Greetings from Seattle



Thursday, September 6, 2018

Insomnia

Insomnia is a plague. More fortunate than many, I usually have only about one bad night a week. Last weekend I had two in a row, and then another several days later.  It takes its toll on one's energy and spirit. Waking up from a good night's sleep is a blessing, and one I am thankful for whenever it happens.

One question I have is why does it happen? What sets off insomnia? Sometimes I think it is because I am overtired. Other times it might be digestive system upset. Maybe I wasn't active enough during the day? But sometimes I can tell it is just one of those nights when I will not be going to sleep for a long time. Other times I wake after a couple of hours of sleep, and that's it for most of the rest of the night.

Most nights, since I am retired, I can stay in bed with the hope that I might get a couple of hours in the early morning, before 8:00. That helps, but still the next day it's harder to keep going. I am not really a nap person, so I stay up, but find myself nodding off all evening. Tom and I joke that the best way to wake up is to go to bed. We usually read until we can't keep our eyes open anymore. 

The other question is what do you do when insomnia hits? I read once that you should give up after 30 minutes and get up. Then what? I sometimes go onto the computer and read Facebook or articles, but I am tired, and won't the screen light just make it harder to go to sleep later? 

One thing that saves me is my Kindle. I always have a book loaded that I am in the process of reading. 

Because it is lighted, but with light level settings, I can turn it on, prop up my pillows, set the light level low, and read without turning on the light and disturbing my sleeping partner, who rarely suffers from insomnia. 

As you can see from the photo, I also set the text to large. It is so much easier on my eyes that trying to read a book. 

What is your experience with insomnia? How do you deal with it?

25 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry you're dealing with insomnia. I have it too. I take a small dose of Melatonin, but also, I take a half, or sometimes a quarter, of a 10 mg pill of Ambien. I nod off in front of the TV too, but then the activity of simply getting up and going to bed wakes me up enough to not be sleepy any more, which is so frustrating. I slept better before menopause, so I think hormones have something to do with it. Pain sometimes keeps me awake too. Don't get on the computer, you're right about the light from the computer screen. I'm not a napper either.

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  2. If I really really have to sleep because of a busy day ahead (i.e. traveling with an early morning class), then I take a .5 mg tablet of Lorazepam. It knocks me out after a few minutes into a black deep sleep, and when I wake up to my alarm, I feel so rested and ready to tackle the day.

    If I don't really have to sleep for the next day, I get up and do a puzzle or read or watch Korean drama.

    I have heard that cannabis can help, and also a product called NutraSpray Melatonin by Sleep Science really works.

    Recently, I "roll" my neck and head with the fascianator because it is so proactive to relieving stress from those areas. I usually sleep very well, except if I eat chocolates (my weakness) in the evening. Maybe I need to control that better. Maybe.

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  3. As you say, some nights you just know you're not going to be able to get to sleep and there seems to be nothing to do except lie there and eventually sleep. I don't get up and read or get on my computer. That would only make me more wakeful. Luckily it doesn't happen more than maybe once a week. Usually after visitors have come over or there's a crisis of some sort ( usually involving adult children).

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  4. I have the same problem. I go to bed and my mind races keeping me awake. I sleep the best when it's time for the alarm! If I stay up late (1 or 2am) I'll get sleepy and may be able to sleep but then I don't get enough sleep. I've tried Melatonin and found it gives me headaches. I'm about ready to ask my doctor about it but I really don't want to get started on any kind of sleeping pills plus I'm afraid it would leave me groggy in the morning. It has been worse since I've been in my 60's so maybe it is menopause related? I'll be watching your replies Linda!

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  5. My Dad read for hours in the night. He was a very poor sleeper. Now causes of poor sleep.I think everybody is different.

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  6. Audible books. Puts me to sleep every time.

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  7. I have this problem fairly often. I do use the 30 minute rule only I usually wait until I have been awake for an hour. I get up and if I feel horrible I go back to bed and read. If I feel ok when I get up I read sitting in the living room. Not much help for you but you can know you aren't the only one.

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  8. I don't suffer from it very often, only when something is on my mind that I can't seem to put away. Or put it to bed, as they say. Then it keeps me awake, but this is so rare. I take a CBD/THC tincture an hour before bed to help relax me. I don't get high or anything, but it wears off by around 1 or 2, and then sometimes I'll wake but I always get a pretty good night's sleep in my comfy bed with my partner sleeping beside me. :-)

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  9. I am very familiar with insomnia. I have dealt with it for periods of my life ever since I was a teenager. Lately it has not been so much of an issue, but if I find myself unable to fall asleep, I turn on YouTube and search "sleep music." If that does not do the trick within 30 to 40 minutes, I turn on a yoga nidra CD. Even if I don't fall asleep with that, it is very relaxing for me -- almost like sleeping.

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    1. I do yoga nidra every night. I usually fall asleep while listening to it.

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  10. I nap too much during the day so many nights I find myself not sleeping. Sometimes I get up and wander around the house guided by nightlights then settle at the computer to play solitaire or read facebook or journal. Wish I could stop napping but I'm out if I stop to rest or read...

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  11. I'm sorry that you suffer with insomnia Linda. Sleep is the thing I do best so I've no tricks to share.

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  12. I'm in the same boat as you. All of a sudden, I could not go back to sleep after getting up to use the bathroom. I sometimes lay in bed over an hour thinking I'd drop off to sleep, to no avail. While awake, I became very aware of every ache and pain that comes with age and it was difficult to find a comfortable position. Then I'd worry about waking my husband, so I'd try to lie still. That only made it worse. I was told that generic Unisom, doxylamine succinate, works wonders. I did not want to take sleeping pills, but in desperation, I finally bought some. I now take just half a pill most nights and they have restored my sanity. I told my doctor at my annual checkup last week and she was OK with it. There are other over-the-counter sleep aids, but most of them are just generic Benadryl. That does not help me at all. I've discovered that Costco sells the one I use. It's really cheap and I break the tablets in half (they're scored) so it makes them an even better deal. Good luck.

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    1. Hi Peg, do you have trouble waking up in the morning or feel groggy after taking half of a generic Unisom? This has been one of my concerns. Thanks!

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    2. No, Bonnie. I have no problem with grogginess and actually have an easier time waking up than I used to. I think that I'm getting more restful sleep with the half tablet of the generic sleep aid, so it's easier to awaken. I've always had to use an alarm clock and now I sometimes wake a little before it goes off, and I feel like I've had a good night's sleep. i'm actually thrilled with the results. I can't guarantee that anyone else would have the same results. My sister-in-law is the one who told me about them. She's always had trouble sleeping, saying she had terrible insomnia. She takes a whole tablet and sleeps well. I didn't have such a severe problem, so I decided to take a half tablet and it works for me. Good luck!

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    3. Thanks Peg! (and thanks Linda for putting up with me hijacking your blog comments!)

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  13. Rarely do I sleep longer than six hours, and consider six a really good night's sleep. Most times I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but staying asleep is my problem. I totally agree with you and Tom that the best way to wake up is to go to bed. I've wished many times that I could sleep as good in the bed as I do on the couch.

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  14. I read many of your posts. You and Tom are always busy and work hard. If you can go to bed at the same time....may help a little

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  15. For years after I retired and with out a regular schedule I had problems sleeping. I started taking sleep aids which work but are addictive. I just recently went cold turkey off any sleep aids and it was a bear of a time for about a week but I stuck with it. Now I am sleeping straight through and feeling refreshed. My Kindle is not back lit so I do use it every night before nodding off. Good luck. Not fun.

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  16. Trouble staying asleep for older folks is a well known problem. One thing you might try is shutting off electronic devices with screens a couple of hours before you go to bed. There is a good deal of research that shows the light coming from flat screen devices - iphones, ipads, and yes, kindle readers - can mess up the brain. You can use google to find the relevant research. My wife who was very sceptical gave it a try and it made a measureable differences. Good luck.

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  17. I rarely have insomnia - when I do, it is usually because I'm worrying about something going on in my life. I had a night like this recently and it was a tough day at work. I did sleep well the next night though. I can't imagine having a couple of nights in a row.

    I do get woken at night since my grandson (18 months) and daughter are currently living with me and both seem to have nocturnal habits. Last night I was awake at 4 a.m., could not get back to sleep, so I read (a traditional book) for about an hour before going back to sleep for another hour or so. I'm looking forward to the time when I retire, but most of all when they move...less than a month to go.

    Hope you get a good night's rest tonight!

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  18. If I go to bed early...like 11PM I will be up at 4AM. I watch TV. I rarely get up to do something. If I go to bed at 1 AM I will sleep til 9AM with several trips to the bathroom, but I am able to go right back to sleep. Funny how sleep habits vary. I used to work from 4PM to 1 AM a long time ago and found it my best sleeping schedule.:)

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  19. Insomnia seems to be a common problem as we age. In the past, I never had a problem with sleeping - just with finding the time to get a whole night's sleep. I don't have a huge insomnia problem, but when I do, I do what I call "summoning dead people" - sounds macabre, but it really is honoring people I've known who are no longer alive. I have a lot of wonder about what happens when we die, so I send my mind back to think about each one and try to reach them mentally. I count these dear people as I explore for them, and sadly, now I'm up to over 100 people that I have known and loved that are no longer with us. While it may not put me to sleep, it does relax me and takes my mind off not being able to sleep. Strange, right??

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  20. Matthew Walker has written Why We Sleep - you might find it informative - I did.

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  21. Wow, Linda! You and I are living parallel lives. I also suffer from not enough sleep. I'm taking melatonin now but it doesn't keep me asleep. If I'm really, really desperate, I'll take half an Ambien pill, but that's maybe once a month at most. I also read my Kindle with large fonts and low back light.

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