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What activities do you do during sleepless nights?
Old 01-29-2014, 12:09 PM   #1
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What activities do you do during sleepless nights?

Sometimes I sleep well for a number of days and then I hit a sleep block - just can't fall asleep easily for weeks. I toss and turn for 3 to 4 hours before I finally fall asleep. These 2 weeks have been my sleepless nights and I wonder how long it will last. I try to get up after 1 or 2 hours of unsuccessful attempt to sleep and make a hot drink, eat a biscuit, read, surf the net finding solutions to sleep problems and even do some housework. I think some of these activities keep me awake more! I usually resort to taking 2 valerian pills (recently bought Blackmores Sleep Sound Formula). But after taking them, I surf the net on whether they are addictive! I think I am growing mad! Can anyone recommend activities which you find helpful to fall asleep easily? Yoga in the middle of the night perhaps?
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:07 PM   #2
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I am having sleep problems too (see below). That said:

(1) Personally I find sudoku to be pleasing and calming, and I do at least one sudoku every night just before going to bed (often 2 or 3).

(2) I don't watch violent or particularly exciting TV shows in the evenings. I try to save unusually boring books or podcasts until about 11 PM.

(3) I can't tolerate even small amounts of caffeine after noon. No coffee, but also no decaf, no tea (except caffeine free herb tea), no diet sodas ever, and so on. http://www.mayoclinic.org/caffeine/art-20049372 I can't even count the number of people whom I have met who complain of sleep problems but then say, "caffeine doesn't bother me!" and continue to drink caffeinated beverages.

My sleep problem is due to my "bad child" personality characteristics. I want to stay up late and even when exhausted, I rebel against the idea of going to bed although I know I shouldn't. Once I get to sleep, I could sleep forever. I can't seem to establish a regular bedtime, now that I am retired. However, lately I have been setting an alarm for the same time each morning, with the objective of establishing a regular bedtime when I get sleepy enough. If this doesn't work in the next month or two, I am going to set an alarm at bedtime and make myself go to bed whether I want to or not. Don't know if that will work either.

Another option in retirement is to just sleep when one wants to. That works really well as far as sleeping is concerned, but I don't like it because the rest of the world isn't on the same schedule. One misses the good TV, and when one wants to go to the gym it is closed for the night, and so on.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:15 PM   #3
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I play games on my iPad (like Flow, Angry Birds, etc...). Sounds like the wrong thing to do, but it works for me.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:17 PM   #4
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I go the audio route. As not to annoy my wife I listen to an old iPod touch using an ear bud.

I either listen to the talk radio (stations found on the iHeart radio or TuneIn radio apps) or if that's either too boring (usually a good thing!) or too interesting, I switch over to an audio book.

Walden has been serving that roll the last few months. The Odyssey was last year's pick. You can get these for free via the "Audiobooks" app for iOS.

The key is to set the sleep timer for 20 minutes. I'm usually out in about a minute.

Truth is, I need these much less often than when I was working. Usually, there is something on my mind that keeps me awake. The stories help my mind to focus on something else and then it's dreamy dream time.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:44 PM   #5
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I think it's normal to sleep for shorter periods when we are older. I wonder whether you might have some sleep apnea. It might be worthwhile to get tested.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:50 PM   #6
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The first 6 months of RE went just fine so far as sleep. Then I hurt my back last Sunday. I'm doing good to get 3 or 4 hours now. I pass the time on this forum mostly.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
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"I either listen to the talk radio (stations found on the iHeart radio or TuneIn radio apps) or if that's either too boring (usually a good thing!) or too interesting, I switch over to an audio book."

Try the link below to the old CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, great old radio shows.

https://archive.org/details/cbs_radio_mystery_theater
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:24 PM   #8
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I read or play Scrabble on my iPad. I try to keep it on a dim setting so it doesn't affect my going to sleep. I usually go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 then read for about an 1-2 hours or so. I usually awaken about 3:00 am then, again use my iPad..take my thyroid med about 4:30 (must be on empty stomach,so no night eating for me) then I must wait a half hour before eating breakfast. I get up about 5:00am. Works for me. I wish I could sleep longer...but I can't. So, I just accept my new sleep schedule.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:31 PM   #9
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I am blessed, sleep comes easy. Back in the day, however, I did listen to music at night (earphones) and almost always fell asleep soon afterwards.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:39 PM   #10
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Happens to me every week or two. For me it's not that big a deal, just toss 'n turn all night, then fall asleep about 5:30am and an hour later have to wake up and get the dogs out.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:00 PM   #11
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I have an internet radio and will listen to old radio programs like "The Shadow", "Boston Blackie", or old comedy shows. I find that really helps me drift off to sleep.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:06 PM   #12
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I've found that "white noise" helps me fall asleep. I think its a Pavlov's Dog type response. I hear the sound (I use a portable fan) and I'm out like a light. On those occasional nights that I can't fall asleep I try to keep my eyes open as long as possible. I'm soon fighting sleep. I find that if I don't go to bed at my regular bedtime, or if get out of bed because I can't sleep that I end up not being able to fall back asleep for several hours.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:45 PM   #13
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Happens to me every week or two. For me it's not that big a deal, just toss 'n turn all night, then fall asleep about 5:30am and an hour later have to wake up and get the dogs out.

This is me, as well. I think though that having the phone by the bed makes it easier for me to entertain myself when I can't sleep, but also encourages wakefulness, and is thus is both cause and relief for my middle of the night sleeplessness.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:48 PM   #14
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Can you just try to go to bed later than you do now? Perhaps your natural rhythm is adjusting to a new pattern.

I am blessed to be a very good sleeper. However, I typically wake up on the dot at 4:00 a.m. I would like to be able to sleep until 6, but just can't do it. I guess I'm not only a morning person, but a very morning person!
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:52 PM   #15
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I have this same problem - especially in the shorter daylight winter months.
Getting up does not work for me, I just tough it out most nights.
Increasing my exercise works best.
Also, this time of year light therapy works for me - 1-2 hours of bright color balanced light into the eyes first thing in the morning to reset the sleep clock.
If all else fails - low dose Ambien with a 1AM cut-off. I bite off a small chunk and dissolve it under my tongue. The natural remedies like Melatonin or Valerian did not work for me.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:14 PM   #16
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I feel for you Moscyn. You didn't mention if you are tired the rest of the day. If not maybe you just do not need the rest. I have a cycle like you, but it is on the back end, not the front end. I turn on the tv at bed time and find the most boring news program and have it just above audible and it puts me out. Sometimes the strategy works again in the middle of the night, but sometimes it doesn't and I either have to accept 5 hours of sleep is all I need or just continue to relax in bed an hour or two more watching squawk box before I roll out. I never nap during the day so I guess I have enough sleep.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:17 PM   #17
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I fall asleep early but often wake up at 1-3am and can't sleep. I go watch TV, that always puts me to sleep in an hour or two, especially what's on at that unGodly hour...
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:21 PM   #18
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Nothing worse than lack of sleep, Moscyn.

I occasionally wake up around 2 or 3 a.m. and will surf the net on my old laptop that I keep plugged into a charger in my bedroom. I might also choose to read a bit from a stack of books I keep on my bedside table. I never get up and go downstairs to watch TV. Or worse yet, snack. Generally if I sleep poorly one night, I sleep like a log the next.

I think I agree with Meadbh that as we get older, we tend to sleep less and possibly more fitfully. I don't recall any sleep problems in my 20's or 30's.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:23 PM   #19
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Happens every three or four weeks. I read a book, browse the Internet, post here.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:23 PM   #20
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I fall asleep early but often wake up at 1-3am and can't sleep. I go watch TV, that always puts me to sleep in an hour or two, especially what's on at that unGodly hour...
I thought the Al Jazzera America channel would become my new go channel to knock me out when it came on. Something must be wrong with me because some of it was actually interesting, so I quit watching it.
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