Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 18, 2013
The last couple of weeks have been a nightmare. I’m not sleeping much, and that’s not good long term. The last great night of sleep I got was when I went to bed on Saturday the 7th at 1:30AM and woke around 11AM. And it felt good. Since then I’ve slept little, including this past Saturday when I stayed in bed 9 hours but probably slept 5, and Monday night when I stayed in bed 9 hours and once again might have gotten 5 hours, and that was after not sleeping for more than 36 hours, which isn’t close to a record, but at my age is something I can’t afford to do as often as when I was younger.
trying to keep my eyes open
for the picture lol
What could the issue be? I have absolutely no idea. When I started using the CPAP again (I actually have a BiPAP but it’s so much easier typing CPAP lol) I thought it would mean that I’d be getting better sleep than in the past.
Well, in actuality that’s partially happened. It seems that I’m kind of a violent sleeper, but the CPAP helps me start breathing sooner than before I got it. However, during the night it measures my breathing, pushing air harder when I stop and it doesn’t seem to go back down once it’s ramped up. At least it’s never down when I eventually wake up, which is usually when I still have time to sleep because I have to figure out how to adjust my breathing. If I turn it off & start over I can’t breathe because I’m breathing harder than the machine is ready for so I have to catch up to the machine and hope I don’t wake myself up before I get there.
So I do wake up feeling better physically, but not necessarily mentally all the time because I’m still not sleeping enough. A CPAP will affect the quality, not the quantity of sleep. And that’s the major issue here, as I had that CPAP on the entire time I tried to sleep when I didn’t fall asleep, which means at least I was breathing well, and I actually felt pretty good at work because of that.
But this post isn’t about CPAP or BiPAP issues; it’s about sleep, the act of trying to get to sleep and staying asleep and what works or doesn’t work well. I can’t say that anything has ever put me to sleep but some things have helped me sleep longer here and there, but I’ve rarely awakened feeling all that good. That’s what I’m sharing in this post. Maybe you’ve tried some of these and maybe you have something to offer instead, but this is one of those “diversion” posts from blogging or social media; after all, this blog is called I’m Just Sharing after all. 🙂
Let’s start with Zzzquil, the alcohol-free brother of Nyquil. Nyquil is good to help you get to sleep when you’re sick but it’s not the thing you should take when you’re not sick, and hasn’t worked on me when I tried it anyway. Zzzquil is supposed to put you to sleep but that’s it. Well, it doesn’t work; at least on me. Turns out its main ingredient is diphenhydramine. Ever heard of Benadryl? What is it; diphenhydramine! Basically, it’s a cold medicine with a side effect for some people of drowsiness. If you’re someone who seems to be prone to side effects then this will probably work for you; not me however.
Next, melatonin. It’s not really supposed to put you to sleep, but you may possibly feel drowsy after taking it. This is problematic if you don’t have a lot of hours to sleep because, it turns out, the safest recommended dosage is 1mg and most of the bottles you find come in 5mg doses, and the warning is that it might make you feel groggy after waking up. That part is true; unless I have 9 hours to kill trying to sleep, which is rare, I can’t take this stuff, which doesn’t put me to sleep anyway.
Next, someone recommended magnesium. I could easily rule that one out because I’ve taken that in combination with potassium for years. Since I still have sleeping issues, that’s a non-starter.
Next, hot tea. Most people recommend chamomile, green tea, or other “clear teas” that have no taste; yeah, I said that! What’s the main thing about them? That don’t have any caffeine in them, that’s what. The idea of hot tea is that it’s supposed to be calming having that warm feeling running through your body and relaxing you. Some say the same thing about warm milk, although I see fewer people recommending that these days. I’ve given that a try but I’m the type where, if I don’t like the taste, I’m not really going to do it more than once if it doesn’t work; and it didn’t. I even tried something my wife recommended called Sleepytime; nope, nada.
long as I held her; I’m not asleep
Some have recommended getting a boring book to read because it’ll dull your mind and bore you enough to sleep. You know, once I left school that trick never worked on me, and I realized books were boring because teachers were boring and you were trying hard to remember stuff you couldn’t learn from your teachers. There are books I’ve tried to read that I didn’t like because they were confusing (Tale Of Two Cities; I wish I could slap Dickens for that one) but boring? I’ve read books on ethics, history, religion, multiple sciences, leadership, making money, personal growth, Harry Potter… and loved them all!
Some people can fall asleep to music; I can’t. There have been times where I’ve had to use music to calm me down some because, for whatever reason, often when I go to bed my heart starts beating hard and my mind starts thinking of all sorts of things and I hear this weird beat in my head that doesn’t match up to any songs I’ve ever heard in my life; weird!
When it gets too bad I pop on some music, classical, and I select the “calm” movements of my favorite pieces like the 2nd movements of many piano concertos, or the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Words… anything with words and my mind either sings along with them or tries to figure them out. Did you ever know the song was called Judy in Disguise instead of Judy in the Sky, and that the guy who wrote it was inspired by the Beatles Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, another song that makes no sense? lol
I sound like a mess don’t I? But I know I’m not the only one with these issues. What’s left? Some people suggest turning off any stimulus an hour before you go to bed. What are you supposed to do for an hour before going to bed if you do that? Some people say meditation. I tried that but instead of peace I start thinking about people I wish I could get back for some imagined or real indiscretions against me in the past, get riled up, and sleep isn’t happening at that point.
You know, those times when you wish you’d said that magnificent thing as a retort to something someone else said and now you’ve figured out what the proper response should have been, and you start wondering if you could find that person and say it now, only to realize that even if you could find them and say it they’d stare at you because it probably means nothing to them now?
Or those people who wronged you that you wish you could find, take them out in the woods, tie them to a tree, then shoot them in each of their arms and legs with a crossbow until they fully understand that they shouldn’t have messed with you and lied about you and tried to damage your life, even if you’ve accomplished some pretty nice things that you could throw in their faces but the crossbow would feel so good? You’ve never had that feeling? Never mind! lol Anyway, meditation is supposed to bring you peace; I know I’m doing it wrong.
I have found only one thing that really works, and it’s something I can’t really do on the road. That one thing is… stay up as late as I possibly can, exhausting myself until I can’t think anymore, and then going to bed. That’s it! When I’m working from home I often stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and I’m on social media or writing and people see me and are amazed that it’s actually me talking to them live. Works well talking to people on the West Coast or in other countries. But when I’m on a work project… nope, just can’t do that when you have to be somewhere at a certain time and put in a full day’s work. I do that when I have meetings when I’m at home because I know I can come back home and go back to bed if necessary, but I can’t do it now.
So, I’ll be back home at midnight on Friday, and I don’t have to be at the bank until 11:30AM to pay mortgage, which means I can stay up until 4AM if need be, since I’ll probably only sleep 6 or 7 hours, and even though I won’t be perfect it’ll probably be the best I’ve felt in 3 weeks. It’s not something I recommend for everyone unless you can do it, though my friend Mitchell Allen is living my dream of sleeping when he wants to for a few hours, working, then sleeping again; sigh…
I’m not saying my way is best for anyone; it might not be best for me. But all those other things I mentioned… well, other than the CPAP (or BiPAP) to help you sleep better if you have apnea, I’m not the one to recommend any medication to help you sleep. I will add this though; sometimes I will take either an ibuprofen PM or acetaminophen PM to try to overcome some leg pain I might be having, and I think that might help me sleep better because it dulls the pain, but that’s it.
Whew, this was long, but I hope it wasn’t rambling and I hope it was somewhat entertaining. If I haven’t mentioned it here, what types of things do you find helps you to sleep? By the way, I don’t drink alcohol, never have, so if that’s your recommendation it’s one I won’t be trying. Go on, share! 🙂