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Guest blog: Insomnia: Top Tips (that never work)(11 Posts)
We've got a guest blog this week from Ysenda Maxtone Graham, the author of An Insomniac's Guide to the Small Hours which is published this month. Have a look - and commiserate if you're a fellow sufferer - at her Top Ten Tips (that never work) over here.
We've got ten copies of the book to give away too! To be in with a chance, let us know the oddest way you've ever spent the small hours - whether through insomnia, baby-wrangling, or anything else (within reason )
When I was living in Berlin in my twenties and couldn't sleep one night, I got up and trekked across town to the Plotzensee, a lake. I wandered around it and came across some American couchsurfers, who had agreed to meet up from all over Berlin and go skinny dipping. (FKK, or nude swimming, is a big thing in Berlin)
An American challenged me to a race across the lake in the middle of the night. Without thinking about it I stripped off and swam across. After borrowing a towel and drying off around a makeshift barbecue, I reluctantly rode the S-Bahn (that's like the Overground line in London) back to my flat at 5am. I was frozen with exhilaration on this train, in the middle of the night in the pouring rain sitting sandwiched between all the drunks. When I got back I fell sound asleep - must've been the excitement
I spend pretty much every night up doing something or other. I've taken up crafting because at last I now don't go out of my brain with insanity (and boredom) however some of the things i've done to get the hours to pass quicker are:
match up socks
give myself a manicure or pedicure
cut up house magazines and stick into scrap books
and then at my worst when things just don't seem like they will ever improve, lying on the hard, cold kitchen floor crying my eyes out cos i'm so tired and am too tired to do anything constructive.
I can sympathise. I'm not a great sleeper but I need a lot of it. I'd never had fully blown insomnia though until pregnant with DD2. I was a gibbering wreck. Luckily my work were really sympathetic and put me on medically reduced hours. I work flexi time so I would just go into work at 5am if I was awake.
I cried on the pharmacy assistant in Boots because she refused to sell me even herbal remedies (due to being pg) - she was very sympathetic! The dr eventually took pity on me and reluctantly proscribed me a short course sleeping tablets.
The thing that really made the difference, which I discovered just by chance, was to just stay up late, rather than going to bed early trying to anticipate being awake. I didn't get masses more sleep, being up late, but it stopped that 3am window of being awake for 3 hours, which was pretty soul destroying. I saw a BBC documentary on insomnia which basically recommended the same thing.
I just wish I didn't need so much sleep to function. Seems like such a waste of time.
Oh, and the classic comment I had from my mum is that my DD2 is such a crap sleeper because of my own sleep anxieties... All my fault apparently!
Oh and I don't really have any odd ways I've spent the early hours, except to say thank god for the iPhone!
I am a horrible sleeper for various health reasons.
I wish I had the energy to get up and actually do something. I usually just lie in bed reading my phone or a book.
I suppose it's wasted time but I'm always hoping I'll just fall back to sleep!
Made Easter bonnets!
Sticking many many bits of Creme Egg wrappers onto a giant egg of a hat.
My insomnia is well documented!
When I'm awake in the early hours these days I tend to just get up and prowl about a bit downstairs.
In fact at 2am this morning I collected together all the library books that were due back, located DD's lost childminder diary and folded a bit of clean laundry.
The other thing is staying up really late as suggested by Dilly
I used to cure my Summer insomnia watching Big Brother then it became so awful I had to stop. During pregnancy I used to put on a dvd - I watched the whole box set of the West Wing, most of The Wire and the night I went into proper labour so as not to bother Hubbie I put on Sex and the City the movie until the morning when I woke him up to say he'd have to call work to say he wasn't coming in.
When we had darling boy Hubbie discovered Baby TV and it became the go-to channel for sleepless nights for all of us. It's the mesmeric night-time music and simple images that does it - we still use it to calm him down when he's having a bad night (Hubbie or the boy)
Hubbie watches late night baseball when he's plagued with insomnia and when our boy was a tot he used to lie him on his knees to rock him back to sleep between feeds. That season his team won the World Series so I now have to stop him sneaking the lad downstairs as a good luck charm !
1) Listening to World Service. Much as I love BBC Radio, it just isn't interesting enough to keep me awake
2) An antihistamine combined with a glass of wine. Gasp! No, it's not me being wicked - I picked up the tip on a long flight to Hong Kong with a plane load of pharmacists!
3) Bach's Night Rescue Remedy. I don't see how it can work, but it does. Like a charm. And it tastes nice.
4) A cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.
5) All of the above, in any order of your choice (but try not to fall asleep until you've finished the tea.)
When I lived in the remote countryside, I used to go for long walks in the early hours of dawn and talk to the cows in the fields. (They may have taught me rumination.)
The early hours of dawn are a very special time. Worth waiting up for.
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