How are you dealing with COVID insomnia?
October 20, 2020 10:03 PM   Subscribe

I have never in my life had an issue falling asleep and yet since lockdown I have had to take sleeping pills or risk staying up til 3:30 am. How are you dealing with the well-documented effect this is having on people's sleep?

I guess I am seeking more general insomnia tips too, but what makes this extra awful is it's so linked to COVID lockdowns, which may continue indefinitely for me in the US. I am fairly depressed since lockdown and taking 20 mg Viibryd to manage my GAD, both of which could be keeping me up, but I have had fewer and fewer late night anxiety spirals since March. It's mainly just that I can't sleep. I definitely am not getting outside enough but even on days like today when I biked for 45 minutes I'm just wired with...stress? What are your best strategies for coping and calming down enough to sleep? I am also taking Vitamin D and magnesium, though I haven't seen much effect from the magnesium. Melatonin doesn't seem to work :( While unhealthy, what I'm relying on the sleeping pills for is conking me out even if my brain is still going.
posted by clarinet to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Podcasts. Sleep with Me is good and intended for this specifically, but personally any chill conversational podcast works, especially if I’ve listened to the episode before.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:10 PM on October 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

It's not unhealthy to take percribed pills for sleep, especially because sleep us soooo sooooooo important for your overall wellbeing. Not all sleep medication is made equally, talk to your doctor about what might work for you.

Don't be hard on yourself if you need something, that is okay.

Try to keep a good schedule. I try to spend an hour winding down. This includes my shower, turning out the lights, a little light reading, then bed. I also take sleep medication in COVID times (trazadone, 50mg tends to work consistently for me) but even with the meds I try to keep a good routine so when I'm ready to try to return to the non medicated sleep life, I have a good structure in place to do so. If I feel really tired I'll skip the sleep meds.

Some deep breathing medications are useful for me when I'm anxious. I do some conscious regulating my body for sleep by slowing my breathing down, closing my eyes, trying to relax my shoulders and such. It seems to help.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:35 PM on October 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

I bought a weighted blanket for my own COVID insomnia, and I don't regret it one bit. If you don't mind heavy blankets, perhaps give it a try?
posted by daikaisho at 10:45 PM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been listening to the free sleep stories from Calm here, about half way down the page. The idea of having to follow along with a meditation does not relax me when I'm having trouble sleeping, but these stories have worked out well...I'm not even sure if they have plots since I've never gotten far enough to find out.

(I was poking around just now to find out how much a subscription is and apparently AmEx card holders get a free year? Also looks like Kaiser and Lincoln deals...)
posted by lemonade at 10:56 PM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Thank you for asking this question. It's something I'm struggling with as well. I have been dealing with severe anxiety during lockdown, and now I'm still dealing with the post viral fatigue and depression after having Covid.
Something that really helps me was recommended here on AskMetafilter - the podcast Nothing Much Happens. It's intended as a sleep aide, and it has helped me to some extent to sleep, but I use it primarily as a way to relax and feel safe. I usually listen to one story a day, when I'm feeling in need of something extra soothing and comforting. The stories are so kind and loving and remind me that there are good things, that people care, that I am not alone. I do also use the technique recommended by the podcaster, of visualising something soothing during the times when I lie awake. It does often help me get to sleep, but primarily, it just makes me feel better.
So for example, I might imagine that I'm lying in a tent and can hear rain pattering down. Or I mentally go through the steps of doing something calming and every-day routine like doing the laundry (I love doing laundry) or making a cup of tea. Or if I'm feeling ambitious, I imagine that I'm staying in Rivendell, and what it would be like to have breakfast there. Figuring out whether Rivendell has chickens or cats takes my mind away from the darker places it might go, and it really helps.
posted by Zumbador at 11:37 PM on October 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

I have real difficulty shutting my brain off to sleep, and the only thing that helps is playing Word Stacks on my phone. I know, being on your phone is a terrible sleep habit, but it's the only thing interesting enough to distract me whilst boring enough that my eyes start closing. It's been a real lifeline for me to be honest.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:39 AM on October 21, 2020

Why is it unhealthy? You need sleep.

I alternate between Ambien and over the counter Doxylamine Succinate. I literally never go to bed without a sleep aid and that's been true for two years.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:32 AM on October 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm a long time insomniac, usually I have no problem going to sleep in the first place but will often wake up a couple of hours later and then not be able to get back to sleep until daybreak when I'll catch like 30 mins before having to work. Some points in my life this has become really ruinous in physical and mental health terms but I feel like I'm basically on top of it these days.

My approach:

I do all the standard stuff, avoid alcohol (this is sometimes tricky), no screens in the hour before bed, fixed going to bed and getting up times (within ~1hr tolerance) even on the weekend, dim lighting in the evening etc. The thing that's important for me is being properly physically tired (bike rides 2hr+ if I can find the time) & preventing the spiraling thoughts. To that end if I'm ever awake for more than 20 mins in the night I go into the spare room and with a dim light on I read, I don't beat myself up about not sleeping or worry about being tired the next day. I look at it as an opportunity to get some quiet reading done, usually within an hour or two or three I'll be asleep again. Not having to go into an office is a god-send in these terms as I can grab an extra hour and if i need more I can take a shower at lunch time instead of first thing -- it adds a little accomodation in my schedule.

If I find myself in a particularly severe phase then sleep medication really helps and you shouldn't beat yourself up over using it to just conk yourself out. As others have mentioned the effects of lack of sleep can often be worse than any medication side effects.

From talking to others with insomnia over the years I've found different things seem to work for different people but most of us have found a way to mitigate the problem in the end. I hope you can find your way soon.
posted by tomp at 2:33 AM on October 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Insomnia is horrid! The best thing that I have done is cold water therapy - though I can't get to swimming now I can have a cold shower at the end of my shower every day. I'd heard it was good for stress and anxiety and I started the first day of lockdown - at the end of the shower turning it to cold until I feel the cold water shock, which triggers a rush of endorphins. It takes about 30 seconds. It's been AMAZING!

My other insomnia advice is to try not to worry about whether you'll sleep or not. It's hard but worth it because the stress of not sleeping and the panic of needing to sleep both keep me awake when i'm insomina-ing.
posted by london explorer girl at 2:43 AM on October 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have found the mySleepButton app to be weirdly useful in falling asleep. I think there's only been one night where I made it through a whole list and hadn't fallen asleep yet. I find I tend to fall asleep faster using this vs the sleep stories on Calm that someone linked above, but those are good too!
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 3:47 AM on October 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

I am also struggling with sleep. Sometimes what's helpful is lying down in bed anyway and distracting my mind and telling myself that being horizontal is nearly as good as being asleep. Sometimes I need to get up and sit on the sofa for a bit and fall asleep there. Sometimes the temperature is wrong and I need to change the weight of my bedclothes or coverings.

The only thing I'm doing consistently is getting up at about the same time every day regardless of how much sleep I've had or what day it is. This doesn't help so much with the sleep, but it stops me from sleeping through my work hours, or worrying about sleeping through my work hours.

The other thing that helps with my mood in general is increasing my interaction with people during the day. This is mainly with colleagues and its either work related or very superficial but the days when I have more informal calls and conversations are better.
posted by plonkee at 3:57 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My fiance runs a behavioral sleep clinic at Duke. She was interviewed by Duke Today several months into COVID when it was apparent that it wasn't going away soon about this issue.

I sent her this thread and she scrolled through saying "bad advice! bad advice! OMG! bad advice!"

She did agree with increasing social interaction through the day, but generally she says sleep does not reward effort. If what you're doing is struggling to sleep, stop. You can't struggle yourself to sleep. (As someone who has bouts of insomnia myself, I can vouch for this ...)

She would also agree that if you need sleeping pills to get to sleep, take them.

If you have chronic insomnia (more than 3 months) then you might consider treatment. There are sleep clinics around the country that use cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) that can help with sleep disorders / problems.

Also, you might talk to a therapist more generally. TBH even before COVID I was having a pretty hard year, and was also suffering from insomnia more than usual. I started sessions with a therapist and went on Celexa for anxiety. I still have the occasional sleepless night (usually cat-induced or because I wake up b/c I didn't turn on the AC and it's too warm) but much less frequently.
posted by jzb at 5:30 AM on October 21, 2020 [15 favorites]

I find the repetition of yoga nidra helpful, it's the same steps each time. You are designed to stay conscious but it pretty much always knocks me out to the point where now I go through the script on my own to fall asleep on tough nights
posted by athirstforsalt at 6:07 AM on October 21, 2020

Three thoughts:

1) If you use caffeine in any form stop using it earlier in the day. As I aged I went from being able to drink coffee in bed at night to having to stop drinking caffeine in any form before noon. Some peoples sensitivity to caffeine changes quite a bit over time.

2) The number one over the counter sleep aid according to Consumer Reports is Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid Tablets (active ingredient is Doxylamine Succinate 25mg, an antihistamine). They are cheap, safe, and work well for most people with minimal "hangover" the next day.

3) Consider listening to Yoga Nidra in bed, the yoga of rest. Should find some versions available on youtube, any music service, etc. Find one in a voice that is agreeable to you. It is a practice.

kind regards
posted by jcworth at 6:09 AM on October 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've had trouble sleeping for longer than I want to think about, and, now, arthritis has reached my hips. Pain can be enough to keep me awake when I wake during the night, which is common. Maine has had legal medical weed for a while, now has legal recreational. I started using a tiny amount (in candy) on nights when my hip is really hurting, or if I really can't sleep and it's before @ 2 a.m. It's helped a lot.

Reading helps sometimes. Watching old tv shows (Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote) is pretty reliable, but seems a terrible habit.
posted by theora55 at 6:24 AM on October 21, 2020

I find that one pull off of a vape pen with some kind of sleepy weed helps me downshift enough to drift off. I tend to need this in the middle of the night--often I'll wake up after like four hours and have difficulty getting back to sleep.
posted by Sublimity at 6:42 AM on October 21, 2020

Three things that helped me a lot, in roughly increasing order of significance:

1) Exercising more regularly
2) Quitting a stressful job that made me incredibly angry at an incompetent, gaslighting manager
3) Cannabis

Really, it's mostly the weed. This is not an option for everyone and it has its own hassles but I've vaped or used a tincture almost every night for the last four months and I have never slept better - and I'm in the middle of a terrifying pandemic.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:05 AM on October 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding exercise as a solution - I think many of us are much less active than we were pre-COVID and our bodies are getting to a point of excess energy - why would my brain want to sleep if I haven't even "done" anything in the day? For me, I have to get some activity and make my body physically tired to get to a point of good sleep. The worst sleep I ever get is when I've been sedentary all day.

If exercise is not an option for whatever reason, maybe try some sort of mentally vigorous activity. I've also found myself to be in a COVID fog sometimes as life has gotten so languorous and slow - life as I've experienced it has become much, much less urgent, but seasoned with a heavy dose of impending doom and helplessness - not a great recipe for my brain. Doing something that requires a lot of mental energy for a period seems to help.
posted by _DB_ at 7:51 AM on October 21, 2020

I was born a bad sleeper and am under a lot of stress these days. What has helped:

- At least 15 mins of cardio exercise a day. Just a brisk walk outside works. If I do it too close to bedtime I get too wired, though.
- CBD gummies. Might be a placebo effect. Who cares. It helps.
- Smoking a bit of indica about an hour before bed.
- Therapy.
- I just lie there and try not to obsess. Years ago I had a thyroid thing that made me not able to sleep at all. I learned that while resting is not as good as sleep, obviously, it is helpful. YMMV. If you lie there panicking you should probably get up.
- Crosswords take my mind off things and are boring enough that I often fall asleep on my puzzle book.
- Benedryl if I'm really amped (I do not mix it with weed)
posted by Stoof at 7:58 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I take Vitamin D supplements and I feel like it helps me to be fully awake when I'm supposed to be and then rest when I'm supposed to. Nthing avoiding caffeine before bed. I have been experimenting with CBD but I find that I get super sleepy only to become more alert later on, so timing is important. When all else fails, there's Benedryl (not mixed with anything else).
posted by koucha at 8:06 AM on October 21, 2020

I'm a bad sleeper. I've been sleeping ok in COVID times mostly because I never have to get up early for any reason so it's easier to not stress when I can't sleep. My whole thing for sleep is...

- pretty serious routine, go to bed at same time, do things in similar sequence
- get off screens (except no-backlight ebook reader) 90 min before bed
- no coffee after 4 pm (and I've been switching afternoon coffee to half caff)
- very mild (1.5 mg?) edible THC boost which fuzzes my mind out a little so I'm not stressing about The World
- Very Heavy Blankets
- Very Cold And Dark Room
- SAD lamp early on those grey days
- dimming lights and other sensory stimuli as I am headed to bed (i.e. one reading light not overhead lights as I'm reading in bed)
- get up and do something else if I'm not drifting off within 30-45 min
- I do a lot of visualization when I'm in bed with eyes closed, usually thinking of four things in the day I liked/enjoyed, anagramming their first letters, etc, something that takes a little focus but not much. I often think of it like "unhooking" from my conscious day's thoughts
- occasional use of heavier duty pills (either mild benzos or ambien) usually less than 1x per week

For you I would check in to whether you are taking your non-sleep meds at the right time for optimal sleeping.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 AM on October 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm taking half a doxylamine succinate pretty much every night or I'm fucked until 2-3-4am; I treat myself to a whole one on Friday night and generally don't get up until 9 Saturday. Sometimes I supplement 2 hours before bed with 1/8th of a single Plus brand 9:1 thc:cbd gummy (literally the tiniest cube cut up from one gummy) just to unclench. I do also take a magnesium supplement during the day and use an electrolyte supplement in water in the evenings.

In bed, I sometimes use meditations from Insight Timer, the free version (though they deserve some money, I just don't need the paid features), which I like much better than Calm or Headspace. Mostly though I do my own visualization exercise in which I try to imagine the most epic, perfectly comfortable place to sleep. This is fun (infinite budget and access, safety issues magically prevented, it's like traveling without going anywhere) and brain-occupying but not so distracting you can't sleep and also you're focused on sleep.

I do keep the bedroom ice cold, and have upgraded some pillows this year since my neck is very picky about support.

Years ago, I used to have typical insomnia clock-watching anxiety that often spun out into rage, especially as I'm prone to 3am wakeups. And then I first read that (possibly apocryphal) story of the industrial revolution and split sleep schedules and Ben Franklin's mid-night "air baths" and even if it's totally bullshit my brain was like "oh so this is totally fine" and I do in fact generally think it's fine now. I just get up and take care of whatever needs I have so I can get comfortably back in bed and I tell myself a story or listen to something on Insight Timer until I fall asleep again. I don't know how to make your brain do that, but if you can convince it to it's incredibly helpful.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:43 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Pot. A THC tincture usually, although I had absolutely lovely success with 10:1 CBD:THC edibles (so 10 mg of CBD to 1 mg of THC), and dang, I gotta go out and pick more up soon.

Really hard exercise works second best, but I really don't have the time to go on a four-hour bike ride or a multi-hour hike in between, like, my job and living my life and making dinner and stuff. So yeah -- I know this will not be a solution for everyone and I don't know how this would interact with your medications, but taking something to sleep has been the best choice I could make.
posted by kalimac at 8:52 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

-CBD oil about an hour before
-No screens an hour before. I turn my phone off as it doesn’t help with my racing mind.
-No caffeine or other stimulants after noon
-Exercise at least 3 hours before, exercising before bed can actually jazz me up and keep me awake.
-Spend time in nature or gardening (if you can) and away from the news or other stressors. Just get your hands in the soil or go look at some birds or bugs or whatever you can. I go mushroom hunting, it helps me to focus on something other than what causing me anxiety.
-Make sure you empty your bladder and bowels before you sleep (this often keeps me awake as I get older). So no drinking or eating an hour before bed is also helpful.
-Sometimes I take Zzzquil to help knock me out if all else fails

Mostly it’s the caffeine restriction that works for me though. I’m 37 and I am so freaking sensitive to it now that I can barely have a cup of coffee anymore.
posted by Young Kullervo at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I stopped drinking anything caffeinated, started taking 15 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime, ramping up my vitamin D supplements, and try to get outside for a hike or at least a walk once a day if air quality permits.

If I'm using a screen in bed (terrible, I know) I use the blue light filter and turn the brightness waaaaay down.

If it's really bad, which happens about once a month, I take 50 mg of xanax.
posted by ananci at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2020

As a note - melatonin never really worked for me until I tried the "Good Day" chocolate melatonin supplements at Whole Foods. Possibly placebo effect but, about 20 minutes after eating one or two, the sleep comes super easy.
posted by hanov3r at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2020

In order, my sleeping routine:

1. No social media after dinner.
2. No screens at least an hour before bed (I read or do projects).
3. Some sort of exercise (stationary bike, yoga, calisthenics) to get out any extra energy
4. 1 mg melatonin
5. 20 min mindfulness
6. Go to bed at the same time every night.
7. Think boring thoughts (the mindfulness helps to detach from thoughts).

I've also cut back to no more than one alcoholic drink with or after dinner, and no snacks after dinner.

The routine is really, really fragile. Going to bed late or three drinks means staying awake for hours. I've stopped trying to wean myself off the melatonin.

Good luck!
posted by JawnBigboote at 11:36 AM on October 21, 2020

Regarding Melatonin - I've used it successfully quite a bit in the past (more for jetlag-induced insomnia admittedly) and found that it really only gives my system a "nudge" to more quickly re-align with a proper sleep cycle if that makes sense - it won't knock me out on its own. What I found much more effective overall was a fixed routine before bed, and a limitation on screen time (or at least a blue-screen filter if you must use your phone before bed). Also some sort of exercise and limiting caffeine - cutting back to 1 cup/day of coffee really helped me.

Worst comes to worse, a Unisom seems to help knock me out and has minimal side effects.
posted by photo guy at 11:53 AM on October 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

The app called Relax Melodies works well for me and there is a lot of stuff on it; all kinds of soothing white noise type sounds, guided meditation, bedtime stories, self hypnosis, brainwave sounds, etc. If you are interested in a app for sleep, I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
posted by The otter lady at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2020

I've had sleeping issues for years. For me, no caffeine at all anymore. No alcohol if I want to get decent sleep. It helps me fall asleep but screws with my sleep cycle. Using the iPhone's screen dimming effect or whatever it's called. Meds. I take Trazodone. It's an old antidepressant that doesn't work particularly well as an antidepressant. It's commonly prescribed for people with sleep issues. I listen to podcasts. The only thing my brain can handle these days is Star Trek podcasts, but I used to have science ones on all the time. I like my room cold and then I put on multiple blankets. I keep a bottle of water next to my bed because my mouth tends to get dry and just that sensation can keep me awake. I do a 7 minute-ish workout a couple hours before I'm supposed to get to sleep. A purring kitty doesn't hurt either :)
posted by kathrynm at 5:40 PM on October 21, 2020

I have made a lot of changes this year as a result of this episode of Rangan Chatterjee’s podcast: Why Sleep is the Most Important Pillar of Health with Professor Matthew Walker. I was really struck with Dr Walker’s statement that “sedation is not sleep,” especially since at the beginning of the pandemic I started taking Benadryl every night (instead of my usual meletonin and niacinamide). Here is what has worked for me to sleep through the night with no supplements:

- Dramatically reducing alcohol and caffeine. I have cut down to 1 cup of coffee before noon and herbal tea or decaf the rest of the day. After initially drinking more at the start of the pandemic, I now have 1 or 2 drinks a week.
- Taking a walk outside in the morning and evening and trying to spend more time outside getting natural light in general.
- Stopping eating at 7pm
- Listening to yoga nidra before I go to bed or if I wake up too early.
posted by loveyhowell at 7:29 PM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I occasionally take a few drops of a locally made passion flower elixir.
posted by imitura at 7:29 PM on October 21, 2020

Ambien is a GODSEND for me and whatever level of "unhealthy" it is, it can't be more unhealthy than my absolutely horrid sleeping habits when I'm not on it. It has the least side effects of any sleep aid I've tried (including OTC meds) and I only wish I'd gone on it sooner instead of spending years unsuccessfully trying to make melatonin and Benadryl work.
posted by augustimagination at 7:39 PM on October 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have worked professionally as a Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) practitioner for some time now.

jbz's fiance's recommendations are right on the money. The best way to conceptualize sleep is to think about it the way a surfer waiting for a wave thinks about surfing. If waves come, you get to surf, if it doesn't it might be time to paddle back and find something else to do.

In other words, if after 15-20 minutes you haven't fallen asleep, congratulations, you now have more waking time in your day. Go use it to do something fun that won't mess up your sleep when it finally does come to you, like torturing yourself by staying in bed.

If you find yourself being anxious about being sleepy tomorrow, consider accepting that you most likely will be sleepy tomorrow and that it will almost certainly be OK. With very rare exceptions, most people function well enough to get through the day after a bout of insomnia.

Let me restate this for emphasis, its better to get out of bed than to reinforce insomnia as a bedtime behavior by staying in bed trying will yourself to sleep.

As jbz pointed out, if your insomnia has been going on for three months or longer, find a Behavioral Sleep Medicine trained sleep specialist and do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) with them (NOTE: CBT-I is not the same as CBT and most of the therapist you will find on Psychology Today's find a provider site who say they can help with insomnia don't actually have CBT-I training). You can find a trained provider in your area here at the UPenn Provider Directory or here at The Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine's site. Think of it like getting a personal trainer for sleep. If you don't want to do that then try the Cleveland Clinic Go! to Sleep CBT-I App.

Since I see a lot of people here recommending melatonin, as a public serivce here is some educational material on Melatonin:
  • Anyone who is looking at taking melatonin should discuss it with their doctor.
  • Professionally, melatonin is primarily used to treat phase disorders and jet lag. Most BSM practitioners and sleep doctors give very specific instructions to their patients, not only on how much to take, but especially on when to take it. Right before getting into bed is NOT the ideal time.
  • Melatonin is sometimes taken because it does have a slight hypnotic effect. That said, Melatonin functions by altering the bodies circadian rhythm which controls things like, when you get hungry, and when your other hormones are released. Taking external melatonin will also change these other functions.
  • Melatonin's ideal dose for sleep, as per an MIT study, was about .3mg (the . is not a typo). Outside of the placebo effect, higher doses doesn't make melatonin more effective and in some cases can make it less effective. Unfortunately, melatonin is sold by vitamin companies which traditionally have used dosage levels as a way of competing with other vitamin companies, so please beware of taking 3, 5, 10, 15, and oh dear god... 20mg doses.
  • Lastly, melatonin is an unregulated vitamin. The companies that sell it can put whatever they want in there. Based on the last time this was looked at by scientists, a good number of you are chewing on sawdust while others are getting massive doses you probably don't want to be taking.

posted by Jernau at 7:41 PM on October 21, 2020 [13 favorites]

Also, since I see several comments suggesting Benadryl, you should know that researchers are looking at links between it and dementia.
posted by Jernau at 7:55 PM on October 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Speaking of CBT-i, I've been using the CBT-i Coach app (free, from the Department of Vets Affairs in the US) to learn about my sleep patterns and keep notes on things like, for example, what medicines I've been taking and what seems to be co-presenting with bad sleep. It's easy to use, mostly just for logging sleep, and you can export the data to a spreadsheet.
posted by jessamyn at 8:25 PM on October 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

Just a bit of a warning for those who are taking cannabis. My experience was that it helped with sleep, yes. I slept all through the night - sleep quality wasn't great though...

However, after a while it really had some impact on anxiety levels. And I started getting trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts. It just wasn't... healthy. And then I found I was in fact very much addicted to it. Yes, it's a thing. Check out r/leaves on reddit if you want to see examples of people struggling to quit. It ended up screwing up my sleep more than I ever thought it could. I'm doing better now but I've kicked the cannabis out of my life and, well, never going to go down that path again. It was a brutal and scary recovery.
posted by patternocker at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers. I definitely agree that sleep meds are worth it-I just don't like that I pretty much need to be knocked out while scrolling mindlessly on my phone to sleep, haha. I have been taking Doxylamine Succinate to some effect but it's starting to not work as well. Sigh. I would definitely consider cannabis if it were legal in my state or I was savvy but...
Thanks for all the sleep health reminders. I will start putting some in place and walking back caffeine. I also am already taking my depression meds in the morning (they wake me up) but that is another great check. I tried the mySleepButton app last night and found it wildly helpful. I will keep checking back. Thanks again.
posted by clarinet at 6:54 PM on October 22, 2020

I have been taking Doxylamine Succinate to some effect but it's starting to not work as well.

You could try alternating between DS and Diphenhydramine HCl (the Unison sleep gels, not the tabs.)

I would definitely consider cannabis if it were legal in my state or I was savvy but...

Also worth a try is CBD, so you get the weed effects without the not-legal-weed. It works really well for a lot of people, I just am not one of them.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:49 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

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