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"Entrainment" while traveling issue
Old 07-13-2012, 12:50 PM   #1
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"Entrainment" while traveling issue

I finally figured out that after long (~12+ hour) highway trips, I usually have issues falling asleep at night (no matter how exhausted I am), as my body has become "entrained" with the road inputs (from the smooth highway surfaces) and it still feels like I'm traveling/in motion while I'm laying in bed trying to sleep.

As a child, I had similar issues after playing in the waves at the lake all day, I wouldn't be able to fall asleep in bed that night, as I could still 'feel' the waves.

For the record, my system is prone to things like vertigo, seasickness, etc. I 'm one of those people who gets ill if I attempt to read a book while traveling in a car. So I assume that this is a similar system sensitivity issue.

As I have several long driving days coming up, I was wondering if anyone might have possible solutions to alleviate this 'entrainment' issue?

omni
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #2
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Yeah, I know the feeling, and it seems to me that an alcoholic drink helps unwind me and I don't feel like I'm still moving when I lay down. Two drinks at most. I hadn't really made the correlation before, but I've driven all night and not had a drink because it seemed wrong to do so in the morning, and when I tried to take a nap I just couldn't.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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Yeah, I know the feeling, and it seems to me that an alcoholic drink helps unwind me and I don't feel like I'm still moving when I lay down. Two drinks at most. I hadn't really made the correlation before, but I've driven all night and not had a drink because it seemed wrong to do so in the morning, and when I tried to take a nap I just couldn't.

Independent of any driving beforehand, I've found that when I drink alcohol (a glass or two at the most) before going to sleep... I may be able to sleep for an hour or two, then I often wake up as my body starts processing it. (I'm guessing the sugars in it?)

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Old 07-13-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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I often get that when I have more than one or two. One usually isn't a problem for me. Maybe try 1/2 glass?
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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Valerian root (available in OTC pill form) boosts GABA which can calm those lingering motion signals.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Valerian root (available in OTC pill form) boosts GABA which can calm those lingering motion signals.
GrayHare,

What dosage do you recommend? And how long does it take to become effective?

omni
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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My first impression was to feel guilty about recommending a pharmaceutical product, but why not?. Have you checked with your doctor? Have you considered an antiemetic such as meclizine? I very occasionally use it for an intermittent inner ear problem. It seems to help me sleep while stopping the room from spinning. As with all meds (and conditions) YMMV, so be sure to seek professional advice.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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My first impression was to feel guilty about recommending a pharmaceutical product, but why not?. Have you checked with your doctor? Have you considered an antiemetic such as meclizine? I very occasionally use it for an intermittent inner ear problem. It seems to help me sleep while stopping the room from spinning. As with all meds (and conditions) YMMV, so be sure to seek professional advice.
Koolau,

No, I haven't. I appreciate the suggestion and will consider it. This road entrainment thing was a recent "ah-ha" for me. And, fortunately, I haven't had the need to do these long-haul drives often.

I'm trying to figure out if there's a simple solution out there.

And I'd love to find out if there's a long-term/permanent solution for this type of inner ear sensitivity. Can we retrain ourselves somehow?

omni
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:19 PM   #9
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Interesting thread!

Those are long drives--how long are the breaks, or do you drive straight through? When we've driven several days like that, I'm more affected later by the caffeine I need to stay focused during the drive than by the entrainment effect. Or maybe it is the entrainment too, feeling wired for a couple of hours after we stop for the night. We stay up for a few hours at a restaurant that stays open late, jumping in the hotel pool, watching tv, etc., before trying to sleep.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #10
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GrayHare,

What dosage do you recommend? And how long does it take to become effective?

omni
The bottle I have lists a "serving size" of 1 capsule, which of this brand is 470 mg. Usually I feel the effects, a gentle calming, begin in about 30 minutes. Note brain GABA levels self adjust, so to avoid dependence IMO you should use any sleep aid sparingly. As always, "consult your doctor".

Side note: some people say Valerian has an offensive odor, but cats seem to love it like catnip.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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I use Valerian too. Up to 500mg per day, but usually 250mg does the trick for me.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #12
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Interesting thread!

Those are long drives--how long are the breaks, or do you drive straight through? When we've driven several days like that, I'm more affected later by the caffeine I need to stay focused during the drive than by the entrainment effect. Or maybe it is the entrainment too, feeling wired for a couple of hours after we stop for the night. We stay up for a few hours at a restaurant that stays open late, jumping in the hotel pool, watching tv, etc., before trying to sleep.
When on the road I drink less coffee and supplement with some 5 hour energy drink. It lasts longer and doesn't have the lingering aftereffects - but I have my last around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

I also bring along a portable white noise machine. That helps deal with the difficulty falling and staying asleep.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #13
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My shortest drive to Phoenix takes 28 hours, but usually 30 hours. I have done it in 2 - 15 hr days alone, and DW and I have done it in 2 days, sometimes 3 or more. It seems like the entrainment is worse when I'm going alone, since I drive the entire day. It's less bothersome when DW comes with and drives half. Regardless of whether I'm driving alone or with DW, it really helps me sleep if I have a beer or 2 at the end of the day.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:01 PM   #14
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Interesting thread!

Those are long drives--how long are the breaks, or do you drive straight through? When we've driven several days like that, I'm more affected later by the caffeine I need to stay focused during the drive than by the entrainment effect. Or maybe it is the entrainment too, feeling wired for a couple of hours after we stop for the night. We stay up for a few hours at a restaurant that stays open late, jumping in the hotel pool, watching tv, etc., before trying to sleep.
BWE,

The only breaks are very short: typically to gas up the vehicle (also coordinating any potty breaks and grabbing any snacks to eat at the same break.) If I can make it to my destination in one long day, that's the usual goal. Otherwise, it can be 2 long days of driving to a destination far away.

I usually only drink 2 cups of coffee in the morning, and that's typically what I consume when traveling also. So it's not the effects of caffeine that are affecting my inability to sleep.

I used to think that this "can't sleep even when exhausted" issue was due to my excitement for traveling. Somehow it finally dawned on me recently that it had to be the entrainment issue (It may have been my recollection of my childhood "feeling the wave effect in bed after spending the day at the beach" memory that did it.)

Before FIREing, I'd sometimes be en route somewhere and after 18+ hours on the road, being bleary eyed and tired, would stop at a motel to get a few hours of sleep...only to find out that I couldn't sleep due to feeling wired. Very annoying.

It just occurred to me, I wonder if wearing those wrist thingies for anti-seasickness would help?

omni
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:30 PM   #15
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I have occasional problems with vertigo and meclizine (OTC and sold as bonine) helps tremendously.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:38 PM   #16
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I haven't traveled lately, but when I did I never seemed to have trouble sleeping after driving all day.

When traveling I do tend to look for the motel's gym, and spend some time working out. That's a habit I developed when traveling for work, because it helps with work stress. I also take a good book with me and then spend some quiet time reading before turning out the lights.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:54 PM   #17
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I have occasional problems with vertigo and meclizine (OTC and sold as bonine) helps tremendously.
I have an inner ear disorder and have had problems with vertigo in the past. I used to buy the generic form of Bonine, meclizine, which is much, much cheaper. For some reason, they don't stock it on the shelves and I have to ask the pharmacist for it. I can get 100 meclizine tablets cheaper than a packet of 12 Bonine tablets.

For vertigo, a Xanax or Valium under the tounge helps to stop the spinning. For some reason it calm the inner ear.

I find that Melatonin works well to put me to sleep. I put two peppermint tablets under my tongue and within an hour I can't keep my eyes open.

I haven't tried valerian yet, but I have heard many people say it too is effective.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:10 AM   #18
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Helen, what is the advantage of putting a tablet under your tongue over swallowing it? It would bother me to have something under my tongue. I don't see how I could keep it from floating off into my mouth.

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For vertigo, a Xanax or Valium under the tounge helps to stop the spinning. For some reason it calm the inner ear.

I put two peppermint tablets under my tongue and within an hour I can't keep my eyes open.

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Old 07-14-2012, 02:25 PM   #19
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I'm willing to try most anything (within reason) especially if it's inexpensive and effective, with no negative side effects.

I can say that I tried Melatonin pills (when they were featured in the news media about 10-15 years ago). They didn't do anything for me. In fact, I felt like they kept me awake longer.

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Old 07-14-2012, 03:36 PM   #20
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When we used to due 10-12 hours on the road when traveling (about 600 miles or so), I was always just about worn out when we hit the hotel, but I was still wound up. I'd be tired when I went to bed, but would toss and turn, and not be able to fall asleep for an hour or two. Then I'd get up in the morning and still be tired.

I finally decided to nix the 10-12 hour days, and now I won't do over 8 hours a day, and much prefer 6-1/2 to 7 hours max per day (about 380 miles or so). I also stop about every 1-1/2 to 2 hours to just get out of the car, get some fresh air, walk around a bit, and have snack or eat lunch, or get fuel. I don't hit the road in the morning until about 8:30 a.m., and prefer to be at the hotel by around 3:00 p.m. When I get in the hotel, I flip on the TV to watch a game show or sitcom or such....no news or anything that keeps my mind active....I go brain dead! Haha! I might doze off lightly for about an hour or so, then we get ready to go eat a leisurely early dinner. Back in the hotel, we watch TV for a little while then hit the pillows at a reasonable hour (about 11:00 p.m. for us). I fall asleep in minutes usually now, as compared to the days of the long 'on the road' hours. I also found that eating one TUM just before I hit the pillows helps me fall asleep faster than when I don't take one. Coincidence? I dunno....but it works for.

We get up about 6:30 a.m., get cleaned up and dressed, and go down and eat breakfast. Then about 8:30 a.m., we hit the road again and do things about the same as the day before. And sure it takes slightly longer to get to our destination, but we get there refreshed and relaxed, and not frazzled, tired, or worn out. And being retired.....I ain't in any hurry!!! I've got all the time in the world!!!

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