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Help with sleep?

Ok, I've gotten less than 15 hours of sleep total over the last four nights. I would really really like to sleep. I really really don't know why I can't. I am reaching the point where I am just ready to sit down and cry from weariness.

What do you people do to sleep?

I've tried Unisom, Nyquil, Xanax, alcohol, food (for those not in the know, I frequently go into fits of "just ate! must sleep _now_!"), and antihistamines. For those who are going to recommend sex, I have always end up peppy post-sex. Warm milk makes me gag. I have taken enough warm baths to drown a whale (please keep your comments to yourself). I have consumed a like amount of sleepytime tea and chamomile and the like. I have taken long walks, and exercised, and exposed myself to fresh air (erm. my lungs, that is.).

I need to do things, and I don't have the energy and am rapidly losing the coherency. This week is going to be unpleasant for other reasons, and I need to get some sleep.

Help?
  • Current Mood: weary
My experience may or may not be relevant, but JIC it is, here you go.

When I'm having problems sleeping (which have admittedly never gotten as bad as the ones you're having now), and it's not a matter of a haywire sleep schedule (ie, try to go to bed at 9 PM, body decides it's a nap and wakes up at 2 AM, refusing to go back to sleep), it's nearly always a matter of thinking. That is to say, my mind is awhirl with so many things to think about (or one thing that it really wants to focus on, or some combination thereof) that I just lie awake thinking about stuff, interspersed with brief fits of managing to get my mind to SHUT UP for a few moments during which I start to drift off, until the maelstrom starts up again. "Jeez, I can't sleep" is often one of the things banging around in there, keeping me from sleeping. ;)

This happens not-infrequently when I'm exhausted, most often because I only tend to push myself to the point of exhaustion when I'm really involved in (something) and have been throwing energy into it constantly during my waking hours.

So for me, the solution for insomnia is...well, meditation isn't exactly correct, but it does use a lot of the same skills. Learning to tell my brain how to stop thinking about things and let thoughts drift, how it really isn't that important that I review what I've done or come up with new ideas right now, how I can stop for a little while and things will be just as exciting when I wake up (only better because I'll have slept)...all of the "relaxation" methods of curing insomnia are, for me, only means to this end. Positive reinforcement helps, too - ie, if I start drifting off to sleep for a bit, then stop, I think to myself "I was doing something right" and see if I can re-create it rather than self-criticizing for being freakin' awake again.

Other things that help: Trying to sleep whenever my body tells me "Sleep now!", and stopping whenever it says "No, ain't happening". This can involve being in bed with a book, turning off the light every 30-40 minutes when a wave of fatigue hits, seeing if I can manage to fall asleep, then (if not) getting up and reading again. (Though I find books before bedtime kinda dangerous, as I have a tendency to want to finish, which revs up the mind again...)

Anyhow. If you have questions, drop me a line; I figure I've rambled on for enough space here. ;)