I cannot sleep. Need answer fast.

No matter what time I go to bed, I invariably wake up between 1:00 and 2:00 AM. And when I wake up, I’m up for keeps; I cannot go back to sleep before noon and when I do that, I wake up two hours later. My doctor has promised me some sort of device to determine if I have sleep apnea but it hasn’t arrive yet. In the meantime, this crap is killing me.

Is there an over the counter thing that will put me to sleep and allow me to stay asleep for more than two hours?

Help; I need help. Please.

Benedryl. Generic name: diphenhydramine.

Take 50mg (usually 2 small caplets/tablets/whatever pill form you get), should knock you out for 6 hours or so. The instructions on the box usually say to just take one for antihistamine (allergy) issues, and the recommendation not to take more is, well, because they make you drowsy. I’ve been known to take 75mg on a couple of occasions. Makes me feel like I’ve had a couple drinks and then lights out.

Full disclosure - some people get hyper instead of drowsy, so if you haven’t really used it before, take just one and give it 20 minutes or so before taking the second.

Another OTC is doxylamine succinate which is found in the original Unisom and store brand versions. (Check the labels.)

Chlorpheniramine maleate (sold under names such as Chlortabs) is another allergy med with a mild drowsiness effect. Good to take in the middle of the night to go back to sleep. There’s also a bromine based version but that’s harder to find in the US lately.

Valerian root works for some people.

I’ve had relatively good luck with these when I wake up in the middle of the night like you are doing. If your insomnia continues long term you may have to talk to a doctor.

I don’t know if anxiety about your sleep pattern is making it difficult to get back to sleep. If it is, this may interest you.

Waking up in the middle of the night is not necessarily a sign of something being terribly wrong. Relax, get up, do something quiet, and if/when you feel sleepy again, go back to bed.

I just tried that last night and it seemed to work.

My Wife and I also sometimes use Calms. Works well for us.

I love Simply Sleep, or any generic form. It’s TylenolPM or AdvilPM with just the diphenhydramine, no pain killers or muscle relaxants.

Yes, I ran out, that’s why I’m typing this so early on the PST zone. :frowning:

Make sure you’ve got all the bases covered on sleep hygiene: http://www.umm.edu/sleep/sleep_hyg.htm

Make sure you find out from your insurance company whether or not this is covered. Both my doctor and the company that provided the equipment led me to believe that it would be. I told them that I was concerned about costs and they said that they would check with the insurance company. All they checked was to make sure that there was no co-pay, not whether or not it was covered. After a generous “discount” I ended up paying $700 for the privilege of knowing I do not have sleep apnea. Certainly my fault for not checking with insurance first, but don’t let them fool you into thinking it’s not necessary.

As for other sleep issues, I have been having some trouble the past few nights. I took two Benadryl (as suggested upthread) and felt like I would fall asleep easily, but instead I had earworms, restless legs and what felt like waking fever dreams. I got up a few times, but each time as soon as I was on my feet I felt supremely groggy and had to go lie down again. Finally fell asleep after several hours of this, which is better than the night before, when I took nothing, but for the first couple hours it was a no-win situation. I haven’t been exercising regularly lately, and I know that when I do I generally don’t have problems, so I’ll be getting back on the treadmill tonight for sure.

My mom (who is in her early 80s) had problems with insomnia. She found the usual OTC meds mentioned above made her too sleepy during the day. I suggested she try melatonin and she’s had good luck with that. It helps her stay asleep but doesn’t cause her to be groggy if she does get up to go to the bathroom. It’s usually in the vitamin aisle at drugstores and supermarkets.

  1. Can you plan to go to bed super-early so you can wake up at 1-2am and have gotten at least 6 hours of sleep?
  2. I love my melatonin liquid. Hold a small amount under your tongue for as long as you can before you swallow, and it will kick in within a half hour. It helps me get to sleep and stay there.
  3. Benadryl tablets. I take 2 and plan to sleep for 10 hours, because 1 doesn’t have much of an effect on me. It still makes me feel out-of-sorts the next morning (uncoordinated and slow on the uptake), but being better-rested is sometimes worth it.
  4. Practice taking naps. It’s a skill that can be developed. I used to be the same way, up for the day once I was woken up by anything. I practiced napping, and now I’m good at going back to sleep when I awaken in the middle of the night.
  5. Listen to guided meditation and progressive muscle relaxation audios on youtube. You can stream them in bed on a smartphone or plug headphones into your computer.
  6. White noise. You don’t need a fancy white noise machine, just a box fan turned on high (I have a loud window air conditioner). You will get used to the sound within a few days at most, and then noises outside your bedroom won’t even filter in (well, maybe an atomic blast). The fact that you always wake up at the same time no matter what time you go to bed makes me think there *might *be some kind of recurring nightly event that is waking you up. Is it possible a neighbor is slamming a door, or letting out their dog, or a bright light is coming in through your window? Maybe blackout curtains could help, too.

There’s evidence that blue light (like the kind that emanates from a computer monitor) staves off your body’s natural production of melatonin. It’s easy to stay up too late if you play on the computer in the evenings longer than you should. If that’s a factor, try to cultivate an offline before-bed habit like reading a book with some decaffeinated tea.

These are all general suggestions for fighting insomnia, some of which may not apply to you at all. But the meditation audios, in particular, are great for getting back to sleep in the middle of the night. And Benadryl is supposed to help you stay asleep, if you can deal with the hangover.

I use this, and it works great. Go to Wal-Mart, and you can get a bottle of 100 caplets for 4 bucks. That’s about four times cheaper than the branded Benedryl-based OTC sleep aids such as Simply Sleep.

It could be an age-related issue. When people get old, they need less sleep, and when retired, they are no longer systematic in their bed- and waking-times.

I betting that you doze off during the day, as well. If that is the case, you need to force yourself to stay awake all day, and after a few days, you will find yourself returning to a normal sleep cycle.

However, this disruption of sleep hours could return periodically.

I would strongly urge you to resolve this without any kinds of medications.

I’d ditch the clown bed.

I have a similar thing going on. No matter what time I go to bed, what I did during the day (active or several Netflix movies), whether or not I napped, I snap awake at 3:15 every morning and usually am awake for a couple of hours before dozing off again (at about which time hubby gets up to go to work so I am awake again). I stopped looking at the clock, thinking that I was just confirming to my body that this was when we were to wake up. No matter. 3:15 on the dot, my eyes fly open and I am awake. If I take a sleep aid (OTC) before going to bed and it’s strong enough, I can sleep through my usual 3:15 wake-up, but they make me groggy and thirsty. (Herbal stuff has no effect on me.)

Drives me nuts.