What do you do when you can’t sleep?

154

Apologies for the radio silence Friday—I’ve had the worst insomnia of my life over the course of the past five days, and it totally makes sense to me now that sleep deprivation is employed as a torture tactic during wartime, because I am tweaked as hell. All the things that usually work—pills, a hot bath, warm milk, lavender—are failing me, and I’m nearing the end of my rope. So tell me, beloved readers, what do you do when you can’t sleep a wink?

Share this post:

Comments

154 Thoughts on What do you do when you can’t sleep?
    Lisa
    17 Dec 2018
    11:25am

    I hold a lot of tension around my eyes/eyebrows. After consciously relaxing this area, starting on my back, I take 8 long breaths, imagining I’m melting into the mattress on each exhale. Turn on my right side and take 16 long breaths. Then turn onto the left side and take 32 long breaths. If I lose track of the count anywhere along the way, I restart that series of breaths. I rarely make it to 32.

    9

    0
    Julie Tynion
    17 Dec 2018
    11:25am

    I took an online course from sleepio.com. It changed my life. For years I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Even NyQuil didn’t help. The course takes several weeks to complete, but the upside is that it’s done with an adorable animated “professor” who has a charming Scottish accent. You monitor your sleep (or lack thereof) for a week and then it diagnoses your specific issue(s) and prescribes a set of tasks for the next week. You check in once a week, and get the next lesson. There are tons of online tools, too, including a chat support community.

    6

    0
    Kim
    17 Dec 2018
    11:25am

    I get insomnia when I’m stressed. Things that help: allowing myself time to think all the stressful things through without additionally stressing that now I’m awake and not getting sleep, tiring myself out through exercise, AND my go-to trick for helping shut my brain off is playing solitaire on my phone. I put it on airplane mode so I’m not tempted to duck out and check other things. 3-4 games and I’m out solid.

    2

    0
    Ann
    17 Dec 2018
    11:26am

    I don’t have insomnia but I do take CALM magnesium supplement in warm water and sip before bed every night too. I would also try a meditation exercise while you lay there. There is a story about walking to an island that I learned from a yoga instructor. I would use it as a bedtime story for my kids. I will try and find it for you.

    12

    0
    Jen
    17 Dec 2018
    11:27am

    At 51, my sleep had gotten so bad earlier this fall that I honestly didn’t know how I could function at my job–especially since, due to a spell with acid reflux (another charming perimenopause symptom), I had gotten off caffeine as of spring. Well, I quit alcohol too (because of the reflux), and I have to tell you, it worked wonders. I now can have a bit of wine, but usually only a glass or so. More than that causes major trouble. And I am still off the caffeine, believe it or not, while writing a book! The only way to do it is to exercise a little upon waking (I just walk 15 min. on treadmill) and take a very brief, like 15 min., nap when needed (late morning or early afternoon, no later). I do think these things help and are less brutal than one imagines they would be (and I say this as someone who, up until Jan. 2018, had an espresso every morning).

    5

    0
    Liz
    17 Dec 2018
    11:29am

    Listening to audiobooks….

    4

    0
      SK
      17 Dec 2018
      2:27pm

      Melatonin + audiobooks …

      3

      0
        Louise
        17 Dec 2018
        6:50pm

        Melatonin + Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations + no alcohol

        1

        0
          Laura
          20 Dec 2018
          5:39pm

          Was going to write the EXACT same comment. Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations the most pleasant way of turning off the anxiety machine that is my brain and drifting off to a happy, dar I say soulful, sleep

          0

          0
    c.w.
    17 Dec 2018
    11:30am

    Open Minded Organics CBD oil (they’re in Bridgehampton, but will mail it to you) http://www.openmindedorganics.com You need the 1800 strength––this is organic, made in NY and derived from hemp. Take the smallest amount marked on the dropper. Wait 20 minutes and give yourself 8 squirts of Sleepy Nights by Wish Garden then wait at least another 20 minutes before you brush your teeth. This combo allows me 8 hours of sleep every night––I’ve been to a sleep clinic, lived through a 6 month prescription of Ambien and tried everything in-between and the CBD and herbal Sleepy Nights is the only thing that has worked. For me it’s nothing short of a miracle. Seriously.

    11

    0
      Sydny
      17 Dec 2018
      12:07pm

      Second well-sourced CDB.

      8

      0
    Susan
    17 Dec 2018
    11:31am

    I am pretty sure menopause is Latin for “good luck ever sleeping again.” I downloaded an app for my phone, Relax Melodies, that has a bunch of different white noise sounds – rain (from light to heavy), traffic, birds, and so on. You can layer three sounds. I use the free version. With the paid version you get more sounds plus some other perks. There are guided mediations, breathing, and other stuff to help you relax too. I just use the sounds and focus on those to help get me out of my head. Recommended. Good luck!

    8

    0
      Kelly
      17 Dec 2018
      7:42pm

      I found relax melodies a few weeks back, it’s the best! (It works even on my six month old baby!)

      0

      0
    V.S.C.
    17 Dec 2018
    11:34am

    I’ve tried everything that’s been listed with varying degrees of success, but I’ve found a solution to my current bout of insomnia, and I hope this one will last—podcasts. I’ve listened to True Crime ones, mystery “story” ones like Homecoming, and they all put me to sleep in 20 minutes. It’s even worked for my 12 yr old daughter, who sometimes has a hard time falling asleep. The other thing I like is the “4-7-8” breathing method, which also really helps me in stressful situations.

    6

    0
      Julie
      17 Dec 2018
      2:28pm

      I second the 4-7-8 breathing method, also tried “controlled breathing”. What REALLY works even though it seems ridiculous is this podcast: https://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com/

      3

      0
        Erin Prelypchan
        17 Dec 2018
        8:55pm

        I’m with Julie on the podcast recommendation — the host literally bores you to sleep. It’s pretty incredible!

        1

        0
      MsMaryMary
      17 Dec 2018
      5:56pm

      I listen to a lot of podcasts in general (I’m in the car a lot for work), but if I can’t sleep I need a slightly boring podcast. Nothing too funny, no gripping true crime, certainly no politics. Stuff You Should Know falls into this category for me. I choose a mildly interesting topic to occupy my brain just enough, and eventually I can drift off. Some of my friends listen to audiobooks of favorite books for the same reason. Listening to Pride and Prejudice or Harry Potter for the billionth time needs just enough concentration to stop the chatter in their head.

      2

      0
    jlw
    17 Dec 2018
    11:36am

    When I started experiencing insomnia a few years ago, one of the most helpful things was cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and learning to not panic about it when it happens, redirect away from the scary sleep thoughts, recognize that you can function fine on little/no sleep (even if you don’t want to), rest is nearly as good as sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene. Take epsom salt baths. Try a podcast called Sleep With Me. Using Sleephones helps if you can’t tolerate earbuds while sleeping. I also use Magnesium and Melatonin.

    6

    0
    Erika
    17 Dec 2018
    11:36am

    So sorry you are suffering with this! I have recently been using this method and it has been extremely helpful. Obviously the more you practice it, the more effective it becomes. Best of luck! https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fall-asleep-two-minutes-how-to-military-secret-trick-a8520991.html

    2

    0
      Cedar
      17 Dec 2018
      11:46am

      I’ve just started using this method, and while its not magic, it does seem to help

      2

      0
    jen
    17 Dec 2018
    11:38am

    My go to’s when insomnia is making my life miserable (always on Sundays when I get the Sunday Scaries) are magnesium citrate & melatonin creme. Magnesium citrate helps me stay asleep. I’ve tried the 5g melatonin pills and they’re too much. One squirt of the creme is about 3g and I put it on my hands before I go to bed. The 2 together help me sleep through the night and I wake up feeling refreshed. Good luck!

    0

    0
    sheila
    17 Dec 2018
    10:43am

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear you have insomnia! I’ve done CBT for insomnia before so here are some things I’ve learned: practice good sleep hygiene (go to bed/get up on a schedule), if you are laying in bed and can’t sleep let yourself get up and do a quiet, no-screen activity like reading or coloring or knitting. Finally and most importantly: don’t get alarmed. You are still functioning even if not at your best, despite not sleeping. If you can get out of a loop of being worried over not sleeping it will lead to more sleeping soon. My doctor even made me stay up later and later to prove to me I could get by without sleep since so much what gets in the way is psychological. Also, I always go for a hot bath. It’s calming.

    5

    0
    Sara
    17 Dec 2018
    10:49am

    I’ve also done a little bit of CBT for sleep after weeks of bad insomnia. I learned that just ‘resting’ is also a good way to restore- just laying in bed for a few hours even if you’re not sleeping, will be helpful, so don’t stress if you’re not actually asleep. It’s not always easy to stay in bed though, so as Sheila mentioned, a quiet activity can work just to ‘take the needle off the record’ of spinning anxious thoughts. Try to change your thinking, and just accept that you’re not sleeping which is ok. Your body can handle it. If you can try to calm your mind a bit, it helps tremendously.

    3

    0
    Emily M.
    17 Dec 2018
    10:49am

    My doctor recommended an app called CBT-i. It stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-insomnia. It helps you monitor your sleep hygiene by tracking your time in bed and time asleep. It is not a magic bullet, but it helped me.

    2

    0
    susan
    17 Dec 2018
    10:52am

    CBD oil.

    5

    0
    Hurley
    17 Dec 2018
    10:52am

    CBD extract.

    5

    0
    Ruth
    17 Dec 2018
    11:11am

    Do you have access to a swimming pool? I find that swimming laps both tires and relaxes me. I also use silicon earplugs and even when noise isn’t a problem, they’ve become part of my nighttime ritual and help to prime me to fall asleep.

    3

    0
    Gemma
    17 Dec 2018
    11:14am

    I’m so sorry about your insomnia. It’s so awful. Along with CBT, I also find laying quietly in bed, listening to the same audiobook night after night can be very useful because it gives my mind something to focus on. Here are the three I’ve rotated through for several years: Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and Three Junes, by Julia Glass. Not only is the repetition soothing to me, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can estimate what time it is based on what’s happening in the book.

    When I have real trouble that lasts several days, I smoke pot.

    2

    0
      Lisa
      17 Dec 2018
      3:49pm

      The same audiobook over and over is also good for airplanes- mine is by Bill Bryson- In a Sunburned Country

      1

      0
      Jemma
      17 Dec 2018
      5:48pm

      I go over in my head the various family story lines in Ann Patchett’s The Commonwealth

      4

      0
    Emm
    17 Dec 2018
    11:15am

    FWIW: I found out that alcohol causes terrible insomnia for me, even just one glass of wine, so I gave it up and sleep great now.

    8

    0
    Leah
    17 Dec 2018
    11:16am

    I get out of bed and do something that I’ve been putting off – like organizing my closet & drawers, going through clothes, shoes, bags etc for Goodwill, organizing old photos and putting them in albums.

    2

    0
    Alysa
    17 Dec 2018
    11:17am

    Do not watch tv, fool around on the internet or your phone at all a good five hours before you want to go to sleep. You can read a little. No talking on the phone, either. Do some yoga or preferasbly take an intense yoga class a few hours prior, too. Take a Benadryl about an hour before you want to sleep. Do all
    of these. This system works for me, hope it works for you.

    3

    0
    AT
    17 Dec 2018
    11:18am

    Random things that have helped me- Using a happy light in morning and evening faLl and winter. Make sure your Vitamin D levels are good. Take Mg- like the powder “Calm.” If you are a bath person- epsom salt bath ( more magnesium.) Boring audiobooks when you wake up but want to keep eyes closed and stay in bed. And if I really need to break the cycle a few days of healthy dose of CBD oil in a cup of tea before bed. Hope you get rest soon!

    2

    0
    Jan
    17 Dec 2018
    11:39am

    Same — and I think it’s hormonal, and not responding to my usual tricks. Just had a conversation with a friend last night, who described her own good results from a CBD tincture — so that’s my next step!

    2

    0
    c.w.
    17 Dec 2018
    11:41am

    There are some REALLY good suggestions here so I probably don’t need to add this, but I will just in case. Don’t use any electronics (phone, computer, iPad etc) after about 7 p.m. The electronic light does something to your brain that keeps it spinning. Another tip…if you are obsessing about something (like a chore you haven’t done or need to do the next day) write yourself a BIG note (like on a piece of computer paper) and put it on your bathroom counter or kitchen counter where you’ll see it first thing in the morning––that one little thing tricks your brain so you will feel more confident that you’ll get it done and takes away that particular stress.

    1

    0
    AC
    17 Dec 2018
    11:42am

    Have your thyroid levels checked via blood test. Most common symptom of overactive thyroid is insomnia. I know because I’ve had Graves disease for 20 years. Also check vitamin D levels. Periomenopause and menopause cause so many hormone changes for us girls of a certain age. Hope you get some relief soon. ❤️

    2

    0
      Rosie
      17 Dec 2018
      12:17pm

      I have to agree with this. I had horrible insomnia for a month, and it was my thyroid. It finally flamed out and now I take medication. But it SUCKED. I also use CBD now if I can’t sleep and that stuff is amazingly effective.

      1

      0
    Dana D
    17 Dec 2018
    11:43am

    Menopause and sleep…

    I started taking my anti-depressant at night, along with 3 mg of melatonin. It’s a remedy I won’t tweak anytime soon…

    1

    0
    EW
    17 Dec 2018
    11:44am

    Things that have *worked* in the past for me, YMMV:
    1. hot yoga – doing a session in the early evening makes me sleep like the dead
    2. Hormones!!! miracle of modern medicine
    3. weighted sleep blanket
    4. a good cry movie( Terms of Endearment, ET, whatever works)
    5. Run through a thankful/grateful list in your mind
    6. Run through a “I wish [good things] for xxxx” list for people, places you know
    7. In your mind, Plan new outfits from stuff in your closet( silly, but makes me drift off)

    Hope you get relief soon!

    2

    0
    Teresa
    17 Dec 2018
    11:45am

    I so feel your pain. I’ve had chronic insomnia all my adult life. Ambien made me nuts, super anxious. Sleep meds in general wreak havoc with me. There are lots of good suggestions here. I will try CBT myself! And CBD oil. I have stretches when things work and then they stop working. What’s helped: taking GABA every night, which helps with anxiety. I also take magnesium, but I’ve found that the tablets, rather than Magnesium citrate (as in the Calm products) are more effective for me. I sometimes take a whole cocktail of things: GABA, magnesium, valerian root. I’ve also, at my acupuncturist’s suggestion, started taking EHT by Nerium, which is supposed to be good for overall brain health & sleep. Some nights I make some golden milk with almond milk and that helps settle me down. I like the advice several readers gave about not freaking out if you don’t sleep. The resulting panic from not sleeping often makes for a particularly vicious cycle. I hope you get sleep soon!

    2

    0
    Joannawnyc
    17 Dec 2018
    11:50am

    I find that a sleep mask, a mouthguard (for teeth grinding) and earplugs can help me during really bad spells. I also do a relaxation method that I learned from Alexander Method years ago (to relax head, neck, jaw and shoulders), counting my breaths, and pretending to melt into the mattress on exhale. Lavender CBD balm on neck, temples and hinge of jaw, also diaphragm. Stretching or other exercise before bed. The Natural Calm. Black Cherry juice. Meditation apps. I have been discussing these with students as well since it’s the end of the semester and they are all frantic.

    1

    0
    Elise Koonmen
    17 Dec 2018
    11:52am

    I’m sure you’ve tried supplements but just in case, this one works wonders for me:
    Nested Naturals Luna (Melatonin-free). Good luck!!

    1

    0
    Achariya
    17 Dec 2018
    11:53am

    Benadryl, to be honest.

    5

    0
      Michele
      17 Dec 2018
      1:18pm

      That’s my “nothing else is working & I cannot do tomorrow without sleep” emergency measure 😉

      2

      0
    Beth
    17 Dec 2018
    11:58am

    I rely on Lord Jones brand CBD gel caps before bedtime. They’re really helpful to relax and fall asleep. Insomnia is the worst. Good luck to you. You are not alone.

    2

    0
    Susanna
    17 Dec 2018
    12:05pm

    It may be helpful to think about the way our ancestors slept, especially before electric lighting—they slept in two stages, the “first sleep” and the “second sleep,” with an hour or two awake in between. I don’t know whether your insomnia involves trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or both, but if you can go to bed a little earlier and then you wind up waking up at 1 or 2, just give yourself that hour or two to do something quiet and calming—read (on paper) by low light, knit if that’s your thing, meditate, listen to some good music. Just chill, try not to worry, and turn the lights off again in a couple of hours. I find that letting go of my expectations that I absolutely *must* sleep works the best.

    On a side note, it’s fascinating to read about what our forbears were up to during their midnight waking periods. Sex, apparently, and also sometimes they even went out visiting!

    8

    0
      Sara
      18 Dec 2018
      7:30am

      I so resonate with your comment about first sleep and second sleep, Susanna! After having trouble with sleep most of my life, my routine now is to go to bed early-ish and when I wake up in the middle of the night, I have my Kindle (on low brightness) at the ready to read until I feel drowsy again. I generally have let go of the expectation that I must sleep and remind myself that even if I’m not asleep right at that moment, I’m still lying down and resting which is good. It helps take the pressure off which then can result it an easier time falling asleep. I took Ambien for years but forced myself off of it when I realized I was really psychologically dependent on it. I do take supplements such as melatonin and magnesium as needed but the biggest change I’ve made is my attitude towards sleep/non-sleep. Love this blog!!!

      2

      0
        Shawna
        18 Dec 2018
        10:30pm

        I would love some advice on getting off Ambien if you have time. I’ve taken it for years and have a definite dependance on it. I’m scared to try right now but would like to start thinking about quitting it.

        0

        0
    Ess Eff
    17 Dec 2018
    12:06pm

    Try doing a Yoga Nidra meditation – I use Insight Timer (a free app) and my go to is “Yoga Nidra for Sleep and Rest” by The Stillpoint. Always quiets my busy mind and works 99.9% of the time. Good luck!

    3

    0
    Leila
    17 Dec 2018
    12:11pm

    Old school, simple remedy: herbal tea with a tablespoon of Cognac.

    3

    0
    kat
    17 Dec 2018
    12:13pm

    There’s a podcast called “Sleep with Me.” I don’t know what it is about this guy – his voice is actually pretty strange, but it WORKS! Seriously – look at the reviews!

    4

    0
    Lori
    17 Dec 2018
    12:16pm

    Like many others have mentioned here, run don’t walk to get some CBD oil. It has replaced my Ativan completely. I’ve tried many many brands including Lord Jones since I’ve starting taking it 2 years ago (I use the lowest 250mg but maybe you should try a stronger one. 500mg is popular) and to be honest, my favorite so far is the one I got in a head shop on 2nd Ave. in the east village. Tastes good, not expensive and does the trick. Don’t you live downtown? Go to Cloud99 Vapes at 50 East 2nd. They also have it at The East Village Smoke shop 177 1st Ave. No need to wait, just go. And the plus is your dreams will be amazing.

    2

    0
      Marjorie
      17 Dec 2018
      1:01pm

      What’s the one you like called, Lori?

      1

      0
        17 Dec 2018
        2:06pm

        Hi Marjorie. I’m sorry I don’t have the bottle right now I am finishing up another brand I bought before I go repurchase, so I can’t recall. But….. the store I mentioned on 2nd ave near East 3rd. only had one brand. 🙂 . 250mg. I think $40. Done.

        1

        0
          17 Dec 2018
          2:33pm

          Hi Marjorie. I’m sorry I don’t have the bottle right now I am finishing up another brand I bought before I go repurchase, so I can’t recall. But….. the store I mentioned on 2nd ave near East 3rd. only had one brand. 🙂 . 250mg. I think $40. Done. CORRECTION: The one I purchased and like was at The East Village Smoke Shop at 177 1st Ave! I was never at Cloud99 Vapes but they do sell it.

          1

          0
    Dana
    17 Dec 2018
    12:16pm

    This may sound crazy, but…
    – Bengay or other menthol product on the temples
    – Sucking on a cough drop
    – Listening to an audiobook on very, very low – so it’s almost like word surf

    Wishing you some rest this holiday season!

    1

    0
    Shari Lawrence
    17 Dec 2018
    12:20pm

    Mindfulness podcasts by UCLA

    1

    0
    Cher
    17 Dec 2018
    12:29pm

    The previous suggestions of practicing good sleep hygiene: regular routine, quiet, cool room, avoidance of screens (including a clock), getting out of bed to do something or sit and read in another room, use of soothing and familiar audiobooks, are all tactics I employ to some success. Yet insomnia comes for me when it comes. I have used CBT and found it helpful in downscaling anxiety and using the EFT tapping to reroute my cycling thoughts. I make a simple list on paper (instead of my phone) to jot any tasks, worries or ideas there, so I can let go of them for the night. One final tactic is a simple one. I retrieve a toy from the nightstand and release tension that way. Whether I drift off after or not, I’m more relaxed.

    I wish you well.

    1

    0
    Laurel Lyon
    17 Dec 2018
    12:31pm

    Melatonin and a slightly boring book.

    2

    0
    SR
    17 Dec 2018
    12:31pm

    Well, let me be the one to give a shout out to good old fashioned pharmaceuticals. CBT has helped me enormously, and because of it I rarely have insomnia issues anymore. When I do, listening to an audiobook usually does the trick. But sometimes, when all else fails, here’s what I do: If the insomnia is on the front end, where I can’t fall asleep to begin with, I take a pill called Silenor. Excellent stuff, and safe, though it can leave me the tiniest bit groggy in the morning. The best sleeping pill in the world is Klonopin (Clonezapam) but there’s a chance it eventually causes dementia. I only break it out when there’s been a too-long spate of the 3 or 4 a.m. wake-ups. One-quarter of the pill (5 mg?) at that time knocks me right back out, and I wake up again at 7 feeling rested and ready to go. It’s definitely not for every day use, but for those few times a year that I really need it, it’s a godsend.

    1

    0
      AC
      17 Dec 2018
      2:29pm

      I agree with Klonopin advice. While waiting for my thyroid levels to normalize with meds Dr. prescribed Klonopin for sleep. Dr. Told me it can be highly addictive for some so I did not take it every night only after a sleepless one. Worked wonders for me. Did not know it has been linked to dementia. That’s troubling.

      1

      0
    Karen
    17 Dec 2018
    12:31pm

    I can certainly sympathize. Insomnia is a bitch. I do one of three things; sometimes all three but always number one. 1) 500mg magnesium about 1 hour before I go to bed. 2) Bach Rescue Sleep spray. The bottle says 2 sprays but I do 7-8. Knocks me out good. 3) I sleep with my head at the opposite end of the bed. Don’t ask me why sleeping with my head where my feet should be works, but it does for me. Good luck, I hope you’re back to happy slumber soon.

    4

    0
      nancy
      18 Dec 2018
      2:24pm

      the rescue remedy is shockingly effective. literally knocks you out and made with flower essences. subtle but very strong remedy.

      0

      0
    Anne
    17 Dec 2018
    12:35pm

    The sleep mask has become the thing for me, especially with lots of work travel back and forth across time zones. Now that I’ve used one for awhile, it is a trigger to my body to start the relaxation process using a form of the ‘military fall asleep in two minutes’ method. Occasionally I add my Relax Melodies mix (rain and city noises, go figure) and that usually does the trick. If I can’t turn off something in my brain, I get up and write it down which gets it out of the continuous ‘don’t forget this’ loop. Last resort is a Benadryl or one of those sleep tabs that I keep on hand just in case.

    1

    0
    Rachel
    17 Dec 2018
    12:44pm

    Oh Kim. It sucks. I’m sorry. There are so many good suggestions here. I find that what works for me is having a quiver of tools. Some work some nights, some nights they don’t.

    I take supplements. Do they work? I think so. I use LENTRA, SERIPHOS and 5HTP and 5 mg of melatonin. I have an awesome health provider (out of pocket naturally. grrr) who is a former RN, bio-chem grad, acupuncturist and homeopath who connected me with these things.

    My issue is not going to sleep, it’s the 3 a.m. wake up which is so freaking deadly.

    I find that when I’m excited — by a movie or a book etc — it’s harder to fall asleep so I try to manage that.

    In the middle of the night I keep my kindle by my bed and I pull up a chapter of a silly book I’ve read many times. Just the reading of something that I know how it will end helps my eyelids get heavy. So that’s in the quiver too.

    I also keep an iPad by the bed that is only for meditation apps. I like “Rest & Relax” app with the rain background. It just focuses my attention on my body and not on the things I’m obsessing about in the dark (which are just not a big deal during daylight hours.)

    And then, sometimes, it’s just too much. I’m awake. So I try to accept it, not stress about it, remind myself that I can get through the day, maybe move some appointments.

    And if it goes on for a couple of days, I use drugs. I have a stash of ambien that I use for desperate measures.

    I watch my 15 year old sons sleep like logs and remember those days as if in a dream, a dream I’d love to have again.

    Wishing you well.

    1

    0
      Rachel
      17 Dec 2018
      10:12pm

      One more to add: I visualize a sport I have some facility with so I know what it feels like in my body. I used to visualize myself running or snowboarding. It’s almost like VR I suppose because I know the terrain, I know what it feels like to move across it. I found that I could do it with yoga as well visualizing sun salutations.

      0

      0
    HickfromStyx
    17 Dec 2018
    12:44pm

    Denmark has a TV channel dedicated to this sort of thing. It works!

    For kids:
    https://youtu.be/pFnp1zesa9I

    1

    0
    Jennifer
    17 Dec 2018
    12:52pm

    I’ll be back to take notes on everyone else’s comments. Here’s what works for me. Muscle tension can keep me awake so I use a warm rice pack on those muscles (usually the hamstrings) as I’m falling asleep. If my restless leg syndrome kicks-in then I’ll reheat the rice pack. I take restless leg activity as a sign I’m tired and need to go to bed and I try to get to bed before it kicks in. I know daytime stretching and exercise will help with that and I’m working on getting into a routine. I also use melatonin when I get into a long insomnia stretch. Lately, the trick I’ve been using to focus my mind is to imagine myself hand sewing a particular stitch. I just sort of fell into it and it’s working and I’m trying not to overuse it. It’s just enough neutral content to keep me focused and it’s been serving as the doorway to letting my mind wander enough to fall asleep.

    1

    0
    mlinky
    17 Dec 2018
    1:00pm

    All terrific suggestions above, but, if they don’t help and you are in a particularly bad place, try pharmaceuticals.

    When my mom died, I was overcome with anxiety, unable to sleep and thrashing in bed when I did manage to get to sleep. After 2 weeks, I couldn’t think at all.

    Took Ambien for a few weeks, slept like a baby, and resolved the immediate issue.

    2

    0
    Kerri
    17 Dec 2018
    1:01pm

    Magnesium citrate and Natrol liquid melatonin helps me when I can’t sleep.

    1

    0
    Wendy
    17 Dec 2018
    1:02pm

    If you’re ok w pharmaceuticals, ask your doctor about Sonata. It’s short-acting so you can even take it in the middle of the night bc it puts you to sleep but doesn’t keep you asleep (like Ambien.) And you wake up clearheaded…no Advil PM/NyQuil fog. Good luck. Not sleeping is the worst.

    2

    0
    Julie Hochman
    17 Dec 2018
    1:05pm

    Trazadone has been the answer for me. I take 1/2 a pill 45-60 minutes before bed time. At times I have needed 50-75 mg, but 25 mg seems to do the trick for me.

    2

    0
      Gablesgirl
      17 Dec 2018
      9:30pm

      Ditto the Trazadone. No alcohol. Limit caffeine after noon.

      1

      0
    Ruth Harris
    17 Dec 2018
    1:12pm

    I feel your misery. What helps me is to get up, go to the bathroom where I keep a notebook and pen (so as not to disturb my husband). I turn on the nightlight and write down the thoughts that are spinning and crashing through my mind. Really helps. Why, I don’t know. No doubt some neuroscientist somewhere knows (or is working on it). Or maybe because I’m a writer and am accustomed to putting thoughts into written words.

    Not a 1000% guarantee for sure, but somehow writing down the racing thoughts seems to corral them and, more often than not (but not always), lets me get back to sleep. Hope this helps.

    3

    0
    Tanya
    17 Dec 2018
    1:16pm

    1. Masturbate.
    2. 1 Benadryl if I’m still awake 30 minutes later which happens maybe 10% of the time.
    I hope you get back to a good sleep schedule soon, sleepless nights are no fun.

    6

    0
      Keirele
      17 Dec 2018
      2:10pm

      Was coming here to say this. In this order: full tummy, comfy clothes, take cbd/thc oil, masturbate, listen to boring audiobook with a voice you consider soothing. And sometimes you just have to lean in to the insomnia and do something physical in the middle of the night. I usually tidy because it’s mindless and exhausting.

      0

      0
    Kate
    17 Dec 2018
    1:17pm

    Ugh, insomnia is the worst. I’ve tried virtually everything and over the long term have had good luck with a combination of acupuncture, melatonin, and cutting out alcohol. When I have a flare-up, though, I take .25-.5 milligrams of lorazepam. Just having the pills in the drawer of my bedside table is usually enough, but if I need to take one I take one, and it has never failed. Good luck.

    1

    0
    Liz
    17 Dec 2018
    1:36pm

    I have insomnia, too. For some reason, I fall asleep within minutes of lying on the couch with a show on, but as soon as I get up and go to bed, I’m wide awake. Lately, I’ve been going back to the couch to sleep. It’s not ideal, but it’s kept me from going insane due to sleeplessness.

    2

    0
    Betsy
    17 Dec 2018
    1:45pm

    So sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with insomnia– that is truly miserable! I have found Kavinace Ultra PM to be hugely helpful. I used it for a couple of years after the sudden death of my husband and it helped save my life. I used it in combination with “I Sleep Soundly” by Banyan Botanicals. It’s a great combo, and really works. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I repeat “metta” to help keep from getting anxious or upset: “May I be filled with lovingkindness, may I be safe from harm, may I be well, may I be at ease and happy, may I awaken to the light of my true nature, may I be peaceful, may I be free.” Then extend the same to friends, family members, then all living beings. It definitely helps fight that middle-of-the-night insomniac desperation! Wishing you restful sleep.

    4

    0
    Nancy
    17 Dec 2018
    1:57pm

    I’ve had insomnia since early childhood, and the conventional remedies — Ambien, melatonin, CBD, white noise, lavender, valerian, hot baths, lots and LOTS of aerobic exercise — have zero effect or make it worse. So do the unconventional ones prescribed by a sleep specialist (Neurontin, Lamictal, Trazodone, etc.). General anesthesia did work for me (although I snapped into full consciousness as soon as it wore off), as did mononucleosis (the easiest and best sleep I’ve ever had!), but I don’t suppose I can recommend them. I have trouble falling asleep *and* staying asleep; for the former I take a dose of Nyquil P.M. (no, it doesn’t make me groggy — nothing does), and for the latter I go through the alphabet naming every major city I can think of: Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Ankara, Addis Ababa, Barcelona, Birmingham, Bangkok … and on to Zagreb and Zurich. If I’m lucky, I fall asleep somewhere around Prague. If I’m not lucky … well, I’m glad I no longer have a spouse, children, or a 9-to-5 job.

    0

    0
    kelly simmons
    17 Dec 2018
    1:59pm

    I had terrible insomnia when I was young — and then menopause symptoms woke me up way too often. What worked for me: Absolutely no caffeine (even chocolate) after noon. A weighted eye pillow (with lavender seeds, etc.) and if necessary, earplugs. And for the menopause symptoms, Menopause Support Herbs from Country Life. Takes a month for them to kick in, and then . . . nirvana

    1

    0
    Francine
    17 Dec 2018
    2:19pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. Sleep deprivation is brutal. It’s indeed a torture device.

    I have little trouble falling asleep, but routinely wake up at 3 or 4am, my mind racing. Along with that, I’ll get an EAR WORM. It’s like double torture. It’s been about 8 solid weeks (same song…Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. The Burl Ives version. It’s killing me.) and I finally took ONE Tylenol PM and it helped me sleep til 5am. But the ear worm is still here. If Burl Ives were still alive, I’d hunt him down.

    1

    0
    Mouse
    17 Dec 2018
    2:27pm

    CBD and crossword puzzles!

    1

    0
    Doreen
    17 Dec 2018
    2:42pm

    Epson salt bath + audiobook (or podcast)

    0

    0
    Emily T Lewis
    17 Dec 2018
    2:53pm

    This is the worst. I have been going to CBT for insomnia for a long time. I have tried it all (except ambien because I am certain I would sleep-eat). I have done Lunesta, Silenor (helps you stay asleep) melatonin, CBD/CBN (it is all legal in CO) mugwort baths, bought a rocking chair to rock in at night, don’t look at any screens after 9pm, wear blue light blocking glasses during the day, stop caffeeine and green tea at noon, herbal tea at night, epsom salt baths, meditation, Yoga Nidra, and journaling the lingering thoughts/to-dos spinning in my head before bed. When I was doing all of this and still averaging 2-3 hours a night for a couple months, I had to get drastic. My therapist made me stay up until 12 am no matter what and get up at 6am no matter what (I have made enough progress that now I can go to bed at 11pm and stay in bed until 7:30 on weekends). Anytime between those hours that I am awake for more than 30 minutes, I have to get out of bed. Most times when I have to get out of bed, I just lie on my couch and listen to old movies that I have seen a hundred times. Keeping to those rules have made the biggest difference. I was trying to go to bed too early and then panicking when I didn’t fall asleep. Getting up at a consistent time even on weekends when I used to try to “make up” for my sleep debt is key. I don’t go to bed until my eyes are drooping and I get myself up and out of bed even if I just move to my couch. Now I am averaging 4-6 consistent hours a night as opposed to 2-3. Good luck!

    0

    0
    Susan G
    17 Dec 2018
    2:56pm

    The only time I ever had insomnia, it turned out my iron was super low. Whenever there is a change in your body, lab work might be a good idea.

    3

    0
    Erin
    17 Dec 2018
    3:10pm

    Amazing advice in these comments! I’m bookmarking this page for next time my brain is pacing the room at 3 AM while I lie down. A lot of different things have worked for me at different times. CBD gummies – yes. Masturbation – yes. Epsom salt baths and magnesium tablets – yes. But then I go through times when nothing works. The one I haven’t see on here yet is youtube ASMR videos. They are not for everyone, but once in a while that really does the trick! I discovered these while living above the arctic circle one summer – it never got dark and my poor body could not handle winding down. I learned to darken my room (completely) about an hour before I planned to sleep, to drink Valerian root tea (Pukka’s = best) or take a muscle relaxer, and asmr would blank-out my over-active mind.

    0

    0
    Stacy
    17 Dec 2018
    3:27pm

    I’ve tried everything except Ambien! My recent go to is Hempbombs 15 mg CBD gel tabs. I take 2 before bed and even though they do not keep me asleep all night, they do allow me to fall asleep initially and fall asleep again if I wake during the night. No next day grogginess! I recently discovered through my DNA test that I am prone to be a light sleeper and to move more than the average person during the night, so there’s that! At least I know there is a reason that I don’t have an easy time sleeping. Good luck, Kim!

    0

    0
    E E Deere
    17 Dec 2018
    3:42pm

    Hi, everyone has good ideas. If it’s an isolated event, perhaps try a Tylenol PM, just for one night. There’s a school of thought, arising from good historical archaeology, that in the past people had “two sleeps”. Off to bed at dark, and but then get up for a couple of hours later, and then go back to sleep again. I tried it, and it worked for me. Having permission to just get up and do something else was very helpful.
    I routinely don’t drink alcohol at night (I know that’s true for you too), hot baths, exercise etc. I hope it gets better fast!

    0

    0
    Allie Nik
    17 Dec 2018
    4:00pm

    Lord Jones CBD pills.

    0

    0
    Christine
    17 Dec 2018
    4:32pm

    I started thyroid medication and BHRT in April to help with sleep and weight gain issues and the progesterone helped my sleep during the 15 day period per month when I had to take it. However, what really made me hit the pillows by 10/11 PM every night and lose the weight was cleaning up my diet, celery juice every morning, eating only or mostly fruits and vegetables before dinner and limiting animal protein to dinner and having 3-4 vegan only days per week. I exercise almost every day (Weights, cardio, Bikram) for years and nothing really helped until I went from Low Carb to mostly plant based. I recommend you read Antony William’s Thyroid Healing book . There’s a chapter on insomnia that’s helpful and interesting. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401948367/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwmedicalmed-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1401948367&linkId=d896ad5c4b4d1484a4ae74375c5c66ed

    0

    0
    Jackie Yarmo
    17 Dec 2018
    4:34pm

    I am a 52 year old woman in her first year of law school and have never had insomnia like I have this year… but since no one has said it: acupuncture. It has worked amazingly well for me. I go weekly. This of course in addition to everything everyone else has said… CBD, magnesium. My acupuncture is once a week to keep my sympathetic nervous system in check. It is combined with massage and has made the biggest difference. I add a warm hot pack on my belly per my acupuncturists advice. Not sure if that helps but it is soothing. Lastly, this almost never fails to work: https://insighttimer.com/jenniferpiercy – her yoga nidra is amazing. No hokey weird voice of guided meditation. Sorry for your suffering and good luck.

    0

    0
    Kali
    17 Dec 2018
    4:35pm

    I’m a longtime insomniac. I’ve tried it all. Valerian was working, somewhat. Currently I’m taking CBD gummies at bedtime and they work for a few hours, along with my Progesterone capsules. When all else fails, I use my Gabapentin prescription but that’s only when desperate and only for a night or two because the side effects really suck. Good luck!

    0

    0
    LG
    17 Dec 2018
    4:43pm

    Oh I am so sorry. It is really the worst. One thing that has helped me is writing down all of my worries–big and small–in a notebook close to bedtime. Even when the worries are NOT SLEEPING. Somehow writing things down lets me take them off of my plate for a little bit. Unfortunately for your insomnia right now, for me this is a more long-term help (it helps my anxiety a little bit at a time, and sometimes there are smaller worries that I can actually deal with in the daytime to take them off the list) but not a magic sleep aid. I will be thinking good (and calming) thoughts your way, Kim!

    0

    0
    robin
    17 Dec 2018
    5:01pm

    I quit drinking two and a half years ago and my sleep improved dramatically. Nowadays I use a sleep meditation app, usually from Insight Timer, and it has changed the depth and length of my sleep. I am so much more rested.

    0

    0
    Anne Tucker
    17 Dec 2018
    5:22pm

    Wow. What a list. Thank you ladies. Yoga class close to bedtime and not eating late are two I would add.

    0

    0
    Browyn
    17 Dec 2018
    5:31pm

    I just accept it. If I try to fight it, that stresses me out more and then I’m awake even longer. I make a cup of hot tea, write and read blogs, or read a book. If it’s a really bad night, I’ve been known to clean cupboards!

    0

    0
    Lindee
    17 Dec 2018
    5:53pm

    Yep when you hit your early 50’s being able to fall asleep and stay asleep just disappears. Everyone has given good advice, it’s different for everyone what works. Sleepytime Tea (not too much or else you’ll have to get up to pee!) and Bath & Body Works Lavender Pillow Spray, meditation, and rubbing a soothing lotion on my feet legs and hands helps me relax so I can fall asleep.

    0

    0
    D.Morgendorffer
    17 Dec 2018
    6:01pm

    Listening to a Rolf Sovik yoga relaxation CD: the man has the most soothing voice. Even when I don’t fall asleep from it, I’m left in a better state to handle the insomnia–cutting through the vicious cycle of stressing over not getting to sleep, which makes it harder to get to sleep.

    0

    0
    Tammy
    17 Dec 2018
    6:04pm

    I like the Live Awake Podcast — There aren’t any new episodes anymore, but the host’s voice is so soothing. I particularly like “Remembering your Worth” and Loving and Listening to Yourself.”
    Also, don’t look at the clock when you go to bed so you can’t keep track of how long you’ve been awake. It’s a head game.

    0

    0
    MsMaryMary
    17 Dec 2018
    6:15pm

    Do your dogs sleep with you? There was a study making the rounds earlier this month that claimed women sleep better with a dog than they do if sharing a bed with anything else (cats, partners, etc). Listening to my puppa’s breathing/snoring incredibly relaxing for me.

    Then again, he has a talent for sleeping in the exact center of the bed to become a bedhog even though he’s only 15 pounds. And occasionally he hears something at 2am and starts barking his little head off. Not restful.

    0

    0
    Laurel Evans
    17 Dec 2018
    7:09pm

    In addition to the good sleep hygiene, I also recommend not fighting it. I get out of bed if I’ve been tossing and turning (per the good sleep hygiene rules) and get cozy on the couch and do something quiet (non-screen!) that I enjoy, like: knitting, a crossword, reading a book or a magazine. If I get sleepy, sometimes I go back to bed or sometimes I sleep on the couch.
    I’ve also had a bit of success with some mental games–I try these when I’m laying in bed trying to sleep. One is the A to Z game. Pick a category (perhaps “male celebrities” or “fruits and vegetables”) then go through the alphabet naming one for each letter. It takes more concentration than I expected to remember what letter I was on and to think of an example for each letter. The other mental game is to try to think and pay attention to all the physical sensations I can name: how my sheets feel on my bare feet, what the mattress underneath me feels like, what my pillow feels like and how it’s different from the mattress etc.
    I also should mention that I gave up caffeine entirely years ago (for other reasons) and I was shocked at how much it helped my sleep. And I had been limiting myself to one cup of coffee before 10 am! Yet it still impacted my sleep! Astounding.

    0

    0
    Janice Gerow
    17 Dec 2018
    7:46pm

    I’m not entirely sure what age you are, but once I hit menopause, I started having the worst insomnia I could imagine. No hot flashes for me, just sleepless nights. Over the years I’ve tried progesterone (which worked incredibly for me, but it only worked short term), calming podcasts and/or playlists, warm baths, staying off my ipad and finally, sleeping pills like Ativan and Ambien. Of course the pills worked best, but obviously they can only be used infrequently. In the end, I just put up with it. I’m booked at a sleep clinic sometime this spring, but I have noticed that my poor sleep periods are cyclical. The insomnia is at it’s height in the warm summer months and right now, I’m having pretty decent sleeps. But when it’s bad, it’s bad and it can go on for months. So I’m afraid the only thing that’s worked for me is to accept it and realize that a crappy few months of rest will eventually be followed by a few months relatively decent sleep. In other words, I have no solution. Just acceptance that aging sucks.

    1

    0
    Mag
    17 Dec 2018
    8:00pm

    Ugh I am so sorry. I was diagnosed with a circadian rhythm sleep disorder when I was in high school – insomnia is indeed its own special brand of hell, isn’t it? I have found the best thing for me to get to sleep is a very low dose of melatonin, followed by lighting a scented candle and reading a bit, and then lights off with the Headspace app. I need a bit of rigidity around my bed routine. I also know full well I should put down my phone earlier too but I’m just terrible with that.
    Staying asleep though, that is a different beast entirely. I find I often wake up at around 3am and then fall asleep shortly before my alarm goes off. I just bought CBD oil today so I’ll be trying that tonight, and I am thinking I will purchase a weighted blanket soon.

    0

    0
    Denise
    17 Dec 2018
    8:04pm

    CBD….I prefer Lord Jones or Quantum CBD H20 is great.

    0

    0
    Mary DaRos
    17 Dec 2018
    8:12pm

    Hi Kim. I hear you!! I read quite a few of the comments — not all though — and I’m surprised that nobody had mentioned Gravity Blankets. They are awesome. Basically a little extra weight (for your probably about 12 – 15 lbs?) and they are so so comforting. They deal with a lot of issues — everything from Autism to Anxiety but also just basic old fashioned insomnia. Super easy to find online, Amazon, etc. xo

    0

    0
    Stephanie
    17 Dec 2018
    8:36pm

    So sorry to hear! It is the curse of many of us girls. I take 100mg of Progesterone orally, it helps. With that I take Swisse Ultiboost Herbal for Sleep; it has magnesium, valerian, & licorice, no melatonin. Sometimes also use CBD oil in addition. When I really am suffering, I found Sleep Peacefulli Liveli, you can get on Amazon. Knocks me out. I also use foam earplugs, and a sleep mask. After too many years of not sleeping, I have given up caring how many accouterments it takes! And meditation breathing takes the anxiety away.

    0

    0
    Colleen
    17 Dec 2018
    9:17pm

    Former nite nurse, chronic sleep deprivation for years. Now peri menopausal -> Trazadone (antipsychotic) with off label sleep use- MAGIC, no hang over, maybe dry mouth in am secondary to deep, mouth open sleep. Big fan of a little lavender oil huffing and cold room with fabulous high thread cotton sheets , mid-weight down comforter and cotton quilt.
    Really, try the trazadone- I tried everything essentially mentioned above, this is the only thing that helped in the serious extreme deprivation state.
    Best of Luck

    0

    0
    Merel Kennedy
    17 Dec 2018
    9:41pm

    I recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Great info about sleep issues pulling together lots of research studies — why pills are bad, how to use melatonin, best treatments for insomnia, what natural sleep cycles for humans really look like. Very accessible and a pleasure to read. I also just started taking Vitex Berry and DIM Supreme to help with anxiety and insomnia related to my cycle — a friend’s doctor recommended trying those two before jumping into Big Pharma HRT. Don’t know if they will work yet. Fingers crossed. You have my empathy, Kim. I wish you a long winter’s nap for the holidays. 🙂

    0

    0
    Colleen
    17 Dec 2018
    11:11pm

    Ditto the Natural Calm magnesium powder, epsom salt bath, pillow spray, make list for the next day. And a COLD house or I will be up and down all night. Also, I do well with the tv on low in the background. I was the youngest, so going to sleep as a kid I was always surrounded with background noise. Silence is like a tomb.

    1

    0
    Alicia
    18 Dec 2018
    1:20am

    A CBD gummy bear before bed, and weekly acupuncture sessions. The acupuncture is like a healing nap, and when I wake up I’ve gotten about 75% of my energy back. It also boosts immunity, which can suffer when we’re sleep deprived. But the gummies are frickin magic! I use the “JustCBD” brand.

    0

    0
    Marissa
    18 Dec 2018
    4:30am

    Insomnia sufferer off and on for 21 yrs. When it has been the worst different things worked… acupuncture (traditional Chinese), deep tissue massage, hypnosis, physiotherapy for active release or intramuscular stimulation), seeing an energy healer, seeing a naturopath (as there were times when it was related to serious hormone changes), figuring out what I feared/was trying to avoid…

    0

    0
    MARGARET
    18 Dec 2018
    6:38am

    Weed, Kim. Weed!

    3

    0
    karen
    18 Dec 2018
    6:40am

    sorry you are having trouble sleeping…you’ve gotten all kinds of advice, and i’m sure its all really good. but for me personally the only thing that REALLY works to fix the problem long term is to come to terms with what is causing me stress, and figure out how to deal with it…

    0

    0
    KHD
    18 Dec 2018
    6:55am

    I routinely take 1 Benadryl (or generic) + 1 ibuprofen (200 mg) to make sure I get to sleep (getting to sleep has been tougher in my late 40s). On really tough nights, I’ll double that, which is almost the same as 2 Advil PM (you can also try Advil PM!). Several MDs have told me this is perfectly fine. Also, I stopped drinking coffee after 3 PM.

    0

    0
    Lolabelle
    18 Dec 2018
    7:13am

    Howard Stern replay on my headphones (so as not to wake my husband who is encased in a CPAP machine). I have been a fan for so many years that Howard’s voice is comforting and soothing.

    0

    0
    Jennifer
    18 Dec 2018
    7:21am

    Hopefully you’re sleeping better now, but re-reading this reminded me that the biggest factors in my sleep are behavioral. The easy sleepers can disregard the rules, we have to follow them religiously. They’re the usual: routine, dark, temperature, lights; and whatever personal ones you have. I also like to set deadlines: If I’m not asleep by 1 I move to the guest bed (different scenery /mattress sometimes helps). If I’m still awake at 3 I listen to a podcast. And at 6 I get out of bed. No matter what. That last one is the thing that really turned my insomnia streak around. No lounging in bed hoping for a little sleep. No sleeping-in on weekends. I can lounge on the couch for hours, in my pjs, but I can’t do it in my bed.

    0

    0
    Trina Tinglum
    18 Dec 2018
    7:23am

    I’m sorry I’m late. My sister told me that, when she’s tried all of the above, she tells herself, “OK, if my mind isn’t going to sleep, I’m going to make sure my body rests as much as it can.” For some reason, I can never remember to do this first, because it works every time – it’s a surrender of sorts. And you usually sleep eventually.
    You would think someone would have figured out an actual cure by now. I’m sorry.

    0

    0
    Emily H
    18 Dec 2018
    9:45am

    Natrol Melatonin – it’s a chewable form that tastes like fake strawberries (gross) but works wonders. Also I have the Sleepy lotion from Lush that weirdly works – I take my melatonin, put on the hand lotion, and am out like a light within 10 minutes. I also read in bed to relax – and if I’m really stressed out, I make lists instead – and that usually empties my brain enough to really put me out. Good luck and god speed, my friend – I really hope you find something that works for you!

    0

    0
    Rachel
    18 Dec 2018
    10:23am

    I watch the Hateful 8, that very “talky” Quentin T. film. Works like a charm, I’m usually out in the first 1/2 hour.

    0

    0
    Sisty
    18 Dec 2018
    1:06pm

    You women are fucking amazing!

    I was menopausal and drinking too much, quit drinking and remained menopausal, and my conclusion is that the problem — at least for me — was alcohol.

    0

    0
    nancy giampietro
    18 Dec 2018
    2:29pm

    i find that taking a nap in the day (even for ten minutes) has a way of sometimes resetting my sleep cycle.
    kundalini yoga has wonderful tools to relax your nervous system so you can sleep better.
    if things get really really bad, i will go to a matinee in the day and fall asleep which resets my sleep cycle.
    this sounds odd, but i find if i am inside for a day or two working and not getting out, i don’t sleep as well. it’s kind of like babies, they sleep better after a walk or getting out a little. gives your brain something to chew on…important to change the channel.

    0

    0
    SarahH
    18 Dec 2018
    3:30pm

    As someone in recovery… I’ve googled CBD and haven’t gotten a great answer on if it’s a problem. I’m going to ask my Sponsor — how it works for me. I do take 10mg melatonin, and swear by the HeadSpace sleeping series on their app — I use both the regular one and the one for going back to sleep. After a few weeks, worked super well. I also use books on Audible. I’m not a great sleeper when flying long-haul, but find if I plug in a book to my headphones, put on the eye mask for full dark, I find I sleep. And, it’s not super hard to figure out where you stopped listening. So, I plan to try that on the ground, if HeadSpace doesn’t work.

    0

    0
    Mae
    18 Dec 2018
    3:57pm

    Everyone won’t have this luxury, I realize, but I view insomnia as my time to thank God I don’t have to get up early any more.

    1

    0
    Mimi
    18 Dec 2018
    4:46pm

    Audiobooks or podcasts – they don’t even have to be boring. My husband isn’t disturbed when I listen on earphones plugged into my iPad, eyes closed, of course. I set the sleep timer for 30 minutes, but I’m usually a goner in less than 10. That usually works, even for early morning wakeups, which are typically anxiety-related. Listening redirects my mind, diverting it from whatever obsessive thinking is keeping me awake. If I’ve fallen asleep thanks to my earphones, I’ll take a Benadryl or Zzzzquil (same thing) when I wake up to pee, anywhere from midnight to 4 a.m. One Zzzzquil is 1/2 a dose, but it only has to last me about 1/2 the night. A few times a year, especially before a trip, nothing works except 1/2 the lowest dose of Xanax. For other reasons I don’t drink alcohol or ingest any caffeine, but I still get insomnia anyway. Good luck, Kim.

    0

    0
    Rebecca
    17 Dec 2018
    11:11am

    I’ve learned over the years that lavender oil rolled on pulse points & at base of skull & right below my belly button with either 2 valerian or 2 lemon balm & passion flower capsules 30 min before I want to sleep USUALLY works for me.
    I alternate between the valerian & Pf & Lb every few months. Melatonin is also a herbal that works for many people. I do not take it because it interferes with one of my heart meds. IF non of that works I try reading a paperback usually fall asleep with glasses & light on. IF that doesn’t work I get up & do some hand embroidery & suck it up for a while. I don’t drive if I haven’t slept & have changed Dr apt or other apt.

    2

    0
    Carol Casalino
    17 Dec 2018
    11:08am

    Take magnesium before bed – Natural Calm brand is easy to find – magnesium citrate powder. Drink a glass or two before bed.
    Can take extra magnesium during the day.
    Also l-theanine can help with sleep.

    4

    0
    Jb
    17 Dec 2018
    11:09am

    Lots of good suggestions already. I’ll also say get up if you can’t sleep and clean the bathroom. Then go back to bed. And be sure you can breathe properly and that your bedroom is cool enough. I have to turn the heat way down overnight.

    1

    0
    Sarah
    17 Dec 2018
    11:09am

    If I can’t turn my brain off (which seems more and more frequent these days), I like to listen to a podcast or audio book. I can close my eyes (unlike with TV) and have something to distract my brain enough to be able to drift off.

    2

    0
    Michele
    17 Dec 2018
    11:10am

    I’ve always envied people who just … fall asleep. Things that help me: No screen time within an hour of bedtime; instead, I sit in my comfy chair with a book, some candles, and a cup of some sort of bedtime brew. My favorite bedtime brew is a tisane from Santa Maria Novella that I got in Florence but Sleepytime Honey is a close second & the health food store is full of options. I also take melatonin tablets when I lay down almost every night. On really twitchy nights I use Dreamwater, which is melatonin and some other stuff. When it’s really bad I add listening to brainwave entrainment tracks from iAwake that almost always will help me drift off. Also in my arsenal: Hyland’s Calms Forte, and Bach Flower Essence Rescue Pastilles – both homeopathic. Some of the above is probably placebo effect but for whatever reason they do help me 90% of the time.

    1

    0
    Caroline
    17 Dec 2018
    11:19am

    Ugh..sorry to hear that!
    Honestly lying in bed and thinking about how you can’t sleep and everything else on your mind is the worst.
    I don’t really like to take anything.
    A super hot bath or shower followed by a good book helps me. Not an easy read.
    Something more challenging that you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to.
    You’ll either fall asleep or at least have read something really good.
    I feel like it takes my mind away from the anxiety over not sleeping.
    And lay off the caffeine by lunchtime.
    🤞

    1

    0
    Lauren
    17 Dec 2018
    11:21am

    It’s the worst. I’m so sorry. I just read that you can get valerian essential oil and drop it in a diffuser and it is anti-anxiety.
    When I suffer from insomnia, I just get up and work. It’s not good (the blue light) but it’s going at the disease, not the symptom, and in the end I get tired enough to sleep, regardless of blue light exposure. Good luck and sending relaxing vibes your way…

    1

    0
    Meg
    17 Dec 2018
    11:23am

    You have all my sympathy. I agree with those who say that just resting with your eyes closed can be almost as restful as sleeping. I’m also finding now that I’m 51, my body has its own kooky ideas of when it should sleep or eat or whatever, so I just let it do what it needs to do as much as possible. I also read somewhere once that Benjamin Franklin used to go to sleep when the sun went down, get up in the middle of the night to putter around the house, and then go back to sleep again. For some reason this cheers me up…maybe insomnia will make me a genius. Whatever works 😉

    4

    0
    Cheryl
    17 Dec 2018
    10:59am

    I am convinced all women of certain age can’t sleep, at least this it is true in my circle of friends. After years of not sleeping I got help from a Naturopath. Low dose hormone treatment has helped me.

    6

    0
    Fawn
    17 Dec 2018
    11:05am

    I try to meditate when sleep evades me.

    2

    0
    renée
    17 Dec 2018
    11:08am

    Recently read how military trains individuals to fall asleep in two minutes!
    Don’t recall all the particulars, but what I’ve practiced from the article works: Relax your jaw. In fact, I focus on relaxing my skull; relax your shoulders, and “float”.
    I’ve imagined my slowly – like really slowly – melting chocolate skelly. Not creepy, just a structure. Good results to date!

    3

    0
    Anna
    17 Dec 2018
    10:54am

    Have you tried an evening massage ? I often head out for a post-dinner massage, especially if my head is buzzing. Failing that, if I can’t sleep sometimes I get up and do a large jigsaw (1000 or 2000 piece) that I keep on the go. And if I’m up I eat a handful of almonds, also good for sleep. Or if there are particular thoughts going round and round, I’ll sometimes get out a notepad and write until I get bored or sleepy. Hope you knock it on the head soon!

    1

    0
    Kathy Ormiston
    17 Dec 2018
    10:58am

    I took an online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) class for insomnia — Shuti — and it gave me the tools to sleep better. The tools are all the things the other commentators are talking about. It works when I use it. Unfortunately the class is only no other available for consumer purchase, but you could probably find something similar through a therapist.

    1

    0
    Lauri G.
    18 Dec 2018
    9:52pm

    Gulp.. don’t judge I take benedryl(sp) every.single.night. Plus progesterone. I’m an early menopause b$tch, I have been on biosynthetic hormone replacement for a few years now, it helps even me out a little. Dena Harris is right in soho if that’s of interest.
    I also like https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/earwolf/beautiful-stories-from-anonymous-people-with-chris-gethard
    His voice is soothing
    And there is a recording of Roshi Joan Halifax doing a meditation on the Krista tippet On Being show that really always works for me it’s about grief. If you can’t find it online email me, I can send you copy. Hugs, lauri

    0

    0
    Camla
    19 Dec 2018
    9:54am

    CBD oil for me

    0

    0
    Tona S.
    19 Dec 2018
    10:47am

    Hi from New Orleans. My go to sleepy aid if I wake up in the middle of the night is a teaspoon of honey- that is it. They say that most people wake up in the middle of the night because they are hungry and this tiny bit of honey helps correct that and allows you to go back to sleep. Good luck!

    0

    0
    Emily W.
    19 Dec 2018
    12:21pm

    My mom, who had to do sleep-stealing Tamoxifan for years, turned me on to this: a cold shower. Now, I get that every fiber of your being screams in recoil from what I’ve just written, but…we just do it this way, in emergencies of no-sleep: go into the shower, regular temperature, and near the end, turn the cold water slowly on. It doesn’t have to be icy, just…a notable difference…then scramble out, towel off, and jump into bed.

    I couldn’t sleep for many months after a marriage trauma, and this did indeed work.

    The Trazedone that the shrink gave me is also awesome- lovely soft non-side-effect-y sleep for me, wake up fine and refreshed.

    0

    0
    Kirstjen
    19 Dec 2018
    1:14pm

    I’ve had sleep issues my entire life. Then I learned about sleep hygiene, and now I practice it like a fanatic. Google it, there are lots of resources. Maybe your sleep habits could use a tweak.

    But if I can’t sleep because my mind is going nuts, I either meditate or journal. Writing in a journal somehow turns my problems over to the journal & I don’t have to carry them with me any longer. Meditation is just meditation & if I do a guided sleep meditation, it works 100% of the time for me.

    0

    0
    Laura
    19 Dec 2018
    3:32pm

    reading can work
    I find guided sleep meditations really help me
    and make sure your room is actually dark -hard in a city but worth the effort

    0

    0
    Reverend Lisaro
    27 Dec 2018
    6:56pm

    Do a moderate 30 minute workout after your last carb-y meal, no screens an hour before bedtime. Snooze city.

    0

    0
    Brooke
    20 Dec 2018
    1:47pm

    Lexapro. Gratitude journal. CBD oil. Melatonin as needed. Lavender balm or spray. Sleep mask and earplugs. The white noise of a humidifier or air purifier. A wind-down routine before bed (cell phone goes away, read until you can’t see straight). CBT-I therapy. A Fitbit to show you how much sleep you’re truly getting. Sometimes sleeping in a cozy, tight robe or (believe it) with a stuffed animal for comfort. Mindful meditation in bed. And when all else fails, try the couch. You are not alone! Clearly.

    0

    0
    Dawn
    29 Dec 2018
    12:58am

    After doing all the aforementioned things, count backward from 100. Sometimes takes the times!

    0

    0
    Debra
    21 Dec 2018
    9:20am

    Don’t eat past 7 pm. Works like a charm for me!

    0

    0
    GVC
    22 Dec 2018
    2:16pm

    Though late I had to chime in. I repeat the Jesus Prayer (a 12 word prayer designed to be said repeatedly) and often other similar Orthodox (Christian) prayers. Even if it doesn’t get me back to sleep I feel it has done me good. It’s the kind of thing I rarely make time for during the day. I use insomnia as an opportunity to really pray. The modern practice of Centering Prayer is based on this Orthodox monastic practice. Persons of all or no faiths can do centering/contemplative prayer. That’s how I got into it, but when I started using the actual Jesus Prayer it really rocketed me into the fourth dimension.

    0

    0

Leave A Comment

Archives

About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

Find Out More

Instagram

[wdi_feed id=”1″]

Join my newsletter! The latest fashion, beauty and inspiration for all the girls of a certain age.