Sleeping problems


#1

I don’t know if this is the right place for this, but anyways,

So I’ve been dealing with insomnia for a while, it hasn’t been a massive issue, because I’m on break from school but it’s fucked up my circadian rhythm pretty badly. I’ve been able to deal with it for a good while and been pulling all nighters without sleeping and going to sleep early to kind of course correct if that makes sense. Last night, however, I went to sleep earlier than usual and I just couldn’t fall asleep. it’s now 10.30 am and I feel weird and tired but don’t want to fall asleep because that’ll fuck up me rhythm for real.

Does anybody have any good advice for what I can do to fix this or have anyone struggled with the same issues? If so, how did you “fix it”?

Sorry if the post is a bit weirdly worded, I’m pretty spaced out right now.


#2

I have a variety of awful sleep related issues so I think I’m enough of an authority to give some advice, after lots of research and surgery and meeting with doctors and what have you.

So to fix your rhythm, you don’t want to do it by pulling an all nighter. What you want to do is be consistent with when you wake up. For example, I’ve messed up tonight by being up until 4:00AM and will be going to bed after this post. That said, I’m forcing myself to wake up at 10AM either way. Doing this will make it easier to sleep at a regular time later that night, because I’ll be tired. That way you don’t get that weird, sleep-deprived feeling.

Now you need to figure out what your sleep issue is. Next thing you want to do if you have the resources is to get a sleep study done. I did this, and it’s how I discovered I had Sleep Apnea - essentially, my body was waking up from sleep every other second, meaning I was essentially getting have as much sleep as I thought I was. This led to me either being drowsy 24/7, or wide awake for 48 hours at a time. Ways to tell if you have sleep apnea - when you can get sleep, do you snore? Is your throat sore when you wake up in the morning? How good are your sinuses in the morning? Check these things out. You wanna try and get a CPAP for any sleeping issues if the sleep study doctor recommends it. And I recommend it as well - getting your sleep sorted out is REALLY important. Getting that CPAP literally changed my life. Lost weight, gained focus, mood improved, all sorts of shit.

That said, could not be sleep apnea at all. The correlation between insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are still being studied, but this was my personal experience.

Alright, so you can’t get access to any of the above. Excercise is a good substitute. Working out will definitely get your body ready to sleep.

Other aspects:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. Let your brain associate a particular time with sleep/wakefulness

  • Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleeping. Let your body associate your bed with sleep time

  • Get rid of the electronics at least an hour before you want to sleep. It lets your brain wind down for sleep

  • Use flux on your computer and get a mobile equivalent. Blue light keeps your brain awake because it associates it with sunlight.

  • Drink plenty of water. This is something you always want to do anyways, so you know, 2 birds and one stone

Hope any of this helps. Sleep is a hell of a thing to get under control, but it’s absolutely worth it. Good luck!


#3

Thank you so much for the reply, this is all very helpful!


#4

Everything that eightbitsamurai said is all great advice.

I’ve had disordered sleeping for as long as I can remember. It started getting bad in early elementary school and it’s still something that I struggle with. For me, pretty much all of my sleep related problems are mental. I have a very hard time turning my brain off and actually letting myself fall asleep. I’m not even remotely a doctor and you should take all of this with a huge grain of salt but I’d thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve learned in a life time of dealing with this.

The above points of turning off electronics at least an hour before bed and only using your bed for sleep have helped me a lot. I’d also recommend not ingesting too much food and especially no caffeine a few hours before bed.

For me personally, I’ve found that reading as I’m trying to go to sleep has helped me to fall asleep. Reading a chapter or two of a physical book, not something off of my phone because of the blue light, helps me tremendously in terms of getting into the ‘it is time to go to sleep now’ mindset.

When I’m really struggling to fall asleep I will take one or two 5 mg tablets of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone your body produces to regulate sleep. This isn’t a sleeping pill and it won’t knock you out. It’s also totally possible to basically fight your way through it, like a cranky toddler. You can find a melatonin where ever they sell vitamins, usually grocery stores or pharmacies. Also, super important reminder that I’m not a doctor, that all bodies are different, and you should talk to you gp before you start taking any supplement!

I’m sorry that was a lot but I hope it helps! Building a healthy routine around sleep is probably the single most important tip I could give.


#5

thank you so much, I can especially relate to the first paragraph.


#6

I’ve had sleep issues ever since I was a little kid. I’ve done six sleep studies over the course of two decades and learned something new every time. Before I add anything, if this is regular and persistent, talk to a doctor before taking any advice.

I’ll chime in and back up what Eightbitsamurai and Sid said. Consistency, light discipline, chemical balance, and exercise (if you’re able to) are key.

Consistency: As above, wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Every day. Don’t watch tv, read, or game in bed. A doctor once told me that the bed is for two things only: Sleeping and [you can figure out this one on your own].

Light Discipline: As above, avoid all screens an hour before bed. Also make your room as dark as possible. Blackout any indicator LEDs or other lights. Get blackout curtains. Get a sleep mask. We didn’t have abundant artificial light until just a couple hundred years ago, and we’re not made to deal with it.

Chemical Balance: Keep your body and brain clean. Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol and drugs. (Medical marijuana might serve as a sleep aid but there’s not enough clinical study to support that.)

Being able to sleep basically comes down to your brain chemistry and if your brain is ready to put your body to sleep. Melatonin (time-release) can be a helpful, natural sleep aid. Also consider Niacinamide (vitamin B3), GABA, and oleamide (natural oleic acid). Again, talk to your doctor.

Trouble sleeping can also be signs of other brain chemistry related issues like anxiety and depression, which can be treated with an SSRI. Again, talk to your doctor.

Exercise: Exercise basically comes back to brain and body chemistry. When you exercise your body goes to work to replenish what you’ve expended which usually comes with a light dusting of endorphins. There’s also something to be said for being just physically tired. Not everyone is physically capable of vigorous exercise, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all fix.

As for getting back on schedule, my personal method is just to stay up until your next regular bed time. This sucks and isn’t a healthy option for everyone, but if I get out of sync, my best bet is to stay up the additional 16-20 hours and go to bed when I normally would.


#7

Shoutout to the advice about getting up at the same time every morning. Solid advice! Took me having a kid to find out how true that was. I still have trouble winding down, but by always being up (with a kid jumping around on the bed) at 8am I get tired earlier than I normally might.

Other things that have affected my sleep are stress-related, and depression-related (for lack of a better way to explain it). It comes and it goes.

Really good advice in this thread. Thanks.


#8

The problem is, when I go to sleep earlier I don’t get that full eight or nine hours; I usually wake up at 5 or 6 AM so I’m still getting the same amount of sleep I would if I was closing my eyes at 1 or 2 AM.I am aware that sleeping regimens need time to kick in with the cycle, but it’s been months now and I have no reprieve. Should I see a doctor? Take medication? Should i try taking medicinal cannabis like this one https://www.bonzaseeds.com/blog/shishkaberry/ ??
Sucks, man. By like 3 or 4 PM I start dozing off again, and I come home and I just want to take a nap. Lack of energy, which impacts my gym regimen and general welfare. I don’t want to do chores, or work, or even play video games in my down time because staring at the screen tires me out.


#9

You could try weed. My experience with it as a sleep aid is that I didn’t feel alert in the morning. Worth also noting that, for the several years that I smoked daily, I basically had no dreams, or at least none I would remember. As soon as I stopped, I started having many more dreams.

Melatonin helped me a lot, but I’m sure you’re all familiar with it already. I bet weed would help for those afternoon naps you feel like you are in need of, but my personal experience with it as a sleep aid was that it wasn’t helpful, though I would fall asleep at least.


#11

I have issues off and on, but one thing I think has helped me (though it doesn’t necessarily help me get to sleep…bear with me here) is trying not to stress about “omg I’m not falling asleep” and just getting up and doing something if it’s not happening. Fatigue level the next day can be rough, but I feel better dealing with that than the times when I just lie there freaking out it about it. YMMV of course.


#12

physical trainings and tea with melissa help me alot in my battle with insomnia


#13

With a mask, it’s really a very good way!


#14

Chemical Balance: Keep your body and brain clean. Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol and drugs. (Medical marijuana might serve as a sleep aid but there’s not enough clinical study to support that.)
Being able to sleep basically comes down to your brain chemistry and if your brain is ready to put your body to sleep. Melatonin (time-release) can be a helpful, natural sleep aid. Also consider Niacinamide (vitamin B3), GABA, and oleamide (natural oleic acid). Again, talk to your doctor.
Trouble sleeping can also be signs of other brain chemistry related issues like anxiety and depression, which can be treated with an SSRI. Again, talk to your doctor.

Just wanted to underscore the importance on a lot of this great advice in this section. I would be very careful about using any kind of drug or supplement every day for sleep. Most sleep aids or sedatives will create a combination of dependence (psychological if nothing else) and tolerance (requiring a higher dose for the same effect). Natural extracts or herbs are most likely just as likely to have these issues. Doctors don’t have a lot of experience with sleep and are more likely to give you some kind of sedative than work through the good advice you see in this thread.

Stress/anxiety/depression is a huge factor that is underestimated by both patients and physicians. If you are worried about medications, most people can be at least partially treated with short-term cognitive-based therapy (CBT).

Side note: I haven’t seen niacin (vit B3) used in insomnia, but I do remember that it can commonly cause massive flushing and discomfort when you take larger doses. That doesn’t seem to fit with any kind of insomnia treatment. Are you thinking about vitamin B6 or maybe biotin?


#15

Life long insomniac here. And one who has gotten SO sick of unsolicited advice, so I’m glad I can answer when you actually solicited some :wink:

It sounds like you are suffering from something very normal in terms of upsetting sleep cycles and being under the general stress of school, so what I’m going to suggest is what I think can work for people who have very common kinds of insomnia.

The usual suspects of exercise (even when you feel really tired) and healthy diet can help. Also, most doctors agree in order to correct sleep you need to set a time for sleep and try to stay consistent with it, even if it’s not a typical one. I realize that may be out of your control, but it is an important part.

Also, only use your bed for sleep. Don’t get in and read or watch TV or phone surf. Bed is for sleep.

Melatonin can actually help a lot to kick start your sleep when taken right before bed.

I’d add white noise, too. Some people do ocean waved in headphones or on a small speaker by your bed.

Now if none of this works and this persists for over a year and not when you’re just in school, certainly see a doctor. My life long insomnia has been caused by both physical problems and PTSD so the things above don’t really help and much stronger routes have had have been tried. (It’s why it annoys when very well meaning people tell me to “just take melatonin” or “have you tried this certain flower on your pillow!”). But for most people suffering from common kinds of Insomnia the above are great places to start.


#16

Based on my experience of what’s worked for my partner, there’s a few key things that really help. Much of this repeats what others have said (but hopefully this gives you confidence that this stuff can work).

  • Sleep Hygiene (seconding Atomic Brain here). Don’t read in bed, don’t watch TV in bed, don’t text in bed, don’t read Waypoint in bed, don’t get one more hour of Breath of the Wild on the switch in bed. You bed has one use, sleeping. You really need to retrain your brain that that’s what the bed and bedroom is for. When you can’t sleep, and need to reset your head, get out of bed, and do something in another room.

  • Phase Delay (staying up longer) is easier on your body that phase advance. If you need to reset to an earlier bedtime, you’ll have an easier time overall if you stay until your new bedtime.

  • Avoid alcohol + caffeine before bed. Caffeine has a physiological effect for 8 hours. Alcohol can stick around a while (depending on how much you’ve had), and it affects sleep. Avoiding heavy meals late in the day and heavy exercise late in the day helped us, but that will vary from person to person.

  • Sleep in a really dark room, or with a sleep mask. Less distraction is good.

  • Take a meditation class. Nearly all Bhuddist centers offer these to the public and they welcome all reasons for learning meditation. Samatha or ‘calm abiding’ meditation is just about finding a physical and mental state of relaxed awareness. It really helps. Meditate every day and meditate when you can’t sleep.

  • Any improvement to your general health helps (this is super tough when you can’t sleep though, willpower is hard to come by, so it can be a challenge to break the cycle.)

Good Luck! I hope you get back on track


#17

There might be many reasons for this. It happened to me once when my routine was changed and I was unable to fall asleep till late 3 am. Then I joined a gym and used to work out for 2 hours daily and my problem was solved. If your problem persists for long I think you should concern a professional doctor.


#18

Melatonin!

It’s been mentioned already, but I highly recommend using melatonin to anyone struggling with falling asleep. It’s great if you have trouble actually falling asleep earlier (distinct from things like apnea and waking up in the night, etc). I’m a big advocate for it. As said, it’s a natural sleep hormone that you can buy at most corner drug stores. I personally prefer the swallowable ones.

It’s not a magic pill, and it doesn’t work for everyone. (From what I understand, though, it works for most people!) Melatonin is something that is helpful along with other important sleep hygienic practices. I think it works really well as a maintenance tool to keep your sleep schedule on track.

I have pretty extreme sleep problems (unsure about diagnosis, decent chance it’s DSPS, but it could be Non-24), and I should honestly be taking melatonin way more often than I do. I am honestly super bad about my sleep hygiene (and everything-else hygiene lmao god my life is a mess) and really need to step my game up.

Anyway! Let me mention four things about melatonin that I’ve heard from professional opinions and have also had some experience with:

  1. Don’t take it every night if you can afford not to. It’s not that important at the beginning, but if you do this for a long time, you risk putting off the natural melatonin you produce and the amount needed for sleep if you take it every night. Basically, it will become less effective if you use it too often.

  2. Take it easy on dosage. A lot of melatonin pills are extremely high in dosage, and I’ve seen them go as high as 20 milligrams. This is a lot, considering we produce a fraction of that in a day! Now, you might need a higher dosage than most people, but it’s a good idea to start lower. High dosages often don’t help much at all, and, personally, when I’ve used extra, I’ve woken up absolutely exhausted. I recommend starting lower, like 1 mg to 5 mg. Also, remember you can cut the pills in half if you’d like!

  3. Actually go to bed. Melatonin won’t help you if you’re still up all night playing Civ 5 or watching episodes of Breaking Bad. (dont be a me) Climb in bed, even if you don’t feel tired yet! You can read a little, but avoid screens and try to get your body and mind ready for sleep.

  4. Experiment with timing. This is the most important thing I want to stress. I’ve met a lot of people who have shared their sleep issues with me, and when I ask them if they’ve tried melatonin, they often say “Oh, it didn’t work for me.” When I ask them when they took it, they usually say they took it right before bed. And then I get to go on my spiel. :wink: For some people (like Atomic Brain who mentioned it above), this works! But for a lot of people, myself included, it doesn’t work! The truth is, it’s different for everybody! The only time frame psychiatrists can apparently agree on is sometime between dinner and bed. That’s a wide time frame, I know, but please, try out different timings to see what you like! A good general rule is one to two hours before bed, but see what works for you.

sleep is so important i need to go to sleep right the heck now


#19

Going to second this - go see a doctor if you try the normal routine/lifestyle adjustments and it doesn’t work. I have PTSD related sleep issues. I’m also a short sleeper due to underlying blood sugar stuff too so if you’re not making a dent in sleep issues and they seem to have a “consistent” pattern of not falling asleep or waking up too early, it might be something physiological or psychological at play.


#20

I suffer from PTSD as well and my experience mirrors your own. I spent years trying just to get a quick fix with physicians without going into my past and life so OF COURSE everything they tried and all the pills they gave me didn’t really help-- they weren’t treating the right thing. And that was 100% my fault for not being honest.

So, if I can add to what you said: As awful as it can be, be honest with your doctor so they stand a chance of treating what the real cause is.


#21

As someone else who was eventually diagnosed with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine was life-changing. Five hours sleep with the machine was more restful than eight without it. So it’s definitely worth seeing a doctor. Sleep studies are incredibly easy, do-at-home deals now. Still, I had plenty of chances in the meantime to come up with some advice.

  • Take your medications at the same time every day. Even non-sleep related, like allergy meds, or anything that can cause drowsiness/alertness. Find a time that minimizes interference with sleep and stick with it.

  • Blackout curtains are a double-edged sword. Yes, they block light at night, but they also block light in the morning. I recommend a sleep mask. If your room is dark enough, a white mask will block light at night but still let you see if the room is lighting up in the morning. Foam ear plugs can also be helpful for falling asleep.

  • Wake-up lights are useless. The only thing it aided me with was the ability to sleep with a bright light directly in my face.