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chuckmum6

How to get to sleep?

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It is the wee small hours and I cannot sleep, I am having another bout of insomnia and I wondered if anyone has any tips for getting to sleep, before I see my GP?

I should add, I am fairly sure that it is a emotional factor that is preventing me sleeping, it is coming up to two years since my mum suddenly died. I have had an eight week holiday from school, which suddenly gives me lots of time to think and really I have slept poorly all holiday. I am a way off coming to terms with my mum dying and feel that a while ago I was beginning to accept she has gone, I now am struggling to accept/comprehend this again. All probably made worse by lack of sleep! I guess once I am back teaching again, my focus will be consumed by school, planning and organising the family, so my capacity to think beyond this is dramatically reduced.

 

Off to count chickens going into a cube, fingers crossed! :shh:

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This might sound over the top but do you think it might be some form of PTSD. I was reminded of ES. If your mum's death was sudden and traumatic, it could be. I would say speak to your doctor because even though it's better when you're busy perhaps you need help to come to terms with your loss during quiet times.

I know some good advice will come along soon on here.

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I too have had periods when sleep has alluded me,the most notable recent one being when my husband & I briefly separated earlier this year - I could not stop 'thinking' all the time...thinking about the situation,thinking that I needed to sleep...it was truly awful & you have my utmost sympathy..

 

In the end I went to the Doctor & I got a prescription for sleeping pills,which did help,but being one who would rather not medicate,I also found a few remedies that worked for me without the need for chemicals.

That said,the sleeping pills were a great short term fix & I am very grateful for their help at a horrible time.

 

Rescue remedy night works for me - just a drop or 3 on the tongue if I wake in the early hours,& I doze off again. I use that along with The Body Shop pulse point sleep cream (I think that is what it is called!). It is just rubbed onto wrists & temples,& smells wonderful...they also do a pillow mist which is great.

 

Reading a book helps too for me & it must be said that a bedtime G&T works wonders too :wink::lol:

 

I hope this helps. Do go & see your GP too,but there are a few things you can try :D

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I too totally sympathise and have been there. I find lack of sleep soul distroying.

 

You can also buy Nytol tablets from the chemist. There is a herbal version which you can buy off the shelf and they are ok. However there is also a version that you have to ask the pharmacist for, these work better for me. They are actually a type of anti histamine (sorry if that is spelt wrong) as the side effect for the anti histamine is making you drowsy. I dont like taking medication but find that whenever I've resorted to these I get a full night sleep.

 

Our suggestions may help you but I agree with Patsy above that maybe you should try to treat the underlying cause with some type of counselling or assistance. Cruse bereavement for example?

 

I hope things get better soon

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OK, I'm going to do my best to describe a technique which has helped me in the past ...

 

Lie down (I lie on my back, but I guess it's whatever is comfy for you), close your eyes, put your lips together but jaws apart (this is the hard bit to describe, but so your top and bottom teeth aren't touching). Then lift your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, but don't actually touch it (roof of mouth with tongue, I mean). I'm not sure what this actually does, but I am doing it now (sitting up typing at my computer!!!) and it makes you really start to yawn and feel very sleepy (so don't do it while you're driving!!!!). I've found this has helped to get me into the frame of mind to sleep in the past, so hope it might help you!!!

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As someone prone to 'thinking' before/instead of sleep this is what works for me:

 

I keep a pen & pad by the bed. Get up, write down those thoughts telling yourself you'll deal with them tomorrow. This seems to tell your brain that it's ok to let go of what ails it

 

Don't lie there not sleeping - it becomes a vicious circle. Get up, watch trash tv for 30 minutes or read something (i keep weekend newspaper magazine supplements for this so there's no chance of getting engrossed in something like a novel) - again, you're looking to disrupt those 'thoughts'

 

Think about dealing with what's upsetting you. Bereavement can hit us many years after the event for many reasons. Your GP may be able to offer a short course of free counselling, ditto your employer/union.

 

I've found sleeping pills unhelpful - they disturb natural sleep and I always woke up from them feeling that I had the most terrible hangover! Herbal ones may help, though and don't have the nasty side effects

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I'm hyperactive and go through bouts of not being able to switch off and sleep, I have found that a warm

epsom salt bath before bedtime really helps - i'm normally out for the count straight away. Also no sleeps during the day and getting up early and having a routine when not working helps too.

 

I have a chill-out album on my ipod called 'chill-out cafe' which really relaxes you .

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I also sleep very badly and have done ever since I started the menopause :?

 

What I do now is go to bed and not think about going to bed to sleep as I find the more I worry about not being able to sleep the less I sleep. I love listening to talk radio as I find it very soporific. I particularly love Steve Allen on LBC and I subscribe to their podcast and when I go to bed I download the programme and listen to it on my iPod. I always fall asleep before the programme ends, so I think it does help.

 

I would agree that you could be suffering from PTSD, but even if you aren't if 2yrs on you feel how you describe then seeing a professional would probably help you a lot. My daughter in law had loads of counselling at the local Hospice and it really helped her.

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I completely agree that lying there thinking about the fact that you're not sleeping just makes things worse. Do you prepare for bed with a calm routine, e.g. wind down, have a warm drink, have a bath or whatever - these are really important to set the scene and get your mind into 'sleep' mode. I don't drink caffeine after about 7.00 pm because I find that keeps me awake.

 

I read something recently which has worked brilliantly for me - imagine you are taking the journey you made to school every day as a child. Start at the front door of the house and remember the details, and think of it as if you are five (or seven or whatever) and seeing it at that height. Firstly, I was amazed at how much I could remember. Secondly, I haven't made it beyond the end of our road yet without falling asleep! I'm sure it won't work every time but it's helped me recently with a sleepless patch.

 

You've obviously got some insight into what might be causing this. Two years is not long in the scheme of things, especially if your mum's death was sudden and unexpected - counselling may help, but it will get easier with time.

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I have a pillow mist from boots that is good, and I often have a Horlicks before bed.

 

waking up in the night and thinking and having this disturbed sleep pattern is often a sign of depression, which is undertandable as you havent come to terms with your Mum's death, so I think its definitely worth seeing your GP to get to the root cause.

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Hi chuckmum6, As you say, it is an emotional time for you, being nearly 2 years since Mum died, and I think you've identified the cause of insomnia.

Grief is a lifelong process (we wouldn't ever want to forget special people, so there's no such thing as getting over it!) but the pace of it, and degrees of the rollercoaster ups and downs vary.

You're doing marvellously in coping outwardly, and I love your humour (counting chickens), but grief can't be avoided.

Well, learning strategies to avoid untimely flashbacks is essential, but we also need to deliberately and safely face it head on, a bit at a time. Counselling can be good for this, the right person, the right time, but not for everyone.

 

I've found the best help in this process to be similarly bereaved people, either locally(may be a support group in your area?) or internet forums (really, a great asset, 24 hrs!), it really enables you to talk comfortably about your mum, and get your thoughts in perspective when hearing/reading other similar experiences.

 

Also, a dear Omlet forum friend sent me a book early on. I wasn't ready to more than dip in at first (and probably wondered how an earth a book could help) but it's been invaluable. A bereaved friend recommended another one, and I leave them both out, like coffee table reading. Perfect to remind friends, and for family to read. Both books point out that however well you are "coping" you can't avoid any stage of grieving, it's so true.

 

Are there specific questions about her death that remain unanswered? If so it's worth finding answers, do pm me if you are stuck on this point, or anything else.

 

I reckon that the grief stays the same size forever, but we need to face it, then make the world around it bigger, so that over time it is not diminished, but held safely within us.

 

I agree with Olly, Merlina and others about general strategies in the small hours, and the relaxation techniques, and to resist sleeping pills for your insomnia unless all else has been tried and failed, other than maybe a herbal one to break the pattern occasionally.

 

I've been playing a Learn Italian CD to avoid night time flashbacks when I need to, for over a year. I still only know 20 words, I fall asleep straightaway! Maybe a Paul McKenna or similar CD?

 

Ironically, I should be having this conversation with YD, but I think you're already halfway there, having acknowledged the cause. Very best wishes, do let us know how you get along xx PS. Just tried Bramble's idea, amazing!

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Thank you all for your words of advice. I do have ups and downs emotionally, anniversaries amplify feelings naturally, I have been suprised by how this come subconsiously. During the day I am usually ok, just the odd tears sometimes in private, it is the quiet moments, when I need to sleep. I have been drifting off, but OH snoring and snorting wakes me and then that's it! Sleep deprivation is a vicious circle and I agree that drugs should be avoid if possible, but can help to try and break the circle.

I have seriously thought about councilling, I'm unsure how it would help, does it give coping skills? I have no experience and tend to be reserved about expressing my true feelings, hiding behind humour. I would welcome any insights. I plan to have a warm bath, milky drink and off to bed tonight, I use a sleep app on my iPad that sometimes helps.

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Hugs to you chuckmum6. some fantastic advice above.

On a completely different note, and it might only work once (per walk) but I recently went on a 5 mile hill walk. Not being used to that much exercise I slept really well! I didn't have too many aches, and it felt so good to sleep so well!

 

Exercise is often "prescribed" to make you feel better, mentally and physically. I hate it! but a walk with like minded friends can be uplifting, and very, very tiring (in a good way!) :)

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Excellent!

I was just about to suggest starting a topic about snoring OH's :lol: , I think there was a thread a while back. Lack of sleep is torturous, there's no harm in retreating to a spare room if you have one, as long as its done as a positive step and is discussed, , as long as egos and esteem are maintained without guilt or blame, many people do so.

Make sure you still address the grief, but so glad you slept, that's brilliant. :D

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OK, I'm going to do my best to describe a technique which has helped me in the past ...

 

Lie down (I lie on my back, but I guess it's whatever is comfy for you), close your eyes, put your lips together but jaws apart (this is the hard bit to describe, but so your top and bottom teeth aren't touching). Then lift your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, but don't actually touch it (roof of mouth with tongue, I mean). I'm not sure what this actually does, but I am doing it now (sitting up typing at my computer!!!) and it makes you really start to yawn and feel very sleepy (so don't do it while you're driving!!!!). I've found this has helped to get me into the frame of mind to sleep in the past, so hope it might help you!!!

 

I just tried that and it does feel really relaxing. I'm going to remember to try it again when I go to bed, thanks for that :D

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I have a long standing issue with sleeplessness. I fall asleep immediately but waken up a couple of hours later. Usually about 3 am. It really got to me for years and was so upset and frustrated. However I just get up now and get on with the day. I don't do anything noisy - eg hoovering - that might disturb other people but I'll do washing, ironing & other cleaning. In a day or two I'm so hideously tired that I'll sleep all night.

 

The G & T did work but was having more than one so that stopped too :oops:

 

I hope you find a solution that works for you. Take care. Alli x

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Sympathy from me as someone who when they wake up can't get back to sleep again and gets in a blind rage with hubby if it's him who woke me :oops:

 

I read something recently which has worked brilliantly for me - imagine you are taking the journey you made to school every day as a child. Start at the front door of the house and remember the details, and think of it as if you are five (or seven or whatever) and seeing it at that height.

 

I tried this the other night Olly and got about 1/2 mile. It's great but not that good at getting me off to sleep because I had to keep making decisions about which way to go and tried to remember each patch and what it felt like. I remembered loads that I hadn't thought about for years. I've even started doing it in the day :D

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A friend told me a similar thinking skill to help get back to sleep through the night. It sounded so silly I laughed at her but at 3am wide awake one morning I tried it and it worked! :shock: Since then I've not had a problem getting back to sleep.

 

What you do is think up any theme, say things I like, flowers, food I like to eat, types of cars etc etc. Then go through the alphabet and name things that begin with that letter.EG I like Angels, Bees, Chocolate, Dandelions . . . . . funnily enough I've never got past k!!!! :roll:

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Hello.

 

I think that counselling will help; grief takes time to absorb and process before you can attempt a kind of balance in your life, so this might be helpful for you? Sorry if the words sound scientific. I am not a counsellor, but I have used them twice and found them very helpful.

 

I had a relaxation tape when I was a teen which did work well for me before CFS, which OH treats for me with a dose of Vit C before bed, which does wonders for me. My problem is opposite - I fall asleep at work, in restaurants, during out patient appointments, so I have having to work sleep into a night time regime.

 

Anyway, the tape.

 

Lay down, arms at your side, just a pillow or two. Start at your left shoulder, clench the muscles and think of all the hard work you have done with those muscles that day, maybe lifting shopping or kids or the iron, then release slowly and tell the muscles to relax. Go to your elbow, then your wrist, your hand, and your fingers in turn and think about the work they do - all that typing you have done, or maybe bucket lifting for the hens, drying up or dusting? It might mean clenching muscles, tensing a joint or screwing your fingers into a fist, but something that gives that area a chance to tense, think about the work it has done, then physically unwind? Do your left hip, thigh, knee, calf, foot and toes - all the walking, going up and down stairs, pedal work when driving, chasing after hens ... Do exactly the same with your right leg, then your right arm. Left arm, left leg, right leg, right arm - that order.

For your head, acknowledge the volume of work your brain has done for you without being asked during the day, and tell it to relax. Screw up your eyes, think about all all the work they have done reading, looking, checking - then relax. Individually, your ears, nose, your mouth - all muscle work talking, eating and drinking, all the listening to other people or listening out for your hens, and let them relax. Drift down to your lungs - all those breaths in and out unaided, the work that your heart has had to do, all that pumping, each time telling that organ to slowly relax, then your digestive system ...

 

(I never made it past this point, but hopefully it gives you an idea).

 

Mrs Potts

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Mrs Potts I do something very similar to this :D but I start at my toes, and move up scrunching every muscle that I can, then I open the taps that are on the end of each toe and let a warm golden thick gloopy substance slowly work up my body, relaxing and warming as I go. The idea is that it gets to the top of your head and then drains away, taking all of the stress and tension with it...(I've never got this far, I'm usually asleep with the golden goo at my hip level :D )

 

Another one is painting a black wall in your head. Each time you think of something else a little painter type dude comes along and paints the patch black, it sounds quite mad, but you spend all your time concentrating on this little man you don't have anything else in your head :D

 

Cathy

X

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Thanks all, certainly some advice I will follow, was up until 3am last night :(, but was able to lie in until nearly 11am! I certainly miss my mum a huge amount and this is especially poignant at anniversaries, two years on Tuesday since she died. Long holidays have given me chance to think and dwell more than in term time, when my mind is full of school, lesson plan, deadlines etc, in the holidays (over now :cry::cry::cry: ) I have had time to myself and my thoughts, maybe this isn't such a bad thing, it is just sleep, well lack of it!

 

School feels like pulling straight out of a layby (school holidays) into the fast lane (term time). My poor girls will miss their extended freedom, now I am back to school, oh well, 7 weeks until half term.

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