice for sweetness!

Tam.

Amy,

Someone recommended acupuncture. There is a guy in DC ... he has an office by GW. Sen Huang is his name. He is simply the BEST.

happy

Ok, I'm firmly on Team Ambien. But you know, it's your decision, etc, so I'm not going to strap you down and force it down your throat.

I have to say though, reading the comments from yesterday gave me a good chuckle.

"Don't take drugs but take benadryl".

"Melatonin is natural". Except that in a pill form, it's manufactured.

happy

Or try to read "Eat, Pray, Love". Put me to sleep each time I tried to finish it.

Or

Read some Federal regulations. Guaranteed to send you off to sleep land.

happy

Or try to read "Eat, Pray, Love". Put me to sleep each time I tried to finish it.

Or

Read some Federal regulations. Guaranteed to send you off to sleep land.

Virginia

Just in case no one mentioned it earlier - a hefty vitamin B supplement can help with sleeping. When I'm on the insomnia train, I take a mega cocktail of 2 melatonin tablets, 2 Valerian, a B vitamin mix and sometimes even do acupuncture on myself to get a good night's sleep. I find that if I can break the evil insomnia cycle for 3 or 4 nights, I can sleep pretty regularly after that. If you want to give acupuncture a try, see if you can get an appointment with a specialist sometime in the late late afternoon or evening and ask them about the point just on the inside crease of your elbow. I can't remember what it is called but I sleep like a ROCK for two or three nights after hitting that point.

Good luck!

Jacqueline

I take bedtime baths with lavender epsom salt and sleep like a rock. It makes me so sleepy that my husband has made a habit of checking on me every few minutes while I'm in the tub to make sure I haven't fallen asleep and drowned. I just go straight to bed after I dry off. Yoga works for me too. When I have trouble falling asleep I use the relaxation technique, starting with my toes. I'm usually out by the time I get close to my head and if not I move on to focusing on my breathing, inhale, exhale.

Amalah

(I am. Not. Taking. Ambien. No. Also, I exercise. A lot, actually. I am not depressed and am. Not. Taking. antidepressants or antianxiety scripts. Read my archives from a few years ago and you'll see why. Sorry, but no lie, they nearly killed me.)

(Touchy subject ahoy!)

operation pink herring

If there is ANY comfort in the you're not alone thing, well... you're not alone. Chronic insomniac here, with no good suggestions (but lots of empathy). I am basically addicted to benadryl at night and lots of coffee in the morning. And a fan at night for white noise and a sexy United Airlines sleeping mask to block out errant rays of light. Actually, right now I'm stressing about a trip (to the beach!) this weekend, because I know I'm not going to sleep the entire time without my fan and my mask and my million dollar tempurpedic bed. Sigh.

k

I don't wanna be Little Ms. Wet Blanket, but I nursed four babies, the last one until she was nearly three. And have now spent half my life as a mother. Can I just say my oldest would have been 26 this year? Do the math.

I haven't slept well since he came home from the hospital. I wake for everything. I have spent 26 years waking at 3 and looking at TV for a while and going back to sleep for another hour and then getting up to get kids ready for school, etc., etc.

Amy ... Coast. Don't worry. Don't get tested. Don't take weird "natural" drugs (read: melatonin, etc.). Just live. You will make it. Maybe your natural rhythm is exactly where you are. OK. When you start hurting people and destroying property in a sleep-deprived hallucinatory state... yeah. Do something. Otherwise? I think the medical establishment will just make it worse. And that includes the "alternative" medical establishment. I trust them no more than the others.

In other words. Relax. Freddie say. And I am OLD, sweetheart. Old. Holding down a fulltime job for all the years I had babies & toddlers. I made it. You. Can. Too.

laura

so, i suggested this before, but it was deleted (because maybe i am spam, who knows). but as a person who has had some dealings with insomnia, i strongly recommend a combination of GABA and melatonin (i think!) called knock out (i'm not going to mention the website where i get a pretty good deal on it, for fear of being deleted). i've done a lot of things, from ambien to valerian tea, and this works pretty well for being not serious.

April

No screens for 2 hours before you try to sleep. So no laptops, TV, iphone, etc. The light from the screen tricks your body into thinking it's still day time (something specific about screen lights, google it). Reading can help but not exercise, it revs up the system and wakes you up. Try to sleep for 30mins, if it's not working, get up and listen to calming music or read more. No working, no laptops and no TV. That stimulates your brain and keeps you awake. Definitely see a sleep specialist if this keeps going.

Heather

Amy, I am at that "really want to cry for no reason" stage of tired right now. I really hope you get some good quality, solid sleep ASAP!

christine stephens

I know! You need a massage! and more pudding!

also, melatonin totally wakes me up. my sister, too. weird but true.

afc

you don't need ambien, you need an anti-anxiety drug. visit your doctor, explain the situation (racing thoughts in the middle of the night, in particular) and ask for a script for either ativan/xanax or a longer acting anti-anxiety drug.

Rebecca

I write in parentheticals all the time. (Are there people that don't??) I think it is perfectly good English and grammatically correct. Also, you can separate many a related topic just using commas. I mean, periods are for ending the thought, (right?) commas are for keeping it all connected.

freckleonthenose

Was last night better? Maybe? Hopefully?

Katie Kat

Oh no - BAD AMBIEN! BAD EVIL AMBIEN! I took it for over a year and ended up doing things like writing scathing random emails at 1:00 a.m. (without even being conscious), and inviting people over for dinner (they show up, I'm all WTF?). My hubby was afraid I was going to go get in the car and drive around or something, so I don't take it anymore!

But kitty snuggles always make me fall asleep!

Sarah

Hi! I just read yesterday and today's posts... Here is a suggestion from my mom...

When you wake up in the middle of the night, do some chore you absolutely hate. For example, go clean the toilet or some laundry. Then you will train your body that if it wakes up, you will have to do something you don't like...

This works too, because I used to wake up and try to read myself back to bed, but I love reading. The minute I got done cleaning the toilet, I passed out. :)

MamaJ

Delurking to offer two family anecdotes:
My husband now uses Neurexan -- a homeopathic sleep remedy -- that seems to work a treat (and no sluggish side-effects the next day, since homeopathy relies on diluted herbal ingredients).
Plus my sister (mum to a 4yo) went through exactly what you describe -- to the point where she had fatigue-induced waking *hallucinations*. Scary. Her Naturopath diagnosed adrenal fatigue and set her up with vitamin D & milk of magnesia: both mentioned in previous comments, but not as a regime together, I think? If your adrenals are off their game, it throws off the balance for your other hormone-producing squidgy bits like thyroid & ovaries (which ties in with comments about melatonin, etc.) Ask the interweb for details.
And as for my sister, the first night she did everything as prescribed by the Naturopath? ...was the first night she had more than 4 hours sleep in about 18 months.
(PS I love your blog. Hope you win the battle over insomnia)

Katina

My mom had the same problem when she started going through menopause (not that you are, but just giving some back story). She finally broke down and went to the doctor about it. She voiced her concerns over sleep aids, and the doctor said that in about 50% of the cases where she prescribed the sleep aid, the patient never took it and never ended up needing it. Just the knowledge that the drugs were available was enough for most people to sleep through the night. And that's exactly what happened to my mom--she still has the full bottle in her medicine cabinet.

Jenn

Have you considered studying statistics or physics or something like that? One good look at one of those textbooks and I'm out.

shadymama

welp. hate to be the first (only?) to suggest it, but...
green card anyone?
just sayin' - a joint before bed might just keep you down the whole night, not to mention pot is becoming legal in quite a few states lately and it'll make those pudding cups taste twice as good. not that i'd know.* it would be way safer and less scary than ambien, that's fer sure.

good luck!

*lie.

adequatemom

More chocolate pudding cups. Definitely! I can't believe I overlooked that solution before now. *smack forehead*

adequatemom

More chocolate pudding cups. Definitely! I can't believe I overlooked that solution before now. *smack forehead*

adequatemom

More chocolate pudding cups. Definitely! I can't believe I overlooked that solution before now. *smack forehead*

Mary

I don't think anyone recommended this here or on your last post, but maybe I just missed it: put your clock where you can't see it. Seriously, you are just torturing yourself and making any anxiety about not being asleep a million times worse. Put it in a drawer or turn it to the wall and DON'T PEEK. And leave your iPhone in the kitchen.

cls

I don't understand why they still prescribe Ambien when there are so many good alternatives without the crazy side effects. On that, just - no.

I've gone through a few different good remedies, which I switch up in part just for price reasons, not effectiveness. So.
1. Lunesta. Great stuff. Just be sure to put yourself to bed right after taking it and calm yourself down for sleep, because otherwise my active brain, at least, can override it. The only side-effect I've ever noticed is a bad taste in my mouth in the mornings.

2. Trazodone. seconded. No side effects I ever noticed.

3. Restoril. Much cheaper, on my insurance plan at least, than the other two. No side effects I ever noticed. Well, except for once being very startled when a doctor saw it on my chart and asked if I had Restless Leg Syndrome (!). I find it makes my sleep better as well as getting me off to sleep in the first place.

4. Valerian root added to tea. The danger with this is that, if you take it too regularly, something about how your body processes it will change and it will suddenly have the opposite effect from what it's supposed to: making you sleepless and even more wide awake. Happened to both me & a friend while writing our dissertations.

5. the Deep Rest Guided Meditation at Meditation Oasis. Effects can vary -- sometimes relaxing away tension makes me cry, since the tension was holding that in -- but even so I always sleep MUCH better after that, and fall asleep quickly -- sometimes even while she's still talking.

6. Warm bath before bed, with lavender-scented salts in it. I find Ahava lavender bath salts on sale at TJ Maxx all the time.

7. Having a yoga teacher show you how to do any of the cooling pranayama breathing exercises, but especially nadi shodana, where you alternate breaths between each nostril (sounds hard -- is actually super easy).

8. Lying on your back, on your bed or ideally on the floor, with your butt against the wall and both legs stretched up, straight in a soft effortless way, leaning up against the wall, so that your body forms a right angle that is bent only at the hips. This really calms the nervous system down for sleep.

Was that a long enough list?! Who me, suffer from sleep deprivation?

hope it helps.

cls

oh yeah. also regular yoga, and acupuncture.

acupuncture is a*m*a*z*i*n*g. i was a total skeptic before trying it. you have to find an acupuncturist you like first, of course.

Cath

I've struggled on and off over the years with sleeping, and swore years ago never to take any meds for it. After a nasty car accident I was taught a wonderful technique to help me relax - and the added bonus was it would make me fall asleep, for a good solid eight hours. Settle down in your bed. Close your eyes and picture your big toe. (Not being imaginative I take a look at my toe first) Then concentrate on the blood pumping through the toe. Try and picture it going up and down, in and out, thinking about how your heart pumps. Keep concentrating and imagining. After a while your toe will start to warm up. If you aren't asleep by this time, then try a bit more of your foot, adding more veins and arteries to the mix. If you keep your concentration on the inside of your toe, for some reason it seems, you relax yourself enough to sleep. Would love to know if you do try this! and good luck!

Cath

I've struggled on and off over the years with sleeping, and swore years ago never to take any meds for it. After a nasty car accident I was taught a wonderful technique to help me relax - and the added bonus was it would make me fall asleep, for a good solid eight hours. Settle down in your bed. Close your eyes and picture your big toe. (Not being imaginative I take a look at my toe first) Then concentrate on the blood pumping through the toe. Try and picture it going up and down, in and out, thinking about how your heart pumps. Keep concentrating and imagining. After a while your toe will start to warm up. If you aren't asleep by this time, then try a bit more of your foot, adding more veins and arteries to the mix. If you keep your concentration on the inside of your toe, for some reason it seems, you relax yourself enough to sleep. Would love to know if you do try this! and good luck!

Cath

I've struggled on and off over the years with sleeping, and swore years ago never to take any meds for it. After a nasty car accident I was taught a wonderful technique to help me relax - and the added bonus was it would make me fall asleep, for a good solid eight hours. Settle down in your bed. Close your eyes and picture your big toe. (Not being imaginative I take a look at my toe first) Then concentrate on the blood pumping through the toe. Try and picture it going up and down, in and out, thinking about how your heart pumps. Keep concentrating and imagining. After a while your toe will start to warm up. If you aren't asleep by this time, then try a bit more of your foot, adding more veins and arteries to the mix. If you keep your concentration on the inside of your toe, for some reason it seems, you relax yourself enough to sleep. Would love to know if you do try this! and good luck!

Cath

I've struggled on and off over the years with sleeping, and swore years ago never to take any meds for it. After a nasty car accident I was taught a wonderful technique to help me relax - and the added bonus was it would make me fall asleep, for a good solid eight hours. Settle down in your bed. Close your eyes and picture your big toe. (Not being imaginative I take a look at my toe first) Then concentrate on the blood pumping through the toe. Try and picture it going up and down, in and out, thinking about how your heart pumps. Keep concentrating and imagining. After a while your toe will start to warm up. If you aren't asleep by this time, then try a bit more of your foot, adding more veins and arteries to the mix. If you keep your concentration on the inside of your toe, for some reason it seems, you relax yourself enough to sleep. Would love to know if you do try this! and good luck!

Ray Foucher

Happened across your blog. Sorry to hear you can't sleep. I like to help people out where I can. I came across a good natural sleep product that you can get a completely free sample bottle of at http://bit.ly/4pySeK You're always better off inthe long run to use a natural product - no side effects, non-addicting etc.

Carol

Get your thyroid checked. If my levels get too high, I can NOT sleep through the night. It's worth a shot.

Jacqueline

Just a quick note about "natural" products. They're not necessarily approved by the FDA, so while you may not be warned about all kinds of side effects, it doesn't mean they don't have them. You could take something that totally helps with your sleep, but make something else wacky start happening with your body. Or they could work and you sleep sound. It's a toss up.

Jacqueline

Just a quick note about "natural" products. They're not necessarily approved by the FDA, so while you may not be warned about all kinds of side effects, it doesn't mean they don't have them. You could take something that totally helps with your sleep, but make something else wacky start happening with your body. Or they could work and you sleep sound. It's a toss up.

Jacqueline

Just a quick note about "natural" products. They're not necessarily approved by the FDA, so while you may not be warned about all kinds of side effects, it doesn't mean they don't have them. You could take something that totally helps with your sleep, but make something else wacky start happening with your body. Or they could work and you sleep sound. It's a toss up.

lizneust

I don't have any answers or solutions, unfortunately. I haven't tried Ambien, but I've done almost everything else. One trick that *sometimes* works for me is keeping a stack of catalogs by my bed to flip through when I wake up at 3 AM. These are not the fun ones which sell stuff you want. These are the ones like Herrington and Travel Smith - stuff you are unlikely to buy any time soon. Flipping through them sometimes helps my mind disengage enough that I can get back to sleep after 10-20 minutes. After that, it's a done deal and I might as well get out of bed and do dishes. Good luck.

lizneust

I don't have any answers or solutions, unfortunately. I haven't tried Ambien, but I've done almost everything else. One trick that *sometimes* works for me is keeping a stack of catalogs by my bed to flip through when I wake up at 3 AM. These are not the fun ones which sell stuff you want. These are the ones like Herrington and Travel Smith - stuff you are unlikely to buy any time soon. Flipping through them sometimes helps my mind disengage enough that I can get back to sleep after 10-20 minutes. After that, it's a done deal and I might as well get out of bed and do dishes. Good luck.

lizneust

I don't have any answers or solutions, unfortunately. I haven't tried Ambien, but I've done almost everything else. One trick that *sometimes* works for me is keeping a stack of catalogs by my bed to flip through when I wake up at 3 AM. These are not the fun ones which sell stuff you want. These are the ones like Herrington and Travel Smith - stuff you are unlikely to buy any time soon. Flipping through them sometimes helps my mind disengage enough that I can get back to sleep after 10-20 minutes. After that, it's a done deal and I might as well get out of bed and do dishes. Good luck.

Val

No sleep assvice from me. I have sleeping issues, but mine are falling asleep. Once I get to sleep, I can't wake up. I'm so a night person, and I can't get my mind to calm down. Going to a professional is a good idea. I learned a few techniques to "calm" my mind that works pretty good except when I have money stress, which is a consistent state of matters these days - I'm unemployed and going to school 150%-time. I haven't slept more than as few hours a night since July 4th when I found out my benefits ran out and I have to wait for the Fed. Extension to pass. God, I hope that happens soon.

Val

No sleep assvice from me. I have sleeping issues, but mine are falling asleep. Once I get to sleep, I can't wake up. I'm so a night person, and I can't get my mind to calm down. Going to a professional is a good idea. I learned a few techniques to "calm" my mind that works pretty good except when I have money stress, which is a consistent state of matters these days - I'm unemployed and going to school 150%-time. I haven't slept more than as few hours a night since July 4th when I found out my benefits ran out and I have to wait for the Fed. Extension to pass. God, I hope that happens soon.

Michelle

You are hilarious!

Amanda

I have several movies that I love and are not boring, but if I want to go to sleep I just put one of them on and lie on the couch. I'm out by the first 15 min.
I can watch these during in the day and I don't fall alseep. I guess it's because I know them so well that I don't have to "watch" to know whats going on.

Jill

Lord, girl, I have no idea how you're doing it with two kids and no sleep. I would be weeping in the corner. One thing you might consider in combination with other solutions is acupuncture. If you have a good acupuncturist in town, it can really help balance you out, calm the nerves and can work in tandem with other solutions to help you out. I get it for asthma and my acupuncturist gives me a few extra special needles when I'm feeling stressed or fatigued that help me get GREAT sleep that night. It's worth a try and it's safe and not likely to make you overturn furniture in the middle of the night.

lanned

When I couldn't sleep I had two different doctors prescribe me trazadone. It really made a difference and it worked well with the other meds I was on.

Stacy

I'm a fellow-traveler in the up-at-3-am-and-in-a-panic picnic, and it's just no good.

I'm a single mom and so Ambien, etc is a no go. I have found a regimen and it works for me (Benedryl, read until sleepy, lights out), but it took a while to find that. See the doc, try some options, and know many of us are sending good wishes.

Stacy

I'm a fellow-traveler in the up-at-3-am-and-in-a-panic picnic, and it's just no good.

I'm a single mom and so Ambien, etc is a no go. I have found a regimen and it works for me (Benedryl, read until sleepy, lights out), but it took a while to find that. See the doc, try some options, and know many of us are sending good wishes.

reenie

I really feel for you. I have two young boys and due to some ugly circumstances last year, I spent many nights mostly awake. It didn't get better until I faced our problems (financial in nature) called all 13 different medical providers we owed money to, made payment plans, told the in-laws we needed help, and got that help. I stopped dodging the mail carrier...and viola! I could sleep again! It may not be so simple a solution for everyone...but it got so much better when I sat down and figured out all the things I needed to do in order to function again. My stomach stopped eating itself after that, too.

zdoodlebub

I didn't read all the comments, so I apologize if this has been mentioned, but my hormones really mess with my ability to stay asleep. I would fall asleep no prob, but wake between 3-5am. I'm 39 and have been using a progesterone compound for about 18 months. It has literally changed my life. Sleep! Clear thoughts! Weight loss! I love my progesterone.

Also, since you mentioned that you are among the small % who usually get the negative side affects, I will mention that melatonin makes me a little crazy. I would not only wake up, but also feel like clawing someone's face off. But passion flower - good stuff. Very relaxing. No desire to claw faces.

Good luck!

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