Friday, September 28, 2012

Insomnia sucks

I feel as though I may never get a good night's sleep ever again.  So discouraging to get into bed, having done all the right things during the day...good nutrition, yoga, journaling, no alcohol, minimal caffeine...and still not be able to fall asleep. I've tried herbal teas, melatonin, valerian, meditation, ambient noise and soothing music, stretching, reading...there's probably more but that's all I can think of right now. Probably has something to do with lack of sleep. Last night I stayed up until almost midnight and felt myself get a little sleepy. As soon as I got into bed my mind started spinning. I'm not anxious, the thoughts aren't negative.  I just can't stop thinking.  When I decide to focus on counting backward or reliving my day from the moment I awoke, my mind flits from subject to subject until I realize what's happened and try to reign it back in. This continues ad nauseum. I was awake until at least 3:30am.  My alarm went off at 5:30 and I got up and went to yoga.

I can manage okay on four or five hours - I've never needed eight- but these nights of non-stop brain drain are getting old. Wednesday night I decided to try Tylenol PM since it was recommended by a friend.  After 10 hours uninterrupted sleep, I dealt with a horrible hangover-like feeling all Thursday. So I don't need to worry about contracting liver damage from chronic use. I'd rather not sleep than have a Tylenol PM hangover again.

This is an issue that has followed me for many years. It's cyclical but the cycles are lasting longer.  It's not menopausal.  It's not worry and stress.  I have a wonderful life and no worries. The thoughts that keep me up aren't negative, they're just never-ending. What can I do to settle my brain? I welcome your suggestions or personal experiences.


  1. i am guessing that you are not wanting to try prescription medication. i have a severe sleep disorder. if i don't take medication, i don't sleep for a few days and feel horrible. i've tried to go off of it many times but i just won't sleep. it is the only thing that has allowed me to keep my sanity. best to you xx

  2. Have you tried writing? I don't have this problem (insomnia) very often, but when it's from my "monkey mind" not wanting to stop chattering, I have found that writing down whatever it is helps clear it out of my mind. Also, about the Tylenol PM, which is Tylenol and diphenhydramine - the active ingredient in Benadryl- diphenhydramine knocks me out, as apparently it does you, so I take just a PM pill(no Tylenol, just diphenhydramine) and I take about 1/2 a tablet which is about a fourth of a dose. This is usually enough to make me drowsy enough to fall asleep. This might work better for you, too. Good luck.

    1. Deb- right, would like to stay away from prescription drugs. I'm glad you found a solution that works for you.

    2. Mary- I like your idea about writing. I think I'll try that next time.

  3. I take a magnesium citrate supplement for migraine - an interesting side effect is that it has stopped the monkey-mind chatter for me. I'm calmer without feeling drugged. You might want to try magnesium-rich foods like brazil nuts (now I know why I used to crave them!).

  4. tralala- great advice, thanks for sharing! Monkey mind...yes, that's exactly what it is.

  5. Go with the flow. Take mini naps during the day. When a person is in love or doing things that stimulate their creativity and eating right, they often can not sleep. I will get up and work with nature's energy: read or write. When you get sleepy once again then take a nap or meditate. As with most things it is better to work with mother nature than against.
    Now that said: if you want to get more sleep, then if you eat more heavier foods (meats and proteins) it will make your body feel more lethargic because the stomach has to process all of this.
    When I learned to work with nature and let her do her thing, it was better for my body and the body adjusted to my lifestyle.


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