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Old 03-30-2008, 11:14 AM   #21
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I feel sure that I will sleep better when I retire. Whenever I go on a long vacation (2 weeks or more) I seem to really relax and my quality of sleep improves enormously.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:17 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by piano88 View Post
I sometimes sleep better when I turn on the radio, put in earphones (DW doesn't want to hear it), set to talk radio for 45 minutes, and then the blather and noise just knocks me out.
interesting you mention that you turn to talk radio because when i have trouble quieting my own mind i notice i fall asleep easier with the tv on than with music playing on the radio. there could be a few mechanics working there. i think music plays more on emotions which set the mind into motion. also music is often more pleasant than talk and so less likely to be brushed aside. whereas talk is something we train ourselves to ignore.

just think of all the conversation you don't hear during the day, even though people are always talking around you at the shopping center, at the gym, etc. we learn to shut it out and we get annoyed when someone is talking so loudly on a cellphone that shutting them out is not easy.

so when it is not easy to quiet your own mind, listening to someone else can take you away from your own thoughts and then it is easier to turn them off than to turn off your own thoughts because their thoughts are not yours and so you are able to fall asleep.

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I take 25-50 mg benadryl on nights where I want to guarantee that I sleep well through the night.
just a suggestion but i am not trained as a doc so i hope this is not bad advice: i'd trade those 25-50 mg of benadryl for 3mg or less of melatonin.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:29 AM   #23
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There's a famous study done some years ago in which they persuaded a bunch of volunteers to live in a cave with no clocks and lights perpetually on. When left to their own devices, they all assumed a circadian rhythm of approximately 26 hours. This may explain why it's so tempting to sleep in on weekends (and later on Sunday) and why getting up early on Monday morning is so difficult!

As a physician, I had permanently disrupted sleep patterns throughout my 20s and 30s. By my mid 40s it was taking me 2-3 days to recover from each night on call in the hospital and I quit doing that. Of course I still get called in the middle of the night when I'm "on call", but I no longer have that that cold, shivery zombie-like exhaustion. Residents are supposed to get relief after 24 hours (!) but I have to tell you that this is honoured in the breach rather than in the observance in many US academic health centres. Did I mention that after one sleepless night you are functioning at the same level as a person who is legally drunk?
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Proof from last night
Old 03-30-2008, 12:09 PM   #24
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Proof from last night

Oddly enough I slept an hour more than usual last night, 9 rather than 7.5-8 hours, and it reminded me of how much better I feel and function if I can get close to 9 hours of sleep. In fact it's been enough for me to tackle my taxes today without feeling I'm undertaking an impossible task!

One thing I've found that often helps me sleep better is Sleepytime Tea. I'd say that at least 75% of the time I sleep much more soundly if I have a cup of it a few hours before going to bed.

metabasalt

P.S. By the way this is my first post. I still haven't had time to introduce myself. So let me just say for now that among the many interests that I'd like to pursue rather than my current job is geology. Thus my geologic moniker..........
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:28 PM   #25
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There's a famous study done some years ago in which they persuaded a bunch of volunteers to live in a cave with no clocks and lights perpetually on. When left to their own devices, they all assumed a circadian rhythm of approximately 26 hours. This may explain why it's so tempting to sleep in on weekends (and later on Sunday) and why getting up early on Monday morning is so difficult!
Meadbh,

Not noticed before, but from how you spell certain words, methinks you may be British. Apologies if I am wrong.

Anyway, do you know if there have been any studies of sleep patterns changing as seasons change. Coming from England, growing up at lattitude 55 - same lattitude as Edmunton, Canada, the length of day swings dramatically between summer and winter. I can't recall any difference in how I slept but I visit England a lot on business and in the summer months I have trouble getting enough sleep because it is still daylight well after 10 at night and again well before 5 in the morning
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:00 PM   #26
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from how you spell certain words, methinks you may be British. Apologies if I am wrong.
Irish-Canadian. Definitely not British. No need to apologize.

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do you know if there have been any studies of sleep patterns changing as seasons change.
Yes! in people.....

Arch Gen Psychiatry -- Abstract: A Circadian Signal of Change of Season in Patients With Seasonal Affective Disorder, December 2001, Wehr et al. 58 (12): 1108

Seasonal variation in the human circadian rhythm: dissociation between sleep and temperature rhythm -- Honma et al. 262 (5): 885 -- AJP - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Circadian and circannual rhythms of hormonal varia...[Chronobiol Int. 1984] - PubMed Result

and animals.....

SpringerLink - Journal Article

The rat suprachiasmatic nucleus is a clock for all seasons.

Circadian rhythms from flies to human : Abstract : Nature
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:17 PM   #27
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Thanks for the links, very interesting.

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The subjects went to bed earliest in summer, intermediate in spring and autumn, and latest in winter. A similar but more pronounced seasonality was observed in the wake-up time, which was earlier in summer than in winter.
May be this is the real reason I feel sleep deprived in the summer in England - the lighter nights make me want to stay up longer, particularly when the weather is nice - but I definitely wake up earlier.

When I lived there I used to work 8:30 to 5 and had an office with no windows. For about 3 months I used to drive to and from work in the dark and only saw daylight at lunch times when I would venture out for lunch. After the long dark winter months you want to get as much daylight as you can.
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