Hi, Actually 4 hours of restful sleep, and I am putting the emphasis on a deep, peaceful sleep is at the low end of normal. A person needs only 6 to 8 hours, but many can function on less. I believe you know how much sleep you need, and it may take awhile to get your body to sleeping more. I would should suggest, taking a warm bath, drinking warm milk, and avoiding coffee or soda at least 5 hours before bed time. Do you have a rountine? If you haven't started a routine make a habit of going to sleep at the same time every night. I hope this will help you have sweet dreams.
Hi, I am glad my answer helped you, if even in a small way. I don't think anyone can be a positive and functional person with prolonged insomnia. It can cause anxiety, anger, and depression. You didn't say how long you have been having insomnia, so I would probably visit your health care provider. Good luck with your situation.
Well, 4 hours is enough to hold of the most disastrous effects of sleep deprivation, such as hallucinations. It is generally not enough to feel or function at your best, and it's not healthy in the long term.
Last year I began having a bout of insomnia. I had had it before for about 2 months but then it resolved with the help of a naturopath. I've never been a really sound sleeper, more of a light sleeper. So I think my sleep habits prior to this time sort of set me up.
Well it came back with a sleep schedule change last summer. I quit work when I had my kids so I didn't have a set awake schedule. Then my oldest boy began middle school and that started at 7:30. So I needed to be up by 6am in order to get lunch packed, breakfast ready, him up and get him to school. I HAD to get up at that time. This wasn't me anymore, someone elses life was dependent on this time schedule and I couldn't call in sick or go in late - I had to get up.
That was a big change in my sleep schedule and it through me into insomnia. I went down to 5-6hrs of sleep. Then the fear of insomnia, the overwhelming fatigue and stress hormones began to decrease it to even less. I would say that for at least 3 months, I lived off of 3-4hrs of sleep per night. Then I was able to get it up to around 4 1/2 sometimes 5 for another couple of months until I was at a good, constant 6 1/2hrs.
I functioned. I didn't get sick and as far as I know suffered no serious health problems. I still struggle with my sleep but I don't stress about it. I had to work to lower my cortisol levels in my body. Insomnia is a HUGE body stressor. Your body can't identify fear and stress between a boogie man or total fatigue from lack of sleep. It will go into survival mode, create excess cortisol and adrenaline to keep you functioning. After awhile you can no longer clear those hormones and that is why insomnia becomes chronic - it's a viscous cycle. The less sleep the more stress hormones. I took a supplement called Seriphos. It's supposed to help regulate the communication between brain and adrenal glands to calm the secretion of cortisol. It worked for me but it did take time. And it wasn't a perfect fix. But I can sleep and sometimes I will sleep up to 9hrs when I can. But my sleep isn't perfect and I am not going to expect that because that only adds to the stress and anxiety about sleep.
Have you seen a doctor. Would you be willing to try something to possibly break the cycle of insomnia if only for a week? My last bout I decided to take something to help me sleep every other night for awhile. Because if I don't, then I become so fatigued that when I crawl into bed the desperation totally thwarts any effort to sleep. If I can get one good night of sleep then deal with it the next night knowing that the following night I can get a good night of sleep. It has done wonders with taking the pressure off that night of sleep and I am not desperate to sleep when I go to bed. Pills are not a long term solution but they do serve a purpose for a short term assist.
Good luck. Try not to get too hopeless. I know I was. I thought that was my new normal and I would sleep like this for the rest of my life. But I didn't. It got better, still not perfect but it's not like it was and I'm hoping that it will continue to get better. It just takes time and the ever elusive patience when it comes to insomnia.
thansk for writing me. As I was reading, your comments regarding cortisol struck home. i mean, i am feeling all these weird sensations in my body and i feel that it is the excess cortisol you refer to is making me feel that way.
i tried something new on sat night and it worked!
you see, i never had falling asleep at the beginning of the sleep, but would wake up after a few hours and can't go back. so on sat night, when i woke up after a few hours, i took melatonin and i was able to fall asleep back.
i think i ended up sleepng 7 hrs. the most amount in 4 months since i quit drinking. your idea about taking sleeping aids every other night is an excellent idea!
i will go without melatonin tonight, but won't stress out because i know i will be taking it tomorrow night and get a decent night's sleep.
I'm glad the melatonin helped you! I use it from time to time but never suggested it because it's kind of hit or miss with people. Some people find it works and others feel no help at all. I've done what you did - take a rapid release melatonin in the middle of the night and get back to sleep. I find it to be a relaxing supplement, but some people find it agitates them. And don't be afraid of the recommendation of not taking it long term. I took it for about 3 months every night to help get me back on track. And when I felt my sleep was better, I quit taking it and had no adverse effects like rebound insomnia or anxiety. So take it if it helps. Maybe with better sleep your stress hormones will finally begin to decrease and your sleep will improve. My last bout of insomnia it took 2 full weeks of taking Seriphos and the every other night (sometimes every 2 nights) of a sleeping aid to help me sleep. Now I'm more or less back to where I was (which isn't what I'd like it to be) but not struggling to fall asleep or waking and not being able to fall back to sleep. I just wake up every 2-3hrs fall asleep for another 2-3hrs and wake up, fall asleep etc. At least it's a sleep cycle but it just doesn't feel as restful as 4-5hrs sleep waking and then falling back to sleep for a few more hours.
Oh well, I guess I'm a work in progress. Good luck with the melatonin!! I hope you will soon be able to resolve your sleep issue!
it is especially helpful to hear that melatonin will not give you rebound insomnia, as that's what i am most afraid of. don't want to trade alcohol (that's how i got insomnia, quitting drinking) for another drug to sleep.
it has been pretty rough last 4 mnths, and i don't know whether i'm out of it yet. but, i will not take any drugs - i'm the same age as michale jackson, who also had sleeping problem, but went on "drug" path to solve the problem and it killed him.
There are plenty of things you can try before trying ambien or lunesta. L-theanine is an amino acid and it is very relaxing. I use 100mg and it seems to be enough. My naturopath told me I could go up to 200mg but never have. A calcium/magnesium supplement is also very relaxing. There is a fizzy powder drink that my whole family uses as needed. One is called Natures Calm and the other is Ionic Fizz. Most people are deficient in magnesium and that can cause muscle twitches and a feeling of anxiety. You mix it in water before bed and drink it. I've even given it to my boys. Just don't overdue it because magnesium can be like a laxative. The Seriphos (it's a phospholipd) will help with cortisol. These are all things the body needs and often times is deficient in because of stress (lack of sleep) maybe a less than optimum diet. I always tried to go with the nutrients, amino acids and minerals first because those are indigenous to the human body and most likely lacking. I found that many have been very helpful in one way or another.
If you want something safe and natural but not part of the human body makeup, passion flower is good and so is hops (if you can find it - home beer brewers clear out healthfood stores of it). Lavender oil spritzed on a pillow case.
You said you quit drinking, which is fantastic! Congratulations! I'm wondering if your body was having trouble adjusting to no sugar from the alcohol in the evening. Your blood sugar levels kind of go into a leveled state while you sleep. If for some reason your blood sugar level drops, your liver will secrete glycogen to get your blood sugar levels back to normal. In order for your liver to do that function, it needs cortisol. So if you get a shot of cortisol at 2,3,4 in the morning to help your liver do it's job, that could be where you wake and can't fall back to sleep. You could try having a protein snack before bed. Some yogurt, cheese and multi grain crackers and I've heard Irish Oatmeal is very good for sleep and blood sugar for overnight sleep. Maybe something to consider to help your liver function while you sleep.
The Irish oatmeal is different (and probably more expensive) than regular Quaker. Off hand I can't remember what it has in it, tryptophan maybe?
Protein in the form of a slice of turkey, cheese or yogurt. I think a protein bar may have too much sugar in it. And too much sugar before bed can mess with your blood sugar levels.
Middle of the night waking and insomnia are almost always physiological. Sleep onset insomnia is often times related to anxiety, whether it be about something bothering the person or anxiety about not being able to sleep. But if you fall asleep ok but wake and can't fall back to sleep or it takes an hour or longer to fall back to sleep, that is usually something physical. I have a friend (male) who fell asleep fine but continually woke up around 3 or 4 am and couldn't fall back to sleep. He finally went to see a naturopath and it's his digestion. He ate dinner around 8pm he often times had heart burn so took Prilosec or something like that. Even though those drugs are helpful, they weren't for him. It was actually disrupting proper digestion (and the liver is a real bugger in the middle of the night with insomnia) The Chinese call it angry liver (acupuncturists will actually insert needles to make your liver not angry that it won't wake you during the night). Which sounds funny, but even thousands of years ago, they were onto something. Digestion, blood sugar, glucose - if they fluctuate while you are sleeping, they can for some, cause you to wake and not fall back to sleep. Anyway with a few changes and some natural supplements, my friend's night wakings have been decreasing and his sleep is improving. The only reason I suggested the protein snack is if when you drank you drank in the evening. If so, maybe your body got used to the amount of sugar from the alcohol and when you quit, it kind of threw your whole system off - it was used to this amount of sugar, now it wasn't getting it so your liver had to make up the difference during the night as you sleep. And as I said before, that function requires cortisol.
Cherry extract is good because it contains melatonin, just like tart cherries. So if you're melatonin supplements work, I'd just stick with those for awhile. Pumpkin seed powder has high levels of tryptophan.
I think since the melatonin worked so well, any of the natural routes you try will most likely resolve this for you!
The Following User Says Thank You to irisrose For This Useful Post: forehand36 (08-22-2012)
Have you ever had a sleep study (polysomnography) done to diagnosis your sleep problem. I had terrible insomnia for years both difficulty getting to sleep and waking up too early. I asked my primary doc to refer me to a sleep lab for an overnight sleep test. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. It's strange because I am young, thin and do not snore.