And hints or tips to dealing with sleep deprivation?

Two nights ago, I was up for a few hours in the middle of the night simply because I couldn’t sleep. Happens sometimes, usually not a big deal.

Then last night, had a major blowup on a major client’s website, ended up being up most of the night as well.

So I’m going on two days of next to no sleep, and feel like I’m going to implode. The kicker is that today is relatively slow - I work from home, I can easily take a nap. And I try. I do all the right things: darken the room, lie in bed, and lay there, wide awake.

If I get up, I’m like the walking dead. Brain is working at a quarter normal speed.

Blech. How do I either wake myself up or make myself fall asleep?!?

I do this all the time, about every 2 months or so (remember a coupla weeks ago - 28 hours straight!)

It sucks because you tend to drink caffeine to stay awake, and when you’ve got time to sleep you’re all Coke’d up.

Make sure you’ve eaten and you’re not hungry. Make sure your furnace is manually set to whatever is actually comfy for sleeping (my furnace is on auto-config so daytime temps are different than nighttime temps).

See that the dogs are taken care of and they won’t be needing to wake you up to go out. Dogs don’t tend to understand the afternoon nap.

Take a warm shower, brush your teeth, put on clean jammies. Turn on the TV in the bedroom and put on something soothing. Or use your laptop. Make it dark in the room. Drift off.

If you don’t want to fall asleep (and you might be better off waiting until 8 PM or so and getting like 10-12 hours), then get some fresh air and have another Diet Coke. Don’t do anything to get comfy or you will drift off and wake back up at 2 AM. Pissed.

I have had so many issues with sleeping in the past, but took a meditation workshop about a month ago and I’m amazed at my ability to fall asleep now.

The thing that works for me now is to focus on my breathing. When I breath in, I think ‘inhale’, and ‘exhale’ when I breath out. I focus on that, but if I start thinking about anything, I think ‘thinking’ and then picture myself crumbling that thought up into a ball and tossing it away. If I feel itchy, I think ‘feeling’ and again, crumble it up into a ball (this one is hard - an itch is an itch). If I hear something, I think ‘hearing’. Then, once I’ve tossed the thought, feel, hear, I go back to ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’.

It seems to work really well for me! And this is coming from someone that was taking a sleeping pill 4+ times a week.

I’ve actually been staying away from the caffeine, hoping to avoid this scenario.

I’ve heard good things about meditation helping with sleep. I need to look into that, but heck if it’ll help me today.

I’ve tried most of your suggestions, ZipperJJ, no luck. No TV in the bedroom - most of the time that’s a good thing, but you’re right, right now, it’d help.

I think I’m just going to push through until dinner time, have a couple glasses of wine, and hope that does the trick.

And, btw, if your dog doesn’t understand afternoon naps, bring her over to meet the pugs. They are nothing if not about afternoon (and morning… and evening…) naps.

Are you dead set against meds? (valerian, melatonin, hops, benadryl, ambien, et al) When I start to sleep badly I stress myself out about it (“Ok, it’s 4:15. . . which means. . . if I fall asleep RIGHT now, then that’s 2 hours and 15 minutes. . .”) and it’s a vicious cycles and, well, I’m a weak person, but meds. Yeah.

To stay awake- caffeine, a brisk walk, jumping jacks or similar exercise, a cold shower.

To fall asleep- satisfied tummy but not a heavy ‘full’ feeling, no TV or computer (the lights simulate daylight, waking up your brain even more), a routine such as reading before bed, a warm bath, etc., and if all else fails I take generic Unisom, doxylamine, which I get at the grocery store for four bucks and change for a 30-day supply. Puts me right out. Also, I use a fan for white noise, which also signals my brain that it’s time to sleep.

As long as you don’t intend to make a habit of it, take some nyquil or a sleeping pill when you have 8+ hours available to sleep. I’ve used nyquil as a sleep aid a few times in the past couple months, and it works when nothing else can.

Before I resort to subtances, though, a pretty good trick of mine is to close my eyes and try to see pictures on the back of my eyelids. The tireder I am when I do this, the more things I see, and in more colors. It’s kinda hard to explain, but it has a meditative effect. In the past I’ve successfully used meditation audios (you can download a bunch of these for free by just googling).

And avoid caffeine. I inadvertently got way too little sleep last night because I got a stressful email from my landlord right before bedtime, and started chugging a generic coke while I typed out my reply. Then I couldn’t fall asleep because stress + caffeine = bad. Now I feel like crap, but I’m going to go home after work and drink some nyquil and sleep for 12+ hours if my body will let me.

Thanks for all the advice.

I’m not opposed to drugs and I actually have some Ambian, but I couldn’t commit to a full 8 hours, especially during the day. I didn’t want to sleep all day, only to wake up at 10pm fully rested - that’d throw my schedule off even more.

As it turned out, I stayed up most of the day feeling zombie-like, went to bed around ten, and sorta got rested. It’s going to definitely take me a few days to get back on schedule.

Bleah. When I was 20, this wouldn’t have even phased me.

My advice is to generally avoid a nap unless you simply can’t stay awake at all. If you do need to nap, try to keep it relatively short. If it gets too long, you can get into deeper parts of sleep and end up feeling worse than when you laid down for the nap. If you still feel you need a nap, the biggest thing that helps me here was learning how to quiet that inner-voice. If you have trouble with that, you can do some simple meditation-like techniques, such as focusing on a particular calming, soothing concept, to sort of force the inner-voice to slow down and stay restricted to that.

Instead, I’d suggest doing things to stay awake for now and try to get a nice full night of sleep instead. To this end, I would suggest some exercise to get your heart rate up and give you some energy. Not enough to tire you out, just something like a 20-minute brisk walk, 20 minutes doing some push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks, etc. I’m often tired and my brain shuts down after a long brutal work out, but I always feel like I’m a lot more alert and awake following 20-30 minutes of cardio or something else similarly short. Any time you start to feel your attention fall off, just stand up and move around for a minute or two.