Agh. I just spent the whole night basically rolling in bed and not getting an eyeful of sleep. Been half of year since that last happened - at the start of the year I seemed to have every Sunday night a sleepless or half-sleepless night. It’s such a wonderful feeling, when your head just can’t clear itself of all the thoughts you think and you can feel your heartbeats and your feet don’t quite know where they should be, and above all is the subtle thought of “Will I get sleep? I must get sleep”, which then guarantees you won’t get sleep.
What’s your way to get rid of sleeplessness?
I have the same problem (I especially like the endless thoughts like “the clock says 4:15. . . so if I get to sleep RIGHT NOW I should get, let’s see. … 3.25 hours of sleep. . .”). Sorry to suggest doping, but I use valerian, the discovery of which was a high point in my adult life. Some people swear by Benadryl, but it sends me crawing around on the walls and ceiling.
When I am up late, unable to sleep, I come here to the SDMB.
(Hey, I didn’t say it worked as a sleep aid, only that it’s what I do when I can’t sleep )
I cover the clock and any other light. Then just lie there until I get to bored to stay awake. Sundays are always the worst…
Strenuous physical activity during the day,reading at night. Works for me.
I have a sleep disorder, so I’ve tried just about everything with varied success, but one thing I’ve found that helps is visualization or meditation of a sort.
You might want to try some tapes or cds (I’ve found a lot of good nature sounds and hypnosis/relaxation sound clips online or through Morpheus).
I know it sounds a little new agey, but if you’re interested here’s my visualization:
I start out for about 2-3 minutes and just listen to my breathing, trying to slow the pace, but not forcing it, just trying to get to a slower, natural pace.
Then, I imagine that the space around me is filled with light, it can be any color you choose, but try to imagine that every inch of the space around you for as far as you can mentally see is bathed in light.
Then, imagine that your body is hollow – like a shell. Your body is filled with dark – all your stress, troubles and anxieties. With each breath, you inhale a bit of light and exhale a bit of dark. The light will start to fill up your body, starting at your toes, and moving on up. Continue in this fashion until all the dark has been exhaled out and your body is filled with light.
Once you’ve pictured this (usually takes a good 10-15 mins for me) if you’re still awake, then imagine that your body is like a giant seed. Every inch of your body that is in contact with the bed will begin to sprout roots. Imagine these roots slowly winding their way down through the bed, the floor, and anchoring you to the earth. With each breath you take your roots will grow a little bit further. Every bit of you will be grounded to the very center of the earth, with your roots extending from your arms, head, legs, and back. Imagine them soaking up all the nutrients your body will need for the next day.
By this point I’m usually asleep or close to it.
If you need any more visualizations, you can do a search for meditation/visualizations that should bring up some more.
Sure beats counting sheep
The problem is, it tends to result in poor sleep and hideously unpleasant mornings. So I wouldn’t really recommend it.
Triazolam - gorgeous stuff - hits fast, burns off fast, no hangover.
[blush] I um, ah, relieve myself. [/blush]
I also suffer from insomnia (mostly in the winter, probably related to SAD and lack of activity). One thing that occasionally works- this is really lame, actually- is pretending to go to sleep. I’ll imagine I feel myself drifting off to sleep, and imagine the kinds of odd dreams I might actually have if I were really asleep… bizarrely, this sometimes works.
About a year ago I began taking calcium supplements. (Just off the shelf stuff, nothing fancy.) Ever since then, my sleep, while not perfect, has vastly improved.
I routinely read myself to sleep. I’ll also do crossword or number puzzles to help slow myself down before going to sleep. Basically, I need something to help burn off excess brain energy and rev down, but then again, I admit to being a consummate geek. I’ll also try playing solitaire, sometimes with cards, sometimes electronic. As a last resort, there’s always Benadryl or acetaminophen with diphenhydramine (aka generic Tylenol PM).
I tend to deliberately make plans for something, especially something complex and convoluted (in my case this will usually be a work-related project of some kind) - I start to plan it out in my mind as a sort of branched structure, starting with the object(or objective) and breaking it down into ever-smaller parts, considering each part in turn and how it fits into the picture.
I never get very far with this - if I’m tired and I devote my entire thoughts to a single topic, everything else gets crowded out (including the silly can’t-sleep-because-I’m-worried-about-not-sleeping cycle) and sleep comes quickly.
I have a short poem that I memorized, it’s not complicated and requires very little thinking, I just repeat it over and over in my head until I start to hypnotize myself then I fall asleep.
I’me one of the fortunate few that can fall asleep in about a minute no matter where I am, but on those occasions where I do have trouble getting to sleep here’s my routine:
I usually can’t sleep because I can’t turn my mind off of some problem I’m facing. To counteract that, I start doing subtraction problems in my head. That distracts me enough so that I can nod off.
If #1 doesn’t work, I get out of bed. I want to associate bed with two things: sex and sleep. I’ll fix myself a very small drink, get a book, and sit in my favorite reading chair. No TV, no music. Just me, a drink and a book. That settles me down.
As was pointed out earlier, a really hard workout earlier in the day always helps too.
I listen to the BBC World Service, all night long. The burbling voices lull me to sleep most nights, but if I’m insomniac, at least I’m not bored and I’m learning stuff. My wife can’t sleep with the radio on, so listen on a single earpiece, that I have learned to switch between ears in my sleep when I roll over.
I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I think I’m a bit weird.
I read of this years ago, and it has worked for me ever since:
Lay in your usual sleeping position, then start to relax your body one muscle at a time. Think of those anatomical drawings showing all the muscles in your body, especially the face. I always start at the top of my head, and work down inch by inch. It's really cool to feel a muscle or body part relax that you didn't even know was tense, or that you even had. Since you are concentrating on the individual muscles to relax, you keep yourself from thinking about yesterday's or tomorrow's problems.
I've done it for so long that I suspect it's become a form of self-hypnosis, and I usually konk out before I get done with my head!
…yawn, I think I need a nap.
Often my mind is so full of things it is hard to get to sleep. To combat this I give myself a limited amount of time to make a mental ‘to do’ list, think of solutions to a problem, or mentally confront whoever it is that has me stressed out.
Meditation, reading and music work for me as well.
My favourite method, however, is nookie. Works every time!!
No caffeine (soda, chocolate, etc.) after 5 o’clock (weeknights of course).
That seems to help me.
Ambien. Also, I never look at the clock or my watch in the middle of the night, since it only leads to more frustration.