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Topic: What can I do when I can’t sleep?

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. Gadzooks
    Gadzooks avatar
    0 posts
    2 January 2020

    Hi all,

    Couldn’t decide where to post this but since anxiety and meds are contributors to this figured I would try here. I can’t sleep, I try and try and yet despite being exhausted it doesn’t come for hours after I go to bed. I’ve had some issues with restless legs thanks you anxiety but going to gym has made it somewhat better.

    I know being on my phone at 1am isn’t helpful but I get so ‘bored’ and am more likely to think of or do bad things. I’m supposed to be on holidays and catching up! Any suggestions on getting to sleep? Starting to think I’m doomed to be anxious and exhausted forever.

    G

  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    383 posts
    3 January 2020 in reply to Gadzooks

    Hi Gadzooks,

    Thank you for your post. I can very much relate - it's awful feeling exhausted but not being able to sleep. How long has this been going on? What is your sleep routine usually - like when do you go to bed vs lights out?

    Without knowing what you've tried or what it's like, the biggest thing to me with sleep is preparation. Finding ways to slow down at nighttime - lights, showering, rituals. I totally get being on the phone at 1am, but it is the worst thing you can do when trying to sleep. If at 1am, you still can't get there - get up and out of bed. Our brains are painfully difficult in that our beds have to be for sleep, and light keeps us awake (even if we change it on our phones). The other thing that really helps me is breathing exercises - if I do them to try and sleep it drives me crazy so instead I just try to do them to relax a little.

    Here's some other ideas that you can try -

     https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/Tips-for-a-Good-Night's-Sleep.pdf

    I hope this helps a little. You're not doomed. :)

    rt

    2 people found this helpful
  3. sunflower999
    sunflower999 avatar
    0 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi,

    I'd suggest looking into CBT for insomnia. I myself haven't struggled with this issue, but I read some good information in a CBT book about dealing with not being able to sleep. Ironically, the more you want to and try to get to sleep, the less likely it is to happen. Acceptance will be a huge help in the meantime, as silly as that sounds.

    Hope this helps :)

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Gadzooks
    Gadzooks avatar
    0 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to sunflower999

    Hi RT and sunflower999,

    Thanks for the responses. I’ve been trying not to come on late as I understand the issue with light. Still appreciate your suggestions. I’ve tried various things though I find it difficult to maintain consistency. I have a summer and winter weighted blanket which help a bit. I’ve also tried music, tea, audio books, muscle relaxation. Been working on eating dinner at a reasonable time so that it isn’t too close to bedtime. I’m usually in bed between 9 and 10pm though I’m on holidays currently so varying a little. For last month or so I’m lucky if I’m asleep by midnight, yet I still wake up early (feeling this is partially meds).

    Thanks for the CBT specific suggestion. I do it generally with my psych and otherwise. The thing I find a bit difficult is when I have lots of thoughts at the same time which can be difficult to work through. I kind of accept that this is the was things are I just struggle with being permanently tired and getting bored from being awake. Fingers crossed for a change soon.

    G

  5. Gadzooks
    Gadzooks avatar
    0 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Sorry RT,

    Missed one of your questions about duration. It’s been particularly bad since the beginning of December. It was an incredibly difficult end of the year for me. But most of 2019 was difficult sleep and tiredness wise. Was diagnosed with anxiety at the beginning of the year and then came the restless legs. Just a whole combo of things not helping.
    Thanks for listening

    G

  6. goldilocks
    goldilocks avatar
    3 posts
    4 January 2020 in reply to Gadzooks

    Hi Gadzooks,

    This may not be a good idea since you stated that you are on your phone throughout the night, but why dont you go on to YouTube and type in ASMR videos? I find that they help me sleep at night :)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. goldilocks
    goldilocks avatar
    3 posts
    5 January 2020 in reply to Gadzooks
    also try reading a book
    1 person found this helpful
  8. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    383 posts
    6 January 2020 in reply to Gadzooks

    Hi Gadzooks,

    Great to hear back from you and it sounds like the other members have pitched in with really helpful ideas too!

    It does sound like you are doing mostly all the right things with having a sleep routine, although from your post it seems a lot of it comes from what you went through. It makes me think that tackling that (and any feelings that come with it) will probably have a knock on effect to your sleeping too.

    With going on your phone, it sounds like it's still something you have to do - so I encourage you to keep finding or doing relaxing things, even if it doesn't always send you to sleep. If you like muscle relaxation techniques, you could broaden out to guided meditations, and if you like audiobooks you could broaden out to podcasts too. I love the Sleep with me podcast but it's not for everyone. The other thing that would be helpful is to change the display on your phone at nighttime (usually in your settings).

    I do like CBT for insomnia too - although at the same time it can feel like a catch 22 at nighttime. ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) also has insomnia techniques. The idea with that therapy is that it's about accepting those thoughts and feelings about not sleeping so that you're not engaged in the struggle. Instead, the focus is just on being there with your thoughts and feelings (without judgement) and focusing more on rest.

    Hope this helps! It might be worth bugging your psych a bit more on other things you can try.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  9. RicardoD
    RicardoD avatar
    0 posts
    6 January 2020 in reply to Gadzooks

    Hey G,

    Sorry to hear about your bout of insomnia - have you gone to the doctor about it? I know you're on meds and stuff anyway, but I never even knew I had insomnia until I went to a doctor and they told me I had terminal insomnia, which means i got to sleep quickly but after 3/4 few hours I wake up and won't go back to sleep...some people can survive with very little sleep (everyone varies) but what I was told was similar to the above about having a routine before going to bed. Shower, try to relax, unplug from all the devices like television, phones, anything with bright lights and electronic distractions. Read a book to try and calm the mind a little, and keep bed for purely sleeping. No reading, no phones, no food, no hanky-panky, only sleep. If you're not asleep, get up and do something, but lying in bed for hours doesn't help. This has helped me to an extent, but will vary to each person. One thing I've found is that whenever I say, "god, I really need to get back to sleep!" I can guarantee that I'm going to be up for the next 3/4 hours, so I get up and do things and soon feel tired again. Hope that helps!

    1 person found this helpful
  10. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    smallwolf avatar
    282 posts
    6 January 2020 in reply to RicardoD

    Hi,

    there are a few things I had to do to be able to get a proper nights rest. One was to stop drinking coffee after 4pm, and the other(s) were here...

     https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/cci/mental%20health%20professionals/sleep/sleep%20-%20information%20sheets/sleep%20information%20sheet%20-%2004%20-%20sleep%20hygiene.pdf

    My psych also recommended a book to me titled "why we sleep" which I also found very useful.

    Tim

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Gadzooks
    Gadzooks avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your responses, I really appreciate the different ideas. It can be really frustrating which is counter productive as you say RicardoD as once you start thinking it 'can't' happen it just doesn't. Randomly I had an excellent sleep last night, staying at my sister's place. Nice to get a catch up every now and again.

    I have recently seen my Psych and GP with a greater focus on the insomnia so have a plan in place to try for a little while. My psych has created a step by step pre-bed to bed schedule for me to try. Going to have a go tonight and see how I go. Includes some CBT which I'm slowly getting better at. I have been going on my phone less regardless and have setup a puzzle which I'm doing instead of screen time. Unfortunately it is likely the meds are contributing to the insomnia at least a bit, but this is a necessary evil. My GP is an amazing person and has made sure there aren't other contributing factors. Has recommended me some meditations to try (I'm pretty bad at them). I'm always happy to try anything though.

    Been difficult recently as sometimes there are so many thoughts it is hard to isolate them one at a time. Long story short I wasn't renewed for this year in my job (they discriminated against me due to my mental health). I'm starting a new job at the end of January which I'm excited for, but I've got all the feelings/thoughts of what has happened and the anxiety of what will happen. Makes the brain a rather jumbled place by bedtime. We are working through it and I think it is getting better, just time I guess.

    That's a really good handout Tim. My GP has given me something similar as we try to build that routine and association. May have to check out the book too. I find psychology interesting despite the difficulties it has given me haha.

    Appreciate you all taking the time to share your ideas. I really enjoy coming on here and hopefully in time I can help out some other people too... and get some sleep.

    Cheers

    G

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