How do I keep myself from going to bed until I'm actually sleepy?
July 19, 2014 8:57 AM Subscribe
I keep putting myself to bed too early. I fall asleep easily and stay asleep for a couple hours, but I sleep very lightly and wake up for a period of time around 2-4am. What are some things I can do to stay out of bed for an extra couple hours until I'm at the can't-keep-my-eyes-open point level of sleepy?
I usually get two 4 hour blocks of sleep a night, so I'm not too worried about sleep deprivation, but its annoying and stressful and I miss sleeping soundly. There are a couple factors that might be contributing to this.
I've been mildly to moderately depressed for most of my adult life up until about a year ago. I used to be able to sleep indefinitely and would sleep soundly for about 10 hours a night even if I napped during the day. I now take Wellbutrin and Adderall (150 mg sustained release and 10 mg instant release, respectively) and am in the best mental health I've ever been in, but obviously both of these medications have an effect on energy levels and sleep. I don't nap anymore and I'm good on 7-8 hours of sleep. I think that I'm so used to needing more sleep that its hard for me to not put myself to bed on the earlier side.
I also have a lot of free time and I might be having trouble wearing myself out/finding enough things to do during the day. I saved up money so I could have this spring/summer off to finish a creative project and I'm making excellent progress and definitely don't feel lazy, but there is a difference between working at your own pace and working according to an external schedule. I do a lot and stay busy, but I don't seem to ever wear myself out.
Anyways - around 11pm-12pm everyday I feel like my brain decides its time to go to bed. I don't feel that exhausted, but I just can't seem to convince myself there is anything else I should be doing besides tucking myself into bed. I still fall asleep within 15-20 minutes. My brain seems to be ready for bed, but then I wake up a couple hours later, and then I wake up pretty early in the morning as well. I don't sleep deeply at all.
I feel like I'm wasting a couple hours of time by going to bed too early and its starting to stress me out that I don't get to have a relaxing sleep period. I don't feel sleepy at all during the day - it seems like I'm just trying to sleep too much - so I hesitate to call it mild insomnia but maybe it is? I realize that I'm on two drugs that can cause sleeping problems though, so any insight regarding that would be welcome. I plan on bringing this up with my doctor at an upcoming appointment, though my meds are working so well for depression and ADD symptoms that I'd be reluctant to change anything too much.
In the meantime though - what are some things I might try doing at the end of my day to keep me from falling asleep? Reading/watching TV doesn't work because I'm too comfortable and then I feel fake-tired and fall asleep.
Are there ways I could keep my mind more active later at night without caffeine or other things that would interfere with sleep? I really wish I could be studying and working on my projects later at night, but my brain just seems to be done.
General tips for wearing myself out?
Possibly relevant details: 26 year old female, no physical health problems, exercises regularly, no caffeine after 2pm everyday, meds all taken by 9-10am.