sleep problems
July 19, 2005 3:25 PM   Subscribe

sleep problems

my ideal would be to be able to fall asleep if im not even tired for a power nap. but im a bit of an insomniac so thats a bit far off... ive figured out that i need to first relax my body (maybe with relaxation response) and clear my mind and then i need to suggest to myself that i feel sleepy (maybe some kind of self suggestion thing? biofeedback?). once asleep, i need to figure out how to sleep deeply. i have a problem with waking up periodically throughout the night. i think its because im skinny and i have a firm matress for back support and i constantly need to shift position. also when i wake up, more often than not the blood circulation is cut off to one or both of my arms (even if i was on my back). another thing i need to solve before i start sleeping through the entire night...
any tips in any of these areas?
posted by GleepGlop to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
one small victory: i figured out caffeine has the opposite effect for me. im tired if i dont have a shot of it throughout the day. after going off caffeine i require 1 hour less of sleep and am not tired through the day. duh...
posted by GleepGlop at 3:33 PM on July 19, 2005

fall asleep if im not even tired
Do you eat when you're not hungry?

waking up periodically throughout the night
Sleep apnoea? Softer mattress?
posted by bonaldi at 3:57 PM on July 19, 2005

well, some people can do it! you know, sleep while you can. some people are gifted with the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat no matter where they are. like old people!
i dont think its apnea because the only thing on my mind when i wake up is that i need to turn onto my side or something.
if i had a softer matress it would have to be a hell of a lot softer like a water bed which are supposed to be the worst for back support... unless any waterbed afficionados can weigh in...
posted by GleepGlop at 4:09 PM on July 19, 2005

Making yourself sleep extra in advance will not reduce the amount of sleep you need, unless you already have a sleep debt to make up for, in which case you'd probably be tired. Power naps are for people who don't get enough sleep (which is a very good percentage in most countries).

You need to fix your matress situation, maybe get one of those mattresses with a layer of air that you can set the pressure level on so you can fine-tune it. As to relaxation, you could try the 61-point relaxation method (warning: cheesy New Age link), where you put your attention on different parts of your body - I don't know whether you specifically relax the muscles or just notice them, they both probably work.

It often helps to make a commitment when doing any kind of mental thing, but not think about the goal thereafter - for instance, think or even say "I will fall asleep gently and effortlessly," but don't worry about achieving it after that.
posted by abcde at 4:28 PM on July 19, 2005

For a really thorough handling of the whole issue, though, you could read The Promise of Sleep, pretty much the Bible of this topic.
posted by abcde at 4:34 PM on July 19, 2005

I have sever sleep problems (hard for me to get to sleep, then stay asleep - it's not apnea, but it's a temperature thing).

- avoid alcohol
- to get to sleep, I "watch" my afterimages (when I close my eyes, there are impressions of "light" that float around and changes and stuff) and try to manipulate them. Works pretty well for me.
- make sure that the room won't get warmer during the night (ie., big-ol' computer running = turn on fan/open window)
- better pillows
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2005

Um, turning on your side can relieve the blockage that causes apnea, so it still could be apnea. Do you snore badly? Do you feel tired all the time, even after sleeping all night? Those are the kinds of questions to ask yourself.

As for me, very relaxing music at a very low level helps a lot. Think Enya-style. I, personally, either need to have it low enough that I can't hear the words, or else play instrumental music, because sometimes my mind follows along with the words and that keeps me awake.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:05 PM on July 19, 2005

I have obstructive upper respiratory sleep apnea, which basically means i loose my airway when asleep. I wake up several times a nite because i, essentially, can't breath. When I wake, I have no idea why I awoke.

Are you a snorer? Some snorers, like me, have trouble getting enough air and wake up. Visit an eye ear nose DR to take a look at you adenoids, tonsils, and whether the back of our tong is obstructing you airway while you sleep.
posted by johnj at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2005

I've got to get to sleep - part of my program for dealing with long term chronic 'waking up in middle of night' insomnia is getting to bed at about the same time every night. So sorry, I'm not going to post the links, you'll just have to copy and paste in your browser. I really should head for bed now.

Say_Good Night_to _Insomnia , by Jacobs, is one of the best how-to books around. I've glanced at The Promise of Sleep, but I don't think it is as focussed on the practical. It certainly doesn't get recommended as much as Jacobs on Sleepnet bulleltin Boards. (google sleepnet). Jacobs is really clear and concrete.

For years _No_More_Sleepness_Nights was my bible, it is excellent but not as well organized as Jacobs, I think.
Good luck - there's lots of info out there. And everyone is a little different.
posted by judybxxx at 9:09 PM on July 19, 2005

Count backwards from 2,365. That's the number. Don't change it. You'll be asleep in three minutes.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:38 PM on July 19, 2005

Hearing is the last sense to "go to sleep", listening to something in the background helps. New Age ought to do it, and I'd leave that on all night to mask external noises if it helps. (Like people who sleep with a fan, it's just white noise.)
I count up to 100, and then start over, because the numbers get too big to keep track of after that. If you lose track, just start from something recent, like 40.
I had sleep disorders from childhood on, which in my case seems to be related to basically thinking too much. I have to provide something for my head to chew on that's external, or I start thinking, and there goes tonight. The counting thing just provides a data stream that doesn't really involve thought. Allow me to point out that counting will work, but you may have to do it for a while, because it's probably a learned response. Once you get the neural pathways cut in deeply enough, it's a useful trick, and doesn't take long to learn.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:15 AM on July 20, 2005

I would say ditto to GleepGlop on the caffeine.

Also have you tried a mattress pad or feather bed? Your mattress will still be firm and supportive underneath, but it won't be so tough on your bony joints.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:39 AM on July 20, 2005

counting eh? ill give it a try... im seeing an ENT anyway so ill ask about the apnea...
posted by GleepGlop at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2005

Counting backwards requires concentration on something trivial, which pushes aside all those important and bothersome thoughts that keep you awake. As you drift off, even counting becomes difficult, so you start again, trying to concentrate harder, and the effort drops you quickly but gently into dreamland.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2005

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