Insomnia is a terrible frustrating thing, however, I've seen the sleeping aids go terribly wrong with some of my patients.
All prescription sleeping aids (Ambien and Lunesta) are addictive and tolerance builds to them very quickly.
Benzos such as valium indeed are addictive and should not be used as a sleep aid.
melatonin is designed to reset your circadian clock. It is best used when you are jet lagged.
and indeed most if not all OTC meds have benadryl in them.
Mr. Tripp hits the nail on the head. Trying to find non medicating solutions should be the first step. Adjusting your sleeping hygiene is the best start (i.e. going to sleep at a set time every evening, not watching TV in bed or doing anything that stimulates your mind, not taking naps longer than 45 minutes)
If you are suffering too much, please go see a sleep specialist.
I've had horrible insomnia since I was a young child. There is only one good supplement for this without any real side-effects (indica-heavy marijuana), but I doubt that is practical advice for you.
While alcohol can help you get to sleep, going to sleep drunk will give you a very unsatisfying slumber.
Fact is, if you have chronic insomnia (as opposed to merely having trouble sleeping lately) there is no one magic solution that's going to fix it. You have to mix-and-match a whole bunch of different things to get around it, and every so often you're still going to wind up with a sleepless night.
Here are some things to try:
#1. Don't take any caffeine (remember this includes soda, in fact soda sucks in general for health) past noon. This can be rough because when you've got insomnia you rely on caffeine to get you through the mid-day crash, but it's a vicious cycle.
#2. It's easier to fall asleep in a cooler room under covers than a warmer room without covering.
#3. Jerk off, there I said it. It won't make you drowsy, but it relieves tension and you'll stop thinking about whatever you were thinking about. I would say have sex, but honestly, I'm about 50-50 as to whether it makes me fall asleep instantly or gives me a big rush of energy where I don't feel tired until 6 am.
#4. Learn how to not think. I know this sounds trite and oversimplified, but learn how to go blank instead of not-thinking-about-something-via-thinking-about-other-things. Easier said than done, but it can be done. If you lie there without thought, you will probably succumb to sleep. Of course if you're being haunted by some specific problem, the best solution is to deal with it so you don't have to think about it anymore.
#5. Buy a copy of Charles Dicken's Bleak House and keep it by your bed. Now you probably think I'm trolling you, but I'm not. This book is INTOLERABLY boring. Oh, I'm aware you have probably read boring things before, but understand I majored in English the first time around and have never in my life failed to finish any other work of literature. I've tried my damnedest to get through this book 3 times as a point of pride and failed miserably. This book is responsible for me passing out and missing so many stops on the subway when I lived in NYC it's not even funny.
(Supposedly about 500 pages in it gets good for about 200 pages before it goes back to sucking, but I can't say, since I've never gotten that far.)
#6. If you have to get up to go to the bathroom, try to not blast yourself with fluorescent lights. If you can, use indirect light (i.e. a dim light at the end of the hallway that's just enough to see by). This is especially relevant if you were asleep and wake up in the middle of the night.
#7. Don't take naps which will ruin your sleep cycle. Similarly, don't allow yourself to sleep super-late on the weekends (whenever you finally crash) just because you can. Be up by 10 am at the absolute latest, even if you're dead tired.
I'll name some more if I think of them.
Last edited by maofas; 7/08/2010 11:38pm at .
so again. what are you thinking about when you can't sleep?
Good stuff Maofas,especially #5. I come from a family of chronic over-thinker/insomniacs. As with many of the pains in my life such as insomnia, or on more extreme occasions dental work because I am resistent to novacain and have a thick jaw that is impossible to get a nerve block on anyway, I have had success with self hypnosis. It takes about 20 minutes but I have always been asleep by the end.
Other things to consider is where are you sleeping? Are you within 5 feet of any electrical appliances? Some believe the electro magnetic fields these things give off can effect our sleep cycles. Another consideration is lighting. The darker the room the better chance you have of sleeping. So a sleep mask might be an option to consider trying.
Could you give a short description of your autohypnosis routine? I've been an insomniac since about the age of 13-14, and I've always been interested the different variants of hypnosis to solve it. No luck so far.
Originally Posted by HereBeADragon
I have no tricks that work steadily, but here's one that somewhat helps: keep a pen and a notepad by your bed. Write down the stuff you find yourself thinking about. Document, then ignore. Check it out when you're awake again.
I also keep a notepad by my bed to capture the odd flash of genious and inspiration.
Sadly it usually reads like "Peppers are cool!! I'm hungry!"
Originally Posted by Emevas
I would second melatonin or even valarian root (though I had some weird hallucinations on that once when I accidentally mixed it with nyquil).
I"ve had trouble sleeping my entire life. I take 3 melatonin (total 9mg) and it works for me.
Don't you guys worry that taking melatonin regularly will induce your body to produce less of it naturally? Or is the dosage so low that that's impossible?
And yeah, detail your self-hypnosis routine HereBe.
Last edited by maofas; 7/09/2010 11:04pm at .
Ok I will give it a shot. First off turn all the lights off and make your room as dark and silent as possible. Put on a sleep mask if you have one.
Originally Posted by LarsCG
Now we can begin;
1. Take several deep breaths in your nose and out your mouth.
2. Now clench! Clench up every muscle in your body as hard as you possibly can and hold that for 10 seconds. Then relax.
3. Now resume deep slow breaths and pull your focus to your feet. Say this to yourself or imagine it as a montra; "Your feet are relaxing down, deep down, all the way down. Top side down bottom side heavy." Take your time between each area of your body to take a few deep breaths and feel it relax.
4. Now take the montra I just told you and repeat it as you move your focus up your body thru your lower legs, thighs, hips, lower back, upper back, hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders/mantle and lastly your head and face.
5. Now take a few deep breaths and begin again down at your feet. This time thru your mantra is; "My (insert body part) are warm and flush and full and alive." Now continue up in the same way your did before.
This has worked well for me. Hope it helps. This is designed to do two key things. One, release residual tension in your body. Two, focus your mind in one stream allowing it to settle and you to sleep.
Last edited by HereBeADragon; 7/09/2010 11:16pm at .
I do worry about that from time to time, but I'm reasonably confident that I'll be able to wean myself off of it.
Originally Posted by maofas
Originally Posted by Emevas