Monday, February 23, 2009

4am, and a CONTEST

you come up with a solution to my insomnia, and i will reward you with some annie-dyed, handspun.

this solution may not include blue pills of any sort. even pink or white pills. no pills at all would be optimal, unless they are drug free kinds of non habit forming goodness.

i am SO not kidding.


Mandie said...

I'm going to send you some special Chai annie.....I drink it warm milk at night and it sends me off to the land of nod EVERYTIME!

Gale said...

Is the difficulty getting to sleep in the first place, or staying asleep?

Anonymous said...

president's choice used to have this vanilla/chammomile tea that would send me to sleep in half a mug. i'm not sure if they still have it, but maybe it's worth checking out some chammomile blends?


Annie said...

staying asleep... i used to sleep for 4 hours then wake.. now it's like 10 minutes and BOOM.

...AnnaRose... said...

Hi Annie,

I would try to cut out caffein in total: no coffee, no black or green tea, no pop. Maybe your body just needs a break from this.


granolagirl said...

I think a routine thing could help:
-go to your room at least a half hour before trying to be asleep (same time every night).
-relaxing music and a cup of chamomile tea
-make sure the lights in your room are on dim (no bright lights)
-write down your worries - after which you are not allowed to think about them til the morning
-write a list of all the things you are grateful for
-meditate for as long as you're comfortable doing so (let me know if you want help with this one)


aunty tink said...

I'm going to agree with Anne, sort of. Make the switch from coffee to green or white tea, even during the day. The slight amount of caffine in the tea will keep the caffine headaches away, but not prevent the sleeping.

Catie said...

I think that a bedtime routine, like Terra suggested, is a good idea. I don't know that it needs to include all of the things she mentioned... Another idea is a nice soothing bath, perhaps with lavender scent. When I can't fall asleep, which isn't your problem but could be related, I open a window and go to take a hot shower. The sharp temperature drop from hot to cooler/cold mimicks what happens when we sleep and tricks the mind into falling asleep.

Kristen said...

Exercise. But not within 4 hours of bedtime. Break a good sweat at least 4 times a week (try running, fast walking, or even just dancing Flashdance style around the living room for 20-30 minutes). But the goal is to get your heart and breath rates elevated and SWEAT.
And if you have trouble getting back to sleep try focusing on tensing and then relaxing each body part, starting with your toes, foot, calf, thighs etc. working your way up to your head. Tense for 3 seconds and then relax each part, thinking only of that part and then moving on to the next one.
Insomnia is AWFUL and I hope you find a solution that works for you!

Elaine said...

Oh I really have THE solution. It sounds weird but do try it. It changed my life.

I listen to books on tape (downloaded to an i-pod or on a small tape player). I borrow them from the library. Because I am married, I use headphones. I pick something with a very good reader with a soothing voice. Jim Dale (who does the Harry Potter books is terrific, but there are lots of others and it is personal). I listen a little and poof - I'm gone. Now if it's something you really want to listen to, you will continually have to find where you were up to when you drifted off, but since I invented this it has changed my life. Really. Really really.

JC said...

Establish a ritual that you do every night- and do it at the same time every night. This signals to your brain and your body that you are transitioning from awake to asleep.

Cut out the caffeine six hours before you go to bed, totally if you can.

Do something soothing for about 30 minutes before you go to bed... to get your heart rate down and your mind off your day.

Hope this advice helps!

OhAmyKP said...

Darn, Elaine beat me to the punch line. So I"ll just second her suggestions.

I recently fell in love with Audio books (listened to all 4 Twillight books while xmas knitting and I was hooked), its purrrfect for knitters.

I listen to news radio to fall asleep so sometimes I fall asleep listening to these books. So far I found that I dont like the sound of a man's voice reading about romance novels, they sound too strange when they do the female characters. And that I like the unabridged versions cause they are longer (word for printed word)

Anyway, has a great trail for $7.49 a book for the first 3mon, I'm doing this deal now.

cksknitter said...

Don't use the computer or watch TV right before bed. I also agree with the nighttime routine which includes a warm bath immediately before laying down to sleep. If you can't sleep because your brain keeps revving, try writing down everything on your mind during the bath and then see if your mind will let it go. Good luck! Chrissy at knittodayAThotmailDOTcom

Sharon Rose said...

Oh sweetie! I wish you were closer - I am famous for my sleep treatments and would gladly give you one. Find a good acupuncturist near you and have them to the "Stroke the Dragon" protocol on you. You can have them contact me if they don't know it.

Before you go to sleep, you can also press on GV-20 (above center of ears) and -24 (half inch inside the hairline).

Put one finger on each, pressing and pointing towards each other for about 15 seconds. Think relaxing thoughts and breath slowly.

In the meantime, read my article on sleep here:

Call me if you have any questions!

Jersey said...

I listen to chamber music while I am trying to fall asleep. I used to be a terrible insomniac, but since I discovered playing soft music, I have no problem falling asleep and staying asleep until I have to get up and pee. But the good news is I can restart and fall right back to sleep after the bathroom break.

|chee-uh| said...

I know therapy helped my anxiety based insomnia. You could also try a noise machine (I don't hear bf snoring!!) or some mellow yoga before bed. No exercise to increase your heart rate.
You could try reading or listening to a book on your iPod.
Try growing some herbs to help you sleep and keep them in your bedroom. They can serve a dual purpose that way, herbal remedy and air purifier.
Try reorganizing your furniture. Sometimes it's orientation for me.
munkiknits at

Trish said...

I hate to tell you this - insomnia, esp. waking after falling asleep, is a huge indicator of depression. Just sayin'. So, I am going to vote for pills, of a different nature.

p.s. I had this issue for a while - yoga, three times a week (and a months vacation from work) was the ticket for me.

wenat said...

Have you tried melatonin? It does work for some people, and in the health food section.

Here's the wiki article about how it works.

Kathy said...

Have a newborn. If you can. Then you'll be so tired you'll sleep whenever you can whenever you can......

mtlaise said...

My grammie used to give us warm milk and brandy when we were kids and couldn't sleep; I hope you get over your insomnia soon!

Rachel O said...

My friend who is a doctor swears by Vitamin D to cure insomnia. She says it's foolproof, definitely non-addictive, and most Americans don't get nearly enough Vit D, especially in the winter in northern climates. Worth a try, I'd say, and it's cheap and safe.

Not staying asleep is a real bummer.

EJ said...

Listen to Elaine - find a reader you like and get lulled to sleep. I have no preference for a male or female provided it's a relaxing voice. My other alternative is Jersey's suggestion - if I am out of books on tape to listen to, I listen to non-intrusive music. FOr me it's string quartets, but I think it can be whatever you personally find soothing.

Shelley said...

Find the cause of your stress, feed it the little blue pills that make you sleepy. While they are sleeping and in theory not causing you trouble, sleep.

Or Hit things with a large stick.

Mainly I knit until I'm sleepy enough to go to sleep.

brownbear said...

:) My first thought was duh, spinning or knitting, then I realized that you were looking for ways to fall asleep, not looking for things to do while you can't fall asleep.

I'm sure you've tried aromatherapy, but Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a scent called Somnus that does the trick for me. (I could send you a little to try if you want.) I also used to listen to a mixed tape of relaxing music. I couldn never make it past one song, Repetition by Information Society.
Good luck!

Beverly said...

i'm sorry you're having trouble sleeping. i, myself, am a night owl and it's not unusual for me to stay awake until 2 or 3 and i right back outta bed at 8 at the latest.

when i couldn't sleep, my mom gave me a fool proof, pill free solution because the problem was, she said, my mind was too busy.

start counting. that's it. start to count, except when you can't remember what number you're on, you have to start all over again. it gets your mind focused on one thing and because counting has a natural rhythm it helps you to relax (that's why they tell you to do it in surgery) and before you know it, off you go.

Over the years, I have found that watching cnn puts me to sleep. not that the news is calming, they just irritate me so much, i hit myself in the head with a rock and i'm out.

Anonymous said...

I started needing help with sleep. I started taking melatonin (1/2 a 3 mg pill). It might not keep you asleep though. The thing that has helped the most (and helps to put me back to sleep if I wake in the middle) is audiobooks on my iPod.
I tend to need something I'm already familiar with though. I've listened to "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" more times than I can count. Puts me to sleep right away. Sometimes it'll be 4 in the morning till I pull out the earbuds.
Teas that work well: "Organic Nighty Night" by Traditional Medicinals and "Holy Basil" (Tulsi). Tulsi is an Indian herb that "promotes wellbeing and a sense of peace".
This is all great if it works, but I think we all know what really effects sleep - stress! Now if only they had a tea for that. :)
Good luck with the sleep.
I'll see you next week (since I'll be busy this week and heading to Edmonton on Thursday).
Take care of yourself!

Anonymous said...

PS I like Granolagirl's suggestion too. I might try to write/place my worries on a piece of paper and train myself to leave them there for the night.
I know that exercise, yoga, and meditation would be extremely helpful as well.
I just bought a couple of yoga blocks so maybe I can do some yoga despite the wrist.

Breien in Lansingerland said...

What I usually do when I lie awake in my bed is get out, and read an online paper. Usually that is so boring that half an hour later I'd be tired enough to crawl back into bed and sleep until the morning comes.

Little Miss S. said...

I stayed alone in a foreign country half a year last year and had the same insomnia feeling. I was soo tired when I got to bed from impressions and things happening around me so I'd fall asleep quickly - just to wake up half an hour later and not be able to sleep.

I found me way with getting things ready in the kitcken with a really good camomille tea blend, lots of pillows right by my bed and a really good classic book next to me. Then I'd drink the tea, listen to a bit of quite music while reading and after half an hour I'd be sound asleep again. I guess that actually I wasn't calm enough when I got to be - just exhausted. So after a month I ended up findig a way to drink my tea, listen and read before trying to sleep - and then I could sleep all through the night.

Now I'm back home in my usual settings, but I still try to incorporate the quitness before bed - either with a book or with knitting... (And I have found out that if you have someone special to read out loud for you it works even better - right now we are in the middle of the Hobbit...)

Hope you can get some sleep soon...

Mara said...

I have had trouble sleeping and staying asleep for most of my life. I find one trick that works for a while and then it doesn't work anymore and I have to find something else. One of the more recent things I have tried that hasn't been mentioned is a hot water bottle. I put mine right on my chest or on my lower abdomen and within 10 minutes I'm out like a baby. If I wake up within the next few hours it is right there and usually still warm enough to put me back to sleep. Just be careful that it is not so hot that you burn yourself. If that doesn't work I usually just start to say the words "cotton candy" over and over in my head and visualize a giant cone of cotton candy. I hate the stuff, but I guess it calms my brain down to only focus on one thing. Perhaps you could find your one thing to focus on.

Anonymous said...

goodness, while listening to music or watching a movie, i just knit til i drop .. get lots done that way, too!

good luck with whatever helps, friend


SylvChezPlum said...

Wow, sorry for you ! BOth I and my husband have troubles sleeping so the comments here are VERY interesting to read !
We're personally working on computers all day, and quickly found that we need to stop even looking at the comps after 8 pm if we want to sleep. Also, cutting out TV seems to help. As if both stimulate the brain cells in a non-sleep-friendly way.
We always eat early, drink some herb tea, and read a book before going to sleep (the great classic).
But what works best for a really good night of sleep without waking up (so rare) is to go skiing/hiking in cold weather and altitude. I always feel so sleepy afterwards !
And my husband wears earplugs whenever he needs to sleep, because we both wake up at any tiny sound.
I'll try the acupuncture tips. And really hope you find ways to sleep better !

Jenny said...

Here's what I've done.

1. Avoid caffeine (even in the early morning).
2. Don't overeat in the evening, but about an hour before bed (my friend who suggested it be done right before bed, but my meds don't allow that) have a small serving of carbs and protein (for example, I've had a little not-sugar cereal with soy milk or a half of a turkey sandwich or something).
3. Put a pad by the bed. If I wake up or can't fall asleep because I'm thinking about something, I'll write it down to remind myself to go over it tomorrow.
4. Cross my fingers like crazy if it's been going on longer than a week or two!

MamaMay said...

I am so sorry! I too suffer from this (only i have bouts lasting several days then can sleep just fine). My remedy is just to ride it out. Stay up late and then have your alarm wake you up early. I also have found that when I exercise in the morning (run in place for 5 to 10 minutes) I sleep better that night.

ponyknit said...

A friend of mine swears by two bags of chammomile tea/mug. It works.
An herbal pill option that I try when I'm super stressed is valerian root. That also works.
I avoid caffeine after 3pm. Otherwise I fall asleep but wake up like the house is on fire!
Good luck!

katerina said...

I think you've mentioned one of the things - getting the dogs out of the bed. I know you love them and your anxiety about 'kicking them out of bed' may also stress you out - perhaps instead of a crate, find a dog bed of their own at the foot of your bed so they have their own place?
And similar to a few other posts, I used to have a set of 'worry-dolls' that were very small and came in their own little oval box, and you whisper your troubles to them before you lay down to bed, and put them under your pillow and while you sleep they whisk your troubles away.
My last suggestion is a new bed - maybe an adjustable one, so one person's tossing and turning doesn't wake the other?
Good luck!! and best wishes to you!

Kourtney said...

When I can't sleep, I focus on relaxing my tongue. It seems to work - if I'm laying there, sleepless, I find that I'll have my tongue all tense & squashed against my teeth. If I think about relaxing it, and focus on that, it seems to be mindles enough that I can drop off. Also, if things keep whirling through my head, I imagine a big trap door on the bottom of my head, and I 'poke' the ideas through it as they whirl by. If it's not just a random thought, but something I need to do or remember, I imagine it falling through the door, into a basket that I'll look in tomorrow.

All the other ideas sound good too - esp exercise, no caffeine, and no tv. And no animals that aren't human in bed. (Our cats aren't allowed in the bedroom here - I missed them & felt bad at fiest - but then my allergies improved & I slept so much better. And the cats were waaay more full of love in the day, since they weren't getting any at night. I know dogs are differnt, but still.)

Sue said...

I feel your pain...for the last 3 years I have had the worst insomnia ever...becauses of stress..I have a son that is deployed to Iraq....I take melatonin..purchased right at walmart and its all natural...that or I have discovered that sleepy time tea is also helpful....hope you find a cure soon

weerfish said...

Oh, my gosh, I so hope you don't still have insomnia...but, just in case you do... I swear by Valerian. Take two about a half an hour before bedtime, then crawl into bed with something like War and Peace or Scientific American or something equally challenging like the English/Turkish dictionary. That way, too, even if you don't fall asleep, you'll still be edified. Valerian is an herb, by the way, and it's really just meant to relax you enough to fall asleep. It does not stay in your system and it is not habit-forming. It does, however, smell like cat musk. Once you get past that, however, it really does work. I pretty much swear by it. Hope you find something!

Susie said...

This happens to me too sometimes and I've found the best thing is a cup of chamomile tea a couple of hours before bed helps me relax. Then I read before bed and if that doesn't do it here's my sure fire method. I try to list all fifty states alphabetically. I'm usually asleep before Pennsylvania. Good luck!

suburban prep said...

I have insomnia every once in a while. What helps is taking some magnesium in the morning and then again just about an hour before going to bed.
I am also on a bio-identical progesterone and that has helped.

AmIAKnitterYet said...

I use something homeopathic when I need it. Non-habit forming, no groggy feeling in the morning. just works for me. turns my brain off so I can just fall asleep. coffea cruda. 2 tiny white pills (yes, I know you said no pills but this has no side affects AT ALL).

regardless good luck to you