6 Days Till 30: Sleep

Posted by Lou The time is 9.00am here in London UK

Another suggested prompt is:

What do you do to make yourself fall asleep at night?

Sleep is such a can of worms for me. I love sleeping - really, really love sleeping - but find it extremely difficult to get a good night's sleep.

At the moment my tactics are to either go to bed so late I'm already half falling asleep, or to read until my eyes start to close (or it gets so late I realise that I'm barely going to get any sleep if I don't stop).

On a good night it'll take probably an hour from trying to get to sleep and being asleep, and on a bad night that'll be more like 3 hours. And on a really tired night I'll fall to sleep straight away, and then wake up an hour later and remain awake for a couple of hours.

(Then while I'm sleeping I'll wake up repeatedly, and by the time my alarm goes off feel like I need another night's sleep to recover. Whinge whinge whinge.)

I also suffer intense jealousy at people who sleep easily and freely, anytime anywhere

I've tried counting sheep (properly doing it on my own pseudo-science idea that it require distracting both layers of thought, so you have to both count AND specifically picture the sheep); tried the manifold suggestions contained in a rather good BBC doc about the difficultly with sleeping; googled... But am yet to find a foolproof method.

I think that of all the practical elements of life, this is the one I would most like to change. It makes me loathe to sleep elsewhere than my bed (as it's the only place I have any chance of getting an adequate night's sleep); it makes me always want to get the last train home (as a late night will never be made up for); and it means Saturday mornings are a write-off as they're generally the only time I get to sleep deeply.

Is anyone a recovered Difficult Sleeper who can provide the key??

6 thoughts on “6 Days Till 30: Sleep”

  1. I have terrible sleep issues! Best cures so far are Scully's Lavender Sleep Balm on the temples and chest (like Vick's Vapor Rub), and a bit of centring/calming meditation with a candle, trying to let the brain quieten down.

  2. Oh man, Lou, I had no idea it was this bad for you!

    I have asked to be prescribed sleeping aids when I have found my routines really (REALLY) out of whack - it helps just being able to fall asleep (yes, artificially) at a normal time and not have your whole day (night... day... night...) ruined.

    The doctor will also tell you to excercise more when you ask for that kind of medication, either try it or be prepared to fudge it when asked!

  3. I'm with Bel on this one - prescribed sleeping aids are the way to go. At least take half of one when you're desperate. It helps your brain to turn off the non essentials and rest.

    Also, I cut out all caffeine out of my diet. ALL of it (I used to be a 3 espresso kind of gal through uni) and that really helped me. If you can't do that then don't drink any caffeine after 3pm and don't eat apples after 6pm.

  4. One thing I have found very useful when wound up and stressed (and let's face it, it takes me an hour or so of rolling over before my brain stops ticking, at least, on a good day) is this thing called 5HTP. You can get it over the counter and it's what E-popping ravers use to wind their bodies back into routine. You take it an hour or so before bedtime and it's converted to serotonin in the brain, making you relaxed and happy. And on this particular bottle I'm looking at, it says it supports a normal sleeping pattern.

    I'd recommend trying it before you hit the hard stuff, mainly because I've seen a few too many become dependent (read: addicted) to sleeping pills. Weird hippy teas like vervain/verbena, passion flower and the tried and true chamomile help too, and a nice hot bath with epsom salts never hurt anyone (if you have a bath).

    Sorry for the hippy-ness, I can't help it: Louis worked at a health shop and he also has periods of sleeplessness...

  5. Oooh that stuff sounds great, L!

    Another tale in my journey of learning that doctors aren't necessarily to be trusted was a student clinic doctor who told me that 'yes, these sleeping pills are addictive but don't worry - they're not that hard to get yourself off again!'

  6. Right, I shall give up coffee (was thinking of doing this anyway) - not giving up tea but will stack it back towards morning in place of coffee.

    I do have the hard stuff, but save it up for long haul flights as I want them to be maximum effective when needed for the big situations.

    I do have some naturapathy sleep aid tablets but thought that they perhaps lose effectiveness if used all the time? Perhaps not... They certainly help when I resort to them so maybe should do it more often.