Insomniacs, how do you deal with extracurriculars?

I often wake up at 2/3/4/5 am (usually to pee) and cannot go back to sleep. Whether because my brain starts thinking, a nostril is blocked and I can’t breath, I’m too hot, too cold, one of the cats will start fussing just as I’m about to drop off, I hear the birds start singing so I start thinking it will soon be time to get up… there is almost always a reason I don’t get back to sleep.

Other times, like tonight, I don’t get to sleep at all. Usually due to brain activity, often in combination with one or more of the above.

Even worse are the times I get a migraine (either before I manage to fall asleep in the first place or at some point during the night when I wake up with the start of one). In general lying down will make it worse, so I have to force myself to sit up. So the next day, in addition to the lack of sleep I have to deal with the “hangover” as well.

The waking up in the middle of the night happens a few times a week and the not sleeping at all maybe once a week (sometimes once a fortnight if I’m lucky). The point is that I am running on a sleep deficit most of the time.

On the rare occasions I manage to get 7-8 hours of sleep, or the even rarer occasions it happens 2 nights in a row I am like a different person. More energy, better mood, clear mind, it’s like heaven. Heck, even if I get 6 hours a couple of nights I feel much better.

Now normally I power through the day at work, sometimes if I have had a very rough patch I do the bare minimum, but often adrenalin kicks in at some point which also helps.

Thing is, after I complete the “must-do” part of the day, i.e. go to work and possibly go by the supermarket on my way home - just a block from where I live, I cannot, repeat cannot do anything else.

I have dropped yoga lessons, guitar lessons etc due to exhaustion. I have cancelled dates with friends because I have strength only for sitting on the sofa and watching TV.

So, what do other sleep-challenged dopers do with extracurricular stuff? Such as going to the gym, meeting friends, a hobby?

What do you do when your “must-do’s” extend past your working hours? Such as caring for an ailing relative, child related obligations etc

I was thinking of starting yoga again, and then I thought “what’s the point? You’ll only end up skipping every other class, and after a few months of that, when the busy period at work starts again, you will stop altogether”.

So, how do people cope with life outside of work?

I quit fighting it. It just takes too much energy. I sleep at odd times. My hobbies are just art I can do at my own pace. When I had young kids I just forced myself to do what was needed. It was difficult and like you I was sleep deprived most of the time. I’m lucky in that I don’t need to leave the house most days. I do not know how someone lives with insomia and has a career.
Have you considered sleep aids like Ambien? They didn’t work out for me, but alot people use them and are helped.

Well most of the time the problem is getting back to sleep once I’ve already had 3-4 hours of sleep plus quite frankly possible side-effects and possible addiction really scare me.
But I am thinking of going by the Organic shop after work (thankfully almost opposite where I live) and getting some Valeriana (no idea what it’s called in English) and/ or other relaxing herb.

Plenty of people use herbals and are helped. I wish you good luck.

I have had the same issue as you for probably 15 years. Melatonin helps and is not addicting like Ambien. I tried valerian (the English name), but couldn’t stand the smell, and it didn’t work for me, anyway.

What fixed most of my issue in the end was going to a sleep medicine clinic. They emphasized that they don’t prescribe drugs as a first-line treatment. They did a very thorough 2-hour intake reviewing my entire medical history, including any issues that might contribute to sleep problems. In the end, the psychologist who did the intake said it was possible that my sinus and respiratory issues were contributing factors, but asked whether I wanted to try keeping a sleep diary for a few weeks to see if we could figure it out without sending me for expensive testing.

After reviewing my sleep logs, he asked me to try something that might seem counterintuitive - going to sleep later. His theory was that 6 hours of good sleep would be much more effective than 8 - 9 hours of crappy sleep. And he was absolutely right - that one change fixed 90 - 95% of my sleep problems.

YMMV, of course, but maybe it’s worth a try for you.

Very interesting, thank you. I have also been considering Melatonin although I have read that some people have some side-effects. Good point about fewer hours of decent sleep vs more of crappy sleep. I will also look into if sleep clinics exist here.

Thank you too, Beck.

Of course they exist. :smack:
But I thought they only dealt with sleep apnea issues till I read the blurb about what they do.

I should warn you that for me, too high a dose of melatonin tends to correlate with nightmares. A moderate dose (for me, 1.5mg seems to be about the limit) does not have this problem.

I’m a chronic insomniac myself, I suspect due to emotional issues.

The 1st paragraph of the O.P. sounds a lot like me. And, much like Beck who posted here already, I quit fighting it. By which I mean, I used to do that thing where, upon waking up, I’d get so anxious about how little sleep I’d be getting. “Okay, if I fall back asleep nnnnnnow I’ll get 6 and a half hours. [Time passes.] Well, I can get 5 hours, if I fall asleep NOW!” Etc.

Now I simply take for granted that I will wake up, often around 4 or 5 ish, and - here’s the key - I assume I’ll be up for an hour or two. I go potty, fart around on the Dope (it’s 3 a.m. right now, ahem) have a snack, go to the bathroom again, decide those leftovers from dinner sound good & have what essentially amounts to Dinner v. 2.0 and then, lulled by food in my belly, drift back off again. There’s no more anxiety about falling back asleep since now, I know I will, eventually, and until then, hey! Dope thread!

This was all made possible when I took a job that starts later in the morning (between 9 and 11 a.m.) and lemme tell you, back when I worked a job that required me to be up by 6:30 a.m. that was sheer bloody hell. That time is right when I’m either finally just drifting back off, or am already heavily the fuck back asleep.

Anywhoo, to address the O.P. directly, my hobbies are self-directed and not done in a group at a specific time. I have myriad little projects, plus I breed a critter species and make jewelry, all stuff that doesn’t require meeting others or scheduling a class.

Now that I typed all this out, my sleep issues are part of why I’ve drifted in that direction. Never thought about it like that before; always chalked it all up just to being a curmudgeonly introvert. But when I’m around people I usually find myself quite enjoying the interaction. Huh. Perhaps I’m not actually the antisocial bitch I’ve led myself to believe. Maybe it’s really always just been the insomnia.

Bonus unsolicited advice: try CBD if it’s legal in your area. The THC-free kind does not get you high in the least, but can blunt the sharpest edges of anxiety in a lot of people, which helps with getting some damn rest.

My insomnia was one of the reasons I quit my day job and began working at home, as an artist. Best decision I ever made.

I’ve given up trying to handle my insomnia. I sleep whenever I feel the need, if only for an hour or two. No sleep medication has had any effect on me, so I just plow through the day (or night) until I collapse from exhaustion.

Other than doctors’ appointments, I rarely have anything scheduled that I must attend. Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband in this respect.

My uncle is a split sleeper: he sleeps four hours at night (late) and four hours after a late lunch. His workday ended at 3pm: he’d go home, eat, nap, and be up by the time people whose jobs ended at 1800 or 1900 were gearing up to Do Stuff. He’s now retired but still keeps similar hours. His older brother said that kind of pattern was what’s normal in most ships and adapting to it is one of the biggest problems many newbie sailors face (Older Uncle was a captain in large merchant vessels).

ETA: I know Valeriana may correspond to several languages, but if it happens to be Spanish, this page may be of interest. (I don’t know the guy, but I’ve skimmed a little and the stuff he says matches what I’ve heard from other docs),

I have the same waking pattern. Usually it’s right at 3:40 am. Weird. Sometimes I try to get back to sleep, sometimes I get up and read for an hour and that distracts my brain enough to get me back to sleep.

If I have a run of nights with bad sleep, I’ll take a Benadryl before bed. That keeps me asleep pretty good. I do that for a couple or three nights in a row and I can usually get re-set to a normal sleep pattern. Melatonin makes me doubt my sanity.

As far as handling daytime activities, I often just blow them off too. I haven’t been quite that bad in a while, though. As hard as it can be, some good exercise during the day can help me sleep.