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Can't sleep - help

(11 Posts)
SleeplessInSkegness Mon 14-Jan-13 20:52:22

Am having a lot of stress at work at the moment and I cannot seem to switch off. I find despite being exhausted I can't get to sleep at night and usually end up tossing and turning until 2ish before I eventually do nod off. The alarm then goes off at 6.15 and this lack of sleep is really getting me down, I'm worried it will affect my work which will only make the stress worse. I go to bed at 11 then end up getting panicky when I can't drop off and start thinking about driving I have to do the next day and that I'll crash etc. Seem to be stuck in a vicious circle.

There is no prospect of stress lessening in the immediate future and it's part and parcel of the job which in general I love so not complaining really, just wish I could sleep better. Have followed all the usual advice about no caffeine, no big meals, drink milk, eat bananas, have bath, keep room at good temperature, there is nothing along these lines that's stopping me sleeping.

Has anyone tried these over the counter sleep aids like Kalms, Nytol - do they work and do you feel like shit the next day?

Any tips greatly appreciated!

longingforsomesleep Mon 14-Jan-13 23:26:05

Am watching this thread with interest - my name says it all!

I've occasionally suffered from insomnia since my late teens but over the last year or two it has got incredibly bad, as a result of a couple of major family problems.

As you say, it becomes a vicious circle - you go to bed anxious about having a good night's sleep and the anxiety stops you achieving this. I got some sleeping tablets from my gp about a year ago but they made me feel dreadful the next day and weren't particularly effective. I then tried a few over the counter things and the one I found worked best was nytol (the blue packet which I believe is based on old fashioned antihistamine drugs which make you feel drowzy, not the green herbal ones). But they did make me feel a bit spaced out the next day - not great if you have to drive.

About a month ago I went back to my gp in desperation. Normally if I had a night without sleep I was pretty much guaranteed to sleep well the following night. However, I got into a state before Xmas where I could have 2 almost completely sleepless nights in a row and was rarely getting more than 3 or 4 hours sleep at best. Dh's snoring doesn't help! Gp explained that there is actually an "on switch" in your brain (can't remember the medical term) and the amytriptaline would help me switch it off. I've seen a marginal improvement but nothing brilliant. He also gave me some sleeping tablets for emergency use (eg if I had a particularly stressful day coming up or if I had a long drive). They don't make you feel groggy the next day but he said they were very addictive so I shouldn't use them more than twice a week. I've probably used them about half a dozen times. I'd say a couple of times they haven't really worked but the rest of the time they have. They don't, however, block out the noise of dh's snoring so I still get woken up but don't take long to go back to sleep.

Hope you find something that works for you!

SleeplessInSkegness Wed 16-Jan-13 15:54:42

Just me and you then, longing! That's all interesting thanks. I'm really reluctant to see my GP and get pills for exactly the reasons you mention. .... but the second lot sound OK, the emergency ones - what are they called?

I have a snoring DH too but we have long since had separate rooms, I can highly recommend it!

cravingcake Wed 16-Jan-13 20:35:22

I'm taking amitriptyline in a low dose (10mg) to try to improve some long-term back pain (which is nerve damage related).

It is prescription but I have suffered with sleeplessness a lot myself and have found since being on these, for just over a month now, that it does definitely help with sleeping. It says on the pack that they can be used to help relieve insomnia.

The first 10 days were hard with the side-effects, they do make you very drowsy and feel almost drunk-like to begin with and you have to take them in the evening BUT if you stick with it then it does improve.

Not sure about any over the counter sleeping aids sorry as I've never been able to take them (due to other medications I have been on).

noddyholder Wed 16-Jan-13 20:39:37

I am the same and tried nytol and felt awful the next day. My mind goes into over drive and I eventually conk out but wake up on and off all night. Going nuts with it!

noddyholder Wed 16-Jan-13 20:46:50

Spray on magnesium helped I think I might try again tonight. Melissa dream made me feel drunk but effect wore off and then I was more awake than ever at about 3 and couldn't get back.

MistyKnight Wed 16-Jan-13 20:58:05

Hiya OP- I have been where you are.
I combined help from 4 sources to help get my stress under control and sleep better.
1. Counselling - talking through what is getting all that airtime in your head is great. I vent weekly and it has helped enormously.
2. Sport - I had a great laugh with a personal trainer every week. Endorphins, physical release... All good.
3. I had a 6 sessions of weekly acupuncture. I was a sceptic but willing to give it a go and found my IBS and back tension reduced and also I had fewer headaches.
4. Creating a lovely routine at bedtime. I bought some Elemis Frangipani Monoi body oil and lit a scented candle while I rubbed it into my arms and shoulders before bed. The smell was deeply comforting.

Getting the temperature right in your bedroom will make a difference - airflow, what you wear, duvet weight... Look at all of it as even minor discomfort spirals when you're frazzled!

I recognise I spent a certain amount of money on this but have got past it now and really hope some of that helps.

longingforsomesleep Wed 16-Jan-13 22:40:48

Craving - I'm amazed that you say 10mg of Amitriptyline made you very drowsy. I'm taking one 10mg a night specifically for insomnia and it does virtually nothing for me. The prescription is for 1-2 tablets nightly which I'm slightly confused by as I thought it was a cumulative effect. I'm wondering about increasing the dose to 2 tablets to see if that helps but I am wary about taking too much.

Sleepless - The 'emergency' sleeping tablets are Zopiclone.

cravingcake Thu 17-Jan-13 13:42:41

Longing - I also take a fairly low dose of citalopram (another anti-depressant) so thinking about it, it might be the cumulative effect of both of these combined. My GP started me on low dose only as she said both the AD's combined may have a stronger effect so this is probably why 10mg is plenty for me.

MrsJackAubrey Sat 16-Feb-13 22:25:18

Are you sure your room is cool enough? it needs to be very cool. And very dark.
Have your bath hot an hour before going to bed - it's the body cooling down that causes the relaxing/tiredness.
Sprinkle lavendar oil by the side of your pillow.
Buy a (horrendously expensive) pillow from Marriot
If you're not asleep within 30 minutes get up and leave the bedroom. Sit quietly for half an hour then return to bed for another half an hour - rinse and repeat until asleep.
Buy worry dolls - tell each doll a worry before you sleep, put them in the box, put box away from bed (but in bedroom) and they hold your worries for you - tell them/youself that you will pick the stress./concerns.thoughts up again in the morning
Put two ticking clocks in the room that tick at different times and listen to them.

Sometimes this works for me. Sometimes I long for a knock-out pill. Why isn't there an 'off switch' in the brain?

amillionyears Sat 16-Feb-13 22:34:57

Not had high level stress.
But always used not to be a very good sleeper.

Found my cure eventually.
It was to not be worried about not sleeping.
Or , as another MNetter on here calls it, horizontal rest.

Dont worry about not sleeping.
I discovered that rest was nearly as beneficial as sleep.
So, if you cant sleep, just lie there, resting nicely.

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