I'll never sleep through the night ever again! Please help me!
October 20, 2009 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Please help me fall asleep when I want to fall asleep.

I have had sleep problems for as long as I can remember. I am a 25-year-old female. I've never been diagnosed with depression or any sleep disorders of any kind.

Most nights, I go to bed at least tired or sometimes even exhausted, only to lay awake tossing and turning for at least two hours. My husband falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. This NEVER happens to me, and god, do I wish for it every night. When I finally do fall asleep (sometimes with the help of Advil - sort of a placebo effect which I have been using since high school - not every night, but 1-2 times a week), it's usually a very light sleep where I hear every sound and am completely aware of the fact that I am sleeping (if that even makes sense). I use Advil to either "trick" me into sleep, or because my right knee is hurting, which again, is not every night. When I wake up in the morning, my shoulders, elbows, and wrists are usually tight and sore. It has always been like this and I have no idea why.

I cannot afford a sleep specialist since I am grad student and my school has bottom-rung health insurance, but I am going to schedule an appointment with a doctor at my school's health clinic. Until then, what are some things that you might recommend to help me sleep? Currently, my husband and I share a queen-sized platform Malm bed from Ikea with a decent Serta mattress. I've never used a body pillow, but if you have had similar problems, did a body pillow help you? Any tips and anecdotes would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith to Health & Fitness (41 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
What's your caffeine intake like? I used to drink soda any time I wanted. After a particularly grueling study session where I stayed up all night and wound up drinking about 18 Cokes, I found myself dead-tired, but unable to sleep, at 2am the next morning. Ever since then, if I want to sleep at say, 11pm, I have to completely cut out caffeine by 3pm.
posted by notsnot at 12:22 PM on October 20, 2009

It would be helpful to know what you've tried and what your pre-sleep ritual is. Do you drink coffee or alcohol or soda before bed?

Have you tried melatonin? My spouse has similar problems (trouble falling asleep, followed by a very light sleep) and he takes melatonin 30 minutes to an hour before a rigidly-scheduled bed-time.

Another piece of advice is don't toss-and-turn in bed. Try to fall asleep for 15-30 minutes and then get up and go somewhere else for awhile. Read or do some other quiet activity for 15-30 minutes, then try to fall asleep again. My spouse has spent quite a few nights accidentally falling asleep on the couch, but at least it's sleep.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on October 20, 2009

The morning joint soreness is a little disturbing by itself - it was the biggest thing that made my internist send me off to a rheumatologist. It's a marker for rheumatoid arthritis, which often manifests in women about your age (I'm 28, and that's what they diagnosed me with.)

For me, cutting out wheat pretty much solved the joint issues - it doesn't fix everything, but I've been recommending it to a lot of people lately, because it's free and easy - just give it about two weeks.

(This isn't directly related to your sleep, but when my symptoms were particularly bad, I couldn't sleep either in much the manner you describe. I'm not sure it's related, but there it is.)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:24 PM on October 20, 2009

I'm not sure what's going on with you when you're trying to sleep but can't, but here's some extremely bad advice that works for me. I go to sleep listening to a movie I've seen a million times. It keeps my brain from going in circles like it's wont to do at bedtime. I kind of follow along with the movie in my head until I drift off.

Now here's some actual good advice--it helps to make going to bed a routine. So you drink a cup of tea with cream in it (warm milk helps--enzymes or something). Then you brush your teeth and wash you face (or whatever). Then you put on your jammies. Then you read for a half an hour etc. If you do the same things in the same order at night, you train your body that it's bedtime and it will naturally wind down some. Having a white noise machine (if you can't or don't want to use the bad advice I gave above) might help too. We use a fan in the summer and I notice that in the fall when it starts getting cooler it's hard for me to fall asleep because I miss the noise.

Good luck!!
posted by Kimberly at 12:24 PM on October 20, 2009

get up way earlier than you need to. If you want to stay in bed at that point, that's the time to get up. Two weeks of this cured me of insomnia. It was hell, but it worked. Eventually, your brain will demand it's due of sleep and will see that you get it.

Another point to consider is whether you are physically tired or mentally tired? I find I sleep better if I'm exhausted, irrespective of how mentally awake I am.
posted by Solomon at 12:26 PM on October 20, 2009

Oh yeah and (not) on preview, if I really can't sleep no matter what I do, I go and lay on the couch. I can usually fall asleep by changing locations and then if I happen to wake up later I just go back to bed then.
posted by Kimberly at 12:26 PM on October 20, 2009

There are a few standard recommendations you always see from sleep experts when someone requests help with their sleep patterns:

1) Always go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. This one, I can personally confirm, helped me quite a bit.

2) Don't do anything in your bed but sleep (and sex). No reading, watching TV, eating etc. Just sleep.

3) About a half hour before bed do some activity which you find soothing and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Might be a bath, making your to-do lists, writing in a journal, whatever starts the shut-down process for you.
posted by pixlboi at 12:26 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would highly recommend taking Valerian. It's a natural supplement that you can find at CVS or Rite-Aid or another pharmacy, and it's helped me a lot. For me, the problem is a racing mind that can't relax. Valerian helps me relax and I can usually fall asleep quicker.

I've found that taking it regularly helps me (even if I feel like I don't need it). So I'll take it every night for a couple weeks to try to get back into a rhythm of falling asleep at a decent hour. Then I'll usually go off it for a while, and if I am starting to feel stressed out again or like I can't sleep, I'll start my routine again. It's all natural so I don't worry about waking up groggy or becoming addicted or anything wonky like that.

I should mention that really nothing else has helped me the way Valerian has. Breathing, reading before bed, counting, etc.

Good luck! Sleep issues are super frustrating to deal with (especially when your S.O. is sleeping soundly right next to you...grrrrrrr!)
posted by too bad you're not me at 12:29 PM on October 20, 2009

This Sleep Solutions CD helped me. It's worth a try--only $4 for the mp3 download.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:33 PM on October 20, 2009

Seconding most of what pixlboi says. Falling asleep is about conditioning yourself, Pavlovian dog-like, to fall asleep at the same time, in the same place. So get a sleeping ritual. And dim the lights about an hour before you go to bed. Our body starts producing melatonin when the light goes weaker, to prepare us for sleep.

The advice about your caffeine intake is good too. I found that if I drink coffee after 3 PM (!) I have trouble sleeping at night (11.30 PM). Examine not only your caffeine, but your sugar and alcohol intake too. If you're a grad student on a demanding schedule, I can imagine that the lure of a beer or two, maybe a Coke, coffee or tea (most of it has caffeine too) and all kinds of cookies (comforting and rewarding) is very real, but they are all stimulants and should be avoided.

Also, don't have lively discussions or frenetic thoughts about work right before bed. Try to block out thoughts about what you have to do tomorrow. Make sure you thoroughly unwind before you go to bed, by doing relaxing things that you genuinely enjoy. "I genuinely enjoy reading work-related reports," is not the right approach if you want to sleep.

If you find yourself in bed not sleeping, GET UP. That's maybe the most important advice that most sleep specialists give. You must not associate your bed with feelings of frustration over missed hours of sleep. This will guarantee to raise your stress levels the next day when you see your bed, and eventually seeing your bed will produce stress and sleeplesness, a vicious circle. So get out of bed. Read a book, drink some milk until you keel over from tiredness. Then go back to bed and try again.

Good luck.
posted by NekulturnY at 12:46 PM on October 20, 2009

Are you near a major metropolitan area? A lot of places offer clinical sleep studies in which they pay YOU to watch you sleep (or try to sleep). Clinilabs is one such legitimate organization; I'm sure there are others.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2009

Do you snack before bed? I found that anything sweet - even fruit - will keep me awake at night.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2009

Two mental tips that help me fall asleep, because they relax me and stop my mind from wandering in crazy circles.

1. I think of all the things that I'm grateful for, even little things that I'm grateful for even in that moment (i.e. "I'm grateful for the neighbor's dog not barking tonight, how good my new sheets feel," etc.)

2. Someone once told me to concentrate on the soft palate part of the roof of my mouth as a sleep/meditation inducer. It works for me!

YMMV but good luck!
posted by np312 at 12:48 PM on October 20, 2009

I have been like you my whole life, and have tried all the things mentioned in this thread (and many, many others). Nothing helped. The truth is, unless you have truly bad habits - which most insomniacs do not, because they've already been doing all these things in hopes of being able to sleep - doing things like changing the time of day you exercise or trying to go to bed and get up at precisely the same time every day is not going to make a difference.

I really really recommend checking out Gayle Greene's book Insomniac. It made me finally realize that I wasn't doing anything wrong; I am just not a good sleeper and it's not my fault and it's okay to ask for medication from my doctor in order to get through the night.

I take a low dose of trazodone every night and finally, finally get normal sleep. I got this from my regular primary care physician. Good luck, sincerely.
posted by something something at 12:50 PM on October 20, 2009

brain thinking about the randomest things? I tell my brain: "you know what, it's ok, we'll pick this up tomorrow." and write down anything serious or pressing that it comes up with. (ie "don't forget to call x person tomorrow!") Of course, the random things, you brain doesn't need to write down and remember. Just let them drop out of your head. I like to focus on the mental image of a mine truck with my brain in it, rolling along the track. The motion helps draw me into sleep. I'm only allowed to think about the one thing.

(this is like the movie suggestion up thread, without the movie.)
posted by titanium_geek at 12:50 PM on October 20, 2009

I've had the same problem for as long as I can remember - no matter how tired I am, no matter how late I go to bed, it takes me a long time to actually fall asleep. I don't know if this might be exactly what you experience, but my problem is that it is difficult to sort of shut off my brain, and instead of falling asleep, I find myself thinking about a million different things.

What I find helpful is to focus on some completely mechanical yet distracting line of thought. For example, one thing I do is go through simple mathematical progressions - something like running through the prime numbers as high as you can go, or starting with a small number, then adding +2, then +3 to result, then +4 to result, then back to +3, +2 . . . -4, then repeating, etc. Another (probably especially helpful if you play a musical instrument) is to focus on a piece of music you know well, and envision the fingering / chord progression as you play the music in your head. Somehow, this engages my brain just enough to distract me from other things I might be thinking about, but not to the extent that it continues to keep me awake. I am sure each person might have his or her own mental distraction of this sort, so you can play around with them and see what works for you.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 12:53 PM on October 20, 2009

A very tiny tip: don't look at the clock when you're trying to fall asleep. Just makes you more anxious about not sleeping.
posted by pised at 1:04 PM on October 20, 2009

Things that make a difference for me with regards to falling asleep/quality of sleep:

1) Yoga during the day helps dissolve the muscular tension and achiness that make it hard to get comfortable when trying to sleep.

2) No caffeine after noon.

3) Wearing an sleep eye-mask, since we have a lot of light coming in from the windows.

4) Reducing fluid consumption as bed-time approaches, otherwise I'm back and forth to the bathroom all night long.

5) If my brain is circling on stressful matters as I get ready for bed, I find it can help to spend a little time reading some light fiction to pull myself out of the worry loop.
posted by tdismukes at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2009

Mr. Wilson knows.
posted by spasm at 1:16 PM on October 20, 2009

Thanks everyone! A few things:

Is Valerian habit-forming?

I am constantly stressed out about school because I am in a demanding art program in Central Illinois. I am in my third semester, where-in I stand before the entire art faculty and they evaluate my work (in extremely nebulous terms) and will either pass or fail me with no explanation (seriously). Aside from the amount of studio work I am currently doing, my schedule is erratic, I have lots of students to deal with (and am teaching for the first time ever this semester), these are the main things that literally keep me up at night.

I just went to the store to get a body pillow and a firmer pillow for more support. I will check out Valerian and Melatonin and go from there. Thanks for everyone's help! :)
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 1:25 PM on October 20, 2009

Also, my pre-sleep ritual is zoning out to TV and taking a bath (which I've done everyday, for my entire life). I snack on something like oyster crackers, and occasionally something sweet.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 1:29 PM on October 20, 2009

I'm the same way, and I have a suggestion. Get a decent pair of headphones (I like these). Get some audiobooks and podcasts and put them on an iPod. Then load up your iPod with:

* Audiobooks. These can be ripped from CD, or downloaded from a bunch of places. One of the tricks is the type of audiobook. It shouldn't be boring, but it shouldn't be too interesting, like a gripping murder mystery or something like that. A good nonfiction book is a good choice.

* Educational podcasts. Radiolab, This American Life, etc. Check AskMe for more recommendations.

* White noise MP3s (this site sells some excellent ones -- very carefully recorded natural sounds, a bunch of others)

* Interesting music that you haven't listened to before (you know, those bands and singers you've heard about but never got around to listening to).

Hope this helps,

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 1:35 PM on October 20, 2009

I second the recommendation for melatonin. I bought some about 2 months ago to help get sleep during a period of anxiety/stress (and also to deal with a squeaky boxspring pending replacement), and it's worked like a charm. You may have some extremely vivid dreams from it. Unfortunately I can't remember my melatonin-fueled awesome-dreams (whereas I could remember the pre-melatonin ones. Irony!)

I also tried Valerian. Though, after about 3 or 4 days of taking it, which, did in fact relax me, maybe a little too much, my stamina at the gym decreased severely and abruptly. For example, I was used to going 190 or so strides a minute on the elliptical, and by day 4 of Valerian I could barely maintain 140. Then I re-wiki the herb and realize, why, yes indeed it IS indeed a muscle-relaxant. So if you intend to do cardio, stick with trying the melatonin for now.

Plus, that shit (Valerian) SMELLS. Blech.
posted by mostlybecky at 1:36 PM on October 20, 2009

Oh, one other thing. Meditation might help. By meditation here, I don't mean like going into a trance or anything like that. I mean that you sound like you have a lot on your mind that is really stressing you out. One of the ways we cope with that is by avoiding thinking about them, but that just keeps the stress inside. A better coping technique is to tell yourself

I am going to sit on the couch for 20 minutes in silence, and do nothing but totally confront and think through all the things I'm worried about. Embrace them. Scrutinize them. Turn them over and over in my mind.

Keep a notepad by you. If you have any ideas, thoughts or to-do's about the things that are stressing you, write them down.

This a very stressful thing to do at first, but once you're done you can feel amazingly better, and it might be easier to sleep. Your mind won't be jumping all around trying to avoid thinking about the stuff that's stressing you.

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 1:42 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

My spouse reports having weird dreams with melatonin, too. It's quite a change for him, though - he never remembers his dreams without it.
posted by muddgirl at 1:44 PM on October 20, 2009

I recommend Trader Joe's chewable melotonin, if you have access to a TJ's - it is a low dose, just chew one just before you are ready for bed. I have had weird dreams on higher doses of melotonin, but not since I started taking this kind.
posted by pinky at 1:52 PM on October 20, 2009

I've been doing this for about a month and it works like a charm for me: the alphabetic/geographic game

I pick a letter and start naming everything geographic that starts with that letter. Example: R (Russia, Rio Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Romania. If I run out, I start with the next letter. It distracts me and I fall asleep.
posted by bunny hugger at 1:53 PM on October 20, 2009

nthing white noise - my SO swears by a white noise machine (actually a free iPhone app)
posted by kthxbi at 1:55 PM on October 20, 2009

I feel for you. Really I do. I can't get to sleep most nights and I've tried many of these suggestions. My favorite is the conflicting advice: don't look at the clock, but if you can't sleep in 30 minutes, get up.... er what? Should I set an egg timer?

Drugs are the only thing that has helped me so far and it isn't super reliable. Sometimes, that's just the way it is. The good news is there are a lot of new medications available and many are generics.

I'll be thinking of you tonight as I stare at the ceiling and fitfully kick the sheets around.
posted by chairface at 1:56 PM on October 20, 2009

My favorite is the conflicting advice: don't look at the clock, but if you can't sleep in 30 minutes, get up.... er what? Should I set an egg timer?

How about this advice - the minute you look at the clock, it's time to get up and distract yourself from the fact that you're not falling asleep, on top of all the other things that are keeping you awake.
posted by muddgirl at 2:00 PM on October 20, 2009

Valerian is not habit-forming.

I do not have problems with stamina (this may be because of dosage; IAND). I jog 3-5 times a week in the mornings, and it has no effect on me in the morning. I am able to jog just as well as if I had not taken it.

And yes, it smells. I take the pills (you can also drink it as tea), but I'll take a smelly pill if it means me sleeping at night.
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:06 PM on October 20, 2009

One thing that's always helped me is to not beat myself up about going to sleep. It's really okay if you lie in bed all night and don't actually sleep, as long as your body gets some rest. That takes the pressure off.
posted by idb at 2:17 PM on October 20, 2009

This has worked for me:

1. Dim the lights about an hour before you go to bed. No computer or TV, no bright ceiling lights. I have dim bulbs in some lamps and use only those during "dark time." I listen to a recorded book or read a book with a small light.

2. Drink a relaxing tea during that hour. I usually switch around between cornsilk, valerian+mint, and chamomile+catnip+lavender. Valerian is a lot less stinky when it's tea.

3. Take melatonin about 1/2 hour before bedtime.

4. If you're in bed and still awake, do math in your head--problems like 129 x 87 or harder ones. Focus on the problem and not any other thoughts that may wander in.
posted by PatoPata at 2:42 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to have problems getting to sleep, and have been taking Nature's Way Valerian Root capsules over the past year to successfully get my sleep schedule back on track.

I used to be able to buy them from Swanson for $4.99/bottle but they've gone up in price by 50% since I last ordered.

Either way, I'd highly recommend them. I haven't found them to be habit forming and are very effective when taken on schedule.

I did a lot of research before deciding on Nature's Way - I remember reading that the valerenic acid content is an important factor, and Nature's Way guarantees 0.1% valerenic acid.

Good luck!
posted by siclik at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2009

I'll just pipe in to say that I personally have never found success lulling myself to sleep through rote mental exercises. I've tried doing math exercises, counting to a thousand, even counting sheep, but rather than fall asleep from boredom I would unfortunately find myself staying awake actually keeping track of my thought processes.

Anyway, I thought I'd provide some unconventional advice as far as sleeping goes:

1) Stay up longer than you usually do, even if it means sacrificing some sleep. The goal is to find a time when you can naturally fall asleep, rather than force yourself to sleep at a predetermined time. Keep yourself up doing something low-key - studying, reading, watching TV, writing. The key is to really drain your thoughts so you won't stay in bed awake thinking of all the things in your life.

Continue the activity until you can start to feel some strain. As your attention span begins to wane, your eyes start to droop, and your body begins to fatigue, move over to the bed and make your way into your most comfortable sleeping position. Stay in that position until you fall asleep.

You might want to try this out for a week or two and see how you feel.

2) Keep a sleep log by your bed, writing the times you went to bed at night, and the times you got up in the morning. Guesstimate how many hours of sleep you had each day to the best of your ability, then after you have a week's worth of data, determine the mean number of hours you slept per day for that week (if you slept 7, 6, 8, 6, 6, 7, 7 hours in one week, then the average hours of sleep you had that week would be 6.7 per day).

Keeping this up you might be able to gauge how many hours of sleep you actually need per day. You may also be interested to find that your normal sleep pattern is actually later than you're accustomed to. Then hopefully you can naturally fall asleep at the same time each night once you find the sleep time that's worked best for you.

You can get creative with your sleep log as well, like writing down how you feel about your energy levels for each day, and then correlating it with the number of hours of sleep you had that day.

It's important to be able to wake up at the same time each day, no matter how much sleep you get. It's extremely difficult at first, but once you are able to do this for a few weeks you might find that you can operate on less sleep, and best of all, you'll find that you'll naturally fall asleep come nightfall.

Lastly, just to echo some of the others' sentiments on movements while trying to sleep: Do NOT toss and turn hoping you'll tire yourself to sleep. It never works (believe me, I've tried, only to find my blood boiling from anger and frustration -- the last thing you want is hyperactive blood circulation when you go to bed).

I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!
posted by matticulate at 4:28 PM on October 20, 2009

Don't think about whether or not you are sleeping. Create an imaginary place, and force your mind to recreate the details. Your imaginary place could be a garden, or a city, but the idea is to explore that place in microscopic detail. Does the brick sidewalk have moss between the bricks? Are the bricks set unevenly so that some stick up higher than the other? There should be nothing exciting in the imaginary place. When your mind starts to wander off to To Do Lists or Why Am I not Asleep?, you ruthlessly grab your thoughts and force them back into your imaginary place. Go back to the exact place where you were, and force your mind to continue visualizing that spot again.
posted by ohshenandoah at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2009

Melatonin saved my life, I think, by fixing my totally screwed-up sleep. Melatonin half an hour before I want to sleep, and I'm out like a light. That said, I suggested it to my partner and he got the crazy melatonin nightmares - so to each their own. Might be worth a try, though.

I'd like to echo the meditation advice, too. If I meditate at night, especially lying down, I relax and get very sleepy and it's all I can do to make it to bed before I fall asleep. I don't even need the melatonin on nights when I meditate.
posted by Stacey at 6:42 PM on October 20, 2009

I will definitely check out Melatonin and Valerian. I might be more inclined to try Valerian first, since I tend to have nightmares pretty regularly (especially when I am cold). I sleep with a fan on for white noise and have for most of my life, so I'm good on the white noise front. :)

Thanks everyone!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:23 PM on October 20, 2009

I'm a lifelong insomniac (tossing and turning, early waking) and I take Ambien 2-3 times per week. On the nights that I don't take Ambien, supplements like GABA, L-theanine or passionflower taken with sublingual melatonin help. Obviously, I'm not your herbalist or doctor, and messing around with mixing supplements has risks you should educate yourself about before taking them. I rotate the "relaxing" herbal supplements so that I don't build as much of a tolerance. Plus, GABA isn't something I'd want to take on a daily basis.

If I was going to recommend anything over the counter by itself, I would recommend sublingual melatonin. I usually take half a pill because more is not always more with melatonin. I use this brand from Vitacost.com.
posted by Issithe at 7:50 PM on October 20, 2009

I can imagine that the lure of a beer or two, maybe a Coke, coffee or tea (most of it has caffeine too) and all kinds of cookies (comforting and rewarding) is very real, but they are all stimulants and should be avoided.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, not a stimulant.

If you find yourself in bed not sleeping, GET UP. That's maybe the most important advice that most sleep specialists give.

If I took that advice, there are nights I would get no sleep at all, sometimes when I'm having a bad night, lying in bed awake, I'll manage to fall asleep for an hour or two, which is way, way better than none.

Stay up longer than you usually do

This, for me would be really bad advice. My body has the ability to stay awake almost at will, if I stay up longer than I usually do I start to buzz, just like if I'd had a cup of coffee, and then I can't sleep at all.

Many things are necessary for you to fall asleep, and which one will do the trick for you will depend on what's missing at the moment:

1) Lay off the stimulants - no coffee, tea, coke etc after noon. Avoid spicy foods late in the evening too.

2) Your body needs to produce serotonin in order to produce melatonin [which you need for sleep], for this you need exposure of the skin and eyes to outdoor sunlight, so get some outdoor time every day, without shades. If you can't do this you may need melatonin supplements [however I find that I only sleep lightly with melatoinin].

3) Temperature - your body temperature goes down in the evenings, and down even further as you sleep. You need to cool down before bed, so have that bath an hour before bed rather than right before, make sure the bedroom isn't too warm, and don't overdo the bedcovers.

4) Be tired. Exercise can help, but not too late in the evening.

5) Relax. In the hour before bed do something relaxing, like reading or something low key that isn't too boring, but isn't mentally stimulating either [no "can't put it down" stuff]. Make sure you have a quiet, not too warm place to relax. Do this until you start to feel drowsy. Don't do stuff that involves a lot of visual stimulus like TV or using a computer. If you have your bath at the start of your relax time, relaxing in a robe should allow your body temp to drop.

6) Shutdown. Make sure your mind isn't spinning when you go to bed. If you can't stop thinking about something, a glass of wine may help. I've also heard [but not yet tried] that breathing hops can be helpful [you can get hops at brewing shops - get vacuum packed fresh hops in preference to dried]. If you find yourself tossing and turning, you might want to try doing step 5 again, and if you're sleeping with a partner it may help to sleep in a separate bed if you're having trouble dropping off so you don't get stressed about waking them.

Something to be aware of: The metabolites of alcohol and most painkillers are melatonin antagonists, if you use either, you may need to boost your melatonin.

If you're like me, and sleepless nights leave you feeling so tired you feel like a lead weight is pressing you down, but no matter how tired you are, you're not sleepy, then you have my sympathies - it sucks.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:47 PM on October 20, 2009

I have anxiety and sometimes it keeps me from sleeping. I have heard that you should reduce "screen time" before bed (i.e. I shouldn't be on MeFi right now)...I don't know the scientific reasons for it, but I can attest that it's a good practice to turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed to help you start to quiet down.
posted by radioamy at 9:21 PM on October 20, 2009

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