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Old 10-25-2014, 08:42 AM   #41
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DH wears a Fitbit Flex which tracks his sleep quality, among other things. Really interesting for him to see patterns in the graphs. Funny when I ask him in the morning how he slept, he looks at the data vs how he feels before he answers.

Here is the site's faq about it:

Help Site - Sleep tracking FAQs

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During sleep mode, when your body is completely at rest and unmoving, your Fitbit tracker records that you are asleep.
A restless state of sleep indicates that your body transitioned from a very restful position with little movement to movement, such as turning over in bed. This doesn't necessarily mean that you were fully awake or cognizant of your movements, but it may indicate that you were not getting the most restful sleep possible at that time.
When your tracker indicates that you are moving so much that restful sleep would not be possible, your sleep graph will indicate that you were awake.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:58 AM   #42
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What has worked for me is to take one Benedryl caplet at about 1AM. I know this is cheating but with slight alergies it helps me to get through the night. No side effects for me, I think. Doc says it's OK to do this.

Here is what my Vivofit showed for last night's activity. Four times up with the second (bump) being when I took the caplet.

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Old 10-25-2014, 11:30 AM   #43
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What has worked for me is to take one Benedryl caplet at about 1AM. I know this is cheating but with slight allergies it helps me to get through the night. No side effects for me, I think. Doc says it's OK to do this.

Here is what my Vivofit showed for last night's activity. Four times up with the second (bump) being when I took the caplet.
My doc also suggested some doxylamine OTC pills (same idea--Unisom Sleep Tab Generic Equivalent). I've taken half a 25 mg pill once or twice. Although they have good reviews at Amazon, many web sites suggest that the sleep they provide is of lower quality, they make you drowsy the next day, and their effectiveness decreases quickly. So I've kept those for emergency only, so far. I don't want to become psychologically dependent on them.

From the graph itself, it looks like you went to bed at 9:40 and slept until 6:50 (9.2 hours), but were awake for 1.5 to 3 hours. Yet the display says you got 8.3 hours of sleep.

Did you get out of bed during those movement periods? Does the "8.3 hrs total sleep" seem right to you, or is that an overestimation?

The awake periods are what I want to avoid: they're boring, unpleasant, and unproductive. Do you feel that way?

For the last two nights, I've slept uninterrupted, but for only six hours. Last night I dreamt (warning, boring dream sequence) that I was an LED light bulb, and that because all of my previous sleeping had been as different varieties of LED light bulbs, if I could determine which LED bulb I was, then I could go back to sleep. It made more sense at the time.

I'm glad I don't need to go to work. Last night I had a gig, but Lena drove me there and back because I don't trust myself to stay awake while driving.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:00 PM   #44
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...
From the graph itself, it looks like you went to bed at 9:40 and slept until 6:50 (9.2 hours), but were awake for 1.5 to 3 hours. Yet the display says you got 8.3 hours of sleep.

Did you get out of bed during those movement periods? Does the "8.3 hrs total sleep" seem right to you, or is that an overestimation?
I don't know how accurate the width of those sharp peaks are. I did get out of bed at those peak times. Mostly to take a leak but the second one I added taking the Benedryl activity (at 1AM). Doc says I don't have a prostate problem. It's probably that I drink lots of liquids to hydrate and even a glass of milk an hour or two before bed.

I do feel like the 8+ hours of sleep was a reasonable approximation. I'm not sure that it's important to get continuous sleep for me. Maybe I'm in my "cat nap phase" ?

Quote:
The awake periods are what I want to avoid: they're boring, unpleasant, and unproductive. Do you feel that way?
Well, it's a great time to get interesting ideas. If the idea is good I write it down so that I can now turn off that train of thought.

Usually I've found that when I'm disturbed at maybe 2PM, it is because I'm hot. I pull some covers off, maybe all of them. If that is not working I go get a cold glass of milk. I sleep better when the covers feel welcoming instead of too hot.
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For the last two nights, I've slept uninterrupted, but for only six hours. Last night I dreamt (warning, boring dream sequence) that I was an LED light bulb, and that because all of my previous sleeping had been as different varieties of LED light bulbs, if I could determine which LED bulb I was, then I could go back to sleep. It made more sense at the time.
That sounds like a kind of cool dream to me. What colors did you get to?

I think most of us can do with less sleep then we think. Cat napping is OK too. DW seems to worry about not having continuous sleep. I've become more flexible ... I like to think so anyway.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:28 PM   #45
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On those nights when you really need a sleep aid why not use a drug specifically designed for the task, like Ambien - Zolpidem? I make a few hard rules to avoid dependence -
#1 - low dose only ~ 2mgs. - I bite off a chunk and dissolve under the tongue (it is bitter to discourage the kiddies from confusing them with tic tacs).
#2 - Never after 1AM - if I really need dependable sleep and am getting up early, I take a dose before 11PM.
#3 - Never two days in a row or more than 2 times per week.

I am most likely to have trouble sleeping in the waning daylight of the fall season.

As mentioned, temperature is important - too hot = lousy sleep for me.

Getting up to pee wakes me up - my solution - the whiz bottle. I can remain in a state of torpor while attending to the task. Not for everyone and obviously this will only work for about half the population.

Oh, and my Marsona white noise machine - as light sleeper, I prefer not to hear distracting neighborhood noise.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:48 PM   #46
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On those nights when you really need a sleep aid why not use a drug specifically designed for the task, like Ambien - Zolpidem?
...
Sounds like you have a good approach. Hopefully you aim carefully into that whiz bottle.

The first time I used any sleep medication was the night before interviewing for a job back 17 years ago. It worked like a charm. After that I used them very sparingly.

Now I seem to have developed a side effect to those medications. I get ever so slightly nauseas to food the next day. This happens even with 1/2 pill. Good if you want to go on a diet, which I do not need.

Benedryl works best (for me) and it has no apparent side effects after 5 or so hours of sleep. I would not take it if the time is past 3PM. For me it seems to take 1 hour to take hold so I may be awake for a time.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:50 PM   #47
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On those nights when you really need a sleep aid why not use a drug specifically designed for the task, like Ambien - Zolpidem?
I won't knock it, but the other day I took a quick look at an insomnia forum. The first thread title I saw was "Last Night I Took Twelve Ambien!"
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:11 PM   #48
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I won't knock it, but the other day I took a quick look at an insomnia forum. The first thread title I saw was "Last Night I Took Twelve Ambien!"
You have to know yourself - this would never be a problem for me. I read all kinds of horror stories about Halcyon - worked great for me.

I have been reading quite a few articles in the New Yorker lately - this one (again lengthy) is about a new drug being tested by Merck. Also goes into detail about sleep studies, chemistry and such -

The Big Sleep - The New Yorker

And this shorter one -

A Gene That Makes You Need Less Sleep?
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:52 PM   #49
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I won't knock it, but the other day I took a quick look at an insomnia forum. The first thread title I saw was "Last Night I Took Twelve Ambien!"
And they lived to write about it? Not sure how one would acquire 12 ambien a day, but you can buy anything with enough money.

That's sometimes the problem with those kinds of meds, they become less effective the more you take. I'm not saying an infrequent pill will hurt you, but that may be an example of 'why not'.
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:30 AM   #50
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As an update, I've now had three nights in a row of uninterrupted sleep. For the last two, I got 7.5 hours of sleep each night.

What I've done:
No naps.
Four to eight-mile walks every afternoon.
6 mg melatonin one hour before bed
.5 tablet doxylamine (i.e. 12 mg) before bed.

I'm going to cut out the doxylamine now.

In the past, I concluded that melatonin is not effective, but safe, so what the heck, I'll take it.

The only thing I'm doing that is verboten is not popping out of bed as soon as I wake up. I lie there for a half an hour, warm under the covers listening to the waves with Lena snuggling up. I can't give that up. My rationalization is that since I'm not trying to sleep, I'm allowed to be in bed.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:02 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by bjorn2bwild View Post
On those nights when you really need a sleep aid why not use a drug specifically designed for the task, like Ambien - Zolpidem? I make a few hard rules to avoid dependence -
#1 - low dose only ~ 2mgs. - I bite off a chunk and dissolve under the tongue (it is bitter to discourage the kiddies from confusing them with tic tacs).
#2 - Never after 1AM - if I really need dependable sleep and am getting up early, I take a dose before 11PM.
#3 - Never two days in a row or more than 2 times per week.
I would add a fourth rule...
#4 - Never take a laxative the same night
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #52
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When I try to sleep too much thinking leads to insomnia. Also prevents falling back to sleep in the morning. Been like that most of my life. Some comedian on a podcast talking about life on the road mentioned what works for him. Started using it 3 months and it works for me.

The technique is simple. When a persistent thought, that is one that lasts for more than a few seconds, appears I convert from thinking about it in words to using visual images. Soon the though fades away. I have no idea how I do the conversion, but it was easy the first time I tried it and most times since then.
I struggle with insomnia as well, and find that once I start thinking, BAM! i'm awake for good. I've had some success with halting thinking altogether. If i have a thought, i stop my mind from thinking any further. It is true that language seems inextricably tied to the wakefulness mechanism in the brain
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:17 PM   #53
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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 sure you have thought of this, but are you taking any new medicine? Many times, insomnia can be a side effect of medicine.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:09 AM   #54
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For most of my life I was a very sound sleeper. A few years back I had a bout of insomnia. I thought about it too much and like Al says, the problem fed on its self.

I eventually decided the heck with it, stopped thinking too much and, my sleep improved.

In my case I think as I age perhaps I simply don't require as much sleep
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Old 11-08-2014, 08:26 AM   #55
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My daughter let me use her Zeo. Although the company went out of business, this is an amazing device. It actually measures brain waves rather than just motion.

Here is the record of my sleep from a few nights ago:


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Old 11-08-2014, 08:56 AM   #56
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I went thru a brutal stretch of insomnia about 18 months ago. Went on for months. Just reading this thread raises my anxiety level remembering it. To this day I no longer read in bed because it conjures memories (and stress) of reading at 3a trying to get to sleep.

I did the ambien thing. Closest I've ever felt to being addicted to something. Probably all psychological but I finally flushed them just to ensure I wouldn't take them again.

Eventually led me down some interesting paths learning about myself, but here's a headline: W*rk stress sucks. (In case anyone on this board had somehow missed that...)
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:52 AM   #57
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I can't imagine having to resort to drugs, OTC or not, just in order to sleep. That's hideous, to me anyway.

Lately I have been taking a nap and then sleeping like a rock for 7-8 hours every single night. I would sleep longer except that I set my alarm (even now, in retirement - - I need the structure).

Sometime, though not lately, I find myself staying up most of the night once every couple of weeks. I assume that in that case, I just didn't need the sleep. Sort of the reverse process compared with catching up on one's sleep - - catching up on my awake time.

Before retirement, I used to awaken in the middle of the night very frequently with what I could perhaps call "work terrors"; freaking out about something I forgot to do at work, or had not completed, or worrying about some exchange with one jerk or another at work. After five years of retirement, that doesn't happen AT ALL any more. I don't miss it a bit, either.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:16 AM   #58
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My daughter let me use her Zeo. Although the company went out of business, this is an amazing device. It actually measures brain waves rather than just motion.

Here is the record of my sleep from a few nights ago:
Looking at your image, I thought: That is really cool!

Looking at twenty 1 star ratings on Amazon (vs 13 5 star) and seeing it's iPhone only, I'm thinking "not so cool".

Does anyone have a device that collects this data that actually works well?
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:43 PM   #59
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Daily exercise and thinking about sex when I go to bed at night helps me fall asleep although I find it hard to roll over sometimes.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #60
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Looking at your image, I thought: That is really cool!

Looking at twenty 1 star ratings on Amazon (vs 13 5 star) and seeing it's iPhone only, I'm thinking "not so cool".

Does anyone have a device that collects this data that actually works well?
It isn't iPhone only. I'm using on my Android Nexus 7.

I don't recommend it since the company is kaput, but it's worked perfectly five nights in a row. Jenny got hers for about $25.

To think that this little thing can decipher and interpret the EEG. Wow.

A problem is that sleep trackers are now a commodity; no perceived diff between this and a motion tracker.

Here's a night when I decided to not take a half doxylamine at 3 am. I actually felt great the next day.



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