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E.G. Gammon
05-06-2005, 02:05 AM
I don't know if it's just me, but when I start to go to bed, that's when my mind starts racing and I can't seem to fall asleep. Then, once I do, I barely (if at all) get in 8 hours. Does anyone have any treatments/tips? Are there any non-addictive (and side effect free) sleeping pills or herbs? Teas? Anything?

MacAllister
05-06-2005, 02:06 AM
I just gave it up as a lost cause, Egg. The good news is that the resulting delusions from sleep-deprivation make for some cool story ideas.

BradyH1861
05-06-2005, 02:32 AM
Sleep? What is this thing you call sleep?


Brady H.

maestrowork
05-06-2005, 02:35 AM
Have you tried a vial of sheep blood (you can get them at Baaaa-Mart), mixed with three spider legs and a toad eye, and a dash of unicorn dandruff?

book_maven
05-06-2005, 03:18 AM
E.G., try this. When you turn out the light, get in your favorite "fall asleep" position. Close your eyes and begin to repeat a short affirmation at least six times. Concentrate on it. If your attention wanders, bring it back. It should be something simple and direct such as "I sleep deeply and soundly." (I personally use the ungrammatical phrase "I sleep deeply and longly" because I want my sleep to be both long and sound.) Do this every night.

You are re-doing those patterns of thinking that youve ingrained into your brain and your body, the ones that say you don't sleep well. To change any long-term pattern of thinking like that, you need to do it consistently. Try it for at least six weeks, though I plan to continue for the rest of my life.

arrowqueen
05-06-2005, 03:28 AM
I did try to count sheep, but after the first four made it over the stile, the fifth one tripped, the rest piled up on top of it - and what with all the bleating and baaing; the sheepdogs barking and the farmer shouting, I was forced to get out of bed and go have a fag to get away from the racket.

maestrowork
05-06-2005, 03:30 AM
I did try to count sheep, but after the first four made it over the stile, the fifth one tripped, the rest piled up on top of it - and what with all the bleating and baaing; the sheepdogs barking and the farmer shouting, I was forced to get out of bed and go have a fag to get away from the racket.

That's why sheep blood works. See, blood. No sheep. No stinking sheep dung either.

awatkins
05-06-2005, 03:33 AM
:roll: aq!

rhymegirl
05-06-2005, 03:50 AM
Gee, I was gonna blame it on menopause, E. G., but since you're a guy...

E.G. Gammon
05-06-2005, 03:58 AM
Could it be stress, too? I seem to be under a lot lately.

reph
05-06-2005, 04:30 AM
Have you tried a vial of sheep blood (you can get them at Baaaa-Mart), mixed with three spider legs and a toad eye, and a dash of unicorn dandruff?
Ray, we've had enough of your bug recipes.

Hey, all, don't ever invite Ray to a potluck.

arrowqueen
05-06-2005, 04:38 AM
You obviously haven't seen Scottish sheep, maestro. They're positively Biblical. Ramshorns. Bollocks the size of handbags. They mug American tourists for their fish suppers.

Try and get blood from one of those and they'll trample you underfoot as soon as look at you.

arrowqueen
05-06-2005, 04:53 AM
See?

http://photogallery.scotsman.com/index.cfm?searchresultsstartingrow=31&cat=farm

- second from left.

Gehanna
05-06-2005, 05:10 AM
EGGammon,

How long has this been going on?


Gehanna

E.G. Gammon
05-06-2005, 05:18 AM
EGGammon,

How long has this been going on?

Hmm, I would say ever since my Dad died. There was just some stuff I didn't get to tell him that I regret keeping from him. It kind of eats at me. That and all the other things contributing to my stress have been keeping me up. Plus being a writer, my mind wanders, too. It usually takes me 20-30 minutes to go to sleep unlike my mom who can put her head on a pillow and fall to sleep in 5 minutes.

arrowqueen
05-06-2005, 05:29 AM
Och, I'm so sorry for your loss, Egg. I would not have been flippant, had I known.

My apologies.

Gehanna
05-06-2005, 05:38 AM
EGGammon,

I am writing you a PM. I will send it as soon as I have finished writing it. The reason I am telling you this is because I do not want you to think I have just left you hanging.

Sincerely,
Gehanna

JenNipps
05-06-2005, 05:46 AM
Could it be stress, too? I seem to be under a lot lately.

Stress can certainly have a LOT to do with it.

A while back (several years ago), a friend suggested kava kava. You can find it in pill form at health-food stores. I only used it for about a week until I didn't need it any more. I still have some in case I need it. Which, now that I think about it, why the heck didn't I use it a couple weeks ago when I was sleeping so poorly??

jdkiggins
05-06-2005, 05:59 AM
EG,

I saw "Sleep" as the subject of this thread and thought finally a place to rest. :(
I'm an insomniac too EG. I tried the warm glass of milk, the counting sheep, the playing soft music, nothing helped. I gave up and began writing all the thoughts that kept me awake at nights. It helps.

I'm sorry for your loss, EG. I do know how you feel about losing a parent. Try writing what keeps you awake at night. It helped me. After a few hours and several pages, you'll find yourself sleepy and since you've written it, the next night there are less thoughts. Each evening becomes a little easier. Try it.

Good luck.

Joanne

Cabria
05-06-2005, 06:48 AM
Here's a "funny" about insomnia: p.s. I have trouble with sleep patterns also - could be all the night shifts I used to do at nursing.

An elderly woman went into the doctor's office. When the doctor asked why she was there, she replied, "I'd like to have some birth control pills."

Taken aback, the doctor thought for a minute and then said, "Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, but you're 75 years old. What possible use could you have for birth control pills?"

The woman responded, "They help me sleep better."

The doctor thought some more and continued, "How in the world do birth control pills help you to sleep?"

The woman said, "I put them in my granddaughter's orange juice and I sleep better at night."



************************************************** ****

BlueTexas
05-06-2005, 07:00 AM
EEG,

I have big insomnia issues that directly correlate to the stress level in my life, which rises in response to my lack of sleep. It's a viscious cycle, and the only way I've found to deal with it is exercise. That, avoiding caffiene after lunch, and doing something else when I start to dwell on negative, stressful stuff.

Honestly though, even a just a long walk after dinner will help me sleep better.

maestrowork
05-06-2005, 07:05 AM
Invest in a good quality sound machine... turn it on, then focus on the sound and nothing else... imagine a dot in your mind, and just focus on it. You mind will eventually drift off with the sound... If nothing else, it's very relaxing. If sounds like waterfall or rain distracts you, try white noise or train or car... the droning sounds are very soothing and easy to fall asleep to.

Kudra
05-06-2005, 10:10 AM
EG, I've had this problem too over the past couple of years, and I totally understand what you mean by needing at least 20-30 minutes to get to sleep. I need at least half an hour, even when I'm feeling sleepy!

What I've done is scheduled something early in the morning. Now I know that I have to go to bed if I want to get up in the morning. It's tough in the first couple of days, but it gets better. Even if you can't sleep, you have to stay in bed (and not run off to the computer), because you need your rest to be able to make it in time to your class (or whatever) in the morning.

I've been doing this for a week now, and my sleep patterns have changed dramatically.

reph
05-06-2005, 10:35 AM
Taking 20 or 30 minutes to fall asleep isn't far out of line. I think 15 minutes is about average.

There have been health warnings about kava kava. If I recall correctly, it's associated with liver damage.

paprikapink
05-06-2005, 10:56 AM
Lotta good suggestions here. You probably won't get a chance to read this till tomorrow cuz yer sleepin' already.

When I was a kid, a friend of a friend of a friend, or someone, said that their mother told them that she'd read that there was a guy (probably in Scotland, eh, AQ?) who hadn't been able to sleep for thirty years. He had insomnia so bad, he just never slept. But he was okay, because every night, he'd get in bed, get under the covers and just lie quietly for eight hours, so he was always rested.

It's a very helpful image, turns out. Just taking away that pressure of needing to sleep or "trying" to sleep brings a whole nuther level of relaxation to the experience of going to bed.

Another thing I've found is that sometimes, while I'm still considering myself awake, if I pay attention to what's going through my mind, it's really more of a dream than a thought. My brain has gone to sleep and some other part of me, I don't know who, thinks I'm awake. So I shut that one up and let the asleep one take over.

And sometimes, when intense regret overcomes me, I picture my life as an arrow with a rope tied to it, and then I cut the rope. The past is behind me, I just let it fall away and move on. Also, I forgive myself. When I can't do that, I pretend I'm talking to a friend and the friend has my regrets, and I remind the friend that it's okay and tell her to forgive herself.

Oh, there's lots to do in bed at night, isn't there?!

Sweet dreams,

-paprikapink

E.G. Gammon
05-06-2005, 01:04 PM
Thank you all for your kind words. You have no idea how comforting they are. And thanks for the wonderful suggestions to conquer my insomnia. It's driving me crazy! I had a 6 hour night last night... which means I'll probably be up fewer hours today than I was yesterday.

I know this will come out the wrong way, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only writer with insomnia of some kind. Someone should start a group or something - "Insomniac Writers" :)

Stress is a horrible thing. I remember when I was in high school and how stressed my parents were about things. Sometimes I'd think "well, if I was in their situation, I doubt I'd be stressing about it." Well, I now understand exactly how they felt all the time.

A lot of things have happened in my life so far and I've only been out of high school a couple years. I've probably been through more than most people go through their whole lives. I'm in the process of writing an autobiography of my life so far and it actually helps me sometimes - getting all that "stuff" off my chest. (Ah, I know - I should be focusing all of my energy on my mega novel series - shame on me! Hehe)

I will definitely try some of the things you all suggested. And if anyone has any more, feel free to post them for me and whoever is going through the same thing. I'll do a little research on insomnia and if I find any more tips, I'll post them here, too. Thanks again you guys!

E.G.

Fractured_Chaos
05-06-2005, 06:19 PM
Chamomile, or mint tea can help, too.

I'm ADD, so when I try to sleep, my mind races, and it's like my thoughts are -shouting- at me. I've finally managed a semi-meditative system, where I allow the thoughts, and just imagine them slipping right through my mind like they were going down a chute. I don't grasp any thought that comes into my ehad, and examine it, or dwell on it. It seems to help.

allion
05-06-2005, 09:11 PM
Another thing to try is melatonin. Just be sure not to take it when you have a lot to do the next day, as you may be dopey and not able to function all that great when you get up. Try it and see how you feel.

I've tried half a Gravol tablet (the full one makes me feel crappy the next day). Buy the generic stuff - much cheaper, same ingredient.

One thing you may want to try is write a letter to your father saying what you had to say. Just getting the feelings out on paper can help immensely and stop your mind from running in a loop at night.

Other things I've read:

- lie down for 15 minutes. If no sleep, get up, leave the room, and do something like read or watch boring TV (not a true crime channel, something like the weather network as long as there are no hurricanes in the area)

- avoid caffeine, try the milk (it doesn't have to be warm to work), have some crackers and cheese before you go to bed

- avoid strenuous exercise at night (after dinner)

- warm bath/shower an hour or so before bed - not right before, as your body needs some time to get relaxed

- herbal teas or various scents such as lavender, chamomile on your pillow - you can buy various potions for this in stores

Hope it helps! I'm one of the ones who can sleep almost anywhere, but the one night I spent sleepless (due to a bad gallbladder) was about the worst I could imagine.

Take care,

Karen

LisaHa
05-06-2005, 10:17 PM
A cup of Valerian tea before bed might help. It is a natural herbal tea. My friend swears by it, and I have been considering giving it a go as I find it difficult to get to sleep and then stay asleep these days. I just worry that it will work so well I will a complete dope (or even dopier) in the morning.

Lisa x

reph
05-06-2005, 10:27 PM
Valerian makes you drowsy, all right, but it's also a diuretic. That makes it impractical to take at bedtime. You could drop right off if you didn't have to keep getting up.

E.G. Gammon
05-06-2005, 11:47 PM
did you try keeping a notebook and pen on your bedside table

I have a queen-size bed and every night I don't lie in it alone... I sleep with a notebook. (I can see my next project now: A horror novel called "A Single Writer"). I keep my notebook with me and write down anything going on in my mind - which is sometimes the problem. I lie down, relaxed and ready for bed and then I'm suddenly bombarded with images and thoughts that I have to write down. I sit up and lie down and sit up and lie down - writing every thought I have, thinking I'm done, until more come to me. I thought the pains in my lower back were from my being 50-60 lbs. overweight (which could be ANOTHER reason why I have trouble sleeping), but it might be the workout I give my back before I go to bed, popping up and down like one of those inflatable punching bags that jerk back up when you hit them...

paprikapink
05-06-2005, 11:50 PM
sounds like you might be conditioning yourself to think more at bedtime, don't it.

-pk

Celeste
05-07-2005, 12:31 AM
Oh man! I am the last person to give tips on sleeping. Lol...

I can definitely relate, though. My sleep schedule is, and has been screwed up for years. I also have Fibromyalgia, which interferes with my sleep big time. My doctor prescribes meds, but they don't always help. Some days, I'll go on a 24-26 hour stretch on no sleep. It's crazy. Some of those days, I have to force myself to go to bed and try to fall asleep. I feel like I can keep going and going, not feeling tired. Insomnia, I guess. And then when I do start to feel tired, it only lasts for a certain length of time (minutes) and if I don't go to sleep immediately, I'll never get to sleep. I'll totally loose the tired feeling and it will be hours before I get sleepy again. Like right now...I went to sleep at 3:00 am, got up at 6:30 am and have been up since, with having only a few hours sleep the night before last. And with having to take two seperate sedating meds for the Fibro, you'd think I'd be like a zombie, but I'm not. I'm totally awake. It's insane.

As frustrating as it can be and having thought it was just me, it's good to know that there are others who have the same problem. Lol...

Is it some type of curse that writers are stricken with? :sleepy:

aboyd
05-07-2005, 01:00 AM
I think Joanne and other people who suggested keeping a notepad by the bed are really onto something. I have a small black notepad and I jot down tons of stuff at sleep time. I don't think this is bad -- I think our minds really want to do the right thing, and they're trying to nag in the most helpful way.

If you jot down too much & it's hurting your back, don't jot down stuff until it piles up in your head. Some nights my mind will think of 1 or 2 things and I think I'm in for a long night, but nothing else comes to me, and I fade to sleep. Other nights I get 20 ideas in "waves" of a few each. I only bother to write if I find I'm able to remember it and it's keeping me up. Otherwise I'm sleeping.


- avoid caffeine, try the milk (it doesn't have to be warm to work), have some crackers and cheese before you go to bed

- avoid strenuous exercise at night (after dinner)
Yeah, avoid caffeine. Good. But avoid exercise in the evening? I do a 30-60 minute workout after dinner, because I've been told it helps exhaust & tire my system, helping me to sleep more readily. Maybe doing exercise so late at night that it's minutes before going to bed, that might be bad...?

For what it's worth, I've had insomnia for years. It can take me 3 hours to fall asleep, and I usually only get 3 to 5 hours of sleep at a time. The good news is that I can often pull off 2 sleep periods per day, so I end up with an almost-normal amount of rest.

-Tony

Sarita
05-07-2005, 01:30 AM
For what it's worth, I've had insomnia for years. It can take me 3 hours to fall asleep, and I usually only get 3 to 5 hours of sleep at a time. The good news is that I can often pull off 2 sleep periods per day, so I end up with an almost-normal amount of rest.

I've been an insomniac for about 3 years. It takes me hours to fall asleep. I actually got jealous when I read that EG only took 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Until recently, the normal night for me was about 2-3 hours of tossing/turning. 1-3 hour periods of sleep, for a total of no more than 4 hours a night, but it wasn't quality sleep.

I went through every method available of trying to sleep. Pills, herbs, sheep, sheeps blood (jk)... nothing worked. And I didn't like taking them anyway. I felt like I was giving up control of my body, didn't like it at all. I figured I could handle it on my own! And after catching every cold/flu/bug that went around for 2 years because my immune system was so low... Now, I'm to a point where I can sleep for a solid 3-4 hour period, but that's all I get in a night. Once I hit that 4 hour wall, I'll stay in bed just thinking until the alarm goes off at 5:45.

It's taking me less time to fall asleep, which I love. That was the hardest part for me, dealing with the frustration of tossing/turning. I'm not able to sleep at all during the day, but I'm glad I can get at least 3hrs at night. It's in the genes, my dad sleeps about 5 hours a night tops and wakes up everyday at 5am.

Good luck catching some zzzzz's EG!

veinglory
05-07-2005, 01:51 AM
Here are some simple behavioural things to try



Very hot shower just before bed--cooling body temp promotes sleep.

Relaxing and thought free actvity for the last hour before sleep (watch cartoons, listern to music etc)

If you can't sleep, get up. Stay active at least 10 minutes beofre trying again. Do not ly sleepless in bed beyond about 10 minutes as this sets up a cycle of conditioning that makes the problem worse. You may have to persist with this for several weeks.

Various people swear by either hot milk or chamomile tea.

Try to establish a stronger pattern. e/g/ do not vary weekday and weekend bedtimes by more than 2 hours at the most. Have a series of predicable actions in the last half hour before sleep--this lets body and mind get ready to shut down.

Don;t do thing other than sleeping in bed. You want to strengthen the bed-sleep association. When sleepless get up, don't write, read study or do anything else on the bed, don't sleep on the sofa etc.


Hope this helps.

arrowqueen
05-07-2005, 02:48 AM
I couldn't go to sleep unless I'd read first, but then that's part of my pattern.

How about trying a relaxation tape? (Just avoid the ones involving waterfalls. gurgling streams, etc, otherwise you'll be up and down to the loo all night!)

BlueTexas
05-07-2005, 03:37 AM
Valerian makes you drowsy, all right, but it's also a diuretic. That makes it impractical to take at bedtime. You could drop right off if you didn't have to keep getting up.

And it smells like dried vomit in microwave might...nasty.

Maryn
05-07-2005, 06:10 PM
When I had the worst stress of my life, both my doctor and a friend who's a nurse suggested the temporary help of Benedryl, an over-the-counter allergy medicine which induces drowsiness in many.

You've gotten lots of solid suggestions. I second limiting caffeine after early afternoon, the use of a white noise (machine or just a fan), daily exercise (which doesn't have to be vigorous--walking for an hour is fine--and will help you in other ways, too), using the bed only for sleep (and sex), and training yourself away from using what should be fall-asleep time as generate-ideas time. (Walking time works.)

Rest assured, different periods of life often feature different sleep disturbances. What's going on with you isn't abnormal. Young adults and teenagers often have trouble falling asleep. Older adults tend to fall asleep easily but experience trouble staying asleep, especially if something has roused them like needing to use the bathroom, or a loud noise.

As the risk of appearing to be a one-trick pony, allow me to suggest that some form of sexual release is also sleep-inducing. Whether it's with some hottie or a solo project doesn't matter; the sense of wellbeing and relaxation effect is about the same unless one's morals condemn the act.

Nighty-night!

Maryn, turning out the light

oswann
05-09-2005, 02:35 PM
Read Proust.



Os.

Wendy J
05-09-2005, 07:56 PM
Google just opened its eyes to this post...it feels like Big Brother is watching....when Google does this. Too Creepy!

eldragon
05-09-2005, 08:10 PM
I have the opposite problem ...I sleep too much. When I write, my mind is exhausted.

But I don't recommend writing before you go to bed, because sometimes my brain is so worked up over it, I can't sleep.

I have a skylight over my bed, and its nice to lay there and look out at the stars. Taking a hot shower everynight also helps. You can always take Tylenol PM or something like that.

Exercise during the day is a winner.


Don't worry about your dad. He still hears you now. You can talk to him all you want, and he still hears you. He knows whats on your mind, don't worry about things not being said.

tjwriter
05-10-2005, 08:28 PM
EG, I have the mind racing problem too. I can be exhausted as possible, and the moment I lay my head on the pillow, my mind will start racing. Sometimes I use artifical substances to go to sleep, but one technique I have found uses a Pilates breathing method and I have found it calming and relaxing in almost any situation.

It doesn't matter if you're vertical or horizontal. Start by relaxing your shoulders and letting them come down into a relaxed position. Take a deep breath, bringing your chest up and your abs slightly in. Hold for 4 counts and exhale, letting your chest fall and your abs sink further in. Repeat until your relaxed.

It works your abs some, but the entire focus on breathing redirects your energy, and the additional oxygen from taking deep breaths makes me feel tons better. By the time I finish, I have forgotten what is so distracting, and I am relaxed enough to do whatever I need to.

Alphabeter
05-13-2005, 06:30 PM
Try Valerian root. Its a natural non-addictive herbal relaxant.

You can drink it as a tea, pop it as a pill or sprinkle it on food.

I was given Ativan after an accident and found it would knock me out. The Valerian "forces" my muscles to relax and my brain just drifts until I fall asleep, whether for five or eight hours. I don't wake up feeling drugged.

I use it occasionally. I take the pill form from Wonder Labs. Very good company. Cheap, safe drugs. {No, I'm not the owner, just a happy client.}

arrowqueen
05-14-2005, 04:53 AM
If all else fails, we'll work out a rota, then come round in turns to hit you behind the left ear with a rubber hammer.

TheNightTerror
05-14-2005, 08:29 AM
I don't know if it's just me, but when I start to go to bed, that's when my mind starts racing and I can't seem to fall asleep. Then, once I do, I barely (if at all) get in 8 hours. Does anyone have any treatments/tips? Are there any non-addictive (and side effect free) sleeping pills or herbs? Teas? Anything?

Hmmm, this is my kind of thread, mainly because I'm in the same boat as you. Just be glad you can actually sleep during the night like a normal human without being awake for 30+ hours! ;)

I haven't been able to get past my sleep problems myself, but I just have to say -- be careful when/if you take sleeping pills! Even if it's something that isn't a sleeping pill, at the least, search on Google for information on whether it's addictive, or could be harmful if you take it regularly.

I had to pipe up to warn you about Gravol, though. Don't take that crap regularly! Trust me on this. It works, true, but it's addictive. I started using it to help me sleep 4 or 5 years ago, and I haven't stopped. I'm working on getting off it, but it's tricky, considering how strong of an immunity I have to it. Before I stopped taking as much of it, I had a nasty writer's block. Odds are most people wouldn't end up having as much trouble with Gravol as I have, but hey, I thought I should pipe up. :o


I think Joanne and other people who suggested keeping a notepad by the bed are really onto something. I have a small black notepad and I jot down tons of stuff at sleep time. I don't think this is bad -- I think our minds really want to do the right thing, and they're trying to nag in the most helpful way.

I always have a notepad handy, too. Mainly because my muse loves attacking me when I'm asleep in bed, and defenseless. :) A few times I've woken up from a nasty nightmare, and had to write it down to get it off my mind. Other times, when I'm 3/4 asleep, I'll get jolted awake by a story idea, and can't get back to sleep until I've written it down.


But avoid exercise in the evening? I do a 30-60 minute workout after dinner, because I've been told it helps exhaust & tire my system, helping me to sleep more readily. Maybe doing exercise so late at night that it's minutes before going to bed, that might be bad...?

I remember hearing about that. Exercising is good, but if you do it close to when you go to bed, it can actually wake you up, and leave you too wound up to sleep. I'd say something like exercising, then having a long, hot bath (or shower) before bed would be a bit better. That way, you're not . . . fragrant and you've had time to relax before crashing.