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Old 09-05-2011, 12:02 AM   #21
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When I can't sleep I listen to podcasts or books on tape on my ipod. I just use one earplug and have the sound down really low.

At one point, I purchased a little pillow that has speakers in it so I didn't have to use the earplug but I like the earplug better.

Something about "spoken word" puts me right to sleep and if it doesn't, I figure I can learn something.

If you are bored, check out the selection of podcasts in iTunes ...the variety of subjects is amazing! ..something for everyone and they are practically all free.
Liz
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:25 AM   #22
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How about a hypothetical example?
Would you settle for a real example? ;-)

This morning I rolled over to go back to sleep. Started thinking about the checklist I'd made last night for todays elephant polo photo shoot. I was thinking in words 'Gotta have a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses' then caught myself and switched to images. Then I thought about what those images were and this thread. Let that go and imagined myself in the sun wearing hat, sunglasses and holding sunscreen. Imagined my legs with cargo shorts and sandals. Looked at the right cargo pocket and saw my camera bulge ... That's as far as I can remember.

To emphasize the process I'll quote Yoda: "Do or do not ... there is no try. The only conscious part (i.e., the the 'try') of my shift from thinking in words to thinking in images is to stop the words and generate the first 1 - 3 images. For me, at that point the images continue to generate on their own and sleep soon follows, or my mind is filled with thinking about being unable to generate images and sleep eludes me.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:22 AM   #23
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OK, thanks. Perhaps my problem is that I always seem to think in pictures. If I worry that our upcoming camping trip in Nevada/Utah will be too hot, I have a clear picture of setting up the tent in 100 degree heat and no shade.
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:37 PM   #24
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Perhaps my problem is that I always seem to think in pictures.
Me too, Al. It was very helpful in engineering school.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:52 PM   #25
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I have had chronic insomnia since I was in my early teens. The family MD put me on Secobarbatol (sleeping pill) when I was 14 or so. It did nothing other than make my drowsy all day so they stopped it. Since then I have been through every sleep aid you can think of...my current one is Lunesta 3mg. which helps me fall asleep most nights. I usually try to go to sleep around midnight but am awake again around 3 AM and then only doze until I get up at 7 ish. I don't every nap...never have. I do have sleep apnea and have used a CPAP full mask for several years. I also went to sleep counseling for almost a year and after going through all the Doc's suggestions, reading several books on the subject and even moving to a different room from my wife for a while...nothing worked and she fired me.

It seems my mother has a similar issue so it may be genetic. My brother sleeps like a rock and takes naps frequently. Most of my life has been functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep per night...the rest is lying there resting.

One key from the books etc. is don't fight it. If you are not sleepy trying to make yourself sleep only makes matters worse. Get up and do something boring...don't stimulate your mind (or anything else) so your brain does not get revved up. Don't expect your brain to shut down if you try to make it work. One thing I have found somewhat useful is to do what Braeumiester suggests with visual images of ideas rather than words. I used to "see" the digit 1 in various changing colors on a hazy black background. I tried to focus only on that and push out any other thoughts. Sounds sort of Zen but it does on occasion help me calm down and even fall asleep sometimes.

I guess my mind just does not want to miss anything so it keeps me wake for entertainment.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:29 PM   #26
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Without at all meaning to trivialize the problem of insomnia (which I also suffer from), here's a nice old song about it:
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:09 PM   #27
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I went to a new doctor recently after years of avoiding going for a physical. The doctor asked me what complaints I had---I fortunately have very few but thought I should oblige with something, so I mentioned that I have had insomnia for years and always get less than eight hours sleep. The doctor asked if I wake up tired or get tired during the day. When I said I didn't, she replied that I just need less sleep than the average person and don't have insomnia.

I'm trying to remember this, but it can get frustrating when my husband falls asleep 30 minutes before I do and remains asleep during the night...
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:20 PM   #28
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The imagery does not really work for me. I think some insomnia is caused by merely needing to distract the mind so it can slip into the phases of sleep - imagery would help there. My insomnia I think has more fundamental physiological causes (chemical?) that won't let such a trick work.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:33 AM   #29
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The imagery does not really work for me. I think some insomnia is caused by merely needing to distract the mind so it can slip into the phases of sleep - imagery would help there. My insomnia I think has more fundamental physiological causes (chemical?) that won't let such a trick work.
It does not work for everyone. I believe that chronic insomnia is genetic. My mother has it; I have it; her mother had it. Not definitive proof but very suggestive.

I have found that focusing on something can actually keep me awake because it starts a myriad of thought trains all running in different directions. The less I try to try to go to sleep the better off I am. Actually, allowing my body to relax and allowing my brain to chase its own tail will sometimes assist in bringing on sleep sooner than if I try to force it do do only one thing.

Being really tired also helps as does not eating after dinner or drinking coffee after about 1PM. Alcohol beyond moderate quantities can also make it harder to sleep...unless you drink yourself into a stupor. A couple glasses of wine after dinner helps me at times.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:43 AM   #30
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I don't know if you're very lucky or very unlucky. If you really feel rested after your 4-5 hours a night, you are the envy of many people who just want more hours in the day.

I can also swear that I had the ability to go to sleep every night even though I drank several cups of coffee stretching into the late afternoon, for years. Sometime in the last year, a switch flipped in my brain (age?) and I can tell I'll never be able to do that again.
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:02 PM   #31
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I stumbled across a technique for getting back to sleep when I've had too much sleep to easily go back to sleep, but not enough for a full night's sleep. My backlog of podcasts was growing, so I started my NPR Planet Money / Fresh Air playlist playing through the cellphone's external speaker. Intended to lie there and listen for a while but fell asleep. Each time I woke up again I listened for a bit then went back to sleep until it felt like that was enough sleep. It's worked each time.
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Old 10-23-2014, 01:40 PM   #32
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I'll try that. What I do, if I'm thinking too much, is concentrate on how comfortable the bed is, or, for example how my left elbow feels. Also deep breathing, and muscle relaxation helps.

For the first half of this year, I was sleeping great. I'd fall asleep right away, and not wake up until morning, feeling refreshed.

Then a month or two ago I started getting into a pattern of waking up around 4 AM, and struggling to get back to sleep. The full pattern was: feel drowsy around 8 PM, barely staying awake while watching TV, go to bed at 9:30, wake up once or twice in the night, and then waken at 4:30.

I attacked it by eliminating all naps, and having plenty of light on until bed time. If I feel drowsy in the evening, I get up and walk around. I very quickly got back to the desired pattern.

Check out these:

Sleep Disorders - Circadian Rhythms and Light Therapy

Amazon.com: The Insomnia Answer: A Personalized Program for Identifying and Overcoming the Three Types ofInsomnia (9780399532979): Paul Glovinsky, Art Spielman: Books
I resurrected this old thread because I have suddenly been hit with the terrible insomnia. I've had many nights in a row with only five hours of sleep or so. If I wake up, I think about not being able to sleep, and the problem just feeds on itself.

I'm using sleep restriction and CBT as described here:

Insomnia Free | Help, Causes, Treatments and Info about Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety

but it's unpleasant. I'm sure I can fix it, but it's going to take a while.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:33 PM   #33
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No trouble falling asleep, in general. If I do have trouble, I pull out a medical journal and try to find the most research oriented article in it. Works every time...
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:23 PM   #34
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I drink something alkaline. A little Milk of Magnesia with a glass of water always works. So do peppermint and chamomile tea or some sleepytime type teas with combinations of the two. I have noticed I get too wired to sleep when I have an over acid stomach.
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:31 AM   #35
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When I can't sleep I listen to podcasts or books on tape on my ipod. I just use one earplug and have the sound down really low.<snip>
If you are bored, check out the selection of podcasts in iTunes ...the variety of subjects is amazing! ..something for everyone and they are practically all free.
Liz
I LOVE podcasts and subscribe to about a dozen of them, but I have a "mellow music" playlist on my iPod for the occasional bouts of insomnia. Most of the time it works- not as fast as meds, but the huge advantage is that I can use this at 3 AM and not have any sleeping-pill "hangover" when I get up.

ETA: what blew me away was the huge variety of podcasts in languages other than English. If you want to keep up fluency in a foreign language, they're a treasure trove.
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:41 AM   #36
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I listen to a stream of classical music. It's not boring, but soothing.
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Old 10-24-2014, 09:30 AM   #37
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I deal with insomnia quite often, but, once FIREd, I'll just sleep when I can.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:41 AM   #38
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We all know those usual pearls of wisdom about conquering insomnia. Here are some:

1. eliminate caffeine, or cut back after noon
2. do something quiet and peaceful for an hour or two before going to bed; instead of watching that high energy cops'n'robbers show on television, do a crossword puzzle or sudoku, for example.
3. A nice glass of warm milk at bedtime helps some people.
4. Regular hours for bedtime and arising and the rest of one's schedule, helps some people, as does a regular bedtime routine
5. Make sure your bed is extremely comfortable, and the room is quiet with a comfortably cool temperature.
6. If your spouse snores loudly, consider setting up a separate sleeping area for you, where you can get some rest.
7. Naps are nice, but may not be such a great idea if one is battling nighttime insomnia.

And so on. There are many such gems.

After doing everything such as the above, consider this: Maybe you don't really NEED quite so much sleep as you did when you were younger, so don't stress about it. As we grow older, we may need a little less sleep.

Numbers 1,2,4, & 5 above help me a lot.

I normally sleep about 7-1/2 hours, with a 20 minute afternoon nap. However every now and then (maybe once every week or two) I am up all night and only get 1-2 hours. I finally forgave myself for doing this, and decided that maybe I just don't need any more sleep than what I am getting. Works for me. I'm not the same person, physically, as I was when I was 30 and I am not leading nearly as busy and exhausting a life now as I did then, so it makes sense that I would need less sleep.
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Old 10-24-2014, 12:07 PM   #39
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I finally forgave myself for doing this, and decided that maybe I just don't need any more sleep than what I am getting. Works for me. I'm not the same person, physically, as I was when I was 30 and I am not leading nearly as busy and exhausting a life now as I did then, so it makes sense that I would need less sleep.
This is supposed to be the general case, but it doesn't seem to be for me. Typically I go to sleep quickly, but wake up 4-6 hours later to pee. It can be a chore to get back to sleep, but I almost always do. In which cases I usually sleep 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours total and feel good the next day. Last Friday I went to bed at 11, and didn't wake up until 7:30 the following day. Plenty of sleep one would think, but I was tired all day anyway. I am reluctantly coming to think that when I am active, which is usually, I need 8 1/2 -9 hours minimum to feel mentally and physically tip-top.

The only downside is that it obliterates a lot of evening pursuits.

Ha
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:47 PM   #40
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Consider this: Maybe you don't really NEED quite so much sleep as you did when you were younger, so don't stress about it. As we grow older, we may need a little less sleep.
I believe, now, that this is the source of my problem.

I had often read "Some people say that older people need less sleep, but in fact they need just as much, they just can't sleep as much." Although that doesn't really make sense, I used to believe it.

So, I'd always strive for eight hours, resulting in extra time in bed trying to achieve it. I'd thought that I can't sleep 8 in a row, so I'd try to get seven at night and then take a long nap.

If the latest thinking is correct, then this has messed up my entire system. Once I get back to normal, my goal will be 6.5 to 7 hours. Also, the research I've read says that if I sleep fewer hours, my body will sleep more efficiently, that is, more deeply.

Six years ago, I did a study and concluded that napping was OK:

My Personal Napping Study -- Results

I no longer believe that.
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