wtf sleep

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by seebs, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    So I have these melatonin pills that are supposed to help me sleep. This... sort of works.

    They make me sleepy. Sometimes if I fall asleep right away, then things go great, I sleep a long time, and all that.

    Otherwise, about an hour and a half later, I'm back to awake and I don't seem to have any more luck than usual being sleepy. Blah.

    The interesting thing is, I now tend to Feel Sleepy briefly around the time I take the pills... And then still not sleep well. So I think my circadian rhythm is now tuned for "get tired around midnight for half an hour then wake up again anyway without actually sleeping".
  2. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    I have a prescription for trazodone for sleep, which works reasonably well and I don't have to take that much (half a pill if average tired, a full pill if feeling a bit too awake for easy sleep). Side effect is being a bit unsteady if woken up before 8 hours or so. Withdrawal is a total bitch, though. Twitchy, frenetic; spastic limb movements; brain being constantly in obsessive fretty loops over everything.
  3. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    All I have is non-medicinal advice, most of which I have shared in your vicinity, so I'll skip it unless you want me to spew it in detail. A few things I don't usually mention:
    Masturbation is my most reliable way to fall asleep when my body stubbornly insists on not sleeping. I actually don't get horny that often, but I have a mental library of things that turn me on, so when I'm having trouble, I peruse it until something goes "yes, yes. This is what I want tonight". I have quite a diverse library that sometimes confuses and shocks me, but if it helps me sleep, it's good enough. Sometimes I have to I have to find me some porn/smut to get me going. This trick doesn't work if I have things interfering with my sleep(like caffeine, or if my sleep schedule is really messed up), but if pretty much everything else is in order, it gives me that last push to fall unconscious.
    So... I once became so frustrated with my sleep, that I would get angry about it. I had started waking up in the middle of the night, just being angry, and I couldn't figure out why(I had inadvertently programmed my body to be angry due to my own frustration with my sleep). Anger is not a good sleeping emotion. Anyways, I eventually looked online to find out that waking up in the middle of the night was a perfectly normal thing that didn't make your sleep worse. And I started calming down. I stopped waking up angry, and eventually stopped waking up in the middle of the night. So, moral of the story is: don't emotionally charge your sleep because it only makes it worse.
    • Like x 1
  4. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    My problem is mostly that if I wake up, I nearly always just Stay Awake and can't get back to sleep, so I don't get enough sleep if I actually try to be up and about during the day.
  5. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Huh. Questions(if you desire to answer them): on average, how long do you sleep before you wake up again? How often is the waking up thing happening? How long do you sleep on "good" days? What do you typically do once you wake up(lay in bed, get up and do things ect)? Are you aware of any reason for waking up(hot, cold, thirsty, light, someone moving, smells ect)? Do you have a particular emotional state when you wake up?
  6. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    My go-to for "I really need sleep and my brain is not helping" is Fenergam (promethazine), which is used in treatment of allergies and nausea but also as a sleeping pill because the "side effect" of getting sleepy is really strong. The good side is: the 8 most satisfying hours of sleep I can ever experience in my poor insomniac life. The downside: If I'm not careful, the 16 most satisfying hours of sleep I can ever experience in my poor insomniac life. It makes the muscles relax, which can make me drowsy for the rest of the day if I used it the night before.
  7. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    melatonin does the same thing to me
    if i go to sleep when they tell me to go to sleep, then I'm asleep and everything is awesome. But usually i'm doing something, or I think no, just one more chapter, because otherwise it's boring staring up at the ceiling waiting for it to kick in. and then it's too late and i'm awake till 5

    i used to use benadryl, because it hits me pretty hard, but i have heard that is not the most genius self-medication strategy i could have.
  8. Aya

    Aya words words words

    Here's some science about why melatonin isn't really a good "sleeping pill" so to speak:

    Okay so melatonin isn't really a sleep hormone, though that's often the simple version you'll hear. The body produces it continuously in response to darkness/nighttime, and tells your body to switch over to "night mode" (so to speak). Melatonin makes you sleepy indirectly; it tells the systems that should put you to sleep that it's time for them to go to work.

    The other thing about melatonin is that it has a really, really short half-life. We're talking something like half an hour. The body chews through it really fast. This makes sense if you think about it: melatonin production is triggered by darkness, but we need to be ready to get up really soon after the light shows up. (Or at least nature thinks that's how we're supposed to work and it's not our bodies' fault that synthetic light is everywhere now.) You don't want it to be lingering in the system when it's time for you to get up and go.

    So that means when you take a single melatonin pill, it will only be particularly useful for a half-hour window. This means that it's going to work in scenarios where the problem is that you have trouble falling asleep and when you actually go to sleep in response to the sleepy feeling. If your body doesn't take over producing melatonin on its own after you've got all the lights out and have gone to bed and gone to sleep, the stuff you can get at the drug store isn't going to do you a lot of good. Similarly, if you take the pill and then don't go to bed during that window, that dose will not help you. (Huge doses that will keep enough melatonin running through you to hit effective levels even after many half-lives are a theoretical option here but you should not do that because doses that high can also provoke symptoms such as hallucinations and seizures.)

    Now, it is possible to get extended release melatonin, which works more similarly to what your body is supposed to do naturally--but at least in the US, you have to get a prescription for that.

    As far as other stuff goes: I fall asleep really easily on the "traditional" sleep medications like ambien and lunesta but I don't really feel rested afterward, so I don't like them. I took trazodone for two years partially as an antidepressant and partially for sleep and that worked pretty well until we changed the doses of some other stuff I was taking and all the effects went out of balance. Probably my best result for sleeping meds has been seroquel, but that never would have come up if I didn't have a nice long list of brainweird going on anyway--they don't like giving antipsychotics to muggles.

    In conclusion: why is sleep so hard when it's supposed to be something that we do every goddamn day for eight goddamn hours.
    • Like x 2
  9. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I have been experimenting with napping in the late afternoon for a bit, then trying to sleep at night, and aiming to get 7-9 hours total but not worrying as much about which hours, and it seems to help a lot.
    • Like x 1
  10. Ink

    Ink Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I think sleep tends to get surrounded by a lot of "shoulds" that might not be helpful at all.
    • Like x 1
  11. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I've been really tired all day and unable to sleep, so I can't get stuff done but I also can't sleep so I could get stuff done later. Grr.

    Gonna try again.
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