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Non Book Talk > Insomnia, anyone?

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Does anyone else have trouble sleeping at night? I can fall asleep, but after sleeping for 5 hours or so, I lie awake for 1-2 hours before I can fall back to sleep. I'm the type that needs at least 7, preferably 8 hours of sound sleep. I've been a good sleeper all my life, I've heard this can be pre-menopause related?

Has anyone tried any prescriptions for this that have worked without side effects? Or any natural remedies?

I'd really appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!




message 2: by Holli (new)

Holli Great post Laura and I know you will find lots of help here with this question! I have heard the herbal drugs Estroven and Oona work well ;)


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I have sleeping problems when I'm too stressed, but namely because I have to get up to go to the bathroom a lot during the night (regardless of stopping liquids at 8pm which doesn't work because I dehydrate easily) and because I've got arthritis throughout my entire body and either can't get comfy or wake up because I'm in pain.

I've heard decaff herbal teas help ~ my Aunt, Friend and Nephew swear by it!


message 4: by Karey (new)

Karey (kareyshane) | 116 comments Insomnia? Oh yeah. I could say ditto to everything you said, Laura, and my insomnia just started this last year. At first I hated it, because I would lie there blink, blink, blink for hours until I decided to get up. Now I just get up and do something productive.

There is something that helps me, though. I try to go to bed at a decent hour like 10:30, and I take a bath with epsom salts, since they have magnesium in them.

When I remember, I also take these supplements called Magnesium Lactate that I get from the health food store. They're made by Standard Process.




message 5: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 91 comments You're right Laura. Insomnia is often associated with premenopause/menopause. I have been struggling with this for years. Two things have helped me. One was to give up caffeine completely. I was never a coffee drinker, but I used to love Coca-cola. And I still miss it! When I drink tea I make sure it is decaffeinated. The only caffeine I have now is in chocolate. There is no way I will ever give up chocolate!

The second thing I do is when I am laying awake I try to stay very calm and also never look at my alarm clock. I once read that laying peacefully and without worry is about 90% as effective as actually sleeping. So I keep that thought and just relax. My mom does the opposite: while she lays awake she worries about all the sleep she is missing & looks at the clock so she can know how short on sleep she is.

I, too, tend to wake up 4-5 hours after falling asleep and then have difficulty falling back asleep. If I were to get up like K.S.R, I would never get back to sleep that night, because there are always more interesting things to do that sleep. For instance, a good book!

Good luck! Hope you have a good night's sleep tonight.


message 6: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I have a sleeping disorder that occured after the death of my daughter. They put me on trazadone for the rest of my life. It is the only sleeping aid that does not give you a hangover and is not supposed to be addicting. It does not have the side effects that others have. It also is used for slight depression. I highly recommend it. It has changed my life. Also hot milk is very calming before bed.


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks, everybody, for the great suggestions. I started having trouble sleeping at the same time as lots of other premenopause symptoms, and when I told the Dr. about them at age 36, she dismissed them outright, saying I was too young for premenopause. The bloodwork I had done ( four years later, because I'm a total chicken) bore me out, but she's now sending me to a Gyn, because she's still not convinced (even though I'll be 40 in a few weeks). Anyway, my symptoms all got worse as I got older, which seemed to point to premenopause.

Recently, a friend suggested natural progesterone cream, which got me past the 4-5 hrs of sleep per night place (bumping into walls, etc.), but I still have a ways to go. I do highly recommend bio-identical prog. cream for lots of premenopause symptoms. It is over the counter, most health food/natural pharmacies carry it.

Jo and Meg - I'm so sorry for the tragedies you both have experienced. Thanks for weighing in on this.

Holli & K.S.R. - Thanks for those suggestions, some of which are new to me (I thought I'd tried everything under the sun)!

Joanne - Thanks, I gave up caffeine early on in this process (it usually wired me too much anyway), but I didn't know that lying relaxed is 90% as effective as sleeping. I struggle with anxiety issues, and not sleeping makes that worse too, but doing slow, deep breathing really calms me down when I'm trying to get back to sleep.





message 8: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 44 comments I nibble cheese, and the surge of fats to my brain usually put me back to sleep.

Occasionally I wake up in the morning with a hard crust of cheese in bed with me.

The advantages of cheese in the night: I don't need to brush my teeth after eating it; I often have wonderfully sexy dreams which I can use; it's natural.

Disadvantages... aforementioned remnants. Morning breath that would shame a dragon (I exaggerate!)




message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments I love that one - esp. since I'm a fellow cheese addict LOL Of course, I guess I'd wake up with my fingers in a tub of cream cheese, my favorite ;)


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) | 467 comments Just a quick note (I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet--did I miss it?)

De-caffeinated means that MOST of the caffeine has been removed. There are always small amounts of caffeine in every de-caffeinated beverage. The only way to avoid caffeine altogether is to go for Caffeine Free.

How sucky, huh? Caffeine totally affects me, so if I want to sleep, I can't even drink de-caf tea at night. :( Boooo!


message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) | 467 comments I'm still giggling about the cheese!


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks, Amanda - yeah, my daughter got a job at Starbucks. Now that I can have any drink I want, anytime, for free, I'm limited to their new Vivanno fruit smoothies (no added sugar, no coffee)! Not that I was a coffee-holic anyway, but I did enjoy those decaf Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos.


message 13: by Lynlee4 (new)

Lynlee4 | 99 comments I feel your frustrations. I have fibromyalgia which goes hand in hand with sleep trouble.

A few years ago, I would sleep about 2 hours but not all at one time, thought I was going to lose my mind. Doc put me on Lunesta and it worked beautifully for about 3 years. At first the only side effect was a HORRIBLE metal taste in my mouth. As I was describing it to my daughter she said "like licking a machine?"...she hit it exactly! I did get used to it after a while and it didn't bother me. About 6 months ago I wasn't sleeping as well and I was losing all memory of anything from the time I took the med until the next morning. Family would tell me about conversations that I had no memory of and, worst of all, I was night eating. I stopped taking it.

Tried doing a lot of other home remedies (except cheese!) to no avail. Now, I'm having success with Tylenol PM. I'm getting 6-7 hours and for me that's amazing.

Hang in there~keep trying different things, you'll find the right thing eventually.








message 14: by Lori (new)

Lori Hi Laura! I was a chronic insomniac with the same problem - 4 hours of sleep and then waking up for hours, often not falling back asleep until right before it was time to get. This was for most of my life so I have lots of tips!

But I'll start by saying pre-menopause can most definitely start in the late 30s. Are you undergoing any other big changes in your life, like children all grown up, stuff like that is something to think about.

I used progesterone cream for a few years, it does help with the mild early symptoms. No real miracles tho.

Take calcium at night, with mag and vit D to help you absorb the calcium, which is a body relaxant.

I used to take tryptophane years and years ago, that helped.

I say yes to getting up and getting a little snack, carbs are good, and cheese has the calcium so chees and crackers is very soothing. Warm milk helps as well. You might even go for whole milk, that's the one that has natural tryptophane. BTW tryptophane is the um um enzyme? or something that our body itself produces right before sleep.

I also used to step outside and listen to the quiet, gaze at the stars, just generally get completely outside of myself and my whirlwind head. Whatever does that to you. Nothing strenuous, maybe writing? Visualization, not forced but like daydreaming, can guide you into that state we go thru before we sleep.

Writing dreams down are nice. Then you start remembering even more of your dreams, and they start ushering and welcoming you into dreamworld.

Try going to the couch. A change in area might help alot! If we stay in bed without sleeping the bed itself might be triggering anxiety. Yes, deep relaxing does do good, so don't fret if you can't sleep. Easier said than done, right?

Meg - finally they put me on trazadone as well. It DOES work nicely, doesn't it.




message 15: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I am a big proponent of trazadone. If people need a sleeping aid, this has helped more than anything.

Another things that helps me (this is really weird) is playing video games till my eyes burn then I know it is time for bed.


message 16: by April (new)

April (contusions96) Trazadone is amazing, isn't it? It has definitely helped me quite a bit. I don't even have to use it any more.


message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Lynlee - Thanks for the info about Lunesta. My neighbor told me about the good luck she had with it using it on an occasional basis. I tend to shy away from prescriptions due to in the past, I found they fixed one thing but messed up something else. I've heard good things about Tylenol PM - do you use it every night, or just occasionally? No side effects? Have you ever tried Simply Sleep? Isn't that supposed to be the PM part, without the Tylenol?

Lori - yes on the big changes, we're getting ready to be empty nesters this time next year, now dealing with college applications, visits, and all that. We only have one child, making this a little more intense, I guess. I'm trying to talk myself into putting a big happy face on this one as we'll finally be (for the most part) free of the daily DRAMAS of "Oh, what am I going to do? I have a pimple??" But it's still tough. I've never tried the calcium thing, but I've heard about it. Even got a hold of some Calcium Citrate powder a while back. Will def. do this one. I also like the tryptophan idea - but I didn't know you can take tryptophan. I thought you could only get it from food. Lots of good ideas, thanks.

Meg - Do you mind me asking how long you've been taking the trazadone? Also, no side effects at all? I don't really want to go the prescription route, but it'll be good to know if I need to down the road.


Thanks, everyone for helping me out with this. It's amazing how I took sleeping well for granted all those years.


message 18: by April (new)

April (contusions96) I haven't had any problems with Trazodone and I used it for 6 months or so. It is actually a mild antidepressant so I do think there is a risk of some side effects. I quit using it several months ago and did not have any issues quitting it either. Just make sure you have time to sleep long enough! otherwise you'll sleep right through it.


message 19: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments I take a natural sleeping aid called Seditol. I have trouble falling asleep because sometimes I can't shut my mind off. And then, like it was mentioned above, I worry about not getting enough sleep, etc. It's connected to my depression, so when I focus on stress-relieving activities it gets better. So I go to yoga classes frequently, take a warm shower at night, and take my time calming down and getting ready for bed at night. I've heard that having a routine that you follow at the same time each night (even on weekends) helps a lot.


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Hi Emily - How long have you been taking it? Have you noticed any side effects?


message 21: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments I don't take it every night, but for the last couple weeks I've taken it a few times. Other times I take ibuprofen (because a lot of nights I have a headache or something), but my husband gets mad at me for doing so. Maybe it's a placebo effect. I don't know. I haven't noticed any side effects from the Seditol.


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks for the info - I'll have to look into that.


message 23: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Laura I have taken trazadone for 7 years. I have had no side effects whatsoever. It really has saved my life.


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks for that, Meg, I'll keep it in mind. I've just had some pretty bad experiences w/various prescribed drugs, so a little gunshy there...but thank you for your help on this.


message 25: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I am glad I could help. I wish you luck, lack of sleep leads to all sorts of other problems. It was driving me nuts. I was even cleaning my house at 3 AM just to keep from climbing out of my skin.


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Does anyone have trouble sleeping when the exercise too late in the day? And when I say too late, I mean like after 4 or 5? I don't mean strenuous stuff, just brisk walking?


message 27: by Lynlee4 (new)

Lynlee4 | 99 comments I take Tylenol PM most everynight. The nights I haven't taken it, I lay awake and then I start stressing about not sleeping. My job is high pressure and from 7.30am it's balls to the walls, sorry to be crude, until 3.30pm, no time to think or blink. Coming in well rested is important.

I've noticed, too, that exercise late in the day interferes with sleep. If I don't hit the treadmill as soon as I get home, I don't bother. On the weekends, when I have the chance to exercise in the late morning or early afternoon, I not only feel better but I sleep better.

I took Trazadone for a while many years ago but can't remember why I stopped...dr's have a hard time with fibromyalgia, I've been on so many different things, I have a hard time keeping track.


message 28: by Laura (last edited Oct 05, 2008 08:28AM) (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Has anyone tried one of those sound machines to help them sleep? My hubby bought me one of those machines from Brookstone for my Bday. What it does, is it makes 3 different kinds of sounds - relax, renew, and sleep sounds.

Some of them are just nature sounds, and some of them combine nature sounds with sounds that affect the brain waves that help you to either focus/renew, relax, or sleep.

So - for the past 2 nights we've gone to sleep w/one of the sleep settings (you can set it to go off 30, 60 or 90 mins later). AND I haven't been laying awake!!! I do wake several times during the night still, but I go back to sleep. And when I wake up, I actually have some energy!

Has anyone had any luck w/this? There are also CD's you can buy, but the problem I had with that is that you're supposed to listen in stereo for it to work. Since I'm a side sleeper, I can't sleep w/headphones on. So that didn't work for me as well.


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 369 comments I don't have trouble sleeping..i just have trouble FALLING asleep..i will lay there for HOURS. it's horrible. I generally take tylenol pm if I know I have to get a lot of sleep. Once I'm asleep though..i'm good..i never wake up! :)


message 30: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments Laura, I'm excited that you found something that helps!


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks, Emily! Jamie - It's supposed to help you fall asleep too. It seems to be helping my hubby w/that.


message 32: by Holli (new)

Holli I'm so glad you found what you needed Laura. Just a little "white" noise and it worked. I actually used to have one of those and I really liked it. It relaxed me!


message 33: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Actually, white noise is one of the sounds! LOL The real test will be on a work night. I'm taking tomorrow off, so Monday night w/b the real test. Usually I don't sleep that good if I have to work the next day. :(


message 34: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannah7299) | 303 comments We bought a sound machine too & listen to the rain setting every night. Now, I can't imagine sleeping without it. :)


message 35: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollya) I have been taking the store brand of simply sleep for a while now. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with the insomnia problem.

I would like to get the sound machine with the rain setting or maybe a window a/c unit sound that stays steady.

I'm glad you found a good machine that is helping Laura. Maybe I need to check one of those out. I really don't like having to take something to get a good nights sleep.

Thanks for starting this, great ideas from everyone.


message 36: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments One night so far, it didn't work at all :(

Last night I took the calcium & magnesium together with a short glass of milk @ bedtime and together w/the machine - I didn't lie awake all night. So I'll try that again tonight.


message 37: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 415 comments This morning, I was awake at 4:30 - had to go to the bathroom, came back to bed and tossed and turned. I finally got up at 5:45, made a cup of coffee, and read (finished the Guernsey Literary Society!!!!!) And then I was totally bushed at work today. It's been happening quite a bit in the past few months. I attribute it to my age, I will be turning 50 in a little over 3 wks. I am overdue for my "annual" stuff, so made an appointment for Thursday a.m.
I used to stay up thinking I just HAD to watch the first part of Jay Leno and then I'd still have to get ready for bed. I'd DRAG myself into bed. Sometimes I was so tired I didn't even want to brush my teeth or wash my face. The nights I can get to bed at a decent time, and by that I mean BY 10, I sleep much better. Sometimes I'll even go to bed at 9 just so I can read for a little bit before shutting out the light. I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me, if I can get ready for bed, get relaxed before crawling into bed, I sleep much better.

I used to didn't make my bed every day but one sleeps MUCH better if the bed is made every day (the sheets are pulled smooth) and I like to spray my sheets and pillows with some linen spray I got one time at Bath and Body Works.


message 38: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Did you love Guernsey ???


message 39: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments It didn't help me, but I may not have been taking enough of them. I just didn't want to take too much, because I don't want to always have to take melatonin, and I don't want to mess with my body's ability to make it by taking too much of it. I'm really not much for pills of any kind beyond vitamins.


message 40: by Elena (new)

Elena | 13 comments This is just the thread for me. I've had problems for mroe than a year now. I fall asleep quite quickly, but then I wake up many times at night, and have an early awakening in the morning. I think it's due to work-related stress, so I've tried many traditional remedies (camomille, hot milk, no caffeine....) and herbs but they haven't helped much. The result: dark eye circles like I've been partying hard all the night long, and feeling like I have my head stuffed with flocks of cotton! Any suggestion??


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Elena, the most recent thing I've tried that's helped me the most so far is taking calcium & magnesium supplements with milk right before bed. I still wake during the night, but I don't lie awake for 1-2 hours like before.

My husband also got me one of those noise machines from Brookstone for my birthday that induces your brain into different waves depending upon what you want to do.

There are three columns on it - one for sleep, one to relax, and one for alertness/focus. We play one of the sleep sounds at night, usually either the rain or the crickets. We love the thunderstorm for relaxation. There's also a waterfall, ocean waves....it's nice. Some of the sounds are infused w/something else that actually gets your brain to produce waves that are conducive to sleep, relaxing, thinking/focusing.

The combination of these 2 has been the most helpful for me so far. I think what you have to do is review some of the suggestions here, and then try them until you find the right mix for you. Something I haven't tried yet that I've heard is good is valerian tea. I think there is a sleepytime tea that combines valerian with chamomile.

I wish there was a miracle cure I could tell you. If I ever find one though, I'll be posting it here!!

--Sleepless in Mt. Airy


message 42: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments Debbie, that is really key for me, too. If I take a shower at night and spend some time unwinding (reading, etc.) before I go to bed, I get to sleep much easier than if I get home, wash my face, and go to bed.


message 43: by Elena (new)

Elena | 13 comments Thank you Laura! I had never heard of those 'noise machines' before, I wonder if they're sold here in Italy as well as in the US. As I try to find out more about them, I'll definitely go for the calcium+magnesium supplements as they're easily available here... Hope to post some positive news soon! :)



message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Good luck, Elena!

And another thing, try to go to sleep at the same time every night. I stayed up the other night to watch the debate, and I'm still paying for it. Doesn't take much to throw you off track when you're "one of us"!




message 45: by Laura (last edited Nov 11, 2008 01:59PM) (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments I just thought I'd get in here and report that I've had WEEKS now of not lying awake for 1-3 hours in the middle of the night. Since there are a lot of "us" here, I thought I'd tell you what I'm doing:

1. I dropped the calcium at bedtime, because I found out that magnesium & calcium want to go to the same places in your body. So when you take them together, you decrease the absorption.

2. SO I make sure I get three solid servings of milk/yogurt, etc. every day for my calcium hit.

3. Then I take a 200mg pill of Magnesium Citrate about 30 minutes before bed with a short glass of milk (NOT cold milk fresh from the fridge - you want room temp. milk). My understanding is that Mag. needs Vit. D to be absorbed properly. Also, Mag. Citrate has the highest absorption rate of any Magnesium.

4. I almost always try to read for about 30 mins. just before bed. Hubby covers his head w/a pillow and says it doesn't bother him, which is great, because I find that reading in bed is more relaxing than having to get up and move from the family room (or wherever) to bed.

5. I try to get to sleep at the same time every night, or within 30 mins +/-.

(Also, for me this has been for like a year, but I have eliminated caffeine and alcohol completely from my diet.)

My sister called me last night, having the same types of problems, and is already noticing a huge improvement after one night w/the calcium & magnesium.

OH - Also - I finally went to a GYN and she doubled my natural progesterone dose from 1 pump in AM, 1 in PM to 2 pumps 2x daily. She told me I may want to increase to 3 pumps in PM if needed. I do think the progesterone is helping too, and the increase in dose just moreso.

Anyway, needless to say, many of you suggested one or more of these ideas, so THANK YOU very much for doing that! Sleep makes such a HUGE difference! I'm actually back to exercising now, because I actually have the energy to do it!


message 46: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Good luck, Melissa, I'm all for more natural cures and less drugs! There are so many helpful things in this thread. Thanks again to everyone, I am forever indebted to all of you.


message 47: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 415 comments I am so excited for you Laura, to be able to sleep the whole night through! That's wonderful :-)
Now, what does the magnesium citrate do for a person?



message 48: by Holli (new)

Holli That's awesome Laura!! I'm so happy for you.....I'm sure you feel much relief now don't you?


message 49: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Thanks you guys! Magnesium is a muscle relaxer, and calcium helps you sleep more deeply. For me, I need both.

Good luck to everyone else too!


message 50: by Karey (new)

Karey (kareyshane) | 116 comments I've just read everyone's comments. Me, I've been up since 4:00 a.m. Another sleepless morning! Ugg. I'm going to take a ginger mustard bath tonight. Always makes me sleep like a log. Just writing this is making me sleepy!


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