August 29, 2011 at 9:56 am | Posted in Cheese with that whine? (aka rants) | 11 Comments

I am in one of those phases where I cannot sleep.

Well, that’s not completely true.

I DO sleep, a little, in the course of a night.

For the past week now, I’ve had it all: trouble falling asleep. Trouble staying asleep.

I am literally up in between EVERY REM cycle. When I do wake up, I’m looking at my alarm clock and am surprised I slept at all.

It’s really frustrating.

I thought perhaps that it might be a symptom of overtraining for my marathon. I’ve had a number of weeks of much higher mileage.

So this weekend, I decided to take some rest days.

Didn’t help.

Insomnia is the worst kind of mental punishment, in my opinion. There’s nothing worse than staring at the alarm clock, knowing that it’s going to ring at 4:30 because I have to run 8 miles and then go be productive for the day.


I am going to try melatonin tonight. And maybe some sleepytime tea.

But this is where I am asking for assvice. Do any of you suffer from insomnia? What have you found to help with it?



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  1. I suffer from it during stressful times, like now. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been falling asleep fine (and sometimes early like sometimes 8:30/9 because I am so tired but usually around 10:30) and then I wake around 1:30/2 (sometimes it is later like 2:30) and then I am up to pee, trying to fall back to sleep, before giving up, coming to my laptop for sometimes up to an hour, then settling on the couch in front and falling back to sleep (usually around 4:30 but sometimes later) before waking again between 6 – 7 depending).

    I do try to stick to a routine of readying for bed, going to the bathroom, reading/watching TV, etc but of late have had almost no success staying asleep.

    Sometimes the cycle goes on for weeks…if it gets to be about a month, then I take more drastic measures (like stopping drinking earlier in the evening, sometimes having an alcoholic beverage (just one glass), disallowing myself from getting up if I do wake (the getting up to pee does me in but if I force myself to stay in the darkness of our room, I can sometimes go back to sleep), even if I do have to pee, no lights (no laptop, no tv), and I count backward from 500 (or 200 and then 500)).

    I’m blurry eyed as I type this…I feel asleep early, woke at 1:30, was up until 3:30, and up for good at 5:30.

  2. Chronic insomniac here.

    What helps:

    (1) Move. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I immediately move to a different sleeping area (guestroom bed, living room couch). Just the change of scene often breaks the cycle.

    (2) Concentrate: I close my eyes and try to recreate, in as much detail, as possible, room by room, the house I lived in when I was six. Or every single one of the Christmas ornaments we hung on the tree when I was ten. Or the layout of the town in Normandy that we visited a few years back.

    I find that concentrating on pretty much anything that involves a lot of physical detail helps takes the focus off sleeping and gets me to relax.

    (3) Mantra: I lie with my eyes closed and recite a soothing phrase. Over and over.

  3. Oh, I’ve had insomnia and IT IS MISERABLE. I relied on drugs to help me sleep during the worst of it. I actually used to get a muscle relaxer from my dr for sciatic nerve pain (due to muscle tightness) and when things were really bad, I would take one of them. Worked like a charm. I usually have insomnia when I’m stressed (aren’t you having the worst quarter EVER? and lots of other crap going on?). Good luck:<

  4. yes, have had it since childhood. Studies show that sleep issues get worse once you have kids (for obvious reasons). I think it’s a bit hereditary cause my mom has it and my daughter is a terrible sleeper…always has been. Suggestions–like someone above said, move to another room. Read a book. I have found that imagining positive past scenarios in my head helps me drift off to sleep. I’ll do it by subject–for example, one week I’ll try to remember and reenact in my head all of my baby showers and what people said, how I felt, etc. Maybe next week I go over my top 10 best romantic encounters, etc. Something in trying to remember the details makes me sleepy. Sometimes I try and remember people who have made an impression on me and all their details. Whatever you do, resist the urge to do anything productive. It will ruin you! good luck, insomnia sucks.

  5. Ug, I’m sorry for the insomnia. For me, insomnia usually hits when I’ve got too much on my mind, which causes my brain to run nonstop when I’m trying to sleep, usually about things I need to do later on. Then I become overwhelmed at my growing mental list and am afraid I’m going to forget it all, so I remain awake trying to remember it all. My best solution is to keep a running list of things to do (I use the Tasks options right in Gmail, so I always have it available), and I add things whether big or small. This definitely helps me come bedtime.

    Taking a warm (okay, super hot) bath before bed seems to help me divide my day and signal that it’s time for sleep soon.

    And truthfully, I seem to get to sleep better if I go to bed alone. If the husband is there, he gets to sleep super fast and it just ticks me off that he can just hit the pillow and be asleep, meanwhile I’m still struggling.

  6. I’m the queen of insomnia. I’ve found this combination works best for me: hot bath, Sleepytime Herbal Tea by Celestial Seasonings, and Nature Made Natural Sleep Aid. (You can get the tea and the pills at your grocery store or Target.)

  7. Tylenol PM?

    I suppose you’d not want to do it a LOT but if I’m having issues now and again, I take one and that always does it for me!

  8. Oh, that’s a big one for me. I use a few different techniques:

    1/ Deep breathing. I concentrate on taking a number of deep breaths and I can usually feel my body start to relax
    2/ If I have something on my mind, rather than trying to push it out, I actually think about it and try to decide with what actions I may take once I wake up. It’s a sort of relinquish control type mental exercise that works.
    3/ Instead of thinking about how much time I haven’t slept, I concentrate on how much I have left. For example, instead of being upset ‘I have only 1 hr left to sleep’, I switch it to ‘I get another full hour of sleep’. This morning was a prime example and I was back asleep in mere minutes vs waking every 10 and wondering if my hour was up or not
    4/ If I’ve had a number nights just like you have and all other tactics have failed, I cave and take 1/2 a benadryl before bed. It does double duty – fights my allergies & knocks me out without feeling groggy in the morning.

    Good luck!

  9. I’ve heard that some yoga asanas are good for helping with sleep … like reclined spinal twist … I would definitely do some yoga before bedtime to calm body and mind.

  10. I can’t fall asleep without half a tablet of Tylenol PM. It works quickly. I move a little more slowly in the morning, but I think a lot of that has to do with going to bed later than I would like.

    I’ve always had problems falling asleep easily — it drives me crazy that D. can be snoring within minutes of lying down — but it’s so, SO much worse since becoming a mom and especially since starting W.ellbutrin. The hot weather doesn’t help.

  11. I’ve taken melatonin once, at my brother’s suggestion (he loved it!). Both my mom and I took it the same night, and we both had the weirdest, craziest, freakiest dreams. Needless to say, neither one of us have taken it again; but obviously, many people like it or love it, so it obviously doesn’t affect everybody like that.

    What I’ve found when I can’t sleep, is that I’m actually dehydrated. It’s not horrible dehydration, but I just haven’t drunk enough water during the day. So if I can’t sleep, I get up and drink a large glass of water, and soon am back to sleep (and if it wakes me up to have to go to the bathroom, I almost always fall back to sleep again quickly, rather than waking up and staying up).

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