Insomnia cures, please.

Tried lots of different pills. Hated 'em all. I’m very sensitive to sedating medications, so even at a low dose, they cause hangovers. Benadryl causes me to rev up half the time.

Even when I am very religious about sleep hygiene, it works only part of the time.

I know half a dozen relaxation techniques. Helpful maybe 20% of the time.

White noise? Check. Those stupid ocean and forest sound CDs? Check. Soothing smells? Check. Again, these work only sometimes.

Put together sleep hygiene and all the relaxation techniques, and I’m a raging insomniac at least one week a month. Really, really affects my ability to function, and it aggravates a chronic medical condition.

Anything that’s worked for you, please let me know. My docs and other advisers are out of suggestions.

melatonin. IANAD, nor do I have this problem, but i do take melatonin for jet lag and for the occaisional up in the middle of the night for no reason. There are people on the boards that take melatonin daily to help them sleep.

BTW, it’s a mineral and not a drug.

Thanks. I know what it is, but have never heard it recommended by anyone. I will still have to run it past my doctor. Even herbs, vitamins, and minerals need to be cross-checked against medications.

Are you male or female?
I am female; my sleeplessness is always worse the week before my period.
I’ve found that increasing my calcium intake helped a lot.
I also use melatonin. I do not use the entire dosage, more like 1/4 to 1/2 a pill.
Have also tried the occasional valerian with some success.

Female. My period’s all messed up because of side effects of the medical condition and the meds. I haven’t noticed a correlation.

My doctor has advised against valerian. He’s seen some bad cases in which it worked for people for awhile, and then it stopped–and their insomnia was worse than ever. We have agreed that we don’t want to take that chance. It’s bad enough as-is.

Gonna ask about the melatonin, though.

I’ve tried melatonin, and calcium, and neither worked for me, but do ask about it and try if you can. Good Og, try anything.

I’m keeping an eye on this thread, because I also have terrible problems with insomnia. For longer than I can remember. :frowning: I’m also out of ideas and done with drugs and OTC remedies. Home remedies, too. My aunt wants me to see an acupuncturist. At this point, I’ll try anything.

The one time I did notice an improvement (though it wasn’t the end of my insomnia, but I got better quality sleep) was when I went to a nutritionist, who really just helped me adjust my dieting habits. As I said, it didn’t make it go away, but I got a little more sleep, and better sleep. However, I stayed on her plan for over a year, and still had insomnia most of the time.

Then there are the usual tips I’ve gotten over the years: don’t eat three hours prior to bedtime, avoid caffeine several hours before bedtime, that kind of thing. For home remedies, though I didn’t find they worked, they may for you: my father used to tell me to eat a banana before bedtime, because the potassium would make you sleepy. I’ve never looked up whether there was any truth to that or not, since it didn’t do anything for me. Co-workers all had the same advice: a shot of bourbon. MY grandmother told me to chew honeycomb. Yummy. Didn’t find it sleep-inducing, though. And don’t use your bed for anything but sleep and sex, no reading, eating, watching TV, doing work/schoolwork on it, etc.

It’s about 5:30am here… I woke up at 8am yesterday. No idea when I’ll be going back to sleep today. I’m tired as all hell… but can’t sleep.

Good luck to you. Ah what the hell - good luck to me, too.


(well, somebody had to say it :smiley: )

In my experience, as taught by my dear old mum, the best cure for insomnia is not to fight it. Lying awake trying to sleep is a guarantee that you won’t. So GET UP. Don’t try relaxation techniques, meditation, or any of that. Rather, do some busy work. Put a load of washing on. Surf the net. Anything. It’s not a sure-fire method by a long shot, but it works for me more often than not. Before I know it my eyelids are drooping.

I’ve tried melatonin, and calcium, and neither worked for me, but do ask about it and try if you can. Good Og, try anything.*

Will do. :slight_smile:

Hope it’s useful to fellow sufferers too. I’ve been an insomniac since childhood, so I feel ya.

I’ve considered acupuncture but I hate needles. Might do it anyway, though.

Good diet, bad diet, South Beach diet, see-food diet…nothing makes an impact.

Unfortunately, I have to eat at least a sandwich. Meds are taken at bedtime and on an empty stomach, they cause explosive diarrhea. Not conducive to good sleep.

Yo, no caffeine here.

Will try instead of the sandwich.

Good thought. I used to do a glass of wine at bedtime, but had to quit drinking altogether for awhile (meds again). I can drink in moderation now–probably time to pick up the habit again and see what happens.

This is what I mean by “sleep hygiene.” I do it, but I end up with a miserable week every month or so anyway. And I am sick of my doctor harping on it. Every time I confess to one tiny little deviation in this, he blames an entire episode of insomnia on it, even if I slip in the middle of an episode (because it’s way hard to be up all night and not use the computer to alleviate boredom).

Ditto, buddy. Though I’m finally starting to get there. Too bad I’m not allowed to go to sleep now. I have to stay up all day to get the sleep cycle back on track.

I do know a trick for doing that. Instead of trying to stay up until my regular bedtime after missing a night of sleep, I konk out at 4 pm or so and just stay asleep until at least 6 am the next morning. I find it really easy to just keep going back to sleep once I start if I intentionally keep my mind blank when I get up to use the bathroom and such. I only have primary insomnia most of the time.

Mind you, I am also currently unemployed. Makes 14-16 hours of sleep much more feasible. :slight_smile:

I don’t mind having someone poke a little fun my way. I’m punchy right now. :slight_smile:

These suggestions are also a part of sleep hygiene, which I practice. If you’re not asleep one hour after being in bed, you get up. Keep the lights low. Do something boring. No TV or computer, though, because it’s activating. (Boring documentaries are one exception that I allow, although I only listen and do not look at the screen. Artificial light sources = bad.) Paying bills and doing crosswords is good. Scrubbing and picking up are bad, though. Too active.

I do all that crap, and it still doesn’t work during that one week a month. :frowning:

Me, too, thank Og in the great hamster wheel in the sky. :wink:

This is much harder to cope with when working. Also… when I was going to school… my insomnia has been with me for most of my life. My mother sat me down one day about eight years ago and just said, “Stasia, you’re not a morning person.” Beautiful! I’m not even a day person! Like you, I’ve been an insomniac since childhood.

I did have a doctor tell me once that my inner clock just wasn’t set for daytime life, and for whatever reason, it would rather be awake at night (though often I go for stretches, like today, where I don’t sleep all night or day…) But I did adjust my life a bit, got put on a graveyard shift at work (when I worked), and things worked out okay then. Granted, when I got home, I wasn’t so much sleepy as exhausted, since it was heavy physical labour for 10-12 hours per night… but I did sleep. Hard. Only lasted a few hours, though.

As for your doctor harping on your “sleep hygiene” - bah. Well… you know, I was about to say “we all do it sometimes, you can’t help it!” but that’s coming from a sister insomniac.

sigh Good luck with the banana. :wink: (that’s the closest smilie for how I feel about the situation. We need a “wry, cynical smile, with just a touch of long-suffering-ness in its eyes” smilie.)

Documented phenomenon. Regular people’s circadian rhythms peak at mid-day. It’s a nice, gentle slope But some groups of people–bipolar people in particular–have circadian rhythms that are shifted toward night. They reach a high, sudden peak late in the evening and then drop off relatively fast.

Enough beating around the bush. My chronic medical problem is bipolar disorder. I don’t like to talk about it on the boards so much anymore because I am tired of hearing people (myself included) whine about their mental illnesses, like they’re Get Out of Jail Free cards for every life responsibility. (Friendly exaggeration here.)

But it’s really the source of the problem. I have to fight nature in order to conform to the real world’s schedule. And I feel better when I’m awake during daylight hours. I work hard at it, but relapse always happens. I just want to find a way to make it less frequent. I am so useless when I haven’t slept.

Too bad nobody wants a night shift lawyer. :slight_smile:

I’m another one of those people whose inner clock must be set to the daylight cycle of another planet, because apparently I’m running on a 26 hour day. Nice, eh? Thus, many troubles with insomnia, for my entire lifetime (since I was a baby, so my mother said).

I do use medication for it, which is only partially successful. I used to take Ambien, but that drug will eventually make you crazy. Right now, trying Lunesta, and it’s OK, but doesn’t prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night. Be careful with melatonin; if you’re prone to depression, it can make it worse. Chamomile tea might help you, though.

So here’s what’s worked for me:

–Go to bed and get up around the same time. You probably already do this, but resist the urge to sleep in more than an hour or two.

–Exercise every day, if only for half an hour.

–Try really hard not to eat too much before bed. Is there any way you can take your meds an hour before bed? 'Cause eating before bed not only contributes to insomnia but also to obesity.

–I love my white sound machine. Mine’s set on Rain, and I used it every night. I’ve become Pavlov’s Insomniac-- I hear that sound and instantly get sleepy, though years of associating it with bedtime.

–Take a hot shower. This only works in the winter, for me anyway.

–Follow a bedtime ritual. Mine’s very banal-- tooth flossing and brushing, face washing, hair combing and braiding, getting into pajamas, doing the relaxation thing, then turning on the sound machine, reading for 10 minutes, and poof! I’m out. I do it in the same order every night and it works.

Good luck to you. Sleep can happen. As someone who has suffered for decades, I can tell you I sleep better now than I ever have in my life due to the above techniques.

Worst sleeper in the world here.

I’ve been taking the Ambien when it gets really bad. I limit myself to once overy two weeks (at most), when I KNOW I’m not going to be able to fall asleep. Ambien seems to work wonders for me, without any hangover effect of over the counters (which I took a total of twice in my life, and hated).

I’m curious to Rubystreak s experience above with Ambien making you crazy…

Also, one other thing for the OP. I stress less about it. I think I just need less sleep than others. So, when my body doesn’t sleep one night, I get an extra few hours to read. Just accept it. Missing one night of sleep is not really a big deal, and unless you’re a surgeon or a fighter pilot, probably won’t affect your day too badly.

The key is to not stress out about it which will make you not be able to sleep the next night and the night after that.

Be careful with melatonin; if you’re prone to depression, it can make it worse.*

Ha. Forget it, then.

Someone told me not to do this. Will look into it anyway.

Yup, do it. Inevitably, though, I get a night where I just can’t fall asleep, and everything is screwed from there.

Working on it.

Playing with it. Definitely have to eat something substantial, usually with protein, within that three hours before bed, though.

Forest Sounds used to work great for me, and then one day the crickets started driving me crazy. Ocean sounds like static and sets my teeth on edge. Babbling Brook makes me have to pee and has some god-awful twittering bird on it. I stopped using it.

Experimenting with candlelit bubble baths.

Do it. Works only three weeks out of four, though.

I am hoping getting cracking on the exercise is what will make the difference.

My insomnia was so bad when I was in my 20’s that it was affecting my job, so I went to a shrink and got Ambien. It was great at first, until I started not going to bed right away after taking it. If you haven’t experienced this, you probably shouldn’t try it, but I used to resist falling asleep, and then you go into this weird twilight zone where you eat lots of food, have strange conversations with people, and do other really odd things. The most fun part is when you wake up, you really can’t remember what you did. It’s like a scene from Memento where you have to figure it out from clues in your house and what other people tell you. It can be scary :eek:

This phenomenon is magnified exponentially when Ambien is combined with other substances. I’ll let you use your imagination on that one.

There are two other things about Ambien-- first, it’s addictive. If you take it too long and too often, you will have rebound insomnia from hell when you finally stop taking it, replete with nightmares (maybe that was only me, who knows?). Also, you tend to need a higher dose after a while to get the same effect, and I didn’t want to go down that road.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Ambien. Heck, I saved a couple for emergencies on those nights when nothing else worked. I think that’s its ideal usage, not daily use as it was prescribed for me. Just be careful and respect its awesome powers :wink:

Obviously my insomnia was never as bad as yours, and I’m sure this suggestion sounds juvenile, but what I did was set up a bedtime routine including a hot bath. I get into a hot bath, read, get into bed, read until I fall asleep.

For several years I took a bath every single time before I fell asleep. Mid-day naps, coming home at 4 am, hot days. Now taking a bath is sort of a signal to my body, and I fall asleep now within 15-30 min of getting into bed, rather than my usual previous 2 hours.

All right, that’s pretty much how I use it. Once in awhile.

Or for long flights…

I have found listening to music helps with sleep a lot. I listen to Elliott Smith’s Either/Or every night as I fall asleep and I’m almost always out before track five comes on.


Exercise, will help relieve the stress and make your body need sleep more! Not
to mention the other benefits, better waste line and health! Since I’ve stared and exercise routine (30 min of cardio + 1 hour of weights, 3 - 4 times a week) I sleep like a baby!
I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise … but that’s for another thread.

Also, about your inner clock. I read and thread the following, tryed it, and it worked for me …
though it’s hard at first.

Your body wants to get into a natural rhythm (inner clock cycle).
So, if you get up every day for work a 6:00 AM; don’t lounge around in bed or sleep
till 8, 10 or 11:00 AM on the weekends. Give yourself a half hour extra on the weekends and
set your alarm for 6:30 AM on your days off! Yea, I can hear all of you screaming WHAT!!!.
After a few weeks you don’t even need an alarm to get up and you fall asleep a few minuets
after your head hits the pillow at 11:00 PM. Of course your should be allowing for 7 hour or sleep time … I do fine with 6. None of the staying up till 1:00 AM and trying to get up at 5:30 AM stuff.

Both of the above worked for me and IMHO everyone should try it.

PS On a side note with the exercise and weight lifting. Since I’ve sprouted some nice muscles, it’s funny how the girls find excuses touch me all the time:)