Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 
My mind won't turn off.
That doesn't seem like the complaint of the century, but I am quite fond of sleeping, and I haven't been able to do any for some time now. Does anyone have any good insomnia remedies? If someone suggests something that works well for me, I will award not only my eternal gratitude, but something else (to be determined) that makes your suggestion worthwhile.
Comments:
Well, it may not be the complaint of the century, but it is important. I went through a long period of insomnia some years back which eventually led to a very severe clinical depression - some would say the depression led to the insomnia, but I think it really was the other way round.

And that is exactly how I described the early stages - my mind would not turn off. It was mostly - at that time - work related stuff, the feeling that I had always forgotten to do something etc.

My wife is going through that right now. I ordered her to quit work. Her boss is up nights worrying about work and transferring her worry. It's nuts.

My solution? Stop drinking (if you do), no caffeine at all - none. And force yourself to excercise, Whatever. Yoga is fine. Swimming. Not because the pohysical activity tires you but because I believe the time spent rowing or walking or doing anything repetitive accelerates the mind some what. How do I mean?

Okay life lesson one. I work on my feet twelve hours a day. My mind is foccussed on my work a goodly portion of the time but it also free to play. At the end of the day I'm tired and sleep like a baby. But I don't think it's just the physical activity - I think it's the physicality plus the mind wandering that does it. Counting strokes in the pool. A sort of applied day dreaming.

I haven't yet developed a theory on this and the new self help tape Snores of Steel is not yet in stores, but yeah, it's a concern. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, though I play one on my blog.
 
Thanks for the suggestions. Swimming or walking or running around flailing my arms for hours on end, I'm going to give this a shot. Mostly, because I believe you that insomnia leads to depression rather than the reverse...I'm seeing some negative effects in that area already that weren't there before. Thanks again, and if that AreolaCasting didn't work out for you, get to work on podcasting Dr. (sort of) Moffatt's Snores of Steel.
 
I think Brian's got some great ideas. I will reiterate the no caffeine. Even if I can fall asleep, I find myself waking often if I have had any caffeine.

If you're not opposed to melatonin, I've found that it has always helped a lot.

Good luck.
 
Thanks, Liz. I've been on the fence about melatonin, but if Brian's regimen doesn't work, I'm more than willing to try it.
 
Sorry to hear about your insomnia. I've had it at times, too, and it's always coincided with the times that I have either stopped working out or I'm on a breather from it. I agree completely that insomnia will lead to depression, along with some other mental maladies, like insanity. There are probably a slew of reasons why working out will help you sleep. You're healthier if you're working out regularly, working out releases chemicals that make you feel better, which probably help your mind to stop worrying/thinking so you can sleep, and it does tire you out, though I can recount many times when my body was tired, but I couldn't sleep because my mind was racing.

Another thing is that I'm a really light sleeper, so everything has to be just right for me to be able to fall asleep. It can't be too cold or too hot. I have chronic back and neck problems. When I'm even slightly uncomfortable in my bed, I can't sleep, so I've figured out how my bed and pillow have to be adjusted so that I can sleep. Maybe try some adjustments to your sleep environment?

Anyway, good luck. If these home remedies don't work, maybe you should see a doctor. I don't know where you live, but Stanford has a great sleep clinic.
 
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Emcee
 
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