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oh, this wonderful insomnia....


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Before I get started, I just want to throw this out there: I know I should be working on being able to sleep naturally, without pumping my body full of stuff it's just gonna become dependent on. There, I said it. But I'm desperate, so I'm asking.

 

I have a bottle of valerian root (which I've used to control stress/anxiety during the day at work sometimes), and I have tylenol pm. The tylenol usually helps me fall asleep alright, but lately I've been having trouble falling asleep whether I take it or not.

 

I've read stuff about valerian root helping to calm your body down before you fall asleep, but I'm trying to make SURE I get a good night's rest before work in the morning (unfortunately only got 3 hours of sleep last night )...so I'm wondering, does anyone take valerian root to help with insomnia? Does it actually work (and I'm specifically talking about those who have trouble initially falling asleep), or am I better off taking my chances with the tylenol pm?

 

Alternatively, does anyone have any other suggestions for falling asleep more easily? I'll feel perfectly tired, but as soon as my head hits the pillow, it's like I have an adrenaline rush and it takes 3-4 hours to fall asleep. It's so...so...SO annoying!

 

And while we're on the topic, does anyone happen to know if it's dangerous to try taking a valerian capsule and a tylenol pm together to feel more relaxed? Might be a stupid question, but like I said...I'm freaking desperate, haha. Just covering all bases in one thread...

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Well, what I've been doing lately to deal with my insomnia is having a couple drinks... yea.. thats probably terrible advice, but it WORKS!!! I put a little of whatever liquor I have, mixed with some ice.. put on TV show, and bam.. I'm asleep....

 

On a healthier note, I've heard of square breathing, I think its called.... do a little googling.. I heard it works real well for people.. the way I conceptualize it, and what works for me is just to focus on my breathing... take a breath through my mouth, hold it for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds... do that till I fall asleep naturally~

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Well, what I've been doing lately to deal with my insomnia is having a couple drinks... yea.. thats probably terrible advice, but it WORKS!!! I put a little of whatever liquor I have, mixed with some ice.. put on TV show, and bam.. I'm asleep....

 

Here's the pathetic thing...celebrated my boyfriend's birthday last week with a few drinks, went to bed while I still had a buzz going on, and STILL couldn't fall asleep. Aaaaa! Maybe it was because it had worn off enough that I was in the hangover zone, though. Either way, it may sound like terrible advice but I'm bound to follow it if I go one more night without getting good sleep.

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I used to have insomnia ever since I was like 9 or 10, and well, I've had a couple of methods that helped me fall asleep well

 

The best method in my opinion is a good exercise routine, I found that after an hour of running and an hour of weights (if you have the time), made me fall asleep like a baby at night, no matter what I was always knocked out at 10 o clock. I know that adrenaline rush you're talking about, and that's totally kicked out of me after working out. I'm really opposed on taking unnatural chemicals in my body such as pills and stuff, so I generally stay away from sleeping pills and such so I don't know what to say about that. My family has a history of insomnia and my mother used to take sleeping pills, she became dependent on it so yeah, I've learned to stay away.

 

Another method (although a bit unethical and I think I may get some backlash stating it), is marijuana. I only say this because I used to be a heavy user and I found that I'd always be knocked out by the end of the day no matter what after I smoked. Marijuana does not create dependency or addiction. I've heard that doctors prescribe medical marijuana for insomnia patients and I've also heard that university students do it to fall asleep because its hard for them to maintain a steady sleep schedule. It's your call though, don't do anything you don't want to.

 

Another method is well, stay happy, I usually start getting insomnia during bad times in my life and I'd often find myself staying up until 4 in the morning just thinking. My eyes are shut but I don't fall asleep. I've heard that if you list 5 good things about your life before falling asleep you can fall asleep better.

 

Well those are my methods, I don't know what valerian root is, but definitely stay away from the pills, they're not too good for you in general since they're not natural.

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The best method in my opinion is a good exercise routine

 

Another method (although a bit unethical and I think I may get some backlash stating it), is marijuana.

 

I work out about 4-5 days a week. Normally I'll feel exhausted by bedtime on the days I exercise, but last night (for instance) I was wide awake until 5 a.m. even though I worked out for almost an hour earlier in the day. Sigh...

 

And as for marijuana, I couldn't agree with you more...problem being, I'm currently job hunting and therefore have to think ahead to drug testing. Double sigh...

 

Thanks for the input, though. Maybe I'll just try the valerian root and see what happens. It's not a pill, it's actually a plant and supposedly it does wonders for calming nerves in order to sleep better. So it is natural, just haven't given it a good honest try yet.

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You could try Melatonin. I keep mentioning it on here because it did help me a little to get to sleep and it is herbal and nonhabit forming. When the insomnia gets really bad for me I take ambien though because it can become rapidly worse.

 

I think it helps a bit when you don't have any distractions in your room so like no TV or computer. Reading also puts me to sleep if it isn't an ovr stimulating book.

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I have suffered from terrible insomnia for many many many years. I've tried every herbal remedy under the sun, tried all the old remedies like, warm bath, warm milk, read a book, exercise, listen to relaxing music, don't eat heavy meals etc etc etc. You name it, I've tried it all. It does nothing for me whatsoever.

 

I'm pretty desperate for a good night's sleep, but I am reluctant to see a doctor and have prescribed sleeping pills - I'm afraid of getting addicted to it, so I'm between a rock and a hard place. I have no idea what it means to sleep.

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Another method is well, stay happy, I usually start getting insomnia during bad times in my life and I'd often find myself staying up until 4 in the morning just thinking. My eyes are shut but I don't fall asleep. I've heard that if you list 5 good things about your life before falling asleep you can fall asleep better.

 

 

I really like that idea! I have serious insomnia right now too. This thread is helpful to me. Thank you.

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Best thing you can do is simply get more exercise and eat right (meaning watch what you eat and when you eat it). cut out caffeine during the day, cut out alcohol too (it is NOT good for promoting REM sleep). Watch your sugar intake so you don't screw with your insulin level.

 

My endocrinologist has warned against melatonin for more than a week. It is, after all, screwing with your body's natural hormones and that's not good. Google the potential effects - I'm sure it's out there somewhere. L-Tryptophan is better than melatonin (if the pure compounded form is taken) but also only for a short time and not in combination with anything like valerian etc.

 

You want to cut back on your cortisol and adrenaline levels in order to promote a normal sleep cycle. Inevitably my insomnia is related to a chemical imbalance - always either during PMS or at times when my cortisol levels are excessively high from stress.

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Best thing you can do is simply get more exercise and eat right (meaning watch what you eat and when you eat it).

 

 

If that's the best thing I can do, then it looks like it's hopeless. I already exercise almost every day of the week and I have an extremely good diet. I've heard/read regular exercise is supposed to help incredibly, but it's definitely not doing any good in my case.

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I have the same issues you have, OP. I can feel completely exhausted and try to go to sleep but the second I go down, I'm wide awake. I've struggled with this since childhood. My sister has the same condition, as does my dad. It's in our family.

 

I've tried everything--melatonin, tylenol pm, exercise, breathing patterns, etc. Tylenol pm works for me only for about a week. I have to take more than 2 pills if I want to fall asleep within 2 hours. Melatonin did nothing for me--i had to take it with tylenol pm and even then it was a lottery.

 

I take ambien when I really need to sleep and sometimes it doesn't even knock me out when I need it to. I take it maybe once or twice a week and I don't feel dependent on it. My sister is the same, though she'd take it more frequently. But no habit formed there.

 

Exercise does nothing for me. I'd go to the gym at 10pm, hoping to be in bed by midnight. Nothing. Caused me to have more energy.

 

I must have the tv on in order to fall asleep. Otherwise I'll lie there for hours wide awake. I put in a quiet and boring movie, not a musical (so I can't sing along) or a comedy (so I can't laugh) and I'm usually good. Last night I fell asleep to sisterhood of the traveling pants. Yeah I own it!

 

Anyway, I don't know much about valerean root but I hear good things. I'm skeptical though b/c nothing natural has worked for me, so I haven't rushed to try it.

 

Good luck!

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I will firstly reiterate what I wrote in a previous thread on insomnia. One of the most common reasons that people go to bed and are unable to sleep is that they mistake physical and mental tiredness for sleep pressure. The two are completely different things. Sleep pressure exists as a result of three factors: circadian rhythm, time since last sleep and the amount of recent sleep (of different types, but we'll ignore that detail for simplicity here).

 

If you go to bed when you feel somewhat tired but stay awake once you're there, then the chances are the problem is not that you can't fall asleep, the problem is that you are going to bed too early without sufficient sleep pressure, most likely because you feel very tired as a result of your diet and your exercise. Then you lie in bed worrying about being unable to sleep, which doesn't help promote the alpha waves required to start to sleep, and it makes the situation worse.

 

When I have patients overnight in a sleep lab who are complaining of being unable to sleep, the first thing I do is keep them up and happily entertained beyond the point where they say they want to go to bed, and would normally go to bed, until I can see that they are properly under sleep pressure. Then they go to bed, and in 90%+ cases they're asleep within 10 minutes, even while being in an unfamiliar environment with electrodes stuck on their head!

 

In the specific case of the OP here, if you get an adrenaline rush the moment you go to bed, it's likely to be for one of two reasons (in addition to the reasons already given above). One reason is that the actual process of going to bed (getting changed, cleaning your teeth, maybe showering etc.) wakes you up; obviously that solution in that case is to all of those things some time before you actually intend sleeping, then go back to whatever else you were doing, and finally when it comes time to go to bed, you literally just go to the bedroom and get into the bed. The second possible reason is that it is only when you are in bed that you give yourself time to think. At that point, all of the worries or topics that you need to think about, but which were blocked off by more immediate concerns during the day, come flooding into your mind, and that will certainly create an adrenaline rush and possible anxiety and stop you from sleeping. The solution in that case is to give yourself time to think. Go for a walk in the evening for 30 minutes, and use that time just to think about the issues that you know will confront you when you lie down, that you haven't time to think about during the day. The exercise will also aid you in sleeping.

 

Medications are fine, but in reality there are very few cases in which they're really needed. The other solutions are much more effective for the vast majority of people, have no side effects, and can be used indefinitely. Oh, and they're free.

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karvala, I found your information really interesting, and all of it makes plenty of sense. However, I have 2 questions:

 

How does someone know, then, when they are "properly under sleep pressure?" If I feel tired, how do I distinguish between actually being physically ready to sleep and simply feeling a little sleepy?

 

Also, in my situation this just started a week ago...before that, I almost NEVER (with the exception of maybe once or twice a year) had problems falling asleep. Nothing significant has happened lately that would have me under any excess or new stress, so I can't figure out what would account for this sudden, random insomnia. If the things you mentioned should be taken into consideration as to why I can't sleep, how come they never had anything to do with my sleep patterns until now?

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karvala, I found your information really interesting, and all of it makes plenty of sense. However, I have 2 questions:

 

How does someone know, then, when they are "properly under sleep pressure?" If I feel tired, how do I distinguish between actually being physically ready to sleep and simply feeling a little sleepy?

 

Also, in my situation this just started a week ago...before that, I almost NEVER (with the exception of maybe once or twice a year) had problems falling asleep. Nothing significant has happened lately that would have me under any excess or new stress, so I can't figure out what would account for this sudden, random insomnia. If the things you mentioned should be taken into consideration as to why I can't sleep, how come they never had anything to do with my sleep patterns until now?

 

Could be any manner of random things. Changes in hormone levels, which fluctuate throughout your life, a minor infection which doesn't show any outward symptoms but which causes an immune response, a nutrional defect that's just become apparent, a worry at the back of your mind that you're still consciously suppressing. Could be all or none of those, or something else entirely. In manner cases, no clear reason ever becomes apparent. Let's hope it goes as quickly as it comes.

 

For the first question, the answer is deceptively simple: you know you're really ready to sleep, when you literally can't stay awake. I have a natural circadian rhythm (measured properly in a number of ways for research purposes), which sees my optimal sleep time around 4am, and rising time around 1pm (my joke is that this is why I spent such a long time as a student!). I went through insomnia for a while, until I started doing sleep research and discovered the things I've mentioned above, and started practicing them.

 

In particular, there is one myth about regular sleep patterns, which is often repeated, and that is that you should have a regular bed-time. It's not untrue, but it's a half-truth because it is not meant to say you should fix an arbitrary bed-time and stick to it. What it really means is that most people have a quite fixed amount of sleep that they will ideally have every night, and that you should fix a waking up time in the morning, which implies that you will as a consequence have a regular sleep time.

 

That is really the way to achieve regular sleep if you're suffering from insomnia in most cases: force yourself, no matter what, to get up at the same appropriate time every morning. Then, come the evening, get ready for bed relatively early, but don't go to bed. Stay up, doing whatever you want (preferably something pleasant), not until you are tired, but until you are literally falling asleep. Then just take yourself to the bed. The first night you do it, you may be up until 5am, 6am, whatever. Don't worry about it, but still get up at your fixed time. Second night it may be a bit better. By the end of the first week, unless you have an unusual sleep disorder (they do exist, but they're not nearly as common as people think), you will be able to sleep within ten minutes of hitting the pillow (and normally much quicker) every night. But remember: you should not go to bed until you really do need to. Until you can't do anything else. Bed is the place to sleep, not the place to prepare to go to sleep.

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Essential Oils For Sleep
Essential Oils For Sleep

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