What are you supposed to do when...

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Premetheus

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When you feel restless? When you can't get to sleep and you've exausted all your options and eliminated causes of sleeplessness such as not drinking caffine, not playing media of any kind before bed, and even going so far as to use a natural or chemical sleep aid? Sometimes I think that the true cause of my sleeplessness is nothing but one thing.... not being able to stop thinking so much. My brain keeps me up EVEN LATER if I don't drink caffine or play video games or music or what have you... I feel like my generation has the want- no NEED to be entertained. What do you guys do when you just can't stop thinking and you toss and turn?
 

Sanch

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I get this quite a lot. The main thing which works for me is exercise & fresh air during the day. Working out right before bed just makes your mind too alert and doesn't allow you to wind down, but if I have a really active morning and/or afternoon then I always seem to be able to relax, and thus get off to sleep much more easily. I also take sleeping tablets - though not that regularly, just if I'm having a particularly bad patch or know there's something happening the following day which I'm likely to be stressing about.
 

Premetheus

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I get this quite a lot. The main thing which works for me is exercise & fresh air during the day. Working out right before bed just makes your mind too alert and doesn't allow you to wind down, but if I have a really active morning and/or afternoon then I always seem to be able to relax, and thus get off to sleep much more easily. I also take sleeping tablets - though not that regularly, just if I'm having a particularly bad patch or know there's something happening the following day which I'm likely to be stressing about.
I excercise frequently, so maybe I need to revert to sleeping tablets every so often. One called "Sominex" I think, was always particularly effective for me but I never had it again just because I never remember to get it if I'm at the store with my dad.
 

Sanch

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I excercise frequently, so maybe I need to revert to sleeping tablets every so often. One called "Sominex" I think, was always particularly effective for me but I never had it again just because I never remember to get it if I'm at the store with my dad.

Mustn't be that then, although I do know exercise is beneficial for sleeping. I'm on Zopiclone which was pretty easy to get a prescription for from my doctor, once I explained I was sleeping badly in patches. I don't know enough about the U.S. healthcare system to know if it's easy to get hold of over there, but I've found it helpful and not had any bad side-effects from it.
 
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Starrunner

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I'm up at 5 a.m. to go for my morning run, so I totally crash at the end of the day. Melatonin and valerian are supposed to work well. I've gone with valerian a couple of times, however, I don't want to take anything on a long term basis.

The end of the day is usually the only time I have to read, so I always read before I go to bed which helps.
 

BoundCoder

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I do pretty much what everyone says you shouldn't. I put on a movie/TV show/something that I've seen a bazillion times. I think it gives my brain something familiar to focus on which shuts out any "new" thoughts that would actually keep me awake. Even if I conciously try to watch whatever it is I put on, I'll be out in like 15 mins.
 

Orange

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I'm an insomniac so I've got the same problem buddy, unless I'm super short on sleep I can only catch 4-5 hours a night max naturally and that's only when I don't have to get up for something. I can't complain too much as I've got used to operating on very little sleep so it doesn't mess with my life all that much.

However, I do have a list of things that can help:
- First, no caffeine six+ hours before you're planning on going to bed, caffeine has a half life of 5-6 hours in most adults and since most people dose high with caffeine, they will usually have a significant amount of caffeine in their system as they go to bed. (If you drink 3 cups of coffee or 240mg caffeine at 8am, you will still have roughly 1.5 cups of coffee or 120mg caffeine keeping you awake at 8pm)
- Diphenhydramine (benadryl) - take ~40 minutes before bedtime. It's got a biological half-life of 8.5±3.2 hours so I don't recommend it unless you can sleep in as you will feel 'off' in the morning, especially if you take over 50mg. By far the easiest and cheapest OTC sleep aid, but use caution as it will potentiate other central nervous system depressants.
- THC - depends on the person whether this will help them get to sleep, but if you are going for it's sleep aid effects, smoke a low to medium amount for your tolerance.
- Alprazolam (and other benzodiazepines) - very good at helping you get to sleep, not recommended for people who sleepwalk though. Sublingual administration of a small dose (.5mg alprazolam, 5mg valium) and I will fall asleep within an hour lying in bed. It's important to note that these drugs can be habit forming, as well as the fact that medium to large doses will disrupt your sleep cycle instead of engaging it.
- Delta sleep inducing peptide - relatively expensive and hard to find, but generates natural-feeling sleepiness within 15min of administration. Great for resetting your circadian rhythms and not (in my experience) habit forming. No long term studies have been done on its effects in the human body, so long term usage is risky.
- Phenibut - not so great at helping you get to sleep, but there's nothing better at helping you stay asleep. An oral dose of .5g-1g (any more than that has not been studied enough) 4 hours before bed will eliminate any tossing, turning and waking up throughout the night without leaving you in a fog the next morning. Note that it can be habit forming, so it's best to use it for three days on, three days off. I only use it on the weekends to recover the sleep I lost throughout the week.
- Zolpidem (ambien) - I really do not like Ambien. I've had a prescription for it a few times and at least for me, it would wake me up right as the effects wore off. (~4 hours after administration) I also observed hallucinations and a relatively heavy body load after using it. It's supposed to selectively bind to a1 subunit of GABAa but it also seems to muck about in the histamine receptors, which would explain the hallucinations and body load. If it works for you, great, but it does not work well for me, but it will usually get you to sleep.
- Valerian root - Not strong enough for me on it's own, but a capsule of valerian root combined with THC is my anti-insomnia routine most days. Doesn't work the greatest, but also does not produce any noticeable side effects.
 

ornitorrinco

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Have you tried Mindfullness meditiation? There are some meditations that are specifically designed to help you pull away from the conveyer belt of thoughts and redirect your attention to your breathing, specifically for going to sleep.
 

DMVanGrif

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I'm up at 5 a.m. to go for my morning run, so I totally crash at the end of the day. Melatonin and valerian are supposed to work well. I've gone with valerian a couple of times, however, I don't want to take anything on a long term basis.

The end of the day is usually the only time I have to read, so I always read before I go to bed which helps.

I will say that if you want success with melatonin you have to take it regularly, according to my sleep doctor. Melatonin is what regulates our sleep cycle and gets depleted from bright lights and displays because our brains confuse it for the Sun, just taking Melatonin every once in a while won't work, to see improvement with it you need to take it an hour before bed at the same time every day. It's relatively cheap, CVS sells high count bottles of varying doses for like $10-$20.
 

Sulqy117

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I dont think people should be relying on meds to sleep unless you need medication and suffer from side effects. I personally work nights shifts and sleeping during the day can be such a pain. I get woken up by the brightness of my room which i havent been able to fix entirely, or by the noise outside. Every now and then i wont be able to nap before work which is my first sign of having a bad night. if youre not getting tired even though your exercising during the day then maybe your body has adapted to a less than 8 hour rest schedule, im at the point now where i dont sleep more than 5 hours in a row thanks to my shifts now. about once or twice a week ill be able to sleep 8-10 hours fairly easily, though i tend to wake up briefly even then.
 

Zendot

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Try breathing using your abdomen, search abdomen or diaphragm breathing if you don't have a clue about what I'm talking, take deep and slow breaths and feel your body become more relaxed.

I never had any real issues falling asleep but since I was a child, more as a child really, when I went to bed I would automatically think of things I liked and fall asleep while thinking about those things. I'll give an example, when I was around 12 years old I was obsessed with Starcraft, not the multiplayer part but the story and the universe of Starcraft, so everytime I went to bed I would think of that. I do it less often now but I find that it still helps to relax and forget the worries of the day if you think about something fictional that you enjoy.
 

ornitorrinco

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I had a choir teacher that talked about breathing through your abdomen. He said to imagine that your nose was on your belly button. Maybe that will help you understand what it means to breathe through your abdomen. This is not something you can do if you are 'sucking in' your gut :)

What fradlinhas is talking about is part of the mindfulness meditiation I mentioned earlier. It is very helpful. I use it for myself, and my kids even like it. For them I use a mindfullness program called "Sitting Still Like a Frog." The book came with an audio cd that we really like. I recommend it.
 

Zendot

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I had a choir teacher that talked about breathing through your abdomen. He said to imagine that your nose was on your belly button. Maybe that will help you understand what it means to breathe through your abdomen. This is not something you can do if you are 'sucking in' your gut :)

What fradlinhas is talking about is part of the mindfulness meditiation I mentioned earlier. It is very helpful. I use it for myself, and my kids even like it. For them I use a mindfullness program called "Sitting Still Like a Frog." The book came with an audio cd that we really like. I recommend it.

Yes, not only that, it is usually noticed in articles about abdomen breathing that when babies and toddlers sleep or relax they breath using the abdomen, their bellies go up and down. It makes even more sense here where many of us are trying to emulate our younger baby selves.
 

Premetheus

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My chronic insomnia really stems from... well I have no idea. I did everything I should do to prevent sleeplessness, no caffine, no screen time, and I was once up for 3 whole days. It comes and goes so maybe I'll just grow out of it. recently my sleep improved... but I think it's because I've been under a lot of stress and finally I got away from it but sometimes I still experience sleeplessness. Insomnia can be my friend or my greatest foe.
 

theQman

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I used to go through this allll the time in 10th and 11th grade. Lots of stressful stuff to worry about and as a result there were lots of nights just laying in bed until 4am trying to force myself to sleep. I can't say anything anyone hasn't said already, Sanch is completely right though. 80% of the time when I can't sleep these days, it's because I didn't work out that day and I have a bunch of pent up energy. When all else fails, I just take about 6mg of melatonin and it usually knocks me out after awhile.
 
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Maxx

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Its a very common problem when you get to be my age. Surest fix for me has always been hard physical exercise. 10-15 mile run, 40+ milies on my bike is usually enough.
 
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