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So What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep?
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23 posts in this topic

I am under a whole lot of stress right now - work and personal. My stomach and insides have been killing me from gluten which caused a horrific reflux flare up. I just got that calmed down, and now my neck (degenerative discs) is killing me from spending too much time on the computer (working long hours, online class at night, and this forum). It's 3:30 am here and I've spent the last 3 hours trying to get to sleep with no luck. I'm afraid to take anything cause I don't want to create havoc in my stomach since I just got it calmed down. Afraid to take milk due to lactose intolerance issues. Afraid to take tylenol, or nighttime pm or ?? what's left? Chamomile tea? This really sucks. I want to get off this train. I want my life back.

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I have bouts of insomnia at times. I use Sleepytime by Celestial seasonings. You can also try a couple of benadryls - they knock me out, easy on the tummy and gluten-free, inexpensive and non-habit forming. Cross-stitching works for me - the counting part. Read a book - I recommend any dealing with accounting or economics - sure sleep inducers! :P I really do sympathize with you - I've been there many times. Also, how is your caffeine intake? Not only caffiene, but chocolate as well. Limit those to the earlier parts of the day and then totally eliminate them after, say 3 p.m. Good luck!

Annette

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When I go to bed I just lay there and rest. If I fall asleep, that's great! I usually sleep through the night now that I'm gluten-free ... but if I can't sleep, I just rest and don't think about anything important. My grandmother always told me that if you can't sleep, don't worry about it because then you won't get any rest either, so just lay there and relax. I've always taken her advice and usually get up pretty refreshed whether I sleep or not. Thankfully though, I sleep much better now.

College was great, my roommate talked all night in her sleep so I had entertainment! :D

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If I really can't sleep I take a xanax or have a glass of wine, but not together :blink: most nights reading helps me sleep

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I take sonata. Its never bothered my stomach, it puts me to sleep in 20 minutes, and I don't wake up groggy. Fabulous stuff.

Elonwy

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I go to bed later. :) I realize this isn't an option for people who have to get up early for work though. I just don't go to bed before I'm sleepy, sometimes it means I go to bed at 5.30am...

Oh yeah, sitting in front of a computer screen doesn't help. Reading a book might be a better idea.

Pauliina

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Here are some ideas that help me:

Burn lavendar oil

Unplug everything in your bedroom, or at least the things right by your bed. Electromagnetic fields affect some people's sleep.

Make sure your room is completely dark

Drink Camomile tea - it won't hurt your stomach

Practice breathing excercises. Inhale and exhale deeply and count your breaths

Make sure you get some excercise at some point in the day...but not too late at night

That's all I can think of. The breathing for me especially helps..so does the lavendar oil. I actually put some pure esential lavendar oil and water in a spray bottle and spray it on my sheets and around my room. It's more powerful than you'd think.

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Y'all are so sweet - thanks for the replys. I've now recovered from my sleeepless night, and am back to hitting the books.

I think my major problem that particular evening was from eating some chocolate in the evening. That will be a no-no for me. But I miss not being able to drink a glass of milk to help me sleep. That usually kicks in, in about a half hour and I am able to sleep. I guess I'll investigate Tylenol PM, as I believe that would help, too. I don't want to resort to any other drugs to try to sleep because I don't want to become accustomed to them.

But oh how I hate not being able to go to sleep when I know I need to. Speaking of which.... zzzzzzzz... night.

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I turn on my light. I think psycologically I know I'm not supposed to fall asleep with it on, and now that I'm not "allowed" to fall asleep I do. It's the pressure of having to fall asleep right now that makes me less able to sleep.

To take some of that anxiety away I tell myself that I don't have to sleep, but I do have to lie in bed and rest. Resting is better than nothing. And now that I've given myself permission to just lie there, I fall asleep easily.

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I do the following:

I make sure to start following my bedtime routine (even if it takes half an hour), of taking my meds, brushing my teeth, etc.

I may put on some soft music, but this makes this worse for some people.

I practice meditative techniques, particularly breathing ones.

If I need help getting to sleep, I'll consider just regular herbal tea prior to my bedtime routine or taking valerian or benadryl in a worst-case scenario. (None of those have ever upset my stomach.)

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I also make sure my room is completely dark. I sleep with a fan on for white noise. My favorite trick is to block the clock with a box of Kleenex, that way I don't keep staring at it thinking "OMG - it's 3:00... 3:02...". I did take a relaxation class and we did some great breathing techniques - when I can't sleep I will just focusing on breathing in... and out... when my mind wanders I just bring it back and focus on the breathing.

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So the Benadryl is OK? Does it make anyone constipated?

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So the Benadryl is OK? Does it make anyone constipated?

Benadryl is alright...I haven't found any constipation, but it doesn't work when your body is reacting to gluten very well. It knocks me out for a few hours, but it's a strange drugged sleep and then you're right back where you started. I personally hate the feeling of it now, but it might work for ya :)

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I have horrible sleep habits too. All the suggestions I've read so far have good advice. I find that no flush niacin (2 capsules at bedtime) really helps the brain calm down. Another thing that works good for Anxiety is a probiotic called Primal Defense and Super Critical Holy Basil.

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My son (19) has had trouble with insomnia & his doctor cautioned against Benadryl because it leaves a "hangover" effect. What really helped him is Melatonin, but the effect isn't immediate, it takes a few days to kick in. It works by regulating your body clock, not by knocking you out.

Leah

Oh-- I meant to tell you my weird trick-- I do crossword puzzles in bed. The mental effort is just enough to block out worries (which is the usual cause of wakefulness for me) but not enough to be enthralling & keep me awake the way a good book can! Luckily my DH can sleep through anything so the light doesn't bother him.

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Valerian root is another herbal supplement that works as a sleep aid. It also helps with anxiety, which can contribute to lack of sleep. Your body eventually gets used to Melatonin, and you have to keep upping the dose as you go, and there have been studies that link it to thyroid problems. Anyone with an abnormal thyroid should not take melatonin without consulting thier physician.

The thing about Valerian is it tastes really gross. Make sure you get it in capsule form, drink it with alot of water and try not to burp. It works well though.

Elonwy

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Valerian root is another herbal supplement that works as a sleep aid. It also helps with anxiety, which can contribute to lack of sleep. Your body eventually gets used to Melatonin, and you have to keep upping the dose as you go, and there have been studies that link it to thyroid problems. Anyone with an abnormal thyroid should not take melatonin.

The thing about Valerian is it tastes really gross. Make sure you get it in capsule form, drink it with alot of water and try not to burp. It works well though.

Elonwy

My son never had to up his dose, but I didn't know that about the thyroid! That's not good!

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Yeah my mom has had thyroid issues for years, and was specifically instructed not to take melatonin. I was advised not to take it as well, because of her history. They actually use it in some cases to treat thyroid issues, depending on the case, but when not prescribed it can cause problems. Melatonin is naturally created by our thyroids, so we're adding something to our bodies we already make. In some cases it can cause the body to stop making as much, since its relying on the supplement.

Elonwy

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I have horrible insomnia also, but these things sometimes

help....

-lavendar oil...a couple drops on the pillow

-very, very soft music where I can barely hear it...Norah Jones, ocean music, lullabyes, etc

-write down my next day's "to do" list BEFORE I go to bed (then, I don't sit there thinking about everything I have to do and worrying about whether or not I'll remember) YOu may even want to put a pad of paper and pen by the bed and if something's really bugging you, write it down, so you don't stress about it

-ok, this one sounds crazy, but I count backwards from 100. It takes a lot of concentration on my part because I usually get to about 93 or 94 and then realize that I'm thinking about something else. I then start over from 100 again and try to concentrate harder to see if I can get to 1. You gotta try it before you knock it. :rolleyes:

-reading in bed

Good luck! Lack of sleep can be so debilitating.

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My insomnia has been pretty bad lately. I have always had good and bad weeks even before I knew about Celiac and went gluten free. I have only been gluten free (to the best of my knowledge, considering I still feel pretty awful) for almost one month and my insomnia is probably the worst it has ever been. Between my anxiety and depression, getting a real full night's sleep has been a rare occasion for this month. I just started to do yoga this week and I'm in love with it (well for the 2 times I actually did it!!). It helped me to ease my anxiety with the breathing exercises and it relaxes me a lot. After doing my 45 minute yoga DVD on Sunday and Monday night, I had a glass of sleepy time tea (a mix of peppermint and chamomile) and with the help of my comfy padded eye mask, I was out cold in a short time with only waking up twice throughout the night. For me, that's a huge improvement. It probably doesn't help that I have two very active cats who go crazy throughout the night in my very small one bedroom apartment. I didn't do Yoga last night and I was up all night long. So who knows if Yoga has any validity, but anything to ease my anxiety and calm my nerves is great for me!

I know exercising is the best thing for anxiety and helps with insomnia but the hard part is actually getting up and exercising. It's hard to want to be active when you're already feeling down in the dumps, fatigued, and have to run to the bathroom all the time!!

One day at a time though right?

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My doctor told me to shut of all the lights in the apartment or at least stay in a completely dark room 1/2 hour before going to bed. It's important to do all the brushing of teeth and other bathroom stuff before that 1/2 hour as any bright lights trigger a wake-up response in the brain. Even turning on a light for a second will ruin it. Also no computer or Tv in that time. I think I remember him saying that keeping your eyes open in the dark at night causes your brain to produce more melatonin. When I have had the discipline to do it, I've seen good results!

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Ambien works well for me. Fortunately, I only need it occasionally and I try not to use it at all.

Tylenol PM has also been suggested to me.

- Henry

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My doctor told me to shut of all the lights in the apartment or at least stay in a completely dark room 1/2 hour before going to bed. It's important to do all the brushing of teeth and other bathroom stuff before that 1/2 hour as any bright lights trigger a wake-up response in the brain. Even turning on a light for a second will ruin it. Also no computer or Tv in that time. I think I remember him saying that keeping your eyes open in the dark at night causes your brain to produce more melatonin. When I have had the discipline to do it, I've seen good results!

That is neat! Never heard of that. :)

Brush teeth, warm bath (epson salts added), fresh air in room, and spray pillow with lavendar spray. Get into comfortable bed and good pillow. :)

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