Of course i know that...hahaha. But tell my head that. I have an deepseated aversion to chaos, drama and the unknown that is difficult to rein in. It’s amazing i’m not a drug addict or alcoholic. It’s a Catch 22 though, because being one would just add to the chaos, drama and the unknown!
Two nights in a row I’ve been unable to fall asleep (meaning i was awake past 3 am) because i can’t quiet my runaway brain. I’ve had this problem since i was a little girl. It has gotten worse as i’ve gotten older. I thought being retired would make a difference but it doesn’t, though thankfully i don’t have the added stress of knowing i have to get up and go to work....I know lots of us must have insomnia.... What do y’all do for it?
I have the opposite problem. I rarely have trouble falling asleep, but I cannot sleep through the night. I do not have to get up and pee either. I sleep for about 3-4 hours and then wake up. sometimes I can go back to sleep, other times I cannot. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and I do use one of those sexy CPAP machines....lol.
Do you have a set routine for when and how you go to sleep? According to my wellness program, all electronics should go off about an hour before bed time. I do not do that.
I vape CBD oil before bed time only. It doesn't make me feel anything but....peaceful. Thats the best word I can use to describe it. I usually have mind racing thoughts and worries which used to keep me up until all hours of the night. A half hour before bed I use some and I lay down....and dont even remember falling asleep. Its changed my sleep for the better completely with no side effects.
Magnesium can help you fall asleep. There are lots of forms, some fast absorbing, some slow, some research into which kind works best for insomnia may be in order. Sounds like that won't be a problem for you though lol.
Two nights in a row I’ve been unable to fall asleep (meaning i was awake past 3 am) because i can’t quiet my runaway brain. I’ve had this problem since i was a little girl. It has gotten worse as i’ve gotten older. I thought being retired would make a difference but it doesn’t, though thankfully i don’t have the added stress of knowing i have to get up and go to work.
Here is what my brain did last night - pretty much in this exact order:
1. Last day of bowling tomorrow. My hip is hurting me. Should i take some ibuprofen now or wait until tomorrow since it’s a running day?
2. I don’t want to take too much ibuprofen. I need to Google how much is too much.
3. i think i’m going to give myself a day off from running. It’s going to rain anyway which means it will frizz my hair for bowling.
4. I don’t think i like this new haircut i got last week. It’s too short. I’m going to grow it back out again.
5. If i don’t run tomorrow that means i have to run Wednesday and that works out so i don’t have to run when i babysit Saturday morning.
6. I need to buy little Bodie (my other great nephew) a first birthday present soon. I think i’ll get him a Mariner’s jersey since they are playing so well.
Etc. Etc. Etc....
I’ve tried to figure out why this happens to me sometimes. I can count on one hand how often i sleep through the whole night in a year. And lying awake past 2 or 3 am happens about 3-4 times a month and it’s so frustrating. (One night i never went to sleep at all.)
I’ve tried the route of not eating dinner or eating early., I gave up drinking Fresca which i used to love and any kind of pop, period. I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. I gave up having any wine for days. Nothing changed with restless sleep. Pot butter does help but i don’t like to use it too often so i don’t.
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I figured it out and can no longer deny it: It’s my iPad. I’ve known for a long time that screens are a problem for insomnia but i brushed it off because I struggled with sleep even before they were invented. But as it has gotten worse i think i does have to do with the iPad since i have only had one for about 5 years.
I read almost all of my books on my iPad now and since i’m on book #20 since January i’m using it a lot because i can read for hours in a row....not to mention the time i spend here and also i like to play Wordscape each morning (to keep my brain active). Then there is my near obsession for research.
A year ago we took a trip for a week once and put away all devices. We only checked out phones and iPads once in the morning and once in the evening. And it was great and not hard once we decided to do that. (And i remembered that I did sleep better which is really difficult when you are not in your own bed.)
So this morning I have gone into my library site and have started putting physical books on hold that I’ve already placed holds on as an ebook. Also i’m going to cut back my time here on this site. I can set Alexa on a timer to remind me. Also i will quit watching the news in the late evening before going to bed. That has to help too.
I know lots of us must have insomnia.... What do y’all do for it?
I saw this thread start, and then suddenly it was 8 or 9 pages before I got to it.
I have not read pages 2-8, so apologies if I say something that has already been covered.
Short answer. to help put myself back to sleep, I go through the tai chi forms in my head. In tai chi there are specific sequences of yin-yang moves synchronized with breathing. The 108 step form is the classic. but there are 16, 10, and 24 step forms that are shorter.
In tai chi, since the movement and breath are synchronized, practicing these forms in my mind regulates my breathing down, and also invokes the response that is now conditioned in me from actually doing tai chi. This calms the mind and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. More on breathing later.
Not trying to be elitist here, its something I do and sometimes it works. If I have to go through forms over and over again, because I am just not sleeping, well that takes some discipline. But sometimes, I don't get through the 16 step form before I fall off to sleep. This is not a panacea, just something I do sometimes.
For reading before sleeping, or if I wake up and want to read in the middle of the night, which I often do, I strictly use red light. I have a 3 watt color changing LED light bulb in an old fashioned desk lamp with the long spring loaded arms to position it at the edge of the bed, on my hard copy book, not on me. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IOM03KW/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This way, there is nothing remotely close to blue light to interfere with hormones and the sleep cycle.
Sometimes I get up and have a half glass of water to chase down a Tums. The calcium in Tums is good for sleep, and if acid stomach is contributing to my sleeplessness, this tames it. On weekends this may help me sleep in longer.
Back to breathing. There is something physiological about 6 breaths per minute, slow steady 5 seconds in, slow steady five seconds out. The sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight, anxiety) cannot be in charge when you breath this way. Its just a thing. If you practice this during the day, it comes naturally at night. Regular breathing practice calms anxiety and damps down pain perception, the latter being amplified by fear or anxiousness.
There are apps you can find to set up practicing breathing this way. Commit to 10 minutes. Then you'll feel good and be willing to do another 10 minutes. Good for folks with pain disorders.
I have a Casio watch with two little 5 second dials on the display. I can be sitting in a meeting and practicing my breathing watching my watch and no one knows!
Heartmath has a biofeedback device that follows heart rate and more to the point, the natural variability in the heart rate, which ideally follows a regular pattern. that is, the variability in the heart rate variability called HRV. HRV is the variability in the beat-to-beat interval. Its natural and desirable that this time interval is not exactly the same from one beat to the next.
If there is a regular pattern in the HRV, which can happen when it synchronized with a slow steady breathing pattern, they call it coherence. If you do the breathing pattern above, it will help move your heart rate variability into this regular pattern. There is sound science behind this. In the present context, its another way to practice achieving calmness and you can learn to shift to a calmer state, without the device, which is useful for sleep.
Finally, it may seem trendy to mention this, but in the practice of meditation, the thing you are really practicing is letting go of the thoughts and stories your mind spins up continually. Thinking is what your mind does. You cannot stop it any more than you can stop your heart or stop your breathing. But you can practice letting go of the thoughts rather than spinning off into them endlessly. This comes in handy when you are wanting to let go of your thoughts as you go to sleep.
Sorry if this is too much information.
I am not claiming to be the zen master of sleeping, I wake up in the middle of the night like everyone else my age. These are just tidbits from my life that seem to help.
I also like to say, "you never recover from parenthood!"
Ok. Yesterday @Trapper i tried that ikea podcast. It did not work though. Darn... Actually last night was tough, the last time i looked at the clock it was 4:11. (Sundays are a real thing with insomniacs!)
I think the problem with the podcast for me was I’ve been reading the book “All The Light We Cannot See” about the German invasion of Paris during WWII. (Great book BTW, thanks @Buzzy) ...and while i know the iKea guy is Swedish, he sounded like a Nazi to me and it creeped me out. (I probably should have listened to the woman reading). Also i knew it might not work cause it was only 26 minutes long. I never fall asleep that fast ever.
Anyway i did find another Podcast to try cause i do like the idea of them and the IKEA was my first one, so thank you Trapper for suggesting it. I have one that is an hour long and it’s like Savanasah in yoga, where at the end you just relax and listen to the instructor speak softly with nice music. I’m trying that tonight.
But the best thing is i found some really nice 100% blackout curtains for my bedroom. I am so excited to find these today! I have had nice white Pottery Barn style curtains for awhile and was afraid i would have to give up aesthetics for something practical like these blackout curtains. But these are really nice looking and good quality. They aren’t cheap ($50 a panel and i need two) but not THAT bad either. And if they work it is totally worth it.
And lastly, i got some Vitamin D3 (thank you @wadin' boot ) and will use that instead of in combo with calcium.
I’m still weaning myself off falling asleep to the TV which is in part my problem right now for not falling asleep. AND i also see from my settings that i have cut back on my screen time by 48%. That’s because the book i’m reading is a hardback. (I read about half of it just last night!)
Anyway, i appreciate so many suggestions and ideas and i love finding a solution so I’ll keep at it. I do think the curtains will help for sure!