To ask what you do when you can't get to sleep?(92 Posts)
She asks while on her smartphone at 1 in the bastard morning
Fuck me I've tried everything I can but just can't drop off. I get maybe 3 hours during the day. It's starting to take its toll. I'm miserable. Dd is going through a very difficult time right now (waiting on a Cahms referral, the school are just now starting the process of getting her formally diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. I've had emergency meetings with the Senco officer and her teachers. Plus I had to get her an emergency appointment when she started crying and hyperventilating in class. Her teacher rang me in a panic) so as you can see I've plenty on my mind.
I was even prescribed a short course of zopiclone which had no effect at all. I'm stuck in a vicious cycle.
Get up. Make a cup of tea. Usually camomile but Ive run out. Sit up until I start to get tired again.
Based on the forum and time of night, I have a feeling you have chosen an audience who is all likely to give the same response?
Count backwards from 100 or similar
Alphabet game (pick a category ie films, and name one beginning with each letter of the alphabet)
Basically stuff that takes your mind off what is keeping you up and/or bores you to sleep.
(Chronic insomniac here - although I am currently up feeding the baby it’s a lottery if I’ll be able to get back to sleep after)
I’m up and showered and hair washed and it’s not 3am yet. I go downstairs and read or watch tv and usually find by about five o’clock I could sleep. Which is no bloody good because my alarm goes off at six.
I often take zopiclone. Can't now as it's too late.
I listen to podcasts- sleep to strange, sleep meditation etc but it's more to stop me thinking if that makes sense.
It's fucking horrible though, hope you get some sleep op
Mumsnet, mop kitchen floor, ironising, hot drink (no caffeine), read, podcasts or audio books anything that makes my brain switch off
Sat here drinking hot milk waiting for my stretching pains and restless legs to subside before I can get back to sleep.
Normally I think about my breathing or just lie with my eyes shut because at least that way I am resting
Plenty o f books on the subject,
nut one to read is about circadian rhythm's, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-circadian-rhythm
Matthew Walker also wrote a book "why we sleep" my friend gave it to me to read the , my other half got through the first chapter then past it on,
I ten d not to have a mobile phone in the room that i sleep in or put it far out of reach !
hope you find something to help
Try listening to Weightless by Marconi Union. It's been proven to aid sleep somehow. Something to do with the rhythm.
I've got an awful cough so it's no good to me at the moment but hopefully it will help you. Or try blinking your eyes really fast. Good luck and hope you get your problems solved XX
I hope not Della. Hopefully someone will give me good idea to try. Plus there's always daytime users (who might suffer occasionally). One of them might change my life.
Thanks for all suggestions.Going to look up that Marconi thing now. Who knows? I might not be back? Fingers crossed
Try restrictive sleep it sorted out my long term insomnia. I also listen to a sleep aid app which also works well. No screen time at least an hour before going to bed.
Sorry you're going through all that. I'm pregnant and have been struggling to sleep, I bought a hypnobirth mp3 and have not yet managed to listen for more than 2 minutes before I pass out!! So I recommend some kind of relaxing hypnosis on YouTube, worth a go
Not look at my phone (I'm up because I'm at a friend's house who has had to go to hospital and I'm looking after her kids and need to stay awake for updates which is why I'm currently on my phone!)
It's one of the worst things you can do because the blue light wakes you up more.
I try a sort of mindfulness I suppose. I close my eyes and try to listen to all the different sounds. It helps if the window is cracked because you can hear the wind, the occasional owl, the odd car on the main road at the bottom of the valley etc. It seems to help me.
Mumsnet, colouring in, lesson planning, reading.
I have had reasonable luck with "sleep stories" like those found on the Calms app. There are lots of differents apps that do the same thing. I think there are some on YouTube as well.
My pharmacist recommended Magnesium to help ease the anxiety about not sleeping.
Probably helps that I've started taking Melatonin.
I used to have this little electronic game called 20questions. Or 20Q. Something like that. A little handheld thing which asks you 20 questions and ends up guessing whatever thing you've thought of (was quite good actually). Anyway, I could never get to sleep. I'd be up all night reading or watching tv etc. However, I couldn't get through a whole game of this before falling asleep. It was a pointless game but distracting enough to allow me to sleep. Worked every time pretty much.
I listen to the Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson app. He takes you through guided relaxation exercises and then talks to you for a bit. I hardly ever make it through the relaxation part, his voice is so soothing and following the instructions both relaxes me and gives me something other than whatever is worrying me to think about.
Listen to Radio 4 in our time podcast - something about the voices sends me to sleep and if it doesn't I might learn something!
How useless of the teacher to ring you in a panic. How frightening for you.
You will be okay and it will all be sorted out. This is just a tough phase you are going through.
I go down to the kitchen and make hot chocolate with milk not water and a piece of toast and honey, have that and then come back to bed. The carbs/full tummy/milk seem to do the trick. Also writing a to do list helps a lot - I leave that in the kitchen.
Good luck OP
I use the Calm app, I find it quietens the panicky thoughts in my head. I also have rescue remedy sleep. I try to avoid reading my phone as the blue light doesn’t help.
I plan houses on my head, visually walking through them and working out floor plans. Or go over floor plans of houses I've been in.
Relaxes the hell out of me and I normally drop off.
I have learnt to get by on 2 hrs sleep several days in a row.
I get a lot of exercise, including some aerobic, every day, That helps.
Listening to political podcasts are my sleep lullaby (weird, I know).
My sleep problem isn't anything to do with worrying though. Or bad sleep hygiene, or caffeine. I just don't sleep. So probably no help to you, sorry.
Read something mundane on Wikipedia.
It really works! It seems to stop the ongoing dialogue and overthinking by giving your brain something to do and in no time you’re sleepy again.
Was up in the middle of the night thinking about my gran and on going care arrangements and what I was going to say to my aunt when I see her 15 mins later reading about the history of the diners card and I was back in the land of nod!
try to listen to
gqt gentle and upbeat radio
but most importantly (for me) changing sleep routine helped.
- no caffeine drinks after lunch
- no screens after 10pm
- no food 3 hours before bedtime
- magnesium supplement after dinner
- going for a walk/run late afternoon/early evening.
Its full moon...sleep is notoriously worse at full moon. I was the same the other night. Red wine worked for me last night.
Breathing. Breathe in slowly count one, breathe out slowly count two. In, one. Out, two. That's all you're allowed to think. If you find yourself thinking of something else, don't worry. Straight back to in, one; out, two.
Remove digital clocks from bedroom, don't look at phone if you wake up. Close eyes - in, one; out, two.
Tisserand pillow spray. A wierd technique - close your eyes and focus on the backs of your eye lids. Don't know why but it works every time.
I used to be a terrible sleeper. Now I have the odd bad night but mostly sleep well. My tips go against all the received wisdom but they work for me.
I need to be full, can't sleep if hungry, so if I have any hunger pangs I get up and make toast and tea or hot milk.
It's imperative I'm warm enough. If my feet are cold I put on thermal socks. Before I had an electric blanket (which, by the way, I recommend for making you sleepy) I made a hot water bottle for my back.
Most important, some sort of audio distraction. I listen to podcasts with in ear headphones - The Archers, Home Front, Brexitcast, News Quiz, something I enjoy listening to. I've tried sleep apps but find they irritate rather than relax me.
Try not to catch up on sleep in the afternoon. That was my downfall, I loved an afternoon nap but it ruins you for the nighttime.
Hope you crack it, sleeplessness is miserable.
Read a book.
But usually i give up watch family guy and eat chocolate
If I feel I'm going to be awake for a while I turn the radio on.
Low volume, usually some Talk station.
Sometimes it only takes a few minutes other times it can take a couple of hours.
I'm lucky in that I can grab a few minutes in the afternoon which is great as long as you don't sleep for too long.
Don't look at screens if you can't sleep - they are apparently very stimulating to the brain. Get up, read quietly, have a drink, whatever, then go back and try again when you feel tired
I have to get up, make a warm drink and read a book. If I read on my phone I end up tapping and tapping onto different pages. Before you know it, it's 2.5 hours later and almost time to get up.
Phenergan is OK. It's an antihistamine, often used for travel sickness, also sometimes prescribed for sleep but you can get it over the counter for travel sickness. Or diazepam (valium) from the GP helps sometimes, if things are very stressful. I don't find zopiclone helps me at all, I have always had trouble with my sleep.
ASMR videos on youtube. Just listening. Not watching. Works every time.
I never ever get out out bed. I know it's not recommended, but for me I would just wake up more if I was wondering around making drinks or watching TV. I never read and I never put a light on. I just lie in bed.
One technique that helps my mind stop racing is to list in my head:
5 things that I can see
4 things I can hear
3 things I can smell
1 thing I can taste
I cycle over and over the sets of things... the light at the door, the clock display, the window, the duvet, my hand... DP breathing, the wind, etc. etc. It really does help to calm my mind.
Try a Mindfulness app OP. They sometimes work for me. Insomnia/lack of sleep is a pain in the arse. Feel your pain
Also going through a difficult stage with our DC which is really affecting my sleep. OK during the day but trying to get to sleep at night is awful. My thoughts just keep whirring around my head. I was prescribed zopiclon also, which did not work by itself but in combination with music via ear-bud headphones (dull, continuous youtube relaxation sruff does the job) I get to sleep and stay asleep.
Okay I have recently picked up this small routine to clear my mind of racing thoughts and fall asleep and it pretty much works every time!
When lights are off start with the 4 7 8 breathing method designed to help you sleep - breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. The tip of your tongue needs to be placed just above your front teeth. Usually do this for a while until I'm yawning or just feeling relaxed.
Then the next thing I picked up from a sleep meditation video. Fix your eyes on something in the room (patch on the wall etc anything you can see in eye view). As you stare you feel your eyes start to get heavier and the urge to close them. The whole time repeating in your head something along the lines of "as I close my eyes the further down I go" (sounds nuts but it's so helpful, it's like it tricks your brain)
Usually when I'm repeating that phrase in my head I'm falling asleep and getting drowsy and mixing the words up and forgetting what I'm even supposed to be repeating in the first place
Then the next thing you know my alarm is going off
Also having a set bed time every day helps, and having one hour in bed before your bed time doing something non screen related. The earlier in the evening you stop looking at screens the better!
Good luck OP hope you find something that helps
Bbc4 documentaries; watch asmr YouTube videos. If really bad give yo watch something trashy on Netflix and then try again. Reading or make a cup of tea also work
I like and relax then do 10 deep breaths slowly.
Then I close my eyes and concentrate on my feet first, being aware how they feel and slowly move my concentration and awareness up my legs to my pelvis and then up to my chest, arms, neck and then my head.
If I've done this slowly, I'm usually asleep before I get to my head.
I never look at my phone or tablet for two hours before I go t bed.
Basically - I was told by more than one person - if your mind doesn't want you to get to sleep - for whatever reason - then you won't get to sleep!
I often find if things are playing on your mind - write them down for a short time in a notebook. This I find works with me. Don't spend too long on it.
Getting up maybe doing some short chores - again don't spend too long on them and then camomile tea and maybe a small snack if you're feeling hungry and usually read a chapter or so of a book and then you should drop off. I was told and have tried it that warm milk with grated nutmeg gets you to sleep - also turkey but not tried the turkey!
Lavender oil is good also Origins Sensory Therapy I think it's called - peppermint. Ensure your bedroom is warm/cool etc.
Rescue Remedy Sleep does help too.
Running through mindless stuff like names with letters of alphabets has helped get me to sleep but can also keep you awake, also apparently when you're in bed and dropping off - if you try to fight that a bit - apparently it makes you drop off - tried it a few times, sort of worked. Relaxing every bit of your body etc - meditation sort of exercise - again can work sometimes can't.
I lie in bed and then purposefully and visually relax each part of my body from the forehead down. So forehead, eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, lips, chine, neck, shoulders etc etc
Or I listen to waterfall/rain/storm videos on youtube.
agreed with snacks - usually I try something like cheese bites (Marmite x 1 or Baby Bel x 1) and a couple of crackers or plain biscuits.
also for me - I do like a dark bedroom so have blackout curtains and minimal noise around me.
If we stay anywhere I take a dark eye mask and earplugs. I've known the adult DD of a friend have to sleep in completely dark shuttered room.
Also paracetamol has a sleepy affect.
God, I would love to know. 100% following.
For the past 5 weeks I've not slept longer than 2 hours in every 24. I'm on my knees with exhaustion.
Snappy, tearful, beyond frustrated, feeling extremely low and sometimes delirious.
As soon as I get into bed, PING, wide awake.
I've tried absolutely everything and no joy. My GP is reluctant to prescribe anything else but I'm going to make an appointment and beg for a knock-out dose of benzodiazepines. Doesn't help with my RA - no sleep = no chance for my body to even attempt recovery.
Sorry for hijacking your thread OP. But after taken 100mg of diphenhydramine last night and still being wired at 4am this morning I'm set to implode.
@MadameDD paracetamol alone most definitely isn't a medicine that induces drowsiness.
Also paracetamol has a sleepy affect
Not really. Codeine or co-codamol does.
LikeACowsOpinion and Limensoda - that's strange then because a couple of doctors have told me that 'paracetamol can help get you to sleep' but looking online it doesn't really say this...
I do have something else doctors mentioned - antihistimane tablets drowsy or non drowsy I've heard can help you sleep.
Limensoda - seeing as codeine co-codamol are only supposed to b taken 3 days in a row and no more than that, then that's a short term fix really in my opinion.
insomnia cd's on amazon (mark bowden)
Glen Harold app
When I was pregnant I found a very good think on YouTube to help me sleep, a mediated sleep thing. Since having my lo it's much improved but if I can't sleep I just count 1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi etc. It bores me enough to sleep at worst case by 3/0
@MadameDD I'd be concerned about the doctors you've been speaking too. If paracetamol was a 'drowsy' medication people would be falling asleep at the wheel of a car or whilst at work.
Anything that is that says 'non-drowsy' will not be knocking you into the land of nod - pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be allowed to manufacture them as such otherwise; imagine the implications.
Most medications that'll induce sleep can be habit-forming, just the same as codeine.
Tons of sleep music on YouTube, music and wave action seems to work best for me
Closing my eyes and visualising the word Peace over and over
Taking prescribed sleep meds from gp
Also, bedroom must be cool and dark
My sister just chimed in with trying a weighted blanket or throw.
LikeACowsOpinion - one or two general practitioners in my GP surgery did mention paracetamol having a sedative affect and make me slightly sleepy. I'm not a medical practitioner, just passing comments made from them. also years ago, white noise was also a comment made from one GP, like a fan etc.
The non drowsy antihistamine comment was also from one GP and she said - but I'm not a medical professional - that this would help me drop off to sleep slightly.
Maybe they're not as sleep inducing as per medication which is unsafe to drive with because they do make you very sleepy.
I have actually taken mild and stronger sleeping tablets and whilst I can't deny they work - I don't like the thought of getting hooked on them nor the fact I have to rely on them to get to sleep and/or side effects.
Long term I think most people should look at either internal or external factors affecting one getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking one up, or if there are stresses like OP says which would make it harder to get to sleep. Yoga can be great too at helping one get to sleep especially the meditation part at the end.
I use this breathing technique...
Deep breath in to the count of four
Hold breath for 7 seconds ( if you can... or less ... up to you)
Long breath out through mouth to count of 8.
Really works for me. Husband claims it’s terrifying.
@MadameDD complain about those GPs. They're talking rubbish.
As I say, I'm at the stage of having to rely on prescription strength tablets after trying everything else and sometimes they don't even do the job.
Definitely try all alternatives first but paracetamol and other non-drowsy medications do not have a sedative effect - if you find that it works go you then great, but I'd imagine that's the placebo effect.
'Non-drowsy' medications in the majority contain caffeine - so will definitely not have the desired result.
Feel for you op. I know this sounds weird but earplugs work for me. Just the foam ones in a blue box you get in Boots. Basically I stick them in and its like they block out the world and I can go to sleep.
Oh and something elce that helped me. Don't have a day time nap unless you can not live on without it. You need to set your body clock, so try to go to bed at the same time every night and set the alarm for the same time every morning. If you don't sleep, you wait till the night.
Also found writing down all appointments, things to remember, even shopping lists 2 hours before bed helped. Literally clears my head. Then I say, right. Nothing else to think about or worry about now. Hope you get this sorted op.
Thank you all. There's some truly fantastic advice on this thread.
I finally fell asleep around 10.30 and woke at 2.30. It means more of the same tonight though. I tried holding off but it was no good. I made myself a brew and when I opened the fridge I had no idea what needed until I turned and saw my tea. That's weird.
I have the Glen Harrold apps but they're just not cutting it at the moment. Normally I don't get to the bit where you visualise your body from head to toe. I bought melatonin when I was desperate during my last horrific episode but it didn't help. The paracetamol thing made me wonder. In one of my favourite books the author says that her mother would sedate herself with aspirin. This was in the 30s/40s so maybe the ingredients were a lot different back then.
Watch ASMR videos on YouTube. Works everytime.
If I'm really restless then I might have a walk up and down the drive. I don't sleep well at all. I really should do night duty. I'm always awake
Hi, I dont know if anybody has mentioned it an i've said it on here before, but many sleep problems are caused by a magnesium deficiency. It's not something many GPs seem to be aware of. Holland and Barrett does a great magnesium supplement made from natural sea salts. Take three capsules an hour before bed and see.
Also, get up and go in to another room and read a book if you can't drop off. A really boring one. My GCSE chemistry textbook used to do the job. I'd be sleepy within minutes. It's really hard to actually get up and do it, because so often you're thinking "i might drop off any minute and this will disrupt that". But it does help. Also, valerian root, the tincture not capsules. Alfred Vogel i think? 30 Drops before bed x
Masturbate, either ethically or with some porn
Sometimes give up and just get up and smoke and have a drink and a wander around
Then back to bed and read again
If still have problems the following night I’ll take something to help
@MadameDD "seeing as codeine co-codamol are only supposed to b taken 3 days in a row and no more than that, then that's a short term fix really in my opinion."
I take 30mg codeine/panadol for pain associated with RA, and have for years. I have queried this with both my doctor and pharmacist, and have been told that so long as I don't exceed the dosage, it's fine.
I do, however, have frequent blood tests for for liver, etc functions because of other medications I take.
I put a 15 minute timer on my audiobook. Normally I'm asleep within that time (as I can't overthink anything as I'm listening) but sometimes it takes me resetting the timer. I've genuinely never had to reset it twice more than a couple of times. Generally the first 15 minutes calms my thoughts enough....but I have to remember to put on my audiobook. (Fantasy or historical fiction...I don't listen to crime books in bed.... )
I read, listen to music, watch spot popping videos on YouTube, weird I know but it chills me out. I'm on pretty strong pain meds that in theory should knock me out but they don't always. If I get really desperate, i take Piriton or Night Nurse.
Audible. Choose a book narrated by a soothing voice. My favourite go to sleep book is 'Love Nina' 😊
I re design and re decorate friends and families houses in my head, I find it very calming.
I fall asleep in nano seconds
But then wake at 4.30 and can’t get back to sleep
Those taking melatonin - where do you buy from?
*I’m up and showered and hair washed and it’s not 3am yet. I go downstairs and read or watch tv and usually find by about five o’clock I could sleep. Which is no bloody good because my alarm goes off at six.*
Is it any bloody wonder if your showering, washing your hair etc. This actions are meant to wake you up! Not relax you in to going back to sleep
Play poker on my phone. Within 10-20 mins I'm ready to go back to sleep.
I have a cup of milky coffee, couple of digestive biscuits and read until I feel dopey. Usually works! If desperate I take Nytol tablets.
I’ve not read the whole thread but the Sleep with Me podcast never fails to get me off (to sleep)
This is my specialist subject!
Radio 4 app- In Our Time, A Good Read or similar. Also love an Agatha Christie.
ASMR videos on youtube
Change where I am sleeping, or get up for twenty minutes and then go back to bed and read
Just bought some pukka sleep tea from Sainsburys so Im pinning all my hopes on that!
Downloaded a few podcasts. Can’t wait to not sleep now!
Another for YouTube ASMR videos here. Especially 'ASMRMagic'.
Oh but make sure you watch them with a red screen filter app so the light doesn't keep you awake!
Insomnia is gruelling & feckin miserable (quoth a longstanding insomniac.)
Have a look at this - especially point 5, which most people find too had to do, but it works if you commit & stick to it - www.tuck.com/sleep-hygiene/
If you're not asleep in about 15 mins, get up & do something else. It's a pain in the arse, especially when you have that awful overwhelming exhaustion but sleep is still not happening (I used to feel 'too tired to sleep' if that makes sense). But again, it's training yourself that bed = sleep.
Final tip - combined with all the above, do your routine, get in & get comfy, then work really hard at imagining it's half 6 in the morning & you have to get up at 7.
Weirdly, this has often worked for me ... because too often, that's been the exact scenario: up all damn night then nod off just before the alarm. It seems to be easier to convince self to drop off for a few minutes rest than expect a whole night of blissful rest - so once you've tricked yourself into doing this at 10:30 pm, bingo!
Good luck & I hope your understandable daytime worries soon diminish as you get more info & support. x
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