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Old 04-08-2011, 10:54 PM
 
Location: New York City
27 posts, read 36,494 times
Reputation: 16

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I'm 21 and I've had sleeping problems since I was at least 13 or 14. Lately it's been a lot worse. I don't sleep well or at all during the night and do most of my sleeping between 530am to 11am.

I've tried many methods that promote better sleep from drinking warm milk to stretching and exercising to writing down how I feel and keeping a dream/sleep diary. It's driving me crazy and it's affecting my moods for the worst.

I want a normal sleep schedule, any ideas?
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
461 posts, read 1,572,586 times
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It helps to use medication to get you through the hard times. You don't have to take it every night, but it can be helpful when you have had two or three nights in a row of poor sleep. Try to build up your confidence when it comes to certain nights of sleep. Fill in the gaps with meds. Eventually, you won't needs meds at all.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
2,638 posts, read 10,493,004 times
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I was the same way when I was your age except I was apparently always an insomniac even when I was still in the crib. When I was 13 or so I would lie in bed all night, mind racing, finally fall asleep exhausted right before dawn and have to get up in fifteen minutes to go to school. It was awful.

Years later I met my husband and he taught me how to fall asleep because my insomnia was driving him nuts. He told me to just breathe like him. It worked! I couldn't believe it, after all those years it was something so simple. When he was asleep he was breathing very deep and slow. All I had to do was lie there, relax, and match my breathing to his. I didn't have to fight my racing thoughts, they'd just die down on their own. Now I can sleep on my own. Whenever the anxious thoughts are distracting me, I just focus on breathing slow and deep, and soon enough I fall asleep. Hey that rhymed! If you don't have a good sleeper to mimic, try to remember the way you are breathing when you first wake up and start moving around - slow and deep, that's what you want to emulate at bedtime.

I also found it was super helpful to get myself onto SUN time. Right now you have your sleep schedule completely backwards, sleeping at dawn instead of waking then. The easiest way to solve that is to purposefully stay up through when you would normally sleep to try to get yourself synced up - the same way you do to reset your clock when you are jet lagged. I'm thinking you'd probably have to skip a night of sleep in order to be tired enough for this to work easily the first time. So if you were to start tonight, stay up through the night, don't go to bed in the morning at all, have some coffee instead. Choose what time you ought to go to sleep in order to have plenty of sleep. I need about 9 hours at this point, but at your age I needed 10. Don't drink any caffeine after noon or so, at least for awhile.

Dim the lights about an hour before bedtime. Light interferes with melatonin production and melatonin helps you sleep. I turn down the AC because I can't sleep comfortably in a warm room. If possible, sleep with your window shades open so that the morning sun will wake you. When the sun comes up, you get up too, no burrowing under the covers or lounging in bed. Get up, have some coffee, listen to the birds waking up. Repeat your getting ready for bed ritual that night, go to bed at the same time as before, no matter what day - i.e. don't stay up late at night and then sleep in on the weekends. Continue this pattern and before you know it you'll sleep at night and wake with the sun and won't even need an alarm clock. Trust me, it feels really good. Best of luck.

Last edited by tilli; 04-09-2011 at 06:30 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:22 AM
 
Location: New York City
27 posts, read 36,494 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
It helps to use medication to get you through the hard times. You don't have to take it every night, but it can be helpful when you have had two or three nights in a row of poor sleep. Try to build up your confidence when it comes to certain nights of sleep. Fill in the gaps with meds. Eventually, you won't needs meds at all.

I want to avoid meds, I want this to be a natural process.





Quote:
Originally Posted by tilli View Post
I was the same way when I was your age except I was apparently always an insomniac even when I was still in the crib. When I was 13 or so I would lie in bed all night, mind racing, finally fall asleep exhausted right before dawn and have to get up in fifteen minutes to go to school. It was awful.

Years later I met my husband and he taught me how to fall asleep because my insomnia was driving him nuts. He told me to just breathe like him. It worked! I couldn't believe it, after all those years it was something so simple. When he was asleep he was breathing very deep and slow. All I had to do was lie there, relax, and match my breathing to his. I didn't have to fight my racing thoughts, they'd just die down on their own. Now I can sleep on my own. Whenever the anxious thoughts are distracting me, I just focus on breathing slow and deep, and soon enough I fall asleep. Hey that rhymed! If you don't have a good sleeper to mimic, try to remember the way you are breathing when you first wake up and start moving around - slow and deep, that's what you want to emulate at bedtime.

I also found it was super helpful to get myself onto SUN time. Right now you have your sleep schedule completely backwards, sleeping at dawn instead of waking then. The easiest way to solve that is to purposefully stay up through when you would normally sleep to try to get yourself synced up - the same way you do to reset your clock when you are jet lagged. I'm thinking you'd probably have to skip a night of sleep in order to be tired enough for this to work easily the first time. So if you were to start tonight, stay up through the night, don't go to bed in the morning at all, have some coffee instead. Choose what time you ought to go to sleep in order to have plenty of sleep. I need about 9 hours at this point, but at your age I needed 10. Don't drink any caffeine after noon or so, at least for awhile.

Dim the lights about an hour before bedtime. Light interferes with melatonin production and melatonin helps you sleep. I turn down the AC because I can't sleep comfortably in a warm room. If possible, sleep with your window shades open so that the morning sun will wake you. When the sun comes up, you get up too, no burrowing under the covers or lounging in bed. Get up, have some coffee, listen to the birds waking up. Repeat your getting ready for bed ritual that night, go to bed at the same time as before, no matter what day - i.e. don't stay up late at night and then sleep in on the weekends. Continue this pattern and before you know it you'll sleep at night and wake with the sun and won't even need an alarm clock. Trust me, it feels really good. Best of luck.


That is a great idea, I'm going to do this tonight. I'll just spend the night with some coffee, a video game and maybe some reading and try to reset myself that night.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:39 AM
 
809 posts, read 893,802 times
Reputation: 991
Exercise and routine. Make a set of actions that always lead to 'bed time'. After some time it will be a Pavlov's dog type response to put your body into sleep mode. I find a good set of stretches for 10/15 minutes and a quick light meditation (5/10 minutes) for me helps alot. Making sure you have done some sort of physical activity to wear you down to make your body want to sleep to rebuild helps also.

I can relate as I have had sleep patterns much like yours, even when I was working 9-5, I would stay up to 3am+ on a regular basis. Depending on your state, and I know you said you wanted to do it med free, but I have also found a doobie to help
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:41 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,860 posts, read 18,875,631 times
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You can take melatonin tablets and that's a natural substance, not a drug. You won't get dependant on them.

I had the same trouble as you're describing, from the time I was 24 until this past summer. Some of it was that I was uneasy living where I was. I didn't feel safe and once I had children, I felt like if I could just watch over them during the night, they'd be fine during the day and I could rest then. My husband worked the night shift and so I usually slept on his schedule.

It does usually take staying up through your normal "night" to reset your schedule. Also, do boring things for about an hour before you go to bed...watch a tv show you don't care about, read a boring book, just sit and let your mind drift. I usually crochet. But don't do anything complicated or competitive before bed, no video games or anything like that.

I still take melatonin and kava kava before bedtime...some of that is some chronic pain issues that I have. On bad days I take benadryl also.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,364,337 times
Reputation: 8956
Meds are not the answer, only a bandaid and toxic to your body, to boot.

Sun is important in setting your sleep clock . . .it would not hurt to take a good multiple vitamin. Make sure your bedroom is cozy and comfy - no work stuff around you - if you can afford it, a sound machine that plays ocean waves or something soothing can be very helpful . . .

Take a hot shower or bath around an hour before bed and do some light, inspirational reading in your bed until you get tired. No exercise right before bed . . .if thoughts disturb you, simply label them "thoughts, thoughts, worries, worries" say that over and over again in your mind - it overrides the thoughts.

The deep breathing is also a good suggestion.

There are lots of good ideas out there that don't involve medication, if you look around. You will find the right solution for you - good luck!
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:42 AM
 
571 posts, read 360,299 times
Reputation: 444
Quote:
I'm 21 and I've had sleeping problems since I was at least 13 or 14. Lately it's been a lot worse. I don't sleep well or at all during the night and do most of my sleeping between 530am to 11am.

I've tried many methods that promote better sleep from drinking warm milk to stretching and exercising to writing down how I feel and keeping a dream/sleep diary. It's driving me crazy and it's affecting my moods for the worst.

I want a normal sleep schedule, any ideas?

First, find the main cause which makes you have Insomnia.(
Physical Or Psychological) reasons
Then, find the solution for it.

For now, have you ever tried taking a shower before sleeping?
It really works!

Last edited by Authentic Bird; 04-09-2011 at 11:46 AM.. Reason: adding
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, California
130 posts, read 790,411 times
Reputation: 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabbit View Post
I want to avoid meds, I want this to be a natural process.









That is a great idea, I'm going to do this tonight. I'll just spend the night with some coffee, a video game and maybe some reading and try to reset myself that night.
Oh my. I'm glad that you want to avoid meds but:
Coffee and video games are two things that you should be avoiding.
If you're trying to re-set your sleep schedule (a good idea), do it without these 2 extremely stimulating activities.
If you're a regular coffee drinker, get off it altogether and if you play video games and are on the internet / computer a lot, at least avoid them during a few hours before you go to bed.
Creating quiet time before bedtime is really important.
Taking a warm bath (not too hot) and maybe adding a little lavender essential oil is a good way to relax / unwind.
If you exercise, don't do it during those few hours before bedtime.
Also (and maybe most importantly) learn how to quiet your mind.
When your head hits the pillow begin a pre-sleep meditation.
Breathe deeply into your belly .... belly and lungs expand on the inhale and visa-versa ... focus on your breath and when you notice that your mind has started to wander and/or race, just bring your awareness back to your breath.
This is a good and easy way to deal with an over stimulated mental state which interferes with sleep.
It's a good way to begin to practice meditation too.
Also, living and sleeping in a safe (psychically, emotionally and physically) environment is really important.
Your tendency to sleep when daylight approaches might suggest that you don't feel at ease at night.
I don't know .... just a thought.
Good luck.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Last edited by tireeskye; 04-09-2011 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:31 PM
 
3,749 posts, read 7,233,538 times
Reputation: 3684
Yoga in the evening - I take a 7-8pm class twice a week and saw an immediate difference in my ability to and quality of sleep.
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