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Ten On Tuesday

Generally speaking, I sleep very well. I read before bed every night and usually drift off very quickly. Like everyone, though, I have occasional bouts of insomnia. When I have a lot on my mind or something is troubling me I will wake up in the night and my mind starts going and I can’t fall back to sleep. Today’s topic, 10 Ways to Beat Insomnia, is about offering suggestions on what to do when that happens.

  1. Try and quiet your mind. I find that when I ponder the issues I just compound my sleeplessness so I try instead to think about nothing. Every try to do that? It’s hard.
  2. Read. I’m lucky that Dale is a heavy sleeper because I can turn the light on and read without disturbing him.
  3. Get up. I don’t usually do this but it’s probably better than lying in bed and getting frustrated about not falling asleep.
  4. Count sheep. I know, it’s cliche, but I think it actually works. We have to be careful with this one, though, because as knitters we may actually  get excited when thinking about sheep.
  5. Cut back on the caffeine. I generally don’t drink coffee after 11am and if I have a cup of tea in the evening I make sure it’s decaffeinated. Think about hidden sources of caffeine, too, like chocolate or coca cola.
  6. Exercise regularly but not in the evening. I definitely find that I sleep better at night when I have exercised that morning.
  7. Don’t watch the clock. Thinking about losing sleep or having to get up in an hour or two isn’t going to help you fall back to sleep, that’s for sure.
  8. Stay off the computer before bedtime. I read somewhere that the light from the screen actually stimulates your brain and can keep you awake. I try to be done with all computer related stuff by 8 or 9 pm anyway. Let’s face it, Facebook and emails will be there in the morning.
  9. Keep your bedroom cool. As I approach my mid 40s it’s becoming more and more apparent how important this one is. Ahem.
  10. Ambian. On the nights when I know Dale won’t be getting home until the wee hours because of a band job, I take preemptive measures and pop a little sleeping pill. I don’t do it often enough for it to be habit forming (less than 10 times/year, at most) and it really helps me out on those nights.

Sleep is a good thing and I’m hoping you all get a good night’s sleep tonight!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Excellent topic Carol and I cannot add anything you haven’t
    already listed. I have to say you are way ahead of the game
    in dealing with this issue. I have the exact same problem and
    I think I was in my late 50’s (ouch – just a few years ago!)
    before I finally learned how to treat this. The caffeine after noon
    for me made a big difference. But everything else you listed is
    also right on the mark!!! Good for you.

  2. Lately I’ve found that a few rounds of a difficult solitaire game are enough for my eyes to droop. If I know I’m not going to fall asleep (you know how you just have that feeling LOL), I usually get up & go into the living room, turn on the lights w/ the dimmer, and sit and either knit or read for a little bit, then I hopefully get drowsy. At that point I go back to bed and try to relax and think about the ocean, visualizing the waves crashing on the shore. Most of the time it works! Great list!!

  3. The one thing I’ve found that works is visualizing knitting a project. Just counting a few knit stitches and I’m relaxed and slipping into sleep.

  4. I’m with Margene — I imagine knitting stitch by stitch and bingo! I’m asleep. (I didn’t get your email this week so I’m not participating, not because I don’t like the topic.)

  5. The technique I use on those nights is difficult at first to do but with practice it will work well. Completely clear your mind. Visualize a big blackboard. Then visualize numbers on that blackboard counting backwards. I start at 100 and flash each decending number on the board. The hard part is you must block out all other thoughts and just focus on the number count!

    Also, decaffeinated anything is not caffeine free. It must say caffeine free to be caffeine free. If you are susceptible to caffeine, even a small amount will affect you. Caffeine is added to a lot of drinks. Chocolate has caffeine in it but white chocolate has a different type of stimulant from the same family that is even stronger. If you have sleep problems or you experience cardiac palpitations, any caffeine can really aggravate it!

  6. Studying the grammar of a foreign language works for me (I should do that more often). English grammar could also work. This morning I woke up too early. Throwing the covers on and off will do that to me.

  7. Great idea this week! I’m looking forward to some new tips/tricks to help. I had to giggle about keeping the bedroom cool. I too am in my mid-40’s and I used to be cold all the time. Now I’m throwing back the covers all the time and DH is cold 🙂

  8. I am a terrible sleeper. Summer vacation seems to help! 🙂 Happy Tuesday, Carole!

  9. As a night nurse, I have learned that Benadryl 25 mg (generic: diphenhydramine) works well for me when I am trying to sleep during the day. Although an antihistamine, it has the side effect of making one drowsy. It is the “PM” part of Tylenol PM, etc. I take one, lie down, and am out within half an hour. Nonprescription and perhaps a little less expensive than Ambien or Lunesta. Worth a try!

  10. I count backward from 100, too, and rarely reach 1. If I do, a repeat will definitely do the trick. Another one – I take my pulse for an entire 60 seconds, staring at the digital clock waiting for the next minute to switch over. Often I fall asleep waiting for the next minute. I forget to do that one, though, and mostly default to the counting backward trick.

    I turned 50 in February, and I can attest to the necessity of a cold bedroom. Covers OFF, covers ON, covers OFF again!

  11. Great topic. When I’m having trouble sleeping I often turn on our tv and put on something I can easily fall asleep on like food or home shows. That’s what I tried to do last week when i realized at 3am that our bedroom tv was dead. It was a very long night and I got a replacement 2 days later. I was desperate.

  12. Obviously, many of your readers found this topic as compelling as I did. the past few days have really been a struggle. You and a couple of readers mentioned “clearing your mind”. This is the part I really wrestle with. I will definitely try the “mental knitting” strategy. Currently, I am reading “I Can Make You Sleep” by Paul McKenna. Last night I uses an exercise called “Practicing Being Drowsy” which seemed to help. the book also includes a CD which I have not yet tried. Thanks for today’s post. Jo

  13. Carole

    Sleep begets sleep for me. I nap every afternoon and I fall soundly asleep. I work an off night shift twice a week though…
    If you cant sleep TRUST ME, work a 12 hour night shift from 7 p to 7 a. YOU’LL HIT YOUR BED SO HARD it practically cracks!

  14. I started needing the cold room in my late 30s. Oddly I get very cold at night from about 7 pm til bedtime. Then the warming begins! I do like to try to play solitaire on the iPhone. Little screen and all. Or put the TV on. As long as it’s a rerun, I’m not likely to stay up and watch.

    I sometimes as myself, where am I?, and try to imagine a beautiful place I’ve been. I like visualizing walks in the early morning on a cruise ship at sea. Good topic!

  15. people shared some great tips for this topic – I like “getting up” – since I don’t have trouble sleeping very often, it’s ok to just admit I’m awake and do something other than worry about not sleeping!

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