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sleeping problems


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I am really exhausted and tired right now. I have slept through the night only 2 times in the last year. When I sleep I toss and turn and wake up frequently, around once and hour or more. When I wake up I feel as though I have not rested much at all. I have tried sleeping medications but they only helped me to sleep five or six hours instead of three or four hours before waking up and I still felt tired, so it didn’t seem worth it. I am wondering what to do. I would like some suggestions if possible.



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Thanks for your response John. I do think that my depression and drinking are contributing to my lack of sleep. I also think that part of the problem is that I don’t have a set work schedule. I normally don’t get home from work until 10 or 11 at night. By then I have so much energy and it’s hard to wind down. My job can be stressful and I am often anxious when I get home from work. It is difficult to fall asleep. I get frustrated with myself and I drink to make myself feel better. I am planning on going to my doctor (even though I am dreading it) because I am tired of feeling awful so much of the time

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Hi Meredith, I read once that single phase sleep is a relatively recent trend in human behaviour. Single phase sleep refers to the habit of many people to try to get all their sleep in a single phase overnight, wake up, stay awake until evening, and then repeat. However, in the past, people readily woke up at various times during the early morning hours to tend to tasks like security, maintaining fires, and anything else. The sleep patterns of these people were multiphasic, meaning they slept multiple times over a 24 hour period.

The point is that it is generally unusual for popular culture to impress upon people the idea that single phase sleep is acceptable while multiphasic sleep is something to be avoided or ashamed of. Should you have trouble sleeping continuously through the night, perhaps you should consider a multiphasic sleep pattern. The change can be as simple as finding a safe, comfortable place to take a 35-45 min nap uninterrupted at some point during the day. You will likely find that your performance is enhanced after these naps as studies suggest the duration of sleep is not proportional to the benefits of sleep. You get about the same effects sleeping 8 hours as you do for 35 minutes, which is why some argue for people to try biphasic sleep. Try to sleep as you normally would overnight and schedule a short nap during the day.

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  • 3 months later...

So things have not improved. For the past few weeks I have not been able to stay asleep for longer than a few hours at a time. I need some rest and I want it so badly that it hurts. I just want to sleep. I am at my wits end. My mind is cloudy and I can’t think straight. Of course the alcohol is not helping that matter and I know that. I am aware that it only makes sleeping problems worse. It is very difficult to work like this. My job requires a lot of energy and working with others so it’s not as though I can work alone and not have people notice that something is wrong. I have to deal with people and be happy regardless of how I am feeling. I try to act happy because I don’t have any other choice. It is exhausting keeping this up. Normally it works and I am in a better mood than when I came to work. Other times I can’t get control of myself and I am so stressed out about things that happen at work that I go to the bathroom and cut myself because I can’t stop thinking about how horrible I am. I make myself get up and go to work but I think “how am I going to get through the day like this?” it seems pointless. Days and days and days and days of only three hours of sleep and I feel like I am so exhausted that I can barely function. I don’t make good decisions when I am like this. I want to hurt myself badly. I can’t see a way out of this. When will it end?

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Are you talking to a counselor or Paych. doctor? And are these sleep medications just over the counter? I hope your not drinking and taking meds too. That is very dangerous. If you were seeing a professional and talking about these things , then you would be recieving so much more help , also a professional could prescribe you something to help you sleep, however Not with the drinking. Nobody could function well on only 3-4 hrs sleep a day. THat is too hard on the body and mind . All these things your doing to yourself, drinking and cutting are ways to cope .Seek professional help so you can get back under control. Best wishes to you!

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Sorry that my post was a little strange. I was obviously pretty upset when I wrote it so it doesn’t make much sense. No I am not seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist and I’m not on any medication anymore. The medication was prescribed by my psychiatrist who I have not seen in two years and I did not start drinking regularly until after I stopped medication so I have never done both at the same time. It was just antidepressants and sleep medication neither of which worked for me so I stopped going. I am trying to take a break from drinking because it’s not working for me anymore. I know that I am capable of not drinking. I don’t feel controlled by it like I do the self-injury. I am just not looking forward to dealing with all the anxiety without being able to numb it away. I do think that I need extra help and I’m working on it, I have just been too much of a coward to do that yet.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Meredith,

Sounds like you are really struggling with sleep problems. Just so you know, and you probably do anyway, alcohol interferes with sleep. So, if you have stopped drinking, good, that should help.

There are many self help books on sleep. You should look at them when you go to the book stores. Just in a general way I can tell you this much about sleep:

1. Go to bed around the same time each night and do not very the schedule more than ten to fifteen minutes. That way your body comes to expect that sleep will happen. We do have internal clocks that we can set.

2. Finish eating some three to four hours before bed time. Eating late interferes with sleep.

3. Refrain from coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks after 1:00 PM each afternoon. Caffeine interferes with sleep if taken after that time.

4. If you exercise, and you should, do it in the morning. Exercising late gears up the system rather than getting it ready for bed.

5. Do not eat in bed or do anything other than the two most important things: 1. Sleep, 2. Sex. Eating, reading, watching TV, etc. can interfere with sleep.

6. If you cannot sleep, get up and relax. Trying to force sleep will make the bed seem aversive and you do not want that.

7. Learn meditation and begin using it. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can put you in the mood for sleep if used at night.

Try some of these things and let us know how you are doing.

Allan :)

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