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Do you Have Trouble Sleeping?
Old 07-20-2010, 05:01 AM   #1
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Do you Have Trouble Sleeping?

Well, here it is quarter to three in the morning and I'm still wide awake. This is the second time this month I've been unable to go to sleep until the small hours. I've always had insomnia a few times each year, but I just checked my email for messages to my boss saying I would be late because I couldn't go to sleep, and there were six already this year, though it's only July. That's as many as in all of 2009, and there were more last year than in 2008 and as many as 2006 and 2007 combined. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to it, and I haven't changed any habits to speak of. I get very little exercise, but I never did in the past either. Likewise I drank black tea before going to bed, but I do the same pretty much every night, and usually don't have any problem sleeping. It could be menopause-related, but what am I supposed to do about it if it is?

I wonder too if I am making it worse. I am such a night owl! I hate having to go to bed before I'm really sleepy, so Friday night is my night to stay up as late as I want to (which is often until four or five AM Saturday), and then I sleep as late as I want to. I wonder if this is throwing my internal clock off even more than it's thrown off by having to go to bed before I'm sleepy the other nights. I have always griped about being a night owl in a morning lark's world, and always been told "you'll get used to it", but I never have and I seem to be getting even more night-owlish the older I get. Well, now I am rambling. Time to go back to bed, turn off the alarm clock, and try to go to sleep.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:47 AM   #2
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I get very little exercise, but I never did in the past either. Likewise I drank black tea before going to bed, but I do the same pretty much every night, and usually don't have any problem sleeping.
Getting some exercise and cutting out caffeine after 6pm won't hurt, though.

For example, it could be that in order to sleep, you need 100 "rest points" (a unit I've just made up). Maybe you normally have 130, but sometimes because of stress or some other factors which you can't identify, you only have 105. If caffeine costs you 10, you've only got 95 and you won't sleep. Perhaps exercise would give you 10 more and put you back over the top.

Again: "rest points" are just a model I made up here, to illustrate why the fact that "I had tea, I can't sleep, but I always have tea" doesn't necessarily mean that the tea isn't part of the equation.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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I think you're on to something with the whole "rest points," BigNick--get a patent on that and a website and you're set. I'll be watching for the infomercials.

I have never slept well, Kyounge. It can be really frustrating when it catches up with you in the early afternoon (I can remember wishing I could crawl under my desk for a nap, a la George Costanza). I think sleep issues are today's new health problem if you look at the number of sleep prescription commercials.

Definitely knock out the tea in the afternoon/evening. Some people take melatonin, but obviously your doctor could prescribe many things.

And sorry to say it probably won't get better.

A few months back Haha started a thread about sleeping here: Sleep
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:24 AM   #4
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+1 to BigNick. Cut out the tea and start an exercise program. Work related stress may still wake you up (it did me) but at least you will be doing your best to keep it to a minimum. If the exercise becomes part of your life style it will pay you back big time in your ER years.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:57 AM   #5
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Seems like you are a perfect candidate for evening or night shifts. I worked both for many years, hated night shift, evening was slightly better.

There is a definite culture and attitude that goes with both. Hard to explain, but the gist of it is, very little contact with the suits, great for mental health. The suits are very grateful if there is no news or calls from either.

The downside of evening shift is getting out around 10 or 11, by the time you get to any class of gin mills most patrons are already glassy eyed, with slurred speech. Forget that routine while on night shift.

Oh and you get to drink all the coffee in the evening that you want.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:11 AM   #6
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I think we are mostly born morning or night people and forcing ourselves to fit the other schedule would be difficult. I am more of a morning person, always have been. If I was forced into a job that required say 3-11pm I would never "get used to it".

I do think having a regular wake sleep schedule is important. I will sometimes try to force myself to stay up later on the weekends but then can't sleep late and It makes me feel bad for a couple days afterwards.

On long vacations, I fall into a pattern that is most natural for me. Asleep at 9:30 or 10pm and awake about 6am. I wake up feeling great and feel pretty good all day until after dinner when I have to force myself to stay awake to watch a favorite TV show. If it is a 9pm show, I may have to get up in the middle and go to bed. I hate that, LOL

I hardly ever have a problem FALLING asleep, however, about every 3rd night I will wake up about 2am or 3am and that is it for me. Wouldn't matter what I did, once I am awake, I am NOT going back to sleep. However, it doesn't seem to bother me most of the time as the day goes along. The exception is if it happens more than a night or two in a row.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:23 AM   #7
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I have problems with sleep... and it costs me.... I HAVE fallen asleep at my desk a number of times... at my old job they have pictures...

At my current job, my boss said I needed to get to a doctor to get checked out...

For some reason... even if I am tired I do not 'like' going to bed.. my wife usually insists so she can get some sleep without me disturbing her... but she has been away visiting family and I have not been sleeping well...

I am a night person also.. I will never ever be a morning person... it just does NOT work for me... I have worked with morning people and what gets me is the ones who think they are 'better' because they get into work at 6AM or so... (when work starts at 8)... but then again, if you need to stay late they can not make it past 7PM... I have worked to 3AM a few times without any problem...


I agree about the tea... I gave up caffine a good number of years ago... but sometimes still drink soda with it.... the other night I drank about 3 glasses at a wing night.... and did not get to sleep until 4AM... like you, at the computer at 3 AM...
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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I have real problems in sleeping. There were 2 years in my life which I had continuously got only 3 hours of sleep per night. Throughout my life, I always had trouble sleeping. But after I handed my resignation a few months ago, I have been sleeping like a baby (except for some odd days). The explanation is that I think too much about work and now I don't have to think about it - so sleep just comes.

Back to you, Kyounge1956, you mentioned about menopause and I think that impacts sleep patterns. My sisters all had trouble sleeping when they menopaused. For me, menopause did aggravate my sleeping problems. What was helpful for me is exercise around 6 pm for an hour and a real warm long bath. The warm bath just relaxes your muscles and when you get out of it, immedietedly sink into your bed, don't have any thoughts and just sleep. If that does not work, try deep breathing. Breathe in and fill your tummy with air and breathe out releasing air. Do it a number of times - it works for me. All the best and sweet dreams.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:33 AM   #9
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Seems like you are a perfect candidate for evening or night shifts. I worked both for many years, hated night shift, evening was slightly better.

There is a definite culture and attitude that goes with both. Hard to explain, but the gist of it is, very little contact with the suits, great for mental health. The suits are very grateful if there is no news or calls from either.

The downside of evening shift is getting out around 10 or 11, by the time you get to any class of gin mills most patrons are already glassy eyed, with slurred speech. Forget that routine while on night shift.

Oh and you get to drink all the coffee in the evening that you want.
I am already on the late shift, at least de facto if not de jure. In my land survey job I worked as a crew with other people and really needed to be there at a certain time. Now that I have an office job and am basically working solo, I come in when I get there, which is usually about 9:30, and go home sometime between 6:30 and 8 PM, depending on how long I take for lunch, if I use vacation hours due to finishing early etc etc. It is true what you say, there are so many fewer distractions and interruptions when most of the rest of the employees are not there. I do not find contact with the "suits" stressfull, but it does tend to derail my train of thought when they come asking a question.

As I do not frequent gin mills, the condition of the occupants at that hour is irrelevant to me. I am not a teetotaller, but I also don't want to get in the habit of taking a nip of sherry when I can't sleep. I've sometimes done so in the past and it generally works, but I just don't feel comfortable about making a habit of it.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:51 AM   #10
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Exercise. I knew someone would say that. I HATE AND DETEST the very idea of exercise, running and running and going nowhere , like a hamster in a wheel! There has been a gym right across the street from my house since a few months after I moved here in 1997. I've never yet darkened their doorstep and I never, ever, will! I don't mind (in fact I rather enjoy) walking to get from here to there, but I absolutely refuse to walk (or worse yet run) from here to here, or put on a leotard and prance in the window for all to see! Aaaarrrggg!

It's irrational I know, but that's how I feel about it.

Decaf tea? Well maybe. At least that idea doesn't make steam come out of my ears.

Maybe I should call my doc to see if there is any way to tell if this is menopause-related. But even if it is, I'd far rather lie awake at night than what I expect she will suggest.

And now I must be off to work. I emailed my boss I would be late, but at this rate I won't be there until noon.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:34 PM   #11
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<rant about gyms snipped> I don't mind (in fact I rather enjoy) walking to get from here to there <more rant about gyms snipped>
There's your solution, right there. Walk a couple of miles a day. That's really all it takes. I get my weekly walking quota from geocaching, but any excuse will do. Walking is proper cardiac exercise.
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It's irrational I know, but that's how I feel about it.
It's not irrational to think that it's a bit weird to pay money to get into a fashion competition and run on a treadmill indoors when you could be walking (or running, but no need at menopause age) free of charge outsid. Unless you live in a war zone, I suppose.

But, I wonder if you can really do it. I'm not sure if you're sincere about the walking. (Yes, I am saying this to get you angry and go out and do it!)
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:43 PM   #12
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My current girlfriend has much better curtains than I am used to that cut out almost all light in her room at night (Even during the day it is dim with them drawn), and I've found I've been sleeping much better at her place than I do at my own. She's also a morning person and goes to bed at what I consider ridiculously early hours (sometimes before 10pm!!)... but it turns out that if I do go to sleep with her, when I inevitably wake up during the night and morning (I stopped sleeping solidly through the night a decade ago or more), I'm more rested and able to function even though I'm not a morning person at all...

So, better light blocking curtains (my housemate fully blacked out her room when she was working night shifts at the hospital), and maybe trying to overcome your natural inclination to stay up late?
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:46 PM   #13
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Exercise. I knew someone would say that. I HATE AND DETEST the very idea of exercise, running and running and going nowhere , like a hamster in a wheel! There has been a gym right across the street from my house since a few months after I moved here in 1997. I've never yet darkened their doorstep and I never, ever, will! I don't mind (in fact I rather enjoy) walking to get from here to there, but I absolutely refuse to walk (or worse yet run) from here to here, or put on a leotard and prance in the window for all to see! Aaaarrrggg!

It's irrational I know, but that's how I feel about it.

I am not sure I understand.... maybe you should make it a bit more clear how you feel....






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Old 07-20-2010, 03:10 PM   #14
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My walking comes easy. This guy pulls me right along.



Seriously, one of the reasons I got a dog was for the exercise. And I have no trouble sleeping. Well, until he gets me up in the morning to feed him.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:30 PM   #15
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I think it is the changing your sleeping habits on the week ends plus menopause . I find if I vary my sleeping habits too much I can not get back on track . It used to kill me when I was working a few days a week . On my days off I'd want to stay up an hour or so later but the next night when I knew I had to get up early it was torture . So try to only vary your sleep habits slightly by toning down your night owl tendency and you'll probably return to a normal pattern .
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:51 PM   #16
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I have problems with sleep... and it costs me.... I HAVE fallen asleep at my desk a number of times... at my old job they have pictures...
At my employer that would get you fired. If you accidently nod off, you get 1 warning then the second time you're gone. If you intentionally go to sleep while at work, they immediately take your badge and walk you to your car.

I've worked 5pm-5am for nearly 10 years and worked second shift hours before that. I think I could eventually get used to days if I needed to but don't want to. I've passed up the 5am-5pm shift 3 times already.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #17
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In the past I used to have trouble getting to sleep because I had too much on my mind. Then if I woke up in the middle of the night I couldn't get back to sleep. Now I take a couple "non-aspirin PM's" and I sleep like a baby. Try them. They are cheap at WalMart, their own brand is Equate.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:11 PM   #18
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Retirement is sooooo nice.

I sleep when I want to.
I stay awake when I want to.
I nap when I want to.

It's all good... I do try to limit caffeine as a general practice. Insomnia was much more of a problem when I was working. Now if I stay up late, so what? I go to bed when I want to and just sleep late.

Anyway, if one is still working then I agree with the others - - exercise, limit caffeine and spicy foods, drink warm milk at bedtime, and so on.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:22 PM   #19
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At my employer that would get you fired. If you accidently nod off, you get 1 warning then the second time you're gone. If you intentionally go to sleep while at work, they immediately take your badge and walk you to your car.

I've worked 5pm-5am for nearly 10 years and worked second shift hours before that. I think I could eventually get used to days if I needed to but don't want to. I've passed up the 5am-5pm shift 3 times already.

Lucky for me I am an accountant and good at what I do... so if I nod off for a minute or two... nobody gets hurt... and they know that my output is a lot more than others who do not nod off..

PS... I do not make a habit of it... but it has happened... usually when I am not getting enough sleep like the OP... due to not being about to sleep at night when I should...
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:24 PM   #20
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At my employer that would get you fired. If you accidently nod off, you get 1 warning then the second time you're gone. If you intentionally go to sleep while at work, they immediately take your badge and walk you to your car.

I've worked 5pm-5am for nearly 10 years and worked second shift hours before that. I think I could eventually get used to days if I needed to but don't want to. I've passed up the 5am-5pm shift 3 times already.


Just remembered.... there was this one lady who used to have a small roll.. people wondered what she did... then someone found out she would go into a closet and take a nap during lunch... since it was her time, nobody cared... but she did hide it for a long time...
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