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?