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Old 10-15-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

Hello everyone,

My problem is that I am having trouble sleeping. I get these extreme panic attacks while trying to fall asleep. This has been going on for the last few weeks. Actually, Iíve been battling this condition off and on since about 1992. Unfortunately the problem is 100% self induced. Actually, itís quite embarrassing to even have to discuss it but Iím getting desperate and need some help. The most recent flare up started when I didnít sleep well for a couple of nights in a row. In the past Iíve been able to handle the problem of not sleeping well one night provided I slept well the next night. When I donít sleep well for a couple nights in a row though I start to obsess about it. I can worry about it all day and then of course it actually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I end up sabotaging myself. For the most part, the six months or so prior to this last flare up I was sleeping great. Normally, when I have trouble sleeping Iíll just turn on the light and radio and lay there and stare up at the ceiling for half an hour which usually bores me to tears which letís me fall asleep.

On an intellectual or conscious level I know that the problem is myself. I know that if I would just relax and not fixate on it I wouldnít have a problem. However I seem to have no ability to convince my subconscious (or however this should be referred too) of this. I can do alright sometimes during the day (meaning not obsessing on it) but as bedtime gets closer my heart starts to pound, my legs get week, I get knots in my stomach. When I lay down and close my eyes I start to glow red hot. I cannot fall asleep this way (I keep the thermostat at 70 degrees and have a fan blowing on me). I would say being hot is the single biggest manifestation of the anxiety and the single biggest reason I canít fall asleep. I become very frustrated and even somewhat violent when I canít fall asleep. I search for the closest thing I can find, usually my poor old remote control, and start hitting myself in the head with it. If it was something real that was causing me to not to be able to sleep, such as an injury or something, I think I could handle it better. Knowing that it is my own stupidity and weakness of character is more than I can bare. Even after I fall asleep and then wake up, say I have to go to the bathroom, the whole damn thing starts again.

Iíve tried to use as little in the way of sleep inducers as I can. Items such as Tylenol PM and Advil PM donít work that well for me anyway and can leave me with a hangover that takes half a day to get over. Nyquil works better than those but that can only be taken at or before bedtime because of the hangover effect. I try not to take anything when I first lye down but often end up taking some form of Benadryl or something like that. Eventually, due too exhaustion, I end up passing out for a few hours which is no where near enough. I went to the doctor who prescribed some Xanax, 1 tablet during the day and 2 a half hour or so before bedtime. Sometimes this has helped and other times did nothing.

So can anyone provide any suggestions or advice. Thanks in advance for your help.

 
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:58 AM   #2
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bethy79 HB User
Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

have you ever tried chamomile tea? that helps me sometimes but i wouldnt take it with any medications. i also take a hot bath before bed .it helps calm my nerves a bit.

 
Old 10-15-2008, 02:52 PM   #3
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noams HB User
Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

Here are some ideas I was given by my doctor to help me sleep.
1) walking during the day to burn off extra energy caused by anxiety
2) turn the TV off an hour before bed
3) go to bed at the same time every night, no daytime naps
4) remove all clocks from your room
5) a hot milky drink before bed
6) no coffee, a diet low in sugar
I have found that the best thing for me to get my mind to shut down is to read before turning the lights out, it gave me something else to think about.

Last edited by noams; 10-15-2008 at 02:52 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 10-15-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

I had exactly the same thing a week or so ago. The main problem is getting rid of that obsessive self fulfiling thought that you're not going to be able to sleep. So much easier said than done. Stop beating yourself up and saying you've got a weak character. You haven't. It's anxiety. I was using 2 xanax to get me to sleep just over a week ago, now I use nothing. The anxiety has switched itself off.

Try to eat a carbohydrate such as potatoes or rice with your dinner and have a hot milky drink before bed but maybe not cocoa as it's got caffeine.

Don't go to bed until you're TIRED. Find a book that you enjoy or put some music on. We can survive on little sleep for a little while so don't panic. Nothing's going to happen to you except you're going to get tired. You just need to wait for the anxiety to switch itself off, mine usually does after a couple of weeks. If it doesn't, go back to your doctor. Keep reminding yourself that it will pass. Make sure you eat well and exercise well during the day and don't drink caffeine past lunch time. Try some relaxation or deep breathing exercises while you're lying in bed. When you're in bed remind yourself that you're resting even if you're not sleeping. Try to enjoy being in bed so that you don't fear it.

 
Old 10-17-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

First thing: Of course it's in your head. What else would it be, global warming? That's the awful thing about mental health - it IS all in your head and there are few ways for others to fix the problems for you. (This really stinks.)

It doesn't make you a bad person, and it certainly doesn't say anything about your character. The fact that you've made it through the past sixteen years is a testament to your willpower. Try not to underestimate yourself. (So much easier said than done.)

As for medicationÖ I'm currently taking 0.5 mg Clonazepam for sleep, but I don't really believe in anti-depressants. But who am I to decide; there are several industries based off this stuff, it must work at least a little.

Definitely try the herbal tea (people say chamomile but I know lemon is the best) and make sure that your bed is as comfortable as it can be. Even if you get hot and don't want to go under the blanket, get soft sheets so that it feels nice to be in bed.

It may sound dumb, but as my insomnia has become a problem over the past two years I have dug up my old teddy bear. You never know, sometimes things can help.

PLACEBO POWER!!

Best of luck to you.

 
Old 10-17-2008, 09:17 PM   #6
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flyer99 HB User
Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

I have the same problem with getting to sleep. I usually stay up until I am tired and then turn the television on a channel that is really boring (to me) - normally a talk show or the shopping channel where the hosts keep droning on about this and that. Sometimes I find it easier to just lie on top of the bed with my everyday around the house clothes on and fall asleep that way. Your body will fall asleep at some point, so not to worry. The body knows how much sleep it needs, and will get the correct amount over time. Now if I could just get to sleep tonight I will be okay. Last night was terrible. Good luck, my friend.

 
Old 10-18-2008, 09:09 AM   #7
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whiskrar HB User
Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

Hello again,

Thanks very much to everyone who replied, it's appreciated. Well the battle ravages on, it took over 4 freaking hours to finally fall asleep last night. Of course I'm exhausted and weak today. While it was still terrible, this was a little easier to deal with back in the day when it first started. I was a good bit younger, healthy and in good shape. These days I'm not only older but have diabetes with terrible neuropathy in my feet. Additionally I have Inflamatory Bowel Disease (IBD) with causes lots of pain, nausea, and brutal bouts of diarreha. My stomach has been acting up terribly during this. I don't know if it's a coincidence that this is occurring at this time, or if it's medication like Xanax, or the anxiety. It takes a lot of energy to fight pain and the last thing I need is to not to be able to sleep. Oh well, thanks for the support.

Last edited by ms_mod; 10-18-2008 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary comment.

 
Old 10-18-2008, 08:06 PM   #8
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

You're not alone. I suffer from this too on and off. It has come back lately. The last three night I have awaken with sheer anxiety not long after dosing off. I sit up in bed with adreneline running through me, my heart is racing and I begin to panic for no reason. I don't know why this is happening to me. I am leery about going to bed. I am afraid to try to fall asleep. I don't know if it is my diet, some caffeine for financial stress I am under...or all of it. I will try some advice that you all have been giving here.

I hope you are able to get some sleep!! Hang in there!

 
Old 10-20-2008, 10:42 PM   #9
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

You are not alone in the sleeping battle. Im 34 and have suffered anxiety all my life. The last week has been hell with my sleeping. i get anxiety just thinking about going to sleep at night. Im the same, as soon as i get out of bed, I think about going back to bed that night. I just cant stop my brain from thining about it. enough was enough yesterday and i finally went to the doctor. Lucky for me I got some valium, and <YOU> wouldnt believe it (lol) i had a perfect night sleep. I only got enough valium for 3 nights sleep, then im on my own again, but hopefully this will be enough for me to get my sleeping clock back into pattern. i know I shouldnt say this, but im happy im not alone in this sleeping battle....take care...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Last edited by ms_mod; 10-21-2008 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Always use whole words in your posts. Ms_Mod

 
Old 10-22-2008, 07:03 PM   #10
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

This is in response to what trixabel wrote...very true about self fullfulling prophecy. I go through these bouts. I use xanax to help me through and don't think twice about it...then they subside. It was nice to here what you said that "this will pass". You are so right....it always does. Hang in there to anyone with anxiety or sleep issues and dont even think twice about using the medicine you are prescribed to help get your through the tough times... you are not alone

 
Old 10-23-2008, 07:04 PM   #11
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Re: Can't sleep due to anxiety. Would appreciate any help.

I take seroquel for balancing my moods...depression/anxiety... and I have klonopin so at night, to sleep, I take my seroquel, and I take klonopin. I also take Benydryl, which seems to help. A few years ago, my dr. prescribed Restoril for sleeping at night. It really helped. At night, when I lay down in bed, I feel like I can't catch my breath. It it so uncomfortable. Without meds., my brain feels like there's a hampster on a wheel in there, and I hate laying awake at night, knowing I have to get up and get going in the morning. i'm getting ready to ask my dr for restoril to help at night. Sometimes I take a few klonopin, 2 or 3 and that knocks me out.

I have a bad habit, though, because sometimes when life gets too overwhelming, I will take several klonopin and go to bed just so I don't have to think about how hard life is. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but then, the rational side of me pops out and tells me that that isn't the answer. I wish sometimes I could just crawl into a black hole and go away. Life is hard.

sorry for the rant...check on the use of Restoril for sleep. It really works well.
Hugs

Last edited by julie48; 10-23-2008 at 07:07 PM.

 
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