Insomnia Issues; Ugh!

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.

I’m not angry; I was just
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.

This baby would sleep only as
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…

Carlos Huerta via Compfight

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! 🙂

23 thoughts on “Insomnia Issues; Ugh!”

  1. Mitch, we’ve gone over this sleep issue so much. I wish I had some helpful suggestions. A rather unhelpful one comes to mind – don’t work outside of your home! (My bad, I just couldn’t resist. LOL)

    Maybe you should sign up with one of those sleep therapy centers. You always talk about the CPAP and the adjustments – but is that the only time you’ve consulted medical professionals about this problem?

    Finally, what about the bed itself? Does that add to the problem?

    Good luck working through it!



    1. Actually, the beds are great. As I said in the post, I’m hearing this beat lately, a song that doesn’t exist and a beat my head just came up with. I spent some of my day at work listening to music instead of just videos and “talk” and I’m hoping that helps some. I really want one good night of sleep, as I only have two more nights here. As for sleep therapy centers… that takes insurance, and I’m not sure about mine yet.

  2. What I’ve found that puts me to sleep is a long blog post like this one–JUST KIDDING!

    Seriously, I normally don’t have sleep problems, but it seems like one night every 3 or so weeks I’ll be up most of the night and have a hard time sleeping. It’s some kind of cycle that I don’t understand, but I just deal with the fact that I have it and am going to be really tired the following day.

    I don’t take anything for sleep and don’t like to take sleep aids. One thing that does help make me very sleepy is that I’ll play solitaire on the computer until I can’t keep my eyes open. It usually only takes a few games before I’m ready for the bed, but it’s a pretty sure sleep aid. Except on those weird cycled nights when I’m awake. Fortunately it’s not often, but it’s pretty consistent and I don’t understand why.


    1. Arlee, my mind always says “let’s work a Sudoku puzzle to relax”, but that just juices me up it seems. Heck, I haven’t even though about solitaire in years; I wonder if it’s on my laptop. lol This is a weird pattern, because it comes and goes from time to time, but it’s a bit different this time around because right now the only stress I have is not sleeping.

  3. I would suggest you giving serious consideration to alternate therapy like yoga, particularly to pranayama and meditation. Don’t please sneeze at the idea. It has worked for a lot of people I know.

    1. Rummuser, I did mention my problem with meditation, but I’ve said that once my gig is over and I’m back home for good, or at least for a long while, that yoga is something I want to look into to increase my flexibility. Not sure it’ll help me sleep, but if it works then I’ll be a happy guy.

  4. Hey Mitch, so sorry that you’ve been having such a hard time about sleeping. I still like the chamomile tea myself, sweetened with some honey.

    Have you tried acupuncture at all. I’ve heard some people have had a bit of luck going that route.

    1. I don’t know if there’s a place out of town where I am Sire. I think they closed the place that used to be close to me so it would be a 30-minute drive to the next place.

  5. Mitch, I’ve had sleep issues over the past 5 years or so. I attributed it to aging. But I do find when I exercise I sleep better, have you tried long walks? I know it’s harder this time of the year, I haven’t in two weeks with my mom very sick but when I do – anytime of the day, I do sleep better. Hoping you get better sleep because I know how much it interferes with your day when you don’t!

  6. I’ve had a cpap for 7 years now and what I’ve found is I actually need less sleep before I get it because I get quality sleep. I generally stay up until midnight and wake up around 6. Sometimes I must still take Benadryl because my mind is racing too much.

    What I would really like to see is a medication that makes it so you don’t have to sleep. Just imaging what you could get done being awake 24/7.

  7. Hey Mitch,

    I feel your pain.
    I’ve been dealing with insomnia since age 14, that’s 20 years ago.
    I’ve tried everything, you name it I’ve tried it from prescription drugs, to yoga, meditation, sleepy tea, natural food, massage, acupuncture, hot bath, every over the counter med. alcohol….etc.
    For me it comes and goes. The most I was awake was 72 hrs without taking any day off of work.
    Right now I do a set of things (a ritual) that seem to help to keep insomnia under control: Cut out sugar and meat out of my life, I take melatonin with sleepy tea and I listen an audio I found on YouTube (hypnoteraphy) and this thing can knock me out in about 10 minutes (but sometimes doesn’t work). I converted this video into an MP3 so it’s on my ipod. find it on youtube “FREE Can’t Sleep-Insomnia Relief Hypnosis” it’s a doctor from the UK.
    it works for me.
    Careful with insomnia, it kills people (not directly)

    I wish you the best!

    1. You were up 72 hours Akos? Not bad; my record is 85 1/2 hours, and I think that was last year. I have periods like that, and I’ve had sleep issues since I was 10, when my dad went to Vietnam. Just never gotten over them completely but right now… well, I’ll be home for two weeks so let’s see what happens then. I’ll look for your recommendation; thanks.

  8. “…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…”

    Me, too! It’s so hard to explain this stuff to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I’ve actually said to my wife, “Do you hear that beating sound?” I eventually realized it was inside my own head, or maybe my ears. I also have apnea, and wake up gasping for air. I was tested last year and told that I have a mild case of apnea. The only thing that stops it is if I sleep on my left side.

    Have you tried a sound machine? That seems to help me.

    When I saw that top photo, I thought you’d joined the space program.

    1. LOL! If only they’d allow those things in space, I’d take my shot.

      Actually Charles, I sleep with ear plugs, so a normal sound machine wouldn’t work. While I’m out of town, I can’t hear anything with the earplugs in. Since I’ve been home I find if I put my fan on the medium level I can hear it a bit and I’ve slept better. My wife said I should buy a fan for the sound while I’m out of town, but I’m already stressing how I’ll get all the stuff I already have home without it costing an arm and a leg. lol

      And you’re right, few people own up to hearing their hearts beating so I’m comforted that I’m not the only one either. I wish you better luck in the long run.

  9. Hi Mitch,
    I have also been trying various natural insomnia remedies. My two cents:

    (1) Tapping
    (2) Lemon Balm
    (3) Lavender Vanilla Sleep Pillow Mist (by Bath & Body Works)

    1. Hi Rachel,

      I’ve heard of tapping for almost a decade now but it just doesn’t seem to be my thing. As to the other two things, since I sleep with the CPAP I’d never smell either of them.

      1. Hi Mitch,

        Just a FYI: Lemon Balm is an extract that is taken orally 🙂

        Happy New Year!

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