Persistent insomnia - sleep hygiene advice
December 2, 2013 8:28 AM Subscribe
I have always had intermittent insomnia, but in the last week I have not been able to get to sleep every night without 3-4 hours of tossing and turning. My body is now physically exhausted (droopy eyes, drowsiness etc) but I still can't sleep.
posted by pikeandshield to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I'm generally an anxious person and I've always found sleep stressful, especially before anything important, exciting or different. Usually it's only for the odd night, but over the past week I've been having it every night - without anything obvious that's bothering me (apart from my progressive lack of sleep). I lie there, my body and eyes physically tired, but can't sleep. It's not even that my mind is racing over something specific - it just keeps thinking about things, and even when I will myself to stop and think about nothing I still can't seem to fall asleep until 2-3 hours later.
I've tried writing stuff down, doing something different until I feel sleepy, installing f.lux on my computer, drinking milk before going to bed, avoiding caffeine after 3pm, and it doesn't seem to be helping. I admit that my sleep hygiene isn't optimal: I use the computer until a few minutes before I go to bed (mainly because I can't find much else to do, and the bed is a stressful place I want to avoid), and I live in a tiny study bedroom where there is no way for me to separate sleep from my studies, eating, other activities etc, or have much resources for a good bedtime routine. There is also a low-level background noise in the block, which start to bother me when I'm stressed with sleep. I tried earplugs, but I can't seem to keep it in without that bothering me as well (perhaps I should be persevering more with this?). I eat well and I cycle for about 40 minutes/day for my commute during the day. I also do a sport (fairly vigorous but not overly) until around 10pm in the evening twice a week, which I know is not conducive to good sleep but I can't give that up...
Melatonin is not available over the counter here, and I don't really want to resort to sleeping tablets as I'm a bit worried that I'll become dependent on them. I've started taking magnesium supplements yesterday.
So my question is:
a) What are effective coping mechanisms/mind hacks/actions I can take right now when I can't sleep, especially as 'don't worry as you'll probably sleep like a log tomorrow' doesn't seem to be happening to me?
b) How can I optimise my sleep hygiene when there are certain factors that I can't (or don't really want) to shift, like my room and my sport?