Staggering Insomnia Almost Seems Preferable
July 25, 2009 1:41 PM Subscribe
Please hope me get control of my bad dreams until I can resolve their real-world roots.
posted by EatTheWeak to health & fitness (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hi. Here's the situation - I quit smoking marijuana at the start of the summer and have reduced my boozing to a very low level - like, maybe once every six weeks if there's an occasion that warrants it. As a result of these lifestyle changes, I've regained an awareness of my dreams. The bad news is that these dreams have been, with a single exception, uniformly shitty for the past few weeks. I woke up yelling this morning and have felt crappy all day. I can't take much more of this.
These aren't nightmares, exactly - "anxiety dreams" would probably be more accurate. I'm a fella highly prone to anxiety and depression and this is an especially anxious time for me. I've got two main sources of tension in my life right now - one of which I'll be able to unravel towards the end of next week and another that has to wait until mid-August. Examining the symbolism and the situations that I REM myself into at night seems to trace these dreams back to my real-life tension pretty reliably, so I realize that the permanent cure here is to address this tension in the waking world.
Until I am able to do so, however, I would really like to stop dreading my bed. Being able to sleep through the night was one of my favorite early benefits of sobering up, but these dreams are getting really vivid now. Hell, the one that woke me hollering today had a humiliating plotline. So, what are some reliable, short-term techniques to tamp down these awful dreams during the interval preceding my first opportunities to dial back their real-world causes?
Degrees of Difficulty: In some previous, similar AskMes that I've read, a frequently given piece of advice is to exercise more. In my case, I'm already doing rather a lot of that. The best control I've ever found for my aforementioned anxiety and depression problems is my four formal weekly workouts. If you include my bicycle commutes in your reckoning, then I workout daily at this point. It's also frequently suggested to reduce one's caffeine intake - at the moment, I'm already down to one or two mugs of coffee a day with breakfast. I'm open to eliminating caffeine entirely if you really think that's the best thing to do, but it would mean more sleeping in order to have the energy to manage my life. And at the moment, sleep is where I'm not at all a Viking.