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Saturday, May 20, 2006

"I'm Only Sleeping" Questions

Sometimes I experience insomnia. Quite often, I can identify the proximate cause. In the words of Paul Simon, sometimes I think too much. Also, eating late in the evening, or drinking caffeine (even one diet cola in the morning) may affect my noctural experience.

I find that white noise sometimes helps. In my new office, they have white noise, which is supposed to prevent us from hearing other conversations. It doesn't, but it does make me sleepy. Unfortunately, our country has not adopted the concept of the siesta, and being in a cubicle, I can't take a cat nap.

The idea of the nap used to be foreign to me, but lately, one a weekend can get me through the next week.

I find pills don't really help, even the prescription stuff such as Ambien, but Nyquil often does. But I don't want to become habituated to it, especially if I'm not sick.

The other thing that helps somewhat is heavy breathing (no, not that - get your mind out of the gutter), filling my lungs as much as possible then exhaling slowly.

Lately Lydia has been experiencing something similar. Like me, she generally falls asleep, but then wakes up in the middle of the night.

So my questions, if you would be so kind to answer:

Do you, or have you suffered from insomnia? For how long? Under what circumstances (stress caused by a particular event, e.g.)?

How did you treat your insomnia? Did you ever go to a sleep clinic?

Why does a two-year old wake up in the middle of the night more often than not recently?


Gordon said...

Whenever I've had problems sleeping, it's usually due to several factors, including

1) stress and worry

2) taking a long nap in the afternoon; or

3) drinking caffeine after 3:00 pm

What's usually worked for me is learning gradual relaxation techniques (relaxing one part of my body at a time). I've also made myself chamomile tea, which has a very calming, relaxing effect on me. (I tend to avoid sleep drugs, but given my background in chemical dependency counseling, that's for the best). I also have stopped watching tv/playing on the Internet after 9 pm - I read online that doing so helps insure longer sleep.

As far as the two year old...can't help you there. Sorry.

Scott said...

I believe I do suffer from a bit of insomnia. I have always been a light sleeper. And since being married, I have become even worse. I don't think it's stress or anything inparticular. Though when my son Nigel wasn't sleeping through the nights, I certainly wasn't getting enough sleep.

I usually end up catching up with one good sleep. About every 7 to 10 days I fall asleep within minutes of laying down, and don't wake up until the alarm goes off. (I have a habit of waking up an hour before the alarm goes off, and can't get back to sleep.)

I have never gone to a clinic, and quite honestly I DON'T want to try a sleeping aid, whether OTC or prescribed. I would rather watch a boring movie. Though usually if I am tired, and can't fall asleep, trying to read helps.

Sorry to hear about Lydia's sleeping habits as of late. I worry that Nigel's sleeping patterns will change, and start waking up in the middle of the night again.

GayProf said...

This year I have suffered from insomnia more than any other time in my life. Much of it has to do with personal stress.

I can understand the reluctance about sleep-aides. Most of them make me feel too groggy the next day (except the magic elixir NyQuil, which, as you mentioned, would be a bad thing to become used to taking).

If it is a really long-term issue, it might be related to your night-breathing. Many people suffer from a problem where their breathing stops during their sleeping hours.

Finally, I don’t have children; however, I heard that children often start sleeping erratically when they are going through a major developmental change. So, it’s common for children to start waking more in the night when they first start to stand or are learning to speak. Perhaps your daughter is experiencing something like this.

Nik said...

I started taking Tylenol PM a few times a week a year or two ago when I was having some health issues keep me awake. Hard to kick that stuff, though, I had weird "withdrawal" when I stopped for several days. I try not to take them more than once every week or two now...

Year, our 2 1/4 year old has been waking up earlier and earlier lately, from once sleeping until 8 to reliably gettnig up around 6 lately... argh.

Boliser said...

I just recently started sleeping at night again and let me tell you, it feels GREAT! I have always had trouble falling asleep. I'm not sure what causes it, but I've never needed more than 6 hours a night. Once I get to sleep it's fine, but...I went for over 3 months on 1 1/2 to 2 hours of sleep a night and since I work a full week and have children there was never time to nap or catch up.

I finally went to my doctor as my health was starting to suffer and he gave me several things to try. For the record, I had tried all of the natural remedies with no success. What finally worked for me was Lunesta. I took it every night for 2 weeks with no side effects. It didn't make me groggy the next day and now I'm able to sleep roughly 6 hours a night without it. When I quit taking it, I had no withdrawal problems. It's not for everyone, but it's an option.

As for the little girl...when they go through different stages, their sleeping patterns change. My son would fluctuate quite a bit when he was younger. He's a teen now, so waking him up is the issue now! Hope this helps!