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JLeslie's avatar

Do you wait until you are sleepy to try to go to sleep?

Asked by JLeslie (47239 points ) November 15th, 2012

Do you try to fall asleep at a certain time? Go to bed and turn off the lights and hope sleep comes? Or, do you wait until you are practically nodding off and then finally curl up in your sleep position?

I ask because I wonder how people count up how long it takes them to go to sleep. I wonder if people with insomnia have certain things in common with how they count whether they have trouble sleeping or not. I never consider myself to have insomnia, but I do have times where I don’t go to sleep until very late, or might wake in the middle of the night for a couple hours. What I don’t do is lay in bed long hoping for sleep. If I don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes I usually get up and watch TV or do something more productive. In my mind I fall asleep quickly, because I don’t count when I don’t fall asleep quickly.

I do sometimes try to fall asleep when I don’t feel very tired because it is late or I want to curl up with my husband who goes to sleep early, but if the sleep doesn’t happen quickly I’m out, out of the room. I give up trying.

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29 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Generally. If I’m supposed to be conscious before a certain time, I’ll put myself to bed about six hours previous.

rojo's avatar

Oh, hell yes, I am up here at 11:55 answering this question for that very reason.

Haleth's avatar

I can’t go to bed unless I’m tired first. Sometimes, I don’t get tired until like 4 AM. The next day, I drink tons of caffeine to make up for it and I’m wired and punchy all day. Rinse and repeat.

zenvelo's avatar

I try to go to bed on time. I need some alone time after the kids go to bed, but then got to bed pretty quickly after that. I roll over after i turn the lights off and am usually asleep within a minute or two. Used to drive my ex crazy.

rojo's avatar

Still here and kicking 12:26!

Sunny2's avatar

I read books of no particular value, until I’m sleepy enough to turn out the light and go to sleep. I often have no idea what I read when I get back the book the next night. I just go one where I left off. It doesn’t matter.

Symbeline's avatar

I try to maintain my routine and I have a fixed bedtime. I respect it, whether I’m tired or not. I don’t really mind if I’m not sleepy, cuz it’s all soft in my bed.
If I don’t stick to a routine, I’ll go to bed at seven AM and get up when it’s getting dark out. I’ve experienced this before, and although I’m a night person, people do need sunlight.

rojo's avatar

OK, screw it. It is 1:10 and I am going to call it a night. There is a very good chance that I will get reawakend within the next 15 minutes by getting the crap kicked out of me because I am “Popping” (Whatever that means). Maybe I should save myself some grief and go to sleep on the sofa.

AshLeigh's avatar

If I have school the next day I try to go to bed by 10:30, even though I’m not that sleepy.
If I get to sleep in, I stay up until I’m sleepy, then turn the lights out and watch a movie until I can’t keep my eyes open…

deni's avatar

I cannot remember the last time I “waited” to fall asleep. That is mostly because of my cushy lifestyle. I work full time, but since I waitress for a living that means my shifts are spattered all over the place. The earliest I ever work is 10 AM, sometimes I work as late as 1 AM but most nights regardless of what I’m doing I’m up until then anyhow, usually later. If it is a night I’m spending sleeping with my boyfriend, we usually fall asleep while talking or cuddling or watching a movie or whatever. If I’m alone, I’m usually watching a show on my laptop….I’ll doze off, and when I wake up and realize I’ve fallen asleep, I get up and brush my teeth if I haven’t yet then carry Barnabus to bed and fall right asleep, spooning him. There have been several occasions throughout my life where I had a sleepless night against my will, and the frustration of that was unbearable. I feel really lucky that sleep is not an issue for me. I can’t imagine what it’s like night after night to not get solid Zzz’s.

Argonon's avatar

I usually just wait for sleep, I like to lie in bed and go into my fantasy land until sleep comes. I suffer from insomnia so even if I manage to drift into sleep, I’m not asleep for very long..

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I do not go to bed until I am literally falling asleep at the keyboard.

ucme's avatar

I go to bed & my pillow takes over, it’s like it sucks the awake vibe out of my earholes. I forgive that though, coz it’s so soft & squishy & everyfum.

marinelife's avatar

No, I usually have a set bedtime and I go to bead and read for a while. But lately, I have not been making it until then. I get sleepy before and I just go to bed.

bhec10's avatar

I went to bed at 3:15am last night, but that was only because I have this humongous report to hand-in next week. I don’t usually stay up this late, I have only been doing it lately because of coursework.

I am definitely a night person (hint-hint ladies), I can’t cope with doing work in the mornings. But I woke up at 10:30am today and I always regret having stayed up so late at night.

Oh, the headaches!

filmfann's avatar

I have sleep issues, and really can’t fall asleep unless I am completely spent. Even then, i wake up about 8 times a night, often just lying there waiting to drift off again.

jonsblond's avatar

I used to be just like @filmfann until I started taking OTC sleeping pills two years ago. I go to bed as soon as the pills make me feel sleepy and I usually sleep without waking up until I need to wake up in the morning. I’d be miserable without these pills. The older I get the more I realize how important the right amount of sleep is. I know the pills should not be part of a long-term solution, but they help me now.

bookish1's avatar

I’ve only had two or three really bad spells of insomnia in my life. I am almost always able to go to bed or take a nap when I want to, even after drinking a diet mountain dew or espresso! I don’t like to wait until I am nodding off to go to bed, because I might not feel that I have low blood sugar, or I might forget to take my nighttime insulin, which will screw me up badly for an entire day.

If I am feeling very wired at night (which is rare because I’ve usually been undertaking bookish pursuits all evening), I’ll take some valerian pills, and then I just lie in bed with my eyes closed until I see sweet hypnogogic visions and drift into unconsciousness.

wundayatta's avatar

I wait until I’m sleepy, which is usually around 10:30 or 11, and then I push it for a bit. I usually hit the sack around midnight, and put my sleep machine on and am out in about ten minutes. I should go to bed when I get sleepy, but I have a hard time getting myself to do that. Dunno why.

Coloma's avatar

I go to bed when I am tired and put on a mellow CD in the CD player next to my bed. Something classical or instrumental and am asleep in minutes. I have a ” Sweet dreams” CD that plays the most soothing lullaby type music. I am out before the 4th song. lol
Often I will go out to my hot tub and soak for about 10 minutes, coupled with the music I am out in seconds flat.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

My body clock is all over the damn place. I worked nights for five years and as a result sleeping during the night is the hardest thing to do. Couple that with a few other problems, I have to wait until I’m actually really, really tired before I can actually get any sleep. This can be for as much as 16 to 18 hours after I’ve woken up.

Shippy's avatar

I wait until I am sleepy which is a bad idea, as I rarely feel that ‘sleepy’ feeling. So that means I stay up too late, and my whole cycle is up to maggots. I just think there is something to be said for regular sleep patterns. As I have had them before and I functioned much better all round. Felt much better too.

augustlan's avatar

I used to think I had chronic insomnia. No matter how early I had to get up in the morning, I was never able to sleep before 1 AM, unless I was terribly sick. I was frequently up until 3 or 4 AM, and had to get up the next morning for work or to get my kids off to school, etc. Every couple of weeks, I’d have a night when I wouldn’t sleep at all. It was so frustrating!

Once I was left completely to my own devices, able to let my body dictate when I sleep, it turns out I’m just nocturnal. Most often, I’m up all night, sleep during the day, and I usually have no problem getting to sleep now. Since I mostly have no set schedule these days, I don’t even hit the bed until I’m nearly unconscious. Sometimes I do need to be awake during the day for various reasons, so I still don’t always get enough sleep. That’s a harder problem.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Just to give a current example of my predicament with my own sleep pattern, I woke up at 13:30 yesterday afternoon after going to bed at about 8 AM. I’ve been up and about since 13:35 and it’s now 04:17.
I hate sleep when it won’t come. I’m kinda tired, but not tired enough y’know?
I’ve tried all the relaxation stuff, the nice music, the guided visualizations and all that crap and it doesn’t do anything for me (at one point it gave me nightmares – which I don’t really understand how it could do anything of a sort). It was my doc suggested I stay awake until I’m really tired, and I’m a long way off from really tired. So I’m guessing my initial 16 to 18 hours was a little too short.

Mariah's avatar

I try really hard to go to bed 8 hours before I need to be up. I’m usually sleepy by then anyway. My days are so jam-packed, it wears me out.

Sometimes if I’m on the computer before bed, waiting till I’m sleepy is an awful idea because it never happens. I guess the light from the screen can trick your mind into thinking it’s day.

AshlynM's avatar

I usually sleep when I’m sleepy.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve been an insomniac since my twenties. I refuse take meds for this because I’ve seen the disastrous cycle people have found themselves in, and meds become useless very quickly requiring stronger and stronger meds making one dependent on a doctor for the rest of their life. I deal with it by going to the gym by day and doing Ujai yoga breathing techniques (when desperate) or reading non-fiction at night (I got rid of my TV years ago). In return, I’ve a head full of fairly useless cultural and historical trivia and random facts. I’ve gone to work many times without a night’s sleep. A couple of years ago I discovered the Internet Archive’s Feature Films catalogue and I’ve become quite an expert on American Film Noir, and Hollywood B actors and directors of the ‘30s and ‘40s, haha. I’ve adapted. In the past few years, I’ve been taking naps in the afternoon. That helps a lot, too.

I need about six hours sleep to feel right. It can take me up to 2hrs to fall asleep, so I try to get to bed about 8hrs before I need to get up.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, hey! Congratulations on the 40k!!! I think I just pushed you over to 40,002 with a GQ!

Leanne1986's avatar

Usually I go to sleep when I feel myself nodding off! It is very rare that I will go to bed when I don’t feel tired as free time to me is precious and so I don’t want to waste it by sleeping if I don’t feel the need to!

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