Not sleeping well

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For the past 2 weeks I’ve had trouble falling asleep laying in bed for hours on end. My mind is racing and I’m tossing and turning and sometimes just think of giving up and getting up and starting my day.

When I do get to sleep I often wake up in the middle of the night. I can usually fall asleep after that but wake up groggy. I have resorted to taking sleeping pills but I think they are making me feel even more tired during the day.

Tonight I’m skipping the sleeping pill. I don’t want to get into the habit of taking them. I just had a hot bath and I’m drinking a Nighty night herbal tea. Anyone else in the same boat or have any advice? I don’t know why I’m having this problem because I usually sleep well.

Replies

  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 889 Member
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    Hmmm....I've had trouble sleeping in the past. I'd fall asleep fairly normally (or maybe take a bit longer than most people) and wake up about every hour in the night. I was constantly tired. In hindsight that was related to anxiety/depression.

    I wouldn't say that my sleep is perfect now (I still wake up at least once/twice in the night) but it's much better. I credit that to me no longer being depressed and having my anxiety symptoms under control fairly well. Exercise and weight loss has helped with that.


    I also am fairly strict about my night routine and bedtime. You taking a bath and having a night-time hot drink is a good way to start. It's important to have a steady routine that helps your mind 'wind down'. It also helps to be consistent with your sleep habits. I used to stay up way later on the weekends...but I don't do that anymore. The only time my bedtime is disturbed is is I'm out at a bar or concert or game or some event. If I'm home on the weekend, I still get in bed at ~10 just like I do on a work day. I also try to get up at the same time. I will allow myself to sleep ~2hrs past my usual wake up time but not until late morning or anything like that. Even if I feel groggy or tired still I will make sure I'm getting up before 9am.

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,436 Member
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    Have you looked at "sleep hygiene" ideas on the web: Consistent bedtimes, no screen time right before bed, etc.?

    Also, there are yoga routines intended for relaxation before bed, maybe could be helpful.

    Have you been assessed via a sleep study? Do you snore? Frequent sleep interruptions can be sleep apnea, which creates significant risks for things like heart disease.

    I have sleep interruption insomnia (have had ever since chemotherapy, which brought on menopause, so I'm not sure what the trigger was). I do have sleep apnea, but that's treated, and I still wake often.

    What I don't have is the "mind racing" problem: I got to sleep (or back to sleep) quite easily.

    However, along the way to where I am now, I went to my large employer's counseling program to seek referral to a hypnotherapist. They told me that if someone has the "mind racing" kind of insomnia, a short course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be very effective.

    I did have hypnotherapy, and it did improve things. (Half a dozen sessions, for which I paid out of pocket, got recordings to use at home to repeat/reinforce as needed.) It didn't totally solve the problem, but made the single biggest improvement I've found.

    There are also commercial generic self-hypnosis or guided relaxation or meditation recordings/apps that might be worth a try.

    I tried a bunch of other stuff, too, without much result (multiple sleeping meds, prescription and OTC; melatonin; magnesium supplementation; . . . .). Some of those things do work for other people, reportedly.

  • LazyBlondeChef
    LazyBlondeChef Posts: 2,809 Member
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    @Kupla71 I feel your pain. Since I retired last year I rarely have insomnia. But I used to have it at least once a week and sometimes more. I'm sure it was caused by the stress of my job. Now it tends to be related to not being able to get comfortable.

    I didn't ever find anything that consistently worked since the problem was I couldn't turn my mind off. However, I gave myself about 30 minutes and then got up and had one of my teas that was supposed to help you sleep. Usually if I stayed up for an hour or so I could fall asleep when I returned to bed.

    If you know you have to get up to go to work it causes more stress which makes the problem worse.

    The big thing these days is to point to screen time as the culprit but I never found that it made a difference. For me getting rid of stress is the only thing that helped so probably the first thing to do is figure out what is causing the insomnia. What changed in the last two weeks? If you're female than unfortunately perimenopause and/or menopause seems to cause some sleeping problem for some women.

  • Kupla71
    Kupla71 Posts: 1,134 Member
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    Thanks for the suggestions! I do keep my sleep schedule fairly consistent but I do play games on my phone before I go to sleep. I’ve done that for ages though with no ill effects. I don’t know what could suddenly be stressing me out. Don’t know why my mind is so active at night. Nothing I can think of has changed except I have increased my exercise. I exercise in mid afternoon.

    Ann, I think I do snore. One doctor wanted me to get tested for sleep apnea at a sleep clinic years ago when I did have sleep problems but I never went. My sleep problem went away on it’s own. I have tried CBT in the past and found it helpful. I guess I need to revisit that.

    I have to say last night after my bath and tea I was able to get to sleep within a reasonable time but did wake up during the night and was in and out of sleep in the morning. Woke up quite tired.

    I’m at the age where I think I’m perimenopausal. Could be related to that. I’m starting to get hormonal acne breakouts too! Ah the joys of ageing!

    Anyway. Hoping tonight will be a good night. I will keep your tips in mind. 😊

  • tuddy315
    tuddy315 Posts: 11,354 Member
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    I had the same problem after my knee replacement surgery. Now that I'm back to work, I have to get my sleep. I have been diffusing lavender and taking a Natrol melatonin tablet(10mg). The two put me to sleep in no time and they are drug-free.

  • Deviette
    Deviette Posts: 979 Member
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    (I hate that you can't highlight sections on people posts anymore)

    "but I do play games on my phone before I go to sleep. I’ve done that for ages though with no ill effects. I don’t know what could suddenly be stressing me out."

    It could be that there are other factors that you can't control that are causing the issues sleeping. As you suggested it could be hormonal, or it could be stress from other things. Whatever it is, it is well established that reducing screen time before bed can help getting to sleep and with sleep quality. Especially when you are struggling to get to sleep. It might not have to be a permanent change, but could help in the mean time.

    Think of it this way: Say you go running once a week. And lets say you broke your ankle falling down the stairs nothing to do with your running. Yes you can keep running on your broken ankle because you didn't break your ankle running and running wasn't the cause of your broken ankle. But it would heal a lot quicker if you didn't run on it. And then when your ankle is better you can go back to running.


    Another thing I find helpful is some sort of white noise. Personally I like rain/storm sounds when I'm really struggling to get to sleep. But on a normal day I'll put on a podcast that I'm not overly fussed about to have some noise in the background to fall sleep to. I know some people just like having actual white noise as well.

  • Kupla71
    Kupla71 Posts: 1,134 Member
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    tuddy. Thanks for the lavender and melatonin tip. I used to spray lavender on my pillow. I think I still have that spray somewhere.

    Deviette. Thanks for your suggestions. I like the idea of listening to some kind of white noise as I find that very soothing. As for cutting screen time before bed. I could give that a try. Maybe I could try switching to reading as I have a few books I’ve been meaning to read

    Last night I fell asleep ok after a bath and Nighty night tea but woke up before 4am. Couldn’t get back to sleep.

  • danikat15
    danikat15 Posts: 109 Member
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    My doctor prescribed me Lunesta since I had problems turning my brain off at night and was resorting to alcohol (another one with Anxiety- Yay!), but after my prescription ran out, I decided I wanted to try something less. So I picked up Unisom Melatonin gummies and they work amazing for me. I'm now to the point where I can go to sleep some nights without them. But if I'm feeling anxious, they definitely help me! I also drink a big cup of sleepy time tea and try to be consistent with my bed time and those have helped!
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 961 Member
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    While I never had an issue falling asleep, I was waking up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and couldn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I also have always been a "restless sleeper" and have actually had 2 sleep studies done, both with different results and recommendations. Sleep problems also run in my family, and my 12-year old has recently had some insomnia issues already.

    Honestly, the thing that has helped the most with my sleep is getting on Lexapro for anxiety. Since being on it I rarely wake up for hours at a time, and if I do, it's usually because I have to go to the bathroom. I'm not saying that's what happening in your case, but it may be looking into if you find yourself tense and anxious at other times of the day. I think I didn't even realize how much anxiety was affecting my thoughts until I got on Lexapro.

    Do you drink caffeine and if so, when is your last dose of it? Even chocolate has caffeine so if you're sensitive or have become more sensitive to it (which is possible), that may be impacting your quality of sleep. If you drink any alcohol, that can impact sleep quality as well.

    Like you mentioned, being perimenopausal can create hormonal changes that can affect sleep as well. One thing I read and tried with some success is that if I couldn't fall back asleep after 20 minutes, I'd get out of bed and go to the couch. Ironically, I was better able to fall asleep there. Also, if you wake up in the middle of the night do NOT look at any screens, as that will make it harder to fall back asleep.

    Hope you find a solution, because I know how much it sucks to get caught in that cycle of not sleeping well.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,179 Member
    edited November 2021
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    Have you tried something like this? https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/insomnia/tips/guide-to-relaxation.aspx
    It's supposed to help your mind relax - I sometimes use a similar method when my mind won't switch off.
  • Theo166
    Theo166 Posts: 2,564 Member
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    I noticed I'm sleeping better now that I track it with my fitbit.

    I assume some daytime things are going on, which is causing your mind to race in the night?
    Maybe try positive sleep affirmations to help calm your mind!
    • I invite peace and serenity into my space.
    • I am calm, I am safe, I am at peace.
    • I look forward to waking up well-rested and refreshed.
    • I am worthy of having a good night’s sleep.
    • I release all that happened today and look forward to the adventures of tomorrow.
    • I have done enough today. It’s time to rest.
    • I am relaxed and ready for sleep.
    • I forgive myself and others for any mistakes we made today.
    • This day is done. I can do no more.
    • I did my best today. Now I give myself the gift of sleep.
    • I invite my mind to be still.
    • I release all thoughts of worry and stress.
    • I sleep tonight so I can take on tomorrow.
    • Tomorrow is full of possibilities.
    • Nobody needs me right now. All is well.
  • Kupla71
    Kupla71 Posts: 1,134 Member
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    Everyone great suggestions. Thankfully my sleeping has been better the past few nights. Almost back to normal. I still take longer than usual to fall asleep. I think I will try that muscle tension/relaxation exercise tonight. I’ve tried something similar before and it does help. I like the positive affirmations idea too. Sometimes at night I can’t shut my mind off. I think that might help. Have a good night!