General Question

rangerr's avatar

Fluther. I think I'm going insane. I haven't really slept at all this week. Any advice?

Asked by rangerr (15661 points ) December 6th, 2010

In the past week.. I’ve slept at night maybe 3 times? But each time, it was only for about 4 hours. Those 4 hours were filled with nightmares, so it wasn’t very useful sleep.

I’ve taken 3 hour naps twice with the youngling.. but that’s it.

I know I can’t sleep because I’m stressed, and a bit panicky about some things. I’d rather not go into that.

I’m only assuming that until I get over the stress, I’m stuck in a cycle of not sleeping. This is where you guys come in..

I’m assuming I’m not hopeless.. I just have no idea what to do.
I need sleep. I work 50 hours a week. I have a tolerance to sleep meds, so that’s not going to help too much. I’ve locked myself in our basement room with the lights off for hours and still I just kinda chilled there until I went crazy from thinking. Fuck, I hope this question even makes sense.

Help me, Fluther.. you’re my only hope.

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61 Answers

everephebe's avatar

Nightcaps?

Xena's avatar

Have you tried listening to some sort of relaxing music? Baroque music is calming and lowers your heart rate. Well, so long as you avoid the loud organ pieces. I’m betting they have music even more soothing than this that can help your body calm down. The hard part for me when I can’t fall asleep is turning my brain off. Maybe music will let your mind drift off?

I don’t know what kinds of sleep meds you’re resistant to, but Benadryl works for me about half to ¾ of the time. Melatonin can also be very helpful. Other things are to take a hot bath or shower, which will help your body relax and get into sleep mode, and to avoid caffeine after noon.

Alcohol, as @everephebe suggested, may help, but be forewarned that studies show that the quality of your sleep is not as good when going to bed inebriated.

Good luck!

rangerr's avatar

@Xena I’ve tried music. Just about every kind there is. Even the songs that normally melt my little heart into a dream-like state aren’t helping anymore.

We have both Benadryl and Melatonin, but they don’t do anything for me. Nyquil keeps me awake. Weed is usually relaxing, but everything just relaxes me…but keeps me awake.
Even alcohol, dude. I’ve gotten trashed this weekend, which, in theory, should make me pass out. But I stayed awake for another day.

I’m a mess.

Jeruba's avatar

Warm milk is a time-honored remedy. I haven’t actually tried it anytime since I was old enough to exercise a personal choice in the matter. Milk has to be practically frozen for me to drink it.

Sometimes I too get stuck in these damned cycles. I am not an insomniac. But sometimes I can’t sleep. I figured out that one cause of recent troubles was pain meds that I was taking to oppose the pain that was causing the sleep trouble. The cure was worse than the ailment! Are you taking anything—anything—that could be messing up your sleep?

The stress and the panic that you don’t want to go into, though: darlin’, that lights up in neon red. Not asking you. Just asking—can you do anything about that? It sounds like a key to the rest of it.

rangerr's avatar

@Jeruba I’m pretty sure it’s why I can’t sleep. At this point, there’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing bad, so no worries. I just worry too much about things.

I have yet to try warm milk. Think warm almond milk would have the same effect? I don’t even know the purpose of warm milk…

Jeruba's avatar

Warm milk (lactose) has some kind of a sleep-inducing chemical effect. At the moment (it’s late) I forget, but somebody around here will know.

Of course I worry about you. But—you know what? Try the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

That is powerful. Let go of what you can’t change and work on what you can. You could live your life by this.

You are not going insane.

everephebe's avatar

My trick for pain-induced insomnia is a glass of warm honeymilk, and a splash or two of whiskey. Watch something boring.

Don’t do anything in bed except sleep, and well one other activity.

I’ve been really struggling with hypersomnia, and insomnia lately. I haven’t been able to sleep normally for about a month. So, I feel ya, no insanity don’t worry.

koanhead's avatar

I also have trouble sleeping and bad dreams. Oh well, I’m a bad person.

Melatonin works for me sometimes. I see that it doesn’t work for you. However, valerian root does not work for me, so maybe it would work for you? That’s how it works, right?
Also chamomile tea can be soporific, and it tastes good.

everephebe's avatar

I love how all the insomniacs are answering this question. Well, it’s 4am my time at least.

Xena's avatar

@Jeruba – The chemical is tryptophan, which is converted by the body into melatonin and seratonin. However, they kind of debunked this explanation because the levels found in milk (and turkey) weren’t high enough to actually affect people.

So, the theory is that warm milk helps because it’s warm and warmth increases sleepiness and also the psychological reasoning of being reminded of breastfeeding. That’s what they say, anyway. :) (source)

Oh, also, speaking of warm drinks.. teas like chamomile and Sleepytime are supposed to be relaxing. I don’t know what’s open near you, but there are some herbal supplements like catnip and valerian that do have physiological relaxing properties. We gave valerian to my hyperactive cousin and she dropped like a bird in mid-air.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s only 2:17 a.m. here. I just finished my final paper for my lit. course and had a couple glasses of wine. Time to go to bed now.

augustlan's avatar

Have you noticed any changes during the day? Feeling hyper, jittery, shaky hands? Losing weight that you can ill afford to lose? I’ve seen pictures, and you are quite thin. If any of that sounds at all familiar, you might want to get your thyroid checked asap. When I was 15, I couldn’t sleep a wink for days, and felt I was going insane. Turns out I had Thyroid Storm, which is very serious. Like, it can kill you serious.

SiameseIfYouPlease's avatar

Ambien works for me.

BUT if you want to avoid pharmaceuticals (and yes, you should avoid them, never mind that I use them, if you can avoid them do) then try this:

Chamomile Tea. It’s lovely. Drink a cup before bed and you should have a much better time getting to sleep.

I do NOT recommend Melatonin (even less than pharmaceuticals like Amnbien and Lunesta).

But: If you DO try Meletonin – you’ll notice after two weeks of use you will have the MOST VIVID AND BIZZARE DREAMS of your entire life.

.
Seriously, try the Camomile tea, or Celestial Seasoning’s “Sleepy Time” tea.

rangerr's avatar

@Jeruba

@everephebe It’s almost 5:30 here. My alarm clock goes off at 5:55. Haaa.

@Xena @koanhead I’ve tried tea, too. Sleepytime tea is too good. I just want to stay up all night drinking it. :l

@augustlan No changes during the day. And I’ve gained weight thank God. (But when I can sleep.. it’s never enough. I think someone mentioned the thyroid problems as a possible cause of that when I asked about sleeping too much..)

perspicacious's avatar

Stay off of the internet. Don’t turn on the TV. Go to bed with a book that’s not really interesting but make yourself read. Prior to going to bed have a cup of warm white rice. Don’t return to regular activities until you sleep. BTW, many people can survive on four or five hours per night. I did it for several years myself. I don’t claim that it’s a great way to live, but it didn’t kill me.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I’ve found that when I am panicked or preoccupied with something specific, that if I chart out a course of action on paper, and pick one small thing that I can do to help me get a toehold on control of just a little bit of the situation, I can sleep because I have the illusion of not being at the mercy of the situation. Even the act of making a list of what needs to be done, organizing papers, deciding to make a phone call in the morning can abate the adrenaline rush of stress. Worrying is a miserable state.

Barring that, clean room, fresh sheets, bowl of oatmeal, hot bath, low lights, relaxation techniques. Even if you can’t sleep, placing yourself in a state of rest will help. Staying on the computer at night will make it worse.

augustlan's avatar

@rangerr The thyroid is a fickle beast. It can be under-active (making you sleep and gain weight), over-active (insomnia and weight loss), or bat-shit insane (thyroid storm – over-active to the point of death). It wouldn’t hurt to get yours checked.

In the meantime, I’d try deep breathing while you’re in bed, trying to block out all thoughts except those counting the beats of your breaths. Slow count of 4 on inhale through the nose – expanding your stomach rather than your chest. Hold for a slow count of 4, then exhale through your mouth for a slow count of four. Pause, repeat.

Another thing that has worked for me in the past is to do fairly simple math problems in my head, over and over and over. Just complicated enough to keep me focused on the math, but not so complicated that I get frustrated in the process.

spykenij's avatar

Sheesh! An aweful lot of responses here, but I have the same trouble, so here’s what I do: If you listen to any kind of relaxing music, I suggest you research something with more alpha-waves in it to help you better deal with the stress. Chamomile or rosemary tea without sugar is good, aromatherapy incense like lavander or rosemary essential oils are even good. Most medication with a sleep aid in it has Bendryl in it, so if those do work for you, skip the Tylanol and just buy Diphenhydramine (aka Benedryl). 3mg of Melatonin is usually a good, natural way to help achieve sleep. Believe me, I know – sleep is an achievement, not just something that happens…at least not for me. I really think a combo of soothing alpha-wave packed music and aromatherapy would do it for you. Local library is the best place to start looking for the music and if you have any kind of shops that sell essential oils, but ask and make sure you only get soothing ones. Stay away from Bergamot – I love it, but it gave me wicked nightmares, so stay away from anything too citrusy or spicy. Vanilla, lavender, chamomile…soothing. If you are having really bad anxiety, try breathing into and out of a paper lunch bag. Carbon dioxide you exhale and reinhale slows breathing and has a calming affect. If all else fails, Xanax works pretty well, but make sure your doctor isn’t an ass, like mine and puts you on .25—.50mg TID/PRN.

Xena's avatar

Speaking of warm milk.. in my search for more information for my post above, I found the best Yahoo Answers question ever!

Does warm milk work on black people?

(and this is sort of on-topic, because my answer about the efficacy of tryptophan is included)

cazzie's avatar

Don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound a bit manic. Have you had your hormones and endocrine system checked? I couldn’t sleep when I was running hyper with my thyroid hormones running rampant so and I thought I was going crazy and started seeing someone for stress when what I needed was a doctor and a simple blood test.

When you haven’t slept you can’t think straight, making all the stressful things that you’re trying to deal with even that much harder.

See a doctor about your hormones and try a hot shower or bath with lavender. Cut out ALL soda and coffee and start dimming the lights in your house early in the evening to start giving you a sense of quiet and calm earlier so you have time to wind down. No loud music, or exciting TV shows. I find Animal Planet or National Geographic are great to sleep to if I have to have a nap in front of the TV during the day.

Go easy on yourself. The more you panic and worry, the worse this will get. You have to really work at breaking this cycle so you can get your mind back and able to concentrate on what you need to be dealing with.

Good luck and may the Force be with you.

rangerr's avatar

My alarm clock keeps going off now..
I work until about 7 tonight… would it be a bad idea to try and sleep when I get home? I have a feeling I’d end up waking up in the middle of the night, though.. then it’d be another cycle..
aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Also. I think rpm fell asleep on his keyboard. Goodnight, lovely.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Hi, my name is rpm & I’m an insomniac. Current time is 5:16am. 6:15am. I get 3 hours of sleep a night. On nights with a cocktail of sleep aid & migraine medicine, I can add another 2 hours to that total. Sleep deprivation induced hallucinations have become a second reality. I am stressed to the point of chest pains. I wish I had answers for you, rangerr. I really do. But I too am on this sinking ship, the S.S.Youneedsomefuckingsleep,now! My brain operates at full speed until it burns out & I wake up 3 hours later – with a brain that has been waiting for me for the past 45 minutes.

Some things you could try, that have sometimes worked for me.

Go for a run before bed. I found that going for a few mile run at 3am – got my mind/body tired enough to collapse in my bed & didn’t even have to count the fat sheep who struggle with clearing that short picket fence.

What sucks with ‘reading a boring’ book in bed. There needs to be a light on in order to read.

You could try sleeping somewhere that is uncommon. Living room couch. Floor of bedroom.May sound odd, but I have fallen asleep quicker when not in bed. I still only get the few hours of sleep – but that painful waiting room feel, doesn’t last as long.

You could write. About everything & nothing. You don’t even need to save the file when you are done. Just open a new text document & go fucking nuts. When you type it out – it frees up some space in the brain. Not much space. But it may be enough to get you to fall asleep that night. Shitty thing is – tomorrow your brain will have filled that empty space in a matter of seconds.

I don’t recommend chatting with me at night. ;) I love talking with ya, but seriously – we are each-others worst nightmare. I will just keep talking & keep you awake. You will just keep talking & keep me awake. We are a dangerous combination at night. <3

I do not recommend this (I repeat, do not), but I discovered as a last resort… blaring music on headphones has put me to sleep. I have fallen asleep with in-ear buds crammed into my ears & had music blasting at a dangerous volume level. That loud music would fill my skull. My busy, yet tired mind would surrender to the music & I would pass out. I have not gone deaf (yet), but I do have occasional episodes of tinnitus.

I wish I had more to say. I’m sorry I don’t have any definitive answer that warrants a great night of sleep – guaranteed.

Feels impossible, doesn’t it? Like somehow this is a life that we need to adjust to & not get over. Will I be like this when I’m 30? 50? 89? Can a person live like this for such a long time? Is it even living? We sleep like the living & we live like the dead.

I do want to say thank you. For asking this question. I started writing at 5:16. I finished at 6:15. My brain has relaxed a bit & I feel I may sleep soon. Hopefully – after reading this long ass quip – you will feel tired too. :)

rangerr's avatar

@rpm_pseud0name I do feel tired.. but sadly. I must go to work in about 10 minutes.

I run 3 miles a day.. and it usually doesn’t make me tired. Though, I haven’t tried it right before bed. Maybe I should do that tonight. Yes, I think I will. 3 miles, plus to the park to swing for a bit. All with music. Then home and pass out? I sure do hope that works.

The only uncommon place to sleep that isn’t occupied by a person or animal or creepy things that live in my basement.. is the bathtub. I’ve thrown a sleeping bag in there a few times and passed out.. I could try that too.

Maybe heavier blankets would work? I love having that weight.. I just hate waking up sweating in the morning. I could deal. Just wake up earlier and take a shower? Okay, self.

I’ve done the writing thing. I emailed myself 12 times this past week. Obviously I feel the need to fix the stress.. but all I can do is e-yell at myself. And that’s no good. Writing turns into self-hate pretty fast for me. I just yell at myself for not being able to fix everything. :l

We are nightmares. Lets make a rule of when we can and can’t talk to each other. For sleep’s sake. You’re fantastic, but you’re no help and so much help at the same time.

Loud music.. I’ve tried that too. I’ve tried every combination of music.. Even the songs that you send me that normally relax me to sleep? Not helping. Hi, I’m Madi and I’m also an insomniac. Let’s be friends. With benefits. You’re gay? Too bad.

I have no attention span.. I certainly wouldn’t have one to read. I mean.. I do read.. but not when there’s things to worry about.. So luckily you’ve crossed that off my list for me.

I hope I’m not like this when I’m old.
Or you.
Or anyone.
Oh dear.

I’m rambling. I need to shut up. Partly because I sound like you, partly because I’ll get in trouble if I keep going, but mostly because I should be going to work now.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Have you tried a couple of over the counter Benadryl? They knock me out in 30 minutes – and they only cost 3 cents a piece.

Dairy (cheese, milk) before bed give me nightmares every time. I avoid them.

BoBo1946's avatar

It so shall pass! Everyone goes through those kind of weeks. You body is getting more rest than you think. You have been given some very good remedies above. My advise is to get on a schedule. Don’t take the naps. Go to bed about the same time every night. I’ve a TV in my bedroom with a sleep timer. It has helped me over the years to relax and fall a sleep.

tigress3681's avatar

I have regular bouts of insomnia as well, typically due to stress/anxiety. For example, this last week I had a job interview, and the night prior, I never got sleepy… well not till an hour before I had to get dressed.

If you are insomniac and feel fine: Do nothing, you are what you feel, fine!

If you are insomniac and feel tired/exhausted: OTC sleep drugs and other sleep aids like warm milk, hot showers, etc may help, try those. I have found that they just relax me and do not actually help me sleep. And the OTC sleep aids tend to make me sleep for a few hours but I wake up groggy. The only thing that helps me sleep, is getting rid of the stressor/anxiety.

If it is a problem in a relationship (work/spousal/familial/etc), work on improving it. If it is a problem with studies/work/etc, like a homework problem or you stress because you have a customer issue, find a way to solve the problem.

If the stressor is general anxiety about something you have no control over… you could try “getting over it” “relaxing” etc but that to me is too vague. When the world really gets me stressed, or I am unable to overcome something out of my control, I do one of two things… 1. Have fun: enjoy a decadent piece of chocolate or a latte/get drunk/hang out with friends/watch a great comedy/etc or 2. smoke some weed.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I know that men and women are wired differently, but I have a hard time not falling asleep after sex. Or even ‘simulated’ sex.

Kayak8's avatar

As someone who has slept like a baby since I was, well, a baby, I had no idea people struggled with falling asleep such as you all are describing and my heart hurts for you.

It does sound like a trip to the doctor is in order to rule in or rule out any number of conditions (some of which are dangerous and are eloquently described above). There are a lot of elements in how we respond to stress and not all of them require medication. Even something as simple as deep breathing can help with relaxation, but won’t always conquer racing thoughts.

A physician is the best one at this point to separate out all the elements that are keeping you awake. Many university settings also offer sleep studies to specifically identify what is going on in your brain and body from an electrical standpoint to better diagnose what’s keeping you awake and thereby help find the appropriate solution for you.

nebule's avatar

This might be horribly obvious I apologise if it is(and I have read the above posts but can’t see it anywhere) but I trust that you stay completely away from caffeine? It has a massive effect on sleep. And personally I wouldn’t exercise before bed as (from what I know) it increases adrenalin levels which can prevent you from getting to sleep. xxx

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ask your doctor for some Xanax (not Valium, because the short half-life is important). It was my sleeping pill for a couple years.
If you’ve tried all of this and you really can’t sleep, it’s time to see a professional.

wundayatta's avatar

I tend to get more insomnia when I’m having an episode—either mania or depression. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been going to bed between 11:30 and 1:30, and I almost always wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning.

Last night I woke up at 4 and my heart was pounding like crazy. It’s a horrible thing to wake up that way. I sort of went from calmness to craziness in a few seconds. All it took was one thought of the thing that is stressing me out at the moment. I think it took me an hour and a half to go back to sleep. I often use masturbation as a stress reliever, and it worked to some degree last night.

When I first got sick, I would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning and they wake up a 7, and it never really bothered me or slowed me down. What I didn’t realize was that I was also increasingly irritable and my mind was racing—thinking all kinds of thoughts very rapidly. My mood was also changing—going from high to low in weeks; sometimes days. I was also engaged in other unhealthy behaviors.

In my case, the apparent lack of need for sleep, the racing mind, the irritability and overreactions to stimuli. and the mood changes turned out to be bipolar disorder. The solution was lithium, welbutrin and lamictal together with therapy and support group meetings.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but when I do I use a technique I learned about in college. A hypnotist put on a show on campus, and the way he hypnotized people is also a great thing to do to yourself to relax and clear your mind so you can sleep.

First, get comfortable. Then, take slow, deep breaths and with each breath focus on relaxing every muscle in your body, from your head down to your toes. With each breath, focus on relaxing a specific part of your body. For example, start with facial muscles, then neck muscles, then shoulders, etc., until you get to your toes. Once you’ve done that, start counting slowly backwards from 100. I think counting backwards works better because it takes just enough more concentration than counting forwards to help your mind not wander to whatever is worrying you. If you get to 0 and are still awake, start again.

Also, I think if you get into a set routine each night before going to sleep, your mind and body will learn those pre-sleep signals and have an easier time relaxing. Whether is a bath and some quiet music, a book, writing in a journal for a few minutes, or whatever, stick to that same routine/activity every night.

J0E's avatar

Put yourself in a position to fall asleep. I notice a lot of my friends will get on Facebook and be like “Can’t sleep. ugh.” Well, looking at the bright screen of your computer/phone isn’t gonna help you sleep. When I can’t sleep I just lay in my bed with the lights off, even just resting is better than nothing.

marinelife's avatar

@rangerr I am so sorry! I posted the wrong link. (It was from a thread about Sexual assault). I meant Calms Forte.

mistic84's avatar

I tend to stretch if I’m having trouble sleeping. It helps relax my body. Just focus on stretching and breathing for maybe about 5 minutes or more before going to bed.

When you get into bed, take a few deep breathes and just lay with an empty head.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m surprised how few responses are suggestions for treating the problem instead of just treating the symptoms. Clearly you are dealing with significant anxiety issues. As some have mentioned, this could be caused by thyroid issues, or it could be a psychological disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Many of these problems are fairly well understood and have effective treatments, but you need to see a professional so you can get a proper diagnosis. I would make an appointment with a Psychiatrist that either your physician recommends or someone you know has had a positive experience with so you can get to the bottom of the actual problem.

Based on some of your comments in one of your earlier threads regarding your avoidance of social situations and being in public places, I think it sounds very possible that you could have an anxiety disorder. I’m not a doctor or an expert, but I studied the basics of this stuff in college. In a nutshell, anxiety disorders are related to our built-in fight-or-flight responses kicking in when they shouldn’t; they trigger many of the symptoms you’re describing (which is good when there’s a hungry lion nearby and you need to be ready to fight or run, but bad when you’re trying to get to sleep). I don’t know if you have panic attacks, but they’re a big red flag for anxiety disorders as well, so be sure to mention to your doctor if you do or don’t have them.

I suspect that if you can get your anxiety under control through medication or other form of treatment as advised by your doctor, your insomnia issues will go away.

deni's avatar

Seriously look up Bob Ross on youtube. His voice is so soothing and I love watching him but he always makes me doze off. Also, you said weed helps relax you, but maybe if you got your hands on some that was mostly indica that would help. That shit puts me out like a light which is why I don’t like it. What also puts me out is a really hot bubbly bath.

I have no other tips. I sleep like a baby, too much.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This is just a suggestion, but this really sounds like something to talk to a professional about. Talk to your doctor, and tell him/her about the anxiety especially.

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skfinkel's avatar

I am a fan of the “worry dolls,” little tiny figures that fit in an inch sized box you can slip under your pillow at night. Before going to sleep, you assign each doll one of your worries—there are six or so dolls in a box. The doll then does the worrying for you all night, while you sleep through. The beauty here is that someone is worrying and even panicking about your concerns, but it is the dolls and not you. In the morning, after a refreshing night of sleep, you take the worry back from the doll. For this to work, though, you need to clearly give each doll one of your worries, say it out loud, and then tuck it in the box. It’s frankly amazing how well this can work.

tigress3681's avatar

@skfinkel I always wondered what worry dolls were, now I know. Thank you =)

Jwtd's avatar

I find that I sleep very well after sex/masturbation. It’s like am immediate signal to shut down when in bed.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Turn it around for a moment: Maybe you’ve always been insane, and now what’s keeping you awake at night is “going sane”. No, it won’t help you to sleep any better, but you might feel better about it, anyway.

talljasperman's avatar

what I do is to take a warm bath in the dark and take the battery powered radio or CD player and listen to classical music and then sometimes put the radio on the counter so it doesn’t get wet and I take a shower with the tub full of water and relax… meditate and wonder about everything that goes into my mind… I’m two meters tall so I know I won’t drown if I go to sleep…if you are not 6 foot or taller it might be dangerous to sleep in the tub when there is water in it…

now I have the opposite problem… I sleep 21 hours a day and I am groggy If I don’t get at least 16 hours

you can also slip a large towel over you in the bathtub and let it get wet and sleep with only a little bit of warm water in the tub…

kenmc's avatar

Over eat. It will put your digestion into full gear and that uses up immense amounts of energy. This, despite contrary belief, is why people get tired on Thanksgiving/Christmas meals. It’s not the tryptophan, it’s eating til you can’t move.

Basically, make every day another Thanksgiving.

nebule's avatar

@kenmc I call it ‘food exhaustion’...yes, it always makes you sleepy doesn’t it when you eat too much

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@kenmc It’s both the turkey and the amount.

mattbrowne's avatar

From your description I suspect that the problem is more fundamental and simple remedies like warm milk or relaxing music won’t get you very far. Seriously.

It could in fact be the result of chronic stress and the related elevated cortisol levels flooding your body. This is quite common for ambitious people especially those who work in complex business environments or in scientific and technical fields. High cortisol levels mess up neurotransmitter levels in particular serotonin and dopamine. Swallowing melatonin creates an even more unnatural cocktail inside your body.

I think there’s one thing that could really help: slowing down the thoughts inside your head. Find activities that helps you slow down. Ambitious hiking trips or bike rides won’t do the job. Ideally you could learn how to meditate, but it’s very hard. I tried it several times and wasn’t really successful.

How about painting? Or tending to a garden? I’ve heard that even in larger cities more and more people get involved in this.

Ideally, you should go away from the noise. Which includes getting away from the Internet and Fluther as well. A cabin in the mountains for a week far away from civilization might help. There are non-religious people who spent 3 weeks in Tibetan monasteries and they say it changed their lives. They are still non-religious, but they have discovered slowness and learned how to enjoy it.

A key competency in our accelerating knowledge world is developing effective strategies to battle stress. This is not easy. But it can be done.

nebule's avatar

@mattbrowne superb answer once again x

Xena's avatar

@papayalily – It’s either the drowsy effect of eating a lot of food or it’s psychosomatic (because we’ve been told that turkey and warm milk help us sleep). See my link above.. they’ve found that the amount of tryptophan ingested is too trivial an amount to have an effect.

spykenij's avatar

If anyone on here knew anything about soothing music with alpha waves in it, they would know that her brain is not producing enough alpha waves on it’s own to relax – LOOK IT UP under biofeedback or neurofeedback. Damn, why do some of you have to dismiss other peoples’ posts? Make your suggestions and be on your way. Ain’t all jellies up in here, I’m seeing some crabs :P

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Xena Well, as a recovering binge eater, lemme tell ya – I never slept as well as after that one time a year I have turkey. It’s not that it makes you sleepy, it’s that it cuts down on dreams so the sleep you do have is more restful and healing.

@spykenij No one’s dismissing anything. We always discuss things here. For sleep problems, you don’t want alpha waves – alpha are peaceful, awake waves like in meditation. For sleep you want delta waves. This is my favorite delta waves cd. I like the rest of the series for the other waves.

rangerr's avatar

Okay, wow. You guys are awesome.
First. I got sleep!
After a ridiculously miserable Monday sick baby, I was exhausted, he was exhausted and neither of us got a nap, I started registering for classes at aboutttt 5 pm. I passed out on my laptop as soon as I opened my school database.. thing.
I slept for 8 hours, then was up all night. I got errands done Tuesday, then took a 9 hour nap… now it’s almost 3 am, and I’m stuck awake again.
This is a vicious cycle, but hopefully I can break it tomorrow. Though, I’m not getting home until around midnight :l

So many suggestions that I haven’t thought of have been brought up.. I’ll definitely be trying some of those in the next few days.
If those fail, I suppose it’s time to admit I’m overly-anxious and talk to the doctor about it.
Though, that makes me sound like I’m broken. Which I am not.

Jwtd's avatar

Hey ranger, I think you gave a huge clue in your last post. You said you registered for classes and fell right asleep!

Have you been worried about registration? I know it may not seem trivial but sometimes our mind gets stressed about things that we don’t consiusly consider stressful.

rangerr's avatar

@Jwtd Nope. Classes are the least of my worries. I fell asleep mid-registration.. I think that says more about my feelings on school than anything, really.

gorillapaws's avatar

@rangerr having a disorder doesn’t mean you’re broken, ruined, or bad. It just means that some biological mechanism is different/malfunctioning. 9.5 million in the US are diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder and there are many other Anxiety disorders out there (such as Social Anxiety Disorder, and Agoraphobia, etc.); it’s very common—especially among women. Then there’s the thyroid possibility, which is quite common as well. The point is that being perfect is the exception rather than the rule, and being less than perfect doesn’t somehow mean you’re broken (we’ve all got something we’re dealing with).

As I understand it, a disability is something that interferes with your ability to function in day-to-day activities. What you’ve described seems to qualify. Honestly, an anxiety disorder or a thyroid problem would likely be good news if it were causing your insomnia, because they tend to have good treatments available with fairly high success rates. Some of the other causes of insomnia are much harder to diagnose/treat and can have much poorer outcomes.

Honestly, you don’t get badass points for not going to the doctor when you’re not feeling well and “toughing it out.” I’m guilty of this myself, but many people die every year from this attitude (not that you have a fatal condition). The point is that the attitude of not going to the doctor when something is wrong is itself, dangerous and unhealthy. The best friend of a guy I know died last year from pneumonia because he was too stubborn to go see a doctor for his cough because he was “tough.” He would still be alive if he’d gone in even a couple hours before he died (I think he was in his 30’s and healthy in every other way).

My best friend recently got prescribed a mild dose of anti-anexiety pills and he said he’s never felt better. Other than him being a generally neat and tidy person, I would never have known that he had anxiety issues (he certainly wasn’t a “don’t step on the cracks” or count-down-backwards-from-ten before turning on the lights ODC person, nor was he a germaphobe or anything like that). I certainly wouldn’t have ever described him as “broken” in the 10+ years I’ve known him.

Only a doctor can diagnose you, and they’re going to have an easier time figuring out what’s wrong if the problem is still occurring. I would suggest you go sooner rather than later, so you don’t have to keep suffering like you’ve been. I would try to keep a log-book/journal of when you wake, go to sleep, what you ate, any caffeine or other stimulants/depressants you consume. I would also record any exercise as well as write down any anxious feelings that may occur to you during the day. The more data you can record, the better in terms of getting to the bottom of this.

I’m glad you finally got some sleep, but it’s pretty clear that you’re not feeling normal, and that should be enough motivation to schedule an appointment (I bet Boba Fett would make an appointment—because it’s the smart thing to do, and he’s a crafty fellow). Best of luck with whatever you decide to do, I hope you feel better soon.

Just one other additional point to mention. Having a psychological disorder isn’t a character flaw. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak-willed, or lazy, or whatever. Most of these things are caused by neurotransmitters which you have no control over.

mattbrowne's avatar

@rangerr – The fact that you are contemplating your situation and having this conversation with is is a very, very good sign. I know many people who live in denial. They work like crazy year after year and whenever you ask them, oh, everything is fine. Some even take pride in their chronic stress and from their perspective the breakdown comes out of the blue. The point is, we can prevent breakdowns.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, gosh… don’t worry about being ‘broken’.... We are all working within a certain parameter, like @mattbrowne said.. we work like crazy, go through the motions and function the best we can, but the idea is to avoid ‘breaking down’. We cope. Coping doesn’t mean we’re broken.

It’s good that you got some rest and it’s good that you’re here talking about it. I’d still suggest a check up and have your thyroid levels tested. My doctor told me of one woman who ended up on they psych ward who displayed some pretty alarming behaviour because of her stress level and lack of sleep and once an intern got the bright idea of checking her for hyperthyroidism, to which she showed positive, she was on meds and back home feeling like a whole new woman.

The only time you could say you’re broken, is when you’re not coping and not asking for help. Finding out what is wrong with you is not a sign of weakness or being less of a person. It’s brave and responsible.

infjman's avatar

LISTEN to me very CAREFULLY :

you need to give everything a rest for a few days, forget school forget work etc. you will make yourself ill faster than you could ever imagine.

I have a sleep disorder so trust me.

the sleep will come eventually.. this is why you need time to allow your body to sleep naturally.

in order to help this along you need to cancel everything you have going on, you need to avoid caffeine, any other stimulant, including decaff tea or any spices and you need to Not eat a heavy meal.

I would stick to very light meals, zero fats and as much nutrients from juices that you can get.

then just wait until you need to sleep. and then you can decide on your schedule after the sleep once you ae well rested.

Also I would say it’s worth looking into sleep disorders as a possibility.

By the way I am very experienced in regards to this so I hope you are listening carefully otherwise you will damage your body and could even do something long term.

but you shouldnt worry or think about it.. let it come naturally and take at least 3 days off to rest your body and mind. (very important)

and I know there are predominantly americans on here but forget about all the medication. it will only make things worse. it took me many years to realise this after being submissive thinking they know best.

well a team of neurologist gave me the wrong medications and dosages and made things worse so trust your body.

Last thing. if you have any questions you can message me. but even if you are in america and it is expensive to see a sleep doctor then you should at least save up and consider it because it sounds like to me that you have one.

good luck. x

nebule's avatar

How’s it going?? Are you feeling better now? (I know it’s been a while!)

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