99 days...and_I_still_can't_sleep...

Old 12-17-2009, 11:22 PM
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99 days...and_I_still_can't_sleep...

No this isn't a Jay-Z song know, 99 problems but the bitch ain't one...or something like that (I don’t even like rap)...anyway, has anyone else still not been able to sleep well after this much sober time? I figured it would be a month, maybe two, but I still am only good for 4, 5 hours tops every night at best, sometimes it's only 3. I can fall asleep no prob, I just always wake up around 3am and can't get back to sleep. I'm pretty exhausted everyday...and I think I am getting depressed from lack of sleep. I was never that good of a sleeper, probably one of the reasons I used to self medicate with beer and weed. I have to say these last 99 days have probably been some of the toughest of my life...not tough because I am fighting the urge to drink or get high, I honestly don't have any desire to drink or get high, sure I think about it, that's all I do now is think about stuff, but I never even remotely feel like acting on the thoughts. I'm usually too tired to act on anything these days. I've been to the doctors lots, getting every blood test known to man, been to a sleep far nothing seems to help. My doc did prescribe me some sleeping pills, but I find them about as effective as melatonin...I still wake up. I've tried exercise both morning and afternoon, tried changing my diet from low carb to high carb...I try everything, but I'm still bagged all the time. I always have bags under my eyes...I look much worse than when I was drinking and getting high...that really sucks.

Being sober I dream up all these great ideas and plans but I never follow through on any of them because I am basically too tired. Pretty f**ked up eh?, finally get all sober and clean and have great ideas but I am to damn tired to do anything about them. I'm not sure what I am going to do. Actually I do, I will just keep going to bed and waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes laying there trying to get back to sleep, sometimes getting up and reading or jumping around my apartment wondering if I am going crazy...actually for a while there I decided to just get up and go for a walk when ever I woke up, no matter what time, so I was getting all bundled up at 3:30am and going for a walk...I really enjoyed it after I was out there because it was so peaceful and quite in the middle of the night...but after about a week or so of it I could barely stay awake at work so I had to stop. But all I can do is just keep trying, hoping that one night I wake up and check my clock and it says, well anything past say 5:30 am would totally rock!!

I must say, as crappy as the last 99 days has been for sleeping I still prefer it to being hung-over...even though I don't have the energy to act on any of the amazing thoughts or ideas that I think about (non stop!) I still love having them. I know that if I am ever able to get a good nights sleep life will be absolutely fantastic! I just need to get some damn sleep! Ok, that's all I got, I just wanted to unload, I don't really expect anyone to be able to help but it's nice to have a place to whine and bitch where others probably have gone through similar situations and can relate. Thanks for listening...good night...
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:59 PM
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I hear ya. I'm the other way - can't get to sleep. I'm just looking at it like my body needs some time to figure out how to do things without alcohol, and since I was passing out instead of just going to bed when I was tired for like fifteen years, it may take a while to get "reset." I feel like I've had jet lag for four months, but it beats feeling like s*#t from drinking. All part of undoing the damage I did to myself. On the plus side, I get a lot more uninterrupted computer time...
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:45 AM
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Thanks for sharing Primal. Grats on 99 days man. That's great!!

Fortunately I've never had any problems sleeping. My dad used to sleep 5 hrs. period, like clockwork. My Godfather sleeps 4-5 max, like a robot. I wish I could do that. It seems some people need more and some less. Personally I need 7+ minimum.

I don't know how long you drank, but if it's been a few years since you've been sober, maybe your body changed during that time and you just need less sleep now? I wouldn't worry too much about it. When we're tired we sleep. When we're not we don't.

99 days sober. That's really cool.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:16 AM
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478 days and I still can't sleep. I posted on here a few times asking for advice on sleep. Now I just take it when I can. Diagnosed 'chronic insomniac'. Unlike you, I find it very difficult to fall asleep, but like you, I find it very hard to remain asleep. I've had periods of remission, they usually last a week or so and have happened about three times...that's 3 weeks of regular (6/7 hours a night) sleep since august 2008. Otherwise, I get anything between 0 and 4 hours a night. A lot of the time I give up trying to sleep after laying awake from mdnight to 6 am and just get up, then -exhausted- the next night I sleep from about 4am until 7am.

I'm exhausted. I was exhausted six months ago.

So, I can't offer any cures...but I'd say try to think about sleep as litle as possible. DOn't obsess, it just wastes even more energy. At first I let it stress me out. I'd toss and turn for (on average) six hours a night, totally frustrated. Now I just get on with the day like nothing'sup and at night, even though I can't sleep, I lay in the dark and rest much as I can without even willing sleep to come. It is hugely frustrating, but I've found resting does help me to function in the day.

Also, do you exercise at all? A jog each morning, before breakfast can really help the body establish a routine. It pumps you up in the morning and tires you out by night.

Always eat healthy, avoid caffiene. Don't eat afer 7pm. Stay well hydrated.

And be patient.

Sorry I can't help more mate, but a huge congrats on 99 days. Good going =)
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:13 AM
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Congrats on the 99 days sober Primal.

I used to when I was drinking lose a lot of sleep if I did not drink enough to drink life away. I would lay awake and things would start spinning in my head...... faster and faster and seeming to grow larger, then suddenly some other resentment, or shame, or guilt would jump into the mix and the spinning would get worse, some nights I just layed in bed with all kinds of crap spinning in my head that would not let me sleep.

The worst part was that once I got out of detox in early sobriety this all returned nightly in early sobriety, I was lucky enough that eventually sheer exhaustion would allow me to sleep a bit.

When you wake up do you get what I had, crazy annoying thoughts spinning in your head?

If you do I can tell you what stopped all that insanity spinning in my head. I took the steps and I stayed sober, when I began to work in earnest on step 4 the crazy thoughts that kept me awake lessened, when I actually finished step 4, those crazy things in my head had settled down greatly, completing step 5 stopped them almost entirely.

Completing steps 6-9 gave me a peace of mind that allowed me to sleep almost every night. Applying all 12 steps into my life on a daily basis has given me the peace & serenity I have always sought but never seemed to be able to find.

This is not to say that on occasion I do not sleep well at night, 99% of the time if I am having a restless night it is because I did not do as well as I was capable of in apllying all 12 steps into my daily life. Once I realize this, I examine what part I played in what was bugging me, then I pray, then I commit to action what prayer and meditation have led me to. It always seems to boil down to me not listening to that guiding force.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:28 AM
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I can relate to the sleep problems. It's not constant for me, but it happens fairly often. It makes me feel like crap. I don't know why it happens, but it does. I'm not newly sober so that's not it. Sometimes it's just my mind racing due to worry or excitement, but other times that is not the case. I hope it gets better for you soon. Hang in there.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:41 AM
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I remember the first 6 months of my sobriety having horrible sleep patterns. But I will share with you what worked for me to beat it. I tried everything over the counter too.

But here's what worked:

Peter Gillam's Natural Calm

This stuff is just magnesium powder.

You take two teaspoons and dissolve it in a 1/2 cup of water. But be gentle about stirring it in because it is very effervescent and will foam up really fast. After you get it all dissolved ad some cooler water and drink it like a warm tea.

Now the affects on this stuff are not immediate so drink this about 20 minutes before you will be in bed and ready to sleep.

What I do is take it, go brush my teeth and do my getting for bed rituals.

Once in bed, I then would take 5MG of Melatonin. I always use the "sublingual" or the the kind that dissolves under your tongue.

This is the brand I use:

Also with Melatonin, it is not immediate. Once it dissolves though, in a about another 15 - 20 minutes you are going to be sleepy.

I get both of the products online at a company called Vita-Cost.

Now, for the down side, the magnesium is going to make you very "regular" in the mornings. In time, you body gets used to it.

I would also suggest for all of you, stop trying to sleep with a TV on. The audio from the TV never lets your brain go deep enough into your sleep patterns.

In time, you can remove the Melatonin from your routine if you want.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:48 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear that you are having problems sleeping still.

I would go to bed feeling exhausted and still not be able to sleep. I would try not to think about anything and of course my mind would never stop. Inevitably I would get mad, sometimes cry and then finally just get up.

I had spoken to my doctor about it several times. He put me on various vitamins, melatonin and also wanted to give me sleeping pills. I had to say no to those. Even though I'm sure they would have worked I didn't want to trade one addiction for another. I was told they are none habit forming, but I know just to stay away from them.

I've finally been able to sleep well the last two nights. I'm not sure what or if I've even done anything different. I've started exercising a bit more and I did start drinking something warm before going to bed. Doubt if that's what has made the difference, but who knows. For all I know it could be the melatonin finally kicking in. All I know is that I'm hoping it lasts.

Sleepless nights are so frustrating. I hope that it does get better for.

I wish you all the best.

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Old 12-18-2009, 06:55 AM
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Finally Sleeping

I too had the hardest time sleeping. I tried everything from Benadryl, Sleep Away and Magnesium, nothing worked like Melatonin. I take 5mg before bed and it relaxes me enough to be able to fall asleep quickly. Just say your prayers and before you know it you will be falling asleep.

Its the best...try it and let us know how it works for ya.

Good Luck and sweet dreams...

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Old 12-18-2009, 09:25 AM
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Whenever I have problems with sleep I know something is going on inside me that needs to be resolved.

Do you feel calm or anxious? Do you have thoughts whirling about in your head or just feel sleepless? TSUKIKO had good advice. Eat healthy, don't eat anything several hours before you go to bed, get plenty of exercise. I'd add "Meditate". Don't read or watch tv/movies, read forums, play games at least 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. Try to just sit and "not think". Listen to quiet music, watch a candle...this time of the year, if you have a Christmas the lights!

Quieting the mind can help depending on what is going on inside you.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the replys guys. As I mentioned I don't have a problem getting to sleep, and I have taken sublingual melatonin often, also I have tried calcium and mag, I might try that natural calm you mentioned ExNavyInHouston. My only problem is I wake up after 4 or 5 hours tops and can't seem to fall back to sleep. It would be great if that was all the sleep I needed, but it's not as I am exhausted everyday. I'm actually looking into biophasic sleep, some folks sleep for 4 or 5 hours usually starting around 2am and then have a 1.5 hour nap around 5 or 6 pm. They say they feel fantastic doing it and they have more time in their day...that might work for me as I can do the 4 or 5 hours at a stretch then I could just take the nap after work and be able to stay up until 2am...that would actually be pretty cool if it worked. Anyway, thanks again for the responses...I didn't really think I would find a cure but it's nice to be able to talk about it with others that understand. Have a great day! is 100 days!!
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:10 AM
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Grats on 100 PS! Looks like you and I got sober around the same time. I really relate to what you said about having all these great things you were going to do because you're sober and no energy to do them. Grrrr! So frustrating! It's not been helping with my depression, either. I think Boomslang has it right that our bodies need to learn how to go to sleep and stay asleep and that is just going to take a while. My friend's baby is one, and sometime I feel like she and I are going through the same stuff, lol, she's learning to fall asleep on her own without mom soothing her to sleep, and it's an event if she sleeps through the night. The baby books call it "self soothing" I apparently never learned it.
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Old 12-19-2009, 09:45 AM
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I can relate-here are some tips

Part of why I drank so heavily toward the end is it was the only way I could sleep at night. After being sober for 10 months, here's my get to sleep formula. Some of it may seem weird, and extreme, but I've had pretty good success, and I feel well rested in the morning:

1) I Listen to my body. If I start to feel tired "earlier" than I want to go to sleep, I try to give in and just go to bed--otherwise I get a second wind, and then it's harder to get to sleep once I do go to bed. Sometimes I drink a relaxing tea, like chamomile to help me get in a sleep mood. I start getting ready to go to bed before I'm really, really tired--because I have found that the getting ready rituals can actually get me revved and awake again. So, I start getting ready for bed as soon as I start to feel sleepy.

2) Once I start to feel tired, I try to reduce stimuli--bright lights, loud tv, etc. This has been proven scientifically, that the brain is stimulated especially by light. As I prepare for bed, I turn on a light on a dimmer in my bedroom instead of using the overhead light, brush my teeth in the bathroom with very little light, etc.

3) I keep all electronic devices out of my bedroom, and I keep my bedroom as dark and free from ambient light as much as possible. The science shows that our brains are stimulated and kept from deep rest by the presence of very little light--such as from blackberries, street lights, alarm clocks, LED displays, etc. I put my alarm clock with it's LED display under the bed so I can't be exposed to the light.

4) I turn on a fan for white noise and point it away from my bed.

5) I make sure the temperature in the bedroom is on the cool side

6) I use a lavender scented lotion or spray and then snuggle in for a good night's rest.

7) Also I have noticed that if I eat really salty food, I tend to wake up with my pulse racing. I have no idea why this is, but maybe it raises blood pressure or something. So...I try to avoid that in the evenings and of course, anything caffeinated, including chocolate (I really try not to have caffeine any later than say 2 or 3 in the afternoon.)

I was really miserable when I wasn't sleeping well, and when I first quit drinking, I was having lots of night sweats presumably from the estrogen withdrawal (alcohol has a lot of estrogen). I used alcohol as an excuse to nod off, but in reality the quality of my sleep wasn't good at all. I would always awaken groggy and hungover and feeling rather beaten up. Hope these tips help!!
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Old 12-19-2009, 10:32 AM
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4-5 hours? do you then perhaps sleep 10 hours after 5-6 days of this?
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by basIam View Post
4-5 hours? do you then perhaps sleep 10 hours after 5-6 days of this?
Hey basiam, nope...if I ever woke up and found I had slept 10 hours I would think I was still dreaming...4 or 5 are my tops...last night I to got about 3...totally bagged today...totally sucks!!

Again, thanks for the replys and tips...most of the tips seem to be about how to fall asleep...I really have no problem's falling asleep, at least when I first go to bed for the night...I can go to bed around 11pm or so and will fall asleep within 20-30 min problem is I wake up around 3am and can't get back to sleep...and it's not that I only need the 3 or 4 hours of sleep...I am dang tired after I wake up and could use another 3 or 4...but I pretty much just roll around in bed until the alarm goes off at 7am and then drag tired self to the shower.
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