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    • neduro

      For 38 of my 40 years, I slept like a log. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow. I didn't sleep a lot, usually 5-6 hours per night plus a 10-12 minute nap in the afternoon, with occasional (weekly or less) 10-12 hour long nights when I felt tired, but I felt rested and sleep wasn't something I worried about. I always woke up as awake as I would be all day, I am definitely a morning person.

      Very occasionally, I would be worried about a project or a race or whatever, and I'd struggle to sleep because my mind was racing. I would take Ambien for a night or two and get back on track and that was that.

      Since ~November of 2015, that all went away. I've slept fitfully and sometimes not at all. There isn't an easily understood pattern, but most often, I fall asleep easily between 9:30 and 10 and then wake up sometime between midnight and three, at which point I can't get back to sleep. This kicks off a whole set of meta symptoms, in which I feel like I am sleepless because I am worried about not sleeping, which is definitely annoying.

      I had a sleep study, which seemed pretty useless aside from proving that I don't suffer from sleep apnea. The sleep doctor instructed me to get up whenever I am not sleeping, but that just serves to extend the day to 20+ hours. When I reported that, she sighed and essentially said "so you're one of those", and that was that.

      I've tried lots of things to address this. Consuming alcohol definitely does not help me stay asleep, but going completely without it for a month didn't change anything. Exercise/ physical exhaustion doesn't seem to matter. Eating time doesn't seem to matter. Diet doesn't seem to matter, although in fairness I haven't made any particularly major changes with any great rigidity. I tried taking Ambien for a longer time (~2 weeks), and while I slept more, found myself getting very negative/ dark, which went away immediately when I quit taking it, so that's out. I tried a CBD type marijuana edible, which seems to knock everyone else out soundly, but not me. I've tried a number of over the counter type sleep remedies, usually I find myself even more hyper-aware after consuming them, as though my brain is fighting off whatever drowsiness they provoke.

      What's different now than before is that when I wake up, my mind is mostly calm. I'm not in a hurry to make a list of all the things that occurred to me in the night, I'm just aware and sort of vigilant feeling. Life has been pretty great otherwise, I laugh at myself that the problem might be a lack of stress.

      Has anyone else been through this kind of thing? Any ideas to point me toward?

    • Us

      Hi Ned,
      Cool to see a few folks I know from ADV here.
      Probably already tried, but a repeating fairly strict bed routine helped me. Set wake up time for all days of the week and got rid of all caffine. I do use a little zzquil from time to time which can help. The CBD has not seemed to help in my sleep efforts. A small routine of no electronic lights a few hours before bed along with 1-2minutes of deep breathingm in through the nose..hold..then out through the mouth as practiced at times in mediaition also helps set the right context for sleep.

      It has been working ok for me but still struggle with it, I did use a suppliment called Ashwagandha which helped tremendously with night terrors and some sleep anxiety.
      Good luck, it is a horrible place to be in.

    • flei

      Sleep disturbance can be really tough to treat. And untreated it can lead to many psychological and physical problems. It is a serious issue and should be treated aggressively.

      Meds that help you fall asleep don't necessarily help you stay asleep, and ones powerful enough to knock you out all night often make you feel like crap in the morning (and of course can foster dependency).

      I am a psychotherapist and this is what I usually recommend for clients with insomnia:

      1. get a complete medical rule-out by a physician. most cases of insomnia are caused by some other medical problem.

      2. practice good sleep hygiene (e.g., no caffeine, routine bed-time, no nap, routine waking time, etc.). you can find good sleep hygiene recommendations online; for example: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips).

      3. use some form of guided relaxation audio to help you fall asleep. listen to a bunch and find one that you like (some are too "New-age-y" for my taste, but tastes differ).

      4. try melatonin. if #1 & 2 check out, it often works sufficiently for many people.

      5. other drugs. many sleep meds will help you fall asleep but not stay asleep. here is a good list: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/in-depth/sleeping-pills/art-20043959

      there are also many other psychiatric meds that can help with sleep (trazadone, seroquel, etc. etc.) but each comes with side effects and, IMO, no one knows what any given med will do for any given person so there is a lot of trial and error.

      if you want to go the medication route, i would suggest finding a GOOD neurologist who is a sleep specialist and following their recommendations.

      Good luck. I hope you find a fix.

    • kikoteixeira

      Hi Neduro,

      Please take it from me, a chronic insomniac. I battled with it for over a decade and I have several lessons I can pass on because I am very sure of what I am talking about.

      First, you cannot take anything for it. There is no long-term benefit from any sleep medication. The very best of them can give you at most temprary relief. Alcohol fragments sleep. It makes you fall asleep faster, but you don't gain any additional benefit from it. The list goes on and on. You cannot get better chemically.

      Only two things work: cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfullness.

      That means there is no quick fix and you will have to invest effort in it. That is the bad news. The good news is that the effects are permanent and other aspects of your life will be improved as well.

      Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to work in clinical studies by some folks at Harvard Medical. You can google it and even download a series of brochures with do it yourself information and exercises. These are designed to replace bad with good sleep habits that have a cumulative benefit.

      Mindfullness: here the logic is pretty straightforward actually. Meditation and mindfullness strenghten the balance between the emotional and rational brains. This balance leads to a quieter, less reactive, more in control mind. This allows you to control racing thoughts, ruminations, and the like which are triggered by every day life and stressors. Once your mind becomes less anxious, natural sleep processes in the mind can now take over and give you a good night rest. I would download the Headspace app or any good mindfullness app and get started. In about 2-3 months you will be doing much better and the effects are permanent.

      Cheers!

    • Shay

      27 years of shift work mean I haven’t had a sleep pattern for most of my adult life.

      Shift work lieaves you with a permanent low level jet lag, switching from nights to days every 10 days or so.

      I also had an underlying medical condition - a broken nose and nasal polyps - which meant I didn’t sleep properly

      I had the nasal issues fixed( as you can see from my avatar ) and sleep has improved.

      I’ve never taken sleep meds but do nap a lot. If I’m tired, I will grab 40 winks and it does refresh me.

      I can wake at odd hours and do get up for a while - then back for a couple more hours of sleep.

      I don’t have a solution for you but do emphatise completely and hope you can find a solution !

    • I read your post and wow, it's very similar to my own story. Toward the end of my week, I often become "more" tired. About the only difference is that I'll wake around midnight and be awake for an hour then fall asleep again for an hour and just repeat the cycle until I get up. What's weird is those three hours, I feel like I've slept well. Even the hour or so here and there often feels good. It's just at the morning, I feel wiped out.

      I've tried napping which helps the feeling of tired but screws sleep. I've tried shifting my sleep times which hasn't helped. I've tried shifting meal times. I've tried OTC remedies but decided long ago that anything that had a laundry list of contraindications that seemed worse than poor sleep wasn't worth it.

      Maybe it's age related?

    • sfcootz

      Neduro, do you share a bed/ sleep space with someone else? Does being alone in bed versus with your sweetie matter?

      As far as the CBD goes, it's great. But you might want to try an indica heavy strain (Berry white for example) that has thc. No sativas!!!!

      I also used biofeedback to help me get to sleep. I had lifelong difficulty getting to sleep until my divorce.

    • neduro

      Hello! Good to see you and Ian here.

      I'm engaged, and we spend ~3-4 nights per week together (we don't live together for a variety of situational issues). Her presence/ absence doesn't seem to matter.

      Ian, my story is the same as you- I feel like the 3-4 hours of sleep I consistently get, is good sleep. I just wish I could get that to more like 6 consistently. I share your distaste for the OTC sleep aids that seem like they have more downsides than upsides.

      I'm curious about MJ, thanks for the idea there. Easy to get here in CO!

    • Bradford

      First the disclaimer: My story is what works for me. If it helps you great, if it doesn’t; well you got your money’s worth. I do agree with seeking medical advice.

      I have had sleep issues for about 30+ years. Thanks brain chemicals. Only in the past ten years was I able to come up with a solution with my doctors.

      The first thing is make your bed a sleep only place. Easier said than done; but it helped.

      It might be worth simply trying some talk therapy to determine if it is stress related. Mine gets much worse with stress like I used to be awake 40+ hours.

      Using a sleep aid to push one into sleep helped a lot. I also have learned which ones to use when. I also stopped using some that I didn’t like, such as Ambien. I have about four different ones I use. Yes, different ones for different things.

      However the best one I have found, and is relatively new is Intermezzo. It is designed to be a four hour effect cycle. When I wake up to answer an urgent call from nature at 1AM and am still up 30 minutes later, i take one and have no side effects the next day.

      The best trick of all that I have found is that I have no visible clocks in the bedroom. So you are wondering how I know how long I have been awake. I use a noise generator with a timer. If I hear it turn off, i take the appropriate pill.

      Last week I found the NASA had done a sleep study on astronauts and military pilots to figure out how to get them to sleep well. There is a NASA spinoff that created an app called Sleep Genius that is supposed to be better than a noise generator. I am not convinced yet, but it is a rather stressful time.

      Good luck.

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