Friday, January 22, 2010


I've started and discarded at least four posts recently on the matter of sleeplessness. Partly because I hate obsessing about this again and partly out of boredom - talking about being unable to sleep bores the fuck out of me. I hate to be this dopey, listless and uncreative, and banging on about it strikes me as the height of tedium.

But, y'know, here I am. Yapping about it.

Because I'm getting a bit desperate now. It's been months without decent unbroken sleep. Sure there have been a few nights here & there, and I can generally get by with about five or six hours as long as it's solid. But the pattern for far too long now has been get to sleep around 12-12:30am, wake up 3-4am, back to sleep (if I'm lucky) about 4:30-5am, awake again 6am.

This doesn't seem to be mitigated by my exercise levels either, at least not consistently. Possibly it's made worse by not eating enough, not sure. My caffeine intake doesn't seem to have an impact either but, in any case, that's a vice I'm not willing to sacrifice. Besides, two cups a day isn't excessive.

Please - anyone - suggest me up with some ideas about how to deal with this. I'm not willing to go the pharmaceutical sleeping-pill route but if anyone has any somewhat more 'holistic' ideas or herbal fixes then go for it. I'm so knackered I'll even try the hippy crap! ;)

All that said: yes, I'm aware that the underlying problems are not going to be solved by taking some kind of remedy. But the insomnia has just about taken on a life of it's own and seems to be self-perpetuating even without my other issues.


y said...

Ok; I don't have miracles to offer (or they'd be yours for free). I only know this : I used to suffer from insomnia too, mostly anxiety-related. For a while I tried over the counter stuff like 'Nytol' (have no idea if it exists outisde the UK) which helped, but yeah it was a light weight drug fix. I did sleep though, possibly from some kind of placebo effect, removing the anxiety of NOT falling asleep..

Since I'm doing yoga, I fall asleep instantly, wake up like a brand new person and my levels of enegery as well as my mood are consistently up.

Anyone's got anything better?

Anonymous said...

Get a psych eval. You can actually ask the doctor for a short-term sleep aid to break you out of this "life of its own" insomnia. (Yes, I did read the sentence about not willing to go the sleeping pill route, but we're talking short term - maybe 2 to 5 nights.)

It's also possible that you have a bona fide sleep disorder - that's where your brain is messing with you. If your brain is messing with you, you have a right to mess back.

I like the yoga suggestion, too. But I think you're gonna need a multi-pronged attack.

Good luck, sonny.

You Don't Know Me

eroica said...

homeopathic avena compound (or complex? i forget), valerian is a good herb. i'd probably avoid the clary sage as when you do wake up after taking it you'll be too bloody scared to go back to sleep. heh.
i like the yoga idea too. but that is coming from someone who has been thinking about trying it for, oh, ten years or so?
man i am rambling, give me more coffee or something.

fishboy said...

y: Yes, yoga is on the cards - I just need to get a bit more organised with my time management. I've only been saying that for about 15 years now.. I'll try something like Nytol (there's bound to be some equivalent over here) - like you say: it's the stressing about not being able to sleep that prevents sleep.

Anonymous: Psych eval? Sounds a bit military... But I get the point - and that's more of a longterm solution, which I'm working on too. I don't believe I have a sleep disorder, although I've not really looked it up. Don't want to become an internet hypochondriac! Also, since a lot of this is just inability to turn off my mind, more information is probably not a good idea.

bo: Bugger the homeopathy stuff but I'll give the clary sage a go. I'm always keen for new psychoactive experiences!

Random Reflections said...

I know a couple of people who swear by Paul Mckenna. I don't know how well he is known outside of the UK, some think he is a god others think he is a charlatan! He has a book and CD, which are meant to be good for helping people to sleep. I have never tried it so cannot testify one way or the other.

Beyond that, I guess trying to wind down earlier in the evening and cutting down on "stimulants".

Jen said...

I agree with anonymous' multi pronged approach. Not sure how much of a bath boy you are but this is what I recommend....aromatherapy-wise, if you want to give it a go.

-take a gravol (anti-emetic)(not strictly natural but not a sleeping pill, just drowsy making and you won't feel like shit in the am)
-10-12 drops of lavender, clary sage and marjoram (3 or 4 of each) in a hot bath for 20 minutes
-then right to bed with a diffuser of 10 drops of lavender, 15 lemon and 5 vetiver with water. Or on a cotton ball/tissue inside your pillow to help you sleep through the night.
All these essential oils help variously with restlessness, fitfulness, anxiety and worry.

If you're near the New Directions storefront you can buy the oils there, much less dear than getting them in a woo-woo store.

fishboy said...

RR: Paul McKenna? Isn't he that tv hypnotist dude? Not sure about that.. Not that I have any doubts that hypnosis works: just that I fear to start poking around in my subconscious when I can't really control my conscious mind. I'll see about picking up that book tho - really, I'm at the stage where I'll try anything.

Jen: I'm not really into baths but I do have one. And, depending how hot it is in Sydney tomorrow, I think I'll give that a go..

fishboy said...

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it.

helena said...

What they all say.

But if you want something a bit stronger than Nytol (and if you're really badly insomniac then Nytol may not work) try Valerian. Amazing stuff. You can buy it at health food shops,it really sorted out my insomnia. Or, (again from a health food shop) see if they have any Serotonin 5HT tablets. They won't give you an instant fix but they do work as well.

Then there's the obvious stuff - cut down on the coffee, exercise and try eating carbs before bed (I always take either a piece of toast and jam or a choc ice to bed with me and eat it while I'm reading).

Wouldn't advise more "hippy" methods of getting to sleep as they don't really work I've found.

Oh and this sounds really silly but have you checked which direction your head is pointing when you sleep? I sleep best if my head's pointing west but if I stay at my mums then the bed I sleep in means my head faces south and I always have really bad insomnia with whizzing thoughts when I stay there. Read up on Feng Shui.