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Middle of the night insomnia - advice please

Hi there,

Advice wanted please! I have an annoying new symptom. I used to sleep perfectly until a couple of weeks ago when I started to wake up at around 3, 4 in the morning and cannot get back to sleep. Initially I thought it would go away but it hasn’t! Does anyone have any advice? I am seeing my neuro tomorrow for unrelated things. Would he take this seriously?

Any tips or advice would be most welcome, thank you.

Choochy x

Can you identify what wakes you? Is it pain, cramp, worry, needing the loo or any such like? Your neuro should take this seriously so mention it.

Liz

Hi!

Nothing in particular seems to wake me up - I just seem to wake up and feel totally wide awake and struggle to get back to sleep at all. It’s having a serious effect on my day to day things as I’m so tired. Very unusual for me as I used to sleep so well.

Choochy

This can be annoying Choocy; especially if you drop off during the day. I usually go back to sleep after loo visits but when I don’t I have 2 remedies for myself

The first is having a clock radio that I can put on and listen to and goes after 90mins down to 30 minutes whatever I set. Usually radio 5 or talk sport. When I am going through anxiety and just can’t relax I put on my talking book tape usually Stephen Fry’s first autobiography. His soothing tones and the stories of his life at boarding school and all of his villinous activities usually do the trick. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to those tapes. So whatever helps you to escape, music can help too. I also take 40ml of Amitriptyline for pain and spasms and that’s help me to drop off initially.

Wendy

x

Hi Choocy Have you recently changed your meds as this can affect your sleeping pattern? I started off on amytriptiline for pain relief but although it is supposed to help you sleep, one of it’s rare side effects is insomnia and I was awake all night with it. Once I changed to Gabapentin I was fine. Teresa xx

From what I’ve read on here and the response of my neuro, I reckon this is a pretty common problem - and a right pain

If I don’t get back to sleep after an hour or so, I get up & play some cards or have a browse on the internet, read a book, etc. and go back to bed later on. It normally works in that I usually get back to sleep, but if it goes on for more than one or two nights it’s a nightmare so I have sleeping pills to break the cycle.

Things I’ve found:

Looking at the clock makes things worse (“How long have I been awake now?!” “Oh for xxxxxx’s sake, that’s two hours, go to xxxxxxx sleep!”).

Worrying about it also doesn’t help. If you do wake up (normal brief wakenings) and you start to worry about getting back to sleep, it ain’t going to happen!

Don’t get up and go to the loo unless you REALLY need to.

Don’t toss and turn; get comfy and stay put.

Focus on breathing. Every breath out, try and relax into the bed - let the bed hold you up.

I bet others will have different tips - I hope you find what works for you soon. Insomnia is no fun!

Karen x

Hi, I regularly suffer from broken sleep. But i have found there is one thing which makes it worse…ie looking at the clock. When i wake, I guess what time it is and it is often much earlier than i reckon…this is usually because i have slept deeply.

So if I see that it is only say 2.30pm, i seem to fret more than if I don`t look at the clock and just drift in and out of sleep.

does this make any sense? Hope your sleep improves, as we can do without extra tiredness, i know.

luv Pollx

Hello all!

Thank you so much for all your fabulous suggestions - I feel a bit more armed for my next sleepless night now. The only good thing about being awake at 4am this morning was that I got some more of my uni essay done, yay! Bad thing is that I yawned all through work.

Will see what the neuro has to say about it tomorrow…if he gives me a chance to speak at all that is. Ho hum.

A very tired Choochy x

Never tried it myself but arent melatonin tablets helpful for insomnia?

Hello, I often listen to the radio through the night - Radio 5 - and focussing on their discussions/issues and not on worries or pain.

One trick I sometimes try to help me sleep, is to shut my eyes and count to 10, then open my eyes count to 10 and keep repeating that. If I really try to shut out all other thoughts (difficult) after a while it becomes a real effort to keep opening for 10 and then I drop off.

good luck

Gill

My dad used to say “you won’t fall asleep with your eyes open” so I don’t get up although the desire to go on the computer when I am wide-awake is very high.

I try to banish all thoughts of my daily life from my head – otherwise I worry away at problems until I am at the going over and over conversations stage. I push all these thoughts away with mindless listing activities. My latest is films where a journey is one of the central theme and films with a name (first and last name) in the title. (Please feel free to tell me any examples that I might not have)

If I am still awake after all that I give in and listen to more of my current audio book on my ipod. I’m resting and relaxed doing that so I don’t feel too stressed about not being asleep.

Couldn’t agree more with people who said don’t look at the clock.

Jane