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  #1  
Old 05-02-2012, 12:15 PM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Recommend me some non-pharmacological insomnia cures

The question is just what it sounds like. I find that I wake up after about four hours sleep and it takes me several hours to fall asleep again so as a result I am sleep deprived. At the beginning of the year I was taking Xanax which helped but I am not comfortable using it for a long period of time because of the potential for addiction. Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2012, 02:55 PM
enipla enipla is offline
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This stuff Really works for me, my Wife and my cousin.

Last edited by enipla; 05-02-2012 at 02:55 PM..
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:33 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Someone, in a similar thread, recommended actually getting up and out of bed, and doing something mildly diverting -- watch a few minutes of some crummy old black and white movie, read a chapter of a book -- and then physically go back to bed.

I have found that "organized thinking" -- planning for tomorrow, trying to solve a puzzle, scripting characters for a book -- keeps me awake. To get to sleep, I surrender to free association. Instead of having a sophisticated dialogue, as in, perhaps, a legal cross-examination, I let my mind wander, as in "Alice in Wonderland." Instead of steering my thoughts, I let them drift. Sleep comes more easily.

Sex (or masturbation) might help. Other forms of mild physical exercise might help.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:35 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Try these.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:36 PM
cynyc cynyc is offline
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Melatonin? (Haven't tried it myself--yet.)

Valerian tea. Smells like dirty sock but it works. Maybe they have it in capsules or something.

P.S. Xanax is a terrible drug. PM me if you like.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:47 PM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Someone, in a similar thread, recommended actually getting up and out of bed, and doing something mildly diverting -- watch a few minutes of some crummy old black and white movie, read a chapter of a book -- and then physically go back to bed.

I have found that "organized thinking" -- planning for tomorrow, trying to solve a puzzle, scripting characters for a book -- keeps me awake. To get to sleep, I surrender to free association. Instead of having a sophisticated dialogue, as in, perhaps, a legal cross-examination, I let my mind wander, as in "Alice in Wonderland." Instead of steering my thoughts, I let them drift. Sleep comes more easily.

Sex (or masturbation) might help. Other forms of mild physical exercise might help.
I often try getting out of bed and doing something diverting. It does not help.

I do not think sex will help. I recently started a new relationship and we are still in the honeymoon phase so we are doing that a lot anyway. My insomnia happens on the nights we are together as well as apart.

I will try the free association.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:48 PM
Christopher Robin Davies Christopher Robin Davies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynyc View Post
Melatonin? (Haven't tried it myself--yet.)

Valerian tea. Smells like dirty sock but it works. Maybe they have it in capsules or something.

P.S. Xanax is a terrible drug. PM me if you like.
I am off the Xanax already. Have been since February.
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:56 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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I went through a long period of insomnia much like what you describe. A couple of things helped break the cycle, finally:

- change the time I went to bed. If I went to bed super-early, I'd be guaranteed to wake up, but it gave me more time to fall back asleep. If I went to bed later than usual, then, often - paradoxically - I slept better. Note that your goal is to keep a routine, so this should be a temporary remedy. If/when you find something that works for you, stick with that time.

- accept that I *will* wake in the early morning hours, and that the world did, in fact, keep turning. It was difficult as hell to change my mental routine of "Whaa -- what time is it? Oh, dear, that means I'll only get *counts on fingers* five hours of sleep. And I gotta do X, Y and Z tomorrow. Oh noes! CATASTROPHE!" Once I was able to change that to "Whaa -- what time is i.. ah, fuck it. I don't care. C'mere, kitty - let's snuggle and go back to sleep" it made a world of difference.

Insomnia's a royal bitch. Some other suggestions include making the room you sleep in colder and/or getting a heavier blanket.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:41 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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Some ideas:

Cover your clocks. The worst thing is that insomnia becomes that Catch-22 that purplehorseshoe describes, where worrying about getting back to sleep keeps you awake. If you don't really know how long you've slept, how long it is until morning, or how many minutes you've been awake, it makes it a bit easier.

Make sure your bedroom is pretty cool. Lower body temperature is a signal for sleep. If you're too warm it can really mess up attempts to fall asleep. If you're chilly, snuggling up under an extra layer of covers seems to really help you drift off in comparison.

Control light sources with extreme prejudice. My husband has had sleep issues for years and does best when not even the tiniest LED charging light or power strip switch is glowing in our room. (And if you expose your eyes to something at all bright, such as a smartphone, computer, or TV, it may send your brain the signal that it's time to be awake.)

Try breathing meditation. This is kind of the same as free association, and kind of the opposite. You attempt to focus on your breathing in minute detail, notice when your attention wanders, and bring it back. In my experience, I will eventually drift from my mind wandering/free association to semi-conscious dreaming, and I will often be able to realize I'm falling asleep, and either pull my attention back (if I'm meditating for its own sake) or let myself go (if I'm going to bed).

Try to focus on rest, not sleep. My mom helped prevent me from ever suffering insomnia by always teaching me that lying down comfortably, in a darkened room, is in itself restorative and beneficial. Whenever I would find myself awake at night, I wouldn't stress over it, and by accepting that I was awake, and feeling OK about it, ironically fell asleep easily.

Consider Ambien or Lunesta for occasional use. Since my depression medications have messed with my sleep to a degree that's sometimes hard to combat with these approaches, I like to have a bottle of guaranteed sleep on my shelf. I have a very strict rule that I will never use them for more than 3 days in a row. Generally I keep them so that I know if I have a couple of particularly bad nights, I will be able to get a good night's sleep to restore myself, no question. Again, just this insurance can be enough to help me get back to sleep relatively quickly, without keeping myself awake worrying about my lack of sleep.

Good luck!
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:45 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is online now
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Vigorous exercise, preferably earlier in the day (not in the evening, closer to bedtime).
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2012, 08:04 PM
sparky! sparky! is offline
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I had this same issue a few years ago. It was weird in that I'd go to bed exhausted, then wake after as little as 2 hours, then just not be able to sleep. My mind would feel tired, but for some reason sleep wouldn't come till many hours later, meaning I'd get a crappy hour sleeping before the alarm woke me (leaving me feeling awful).

I tried going to the gym every morning, no matter how tired I felt. My mood improved quite a lot, and I felt less tired, yet I still had that issue with waking (and the dull feeling in my head remained).

Somehow, it just went away, only to be returning the past few weeks.

Right now I try to have Sleepytime tea, and try to avoid the computer or tv before bed (though tonight I'm too damn tired to read, so here I post - just 2 hours sleep last night).

It really sucks and I wish I had an answer to how to cure it.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:57 PM
cyrush cyrush is offline
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Try this.
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2012, 11:13 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Celestial Seasons Sleepytime tea, with a half-shot of brandy or even better Benedictine. Mind you, never more than a shot as too much booze can made you sleep poorly.
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2012, 01:46 AM
Otara Otara is offline
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http://www.sleepoz.org.au/files/fact...%20Hygiene.pdf

Hope this works, some of the common advice for 'sleep hygiene'.

Otara
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:18 AM
CyclopticXander CyclopticXander is offline
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Ambien works great for me, but if you want something more natural you might like Valerian root in little capsules. I find it works pretty well for winding down.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:44 AM
yohan go yohan go is offline
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Hops might also help. If you do not like em in beer, you can try and make tea from them. I believe they can be purchased in any serious herb shop. Although I do not know if that fits into your definition of non-pharmacological ...

Last edited by yohan go; 05-03-2012 at 07:46 AM..
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2012, 03:10 PM
csrao csrao is offline
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'Focusing on breathing' for insomnia

You can try ‘Focusing on breathing’ to get quality sleep and conquer insomnia. This technique reduces the flow of thoughts, calms the mind and relaxes the muscles, inducing quality sleep. The following mode of this technique can be tried when lying in the bed and needing to sleep.

Triple segment mode: Every finger has 2 cross lines, dividing it into 3 parts or segments. Place the tip of the thumb at the top segment of the little finger and breathe three times. Move the thumb to the middle segment and breathe three times. Move to the bottom segment and breathe three times. Repeat the same steps at the next 3 fingers. At the thumb, place the tip of the index finger on its segments and follow the same steps. Then switch to the other hand and repeat the process all over. Continue to practise, switching the hands. When you wake up in the morning, you will be surprised how you slept so well last night!

The detailed article on insomnia can be seen in this page: http://countingbreaths.com/wp-conten...a-Hand-out.pdf
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  #18  
Old 05-05-2012, 09:03 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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I find trying to finish a seriously overdue library book puts me to sleep real well.

Other than that: eating something like cheese and crackers. Warm milk and honey. And a cool room with a light blanket is heavenly, I sleep like a log in winter. Summers are difficult, but winter sleeping seems to be no problem.
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  #19  
Old 05-05-2012, 09:32 PM
Swarog Swarog is offline
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Reading the Bible especially Genesis can put you to sleep. Especially if your an atheist. Another option is to find the right pharmacological treatment.

Xanax i wouldn't consider a sleep medication. You should talk to a doctor and demand a drug that is indicated for people who have trouble STAYING asleep rather than FALLING asleep.


Many drugs have short half lives meaning they can help you fall asleep but wear off in a couple hours and you may wake. Other drugs may last up to 8 hours meaning they are a good choice for preventing waking up while asleep.

Otherwise, i promise you will fall asleep and stay that way after exercising. The point is to exercise until complete exhaustion and then lay down in bed right after the exercise session. Do not get up to do anything, shower, change clothes. Do nothing. you will fall asleep where you are and you will wake up when you are good and ready to wake up.
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2012, 09:32 PM
MaddyStrut MaddyStrut is offline
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Ambien CR and Lunesta both work for me. Xanax would put me to sleep, but wouldn't keep me asleep. But you wanted non pharmacological advice...

Take a look at your sleeping environment. As mentioned temperature can make a difference as can keeping the room dark. I have darkening shades and curtains on my windows. Also, make sure you have good pillows, a decent mattress, and comfortable sheets. I thought it was silly when those were recommended to me, because I used to be able to fall asleep on the couch! But having a very comfortable environment conducive to sleeping really did make a difference.
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  #21  
Old 05-06-2012, 12:49 AM
Arabella Flynn Arabella Flynn is offline
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I use podcasts or audiobooks. Pick something that's mildly engaging but not riveting. The same audiobook night after night, if it's one you enjoy, might do the trick. It keeps my brain from going, "Oh, look! Quiet! Obviously this is the time to plan out life for the next decade in infinitesimal detail, with some special detours for catastrophes that are never going to happen, and flashbacks to the most embarrassing moments of my adolescence."

If your new honey-bunny objects to the noise, try earbuds. Good luck.
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