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 Post subject: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:03 am 
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it takes me like hours to fall asleep. seriously.

my husband is out like a light in 5 minutes and it drives me INSANE. i mean im not wishing insomnia on him but i would like to fall asleep in 5 minutes.

i have pretty bad depression and anxiety problems and i swear my brain is just racing at all times. i try to lay down and go to sleep and it's like 7000 different conversations are crashing around in my skull.

i read somewhere that tv/internet right before bed is bad and it's something to do with the way the light comes off the screen (im sorry i forget exactly what it was) and reading before bed is good because it helps wind you down. this definitely helps for me. last night i went to bed at 9:30 determined to go immediately to sleep because the only problem with reading before bed for me is i dont want to stop at a reasonable hour.
last night i went to bed at 9:30 and probably fell asleep around 1 am.

when i go to the gym regularly it has a good affect on my sleep but we got back from vacation a couple weeks ago and i have fallen out of my routine.

i really wish that like my husband i had not a care in the world and my brain wasnt constantly on overdrive at all times keeping me up all night :-(

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:10 am 
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I read a book that I have read several times, so I'm not excited to see what comes next because I know it already. I usually cycle through the 7 Harry Potter books and the three Twilight ones. I fall asleep super easily with that trick (if it gets boring try reading a book you know really well, but in another language. The difficulty of reading Harry Potter in German will soon put your brain to sleep).
Then, when I have thousands things in my mind running around and I can't stop worrying, I take out my journal and write them down. Just putting it black on white helps me relax because I can see them in perspective, I reassure myself that I won't forget them, and it's a way of getting them out of my head.
Last but not least, chamomile tea before sleep! If you get your system used to it, it willstart have an effect. It takes a few days.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:31 am 
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like Anek, if my brain is racing i write things down. i find that reading before bed is good, but i also need something i'm familiar with or of a boring topic to read so i am more apt to put it down when i get tired. i also try some relaxation techniques i learned from my yoga teacher. it's similar to the "Progressive Relaxation" found here only i actually tense up the muscles i am thinking about, hold them tense for 5 counts and then give a big 'ol exhale while i release the tension. then i just "let it go and forget about it." this really helps me.

sometimes i'm asleep within a few minutes, and sometimes it takes me an hour or two.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:49 am 
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Anything that stimulates my brain keeps me up. I've actually given up reading before bed (which I did my entire life up til a few years ago) because it just keeps me awake.

On a good night, it might take me 30 minutes to fall asleep. On a bad night, after a few hours I'll just get back up.

One of the pieces of advice I've gotten most is to make sure you get a ton of exercise in the day time. This does not help me-- actually, often if my body is super tired, I have MORE trouble falling asleep-- but it must work for someone so I'm passing it on!

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:59 am 
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I've always had trouble falling asleep, for as long as I can remember. It takes me an hour or two, unless I'm really really tired. Or drunk.

A while ago I went on a bicycle tour for a month. The reason this is relevant is, even though I was camping out or sleeping on strange couches most nights I was consistently getting the best sleep of my life. It was probably the combination of no internet and the fact that I was peddling all day, every day, going to bed at sunset and waking at sunrise. So, maybe we need to somehow make every day life more like that...


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:07 pm 
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There are some nights where I lay in bed for hours, tossing around, trying to get comfortable, and waking up my boyfriend with my restlessness. It's very frustrating. It seems like nighttime is the time my brain chooses to worry about every little thing I haven't done that I am supposed to. I agree that writing them down helps for me. I try to make sure I don't sleep the day away (even though it's summer, and I have no obligations so I could stay in bed until noon if I wanted), and I stopped taking naps (which I love and miss).
I think I just try to make myself go to bed earlier than I need to. My boyfriend tends to stay up late-ish, until 1 am most nights, and by the time he comes to bed he is exhausted and crashes. I try to go to bed around 11, because I feel like I should, and my brain rebels.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:41 pm 
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I don't have too much problem unless it's Sunday night and I slept too late that day or had a hangover or something. I have found that drinking valerian tea has helped me in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:06 pm 
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sometimes when i feel really crazed i try to do some deep yoga breathing to clear my mind and it works for a bit then i somehow get amped back up again.

maybe if i run 10 miles a day and ditch caffeine and sugar i will fall asleep one day

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:21 pm 
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+1 for feeling like your mind is racing all the time. I have never, ever had an easy time falling asleep and have tried a lot of things. Lately what works best for me is to just read until I'm literally passing out, which sometimes takes 20 minutes and sometimes 3 hours. It depends. I've been trying to just do what I feel like and not worry too much about the clock, or what's "normal" because that just makes it worse for me.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:35 pm 
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It takes me hours to fall asleep, always. I can remember being a little kid, lying awake in bed for hours and waiting for the aliens to abduct me (I was a weird kid). I didn't know this was abnormal until a few years ago, when I read a magazine article that said it usually takes less than 20 minutes for "normal" (non-insomniac) people to fall asleep. I don't think I've ever fallen asleep within 20 minutes!


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:09 pm 
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yeah falling asleep within 20 minutes feels like a seriously unattainable goal.
i would totally call B.S. on it even being possible except my husband is out like a light in 5 seconds

also what is up with napping?
are there seriously people in the world that can fall asleep in the middle of the day?
i mean i cant even fall asleep at night when it's dark and quiet and snuggly. falling asleep during the day seems like an urban legend. napping is urban legend!! i dont believe it exists!!!

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:19 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
yeah falling asleep within 20 minutes feels like a seriously unattainable goal.
i would totally call B.S. on it even being possible except my husband is out like a light in 5 seconds

also what is up with napping?
are there seriously people in the world that can fall asleep in the middle of the day?
i mean i cant even fall asleep at night when it's dark and quiet and snuggly. falling asleep during the day seems like an urban legend. napping is urban legend!! i dont believe it exists!!!


Napping is my favorite thing in the summer. Lately I have been going to the gym, going for a bike ride, eating lunch, then showering and while I let my hair dry I read, and I usually fall asleep on the floor for a couple hours. When I used to work from 8:30 to 6, I would come home and crash while listening to The Splendid Table.
I love naps, whole-heartedly. Except when they affect me getting to sleep later that night.
It's always easiest for me to fall asleep when I feel like I shouldn't. Like during the day.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:21 pm 
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I can only nap when my sinusitis is bad. It's really weird, but every few weeks it will flare up and it is always worst between 3 and 5 pm. If I try to stay awake and ignore it, I will fall asleep in front of the tv or computer or w/e and wake up drooling all over the place (very attractive). Usually it only happens once a month or so, but a couple of weeks ago I napped every day for a week, which felt so weird to me. When I'm healthy and my sinuses are fine, I can't nap at all.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:25 pm 
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I fall asleep in minutes. In planes I fall asleep before take-off and like to sleep through the whole flight if I can. Sleep is the greatest thing ever and I can never get enough of it.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:25 pm 
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raspberrycomplaint wrote:
I can only nap when my sinusitis is bad. It's really weird, but every few weeks it will flare up and it is always worst between 3 and 5 pm. If I try to stay awake and ignore it, I will fall asleep in front of the tv or computer or w/e and wake up drooling all over the place (very attractive). Usually it only happens once a month or so, but a couple of weeks ago I napped every day for a week, which felt so weird to me. When I'm healthy and my sinuses are fine, I can't nap at all.

Yes! I had a horrible sinus infection a few months ago that lasted for weeks and I needed to take a nap every afternoon. I usually won't/don't nap because I know that it'll probably mess me up with falling asleep later (if I could take a nap at all, that is).


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:28 pm 
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I guess I'm lucky, I haven't laid awake trying to sleep in a while. I probably knock out after 4 or 5 minutes unless something is rustling my jimmies.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:47 pm 
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I normally have a hard time shutting my brain off at night too. Sometimes it gets to the point where I rehash a conversation in my head so many times, I have trouble remembering which version actually happened in real life, and which things I just thought about saying.

Generally reading a distracting book helps me stop overanalyzing or worrying. Then I start thinking about the characters instead of my own life. Sometimes I focus on something I want to dream about, either a happy past event or fantasizing about something - not dirty just an idealistic something or other, like imagining my dream house or something stupid like that. Don't know why but that tends to relax me since I don't have to make it actually happen.

I also have a Deepak Chopra meditation CD that will normally do the trick when the above doesn't work- still haven't managed to listen to the whole thing all the way through since I've now conditioned myself to fall asleep to it, and if everything else fails I head out to the couch and watch an old Disney or Harry Potter movie. Not sure why, but I can never seem to get through those without falling asleep, live tv, on the other hand, just keeps me awake, regardless of how boring it is.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:06 pm 
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there was a point in my life where it would take me until 4:00 am to fall asleep. i would usually have a song stuck in my head. (if i added it all up, it might have amounted to 700 nights, maybe more. and each of those nights would have 2-3 hours of me lying in bed.)

i've resigned myself to taking a melatonin every night. (the full glass of water usually makes me stagger to the toilet in the middle of the night, but i'm never awake enough to stay up after the tinkle.) i usually fall asleep within 15-20 minutes.

we haven't played rock band in a while, which kinda sucks. and if unclegramps wants to play a dancing game after 9:00, i go away or up to bed. maybe i'm on a better schedule now, so we might do an experiment introducing music to me later. we'll see.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Wow LisaPunk that's terrible. I suffer from early-waking insomnia sometimes. It comes about every 3 or 4 months and lasts for a few weeks to a few months. I manage it with anti-anxeity medication and 5-Htp. But laying in bed trying to fall asleep is awful.

I used to work in the sleep industry. I am by no means a doctor or an expert, but I know quite a bit about sleep, sleep hygiene and sleep disorders and treatment. I had to. It was my job for almost 6 years.

Some good sleep hygiene pratcices:
-Bedroom is for sleeping and sex ONLY. Try not to spend other time in this room.
-TV and internet before bed is a no-no. maybe reading as well, if it bothers you
-if you have a hard time falling asleep, make sure you exercise in the evening or late afternoon if you can
-No caffine after 2pm

If it is really an issue for you, I would seek treatment. If you want a natural approach then Melatonin and 5-Htp helps a lot of people. Also calming teas and aromotherapy help sometimes. Learning to meditate also helps, and there are lots of visualization techniques.

If that does not work and you want to take a medicine, there are some good, non-habit forming ones out there now too. (I know some people that have good luck with Lunestra)

Sleep is VERY important. If you don't get enough sleep it can lead to high blood pressure, and if you have other problems (like diabetes, or in your case anxiety) they can make those issues many times worse. Lack of sleep can actually kill you, although it is usually 'hidden' under other causes of death (hypertension, car accidents from falling asleep at the wheel, etc)

LisaPunk if it is really terrible, don't be afraid to seek medical treatment. Now enough of dr. Chicki. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:17 pm 
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Chicki i actually used to have severe sleep apnea so i have a whole catalog of sleep specialists.

strangely enough while i had sleep apnea i also had insomnia which i thought was strange.

the insomnia comes and goes in waves. ill be fine for a few months then ill have a couple months of insomnia. :-/
right now im in the few months of insomnia. ive been cutting down on coffee anyways so i think that will help. i need to get back into going to the gym regularly.

the last time i went to my surgeon/sleep specialist i said once i was asleep my sleep was fine but i had issues falling asleep. he thought that the fact that im sleeping well once i get to sleep is a huge accomplishment. he doesnt want me taking meds to get to sleep because they can ultimately mess up your sleep and you can become dependent on them (he's talking about actual meds not herbal stuff). he suggested many of the same things you did to help me get to sleep.

i think my anxiety problems is probably the main thing behind me not sleeping. unfortunately i think the sleep apnea is what exacerbated my anxiety. for like 10 years i basically didnt sleep so yeah that leads to anxiety :-/

i should go run around my house 10 times to make myself tired. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:30 pm 
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that totally used to be me. in high school i probably hardly ever fell asleep before 2, even though i would get up at 6:30. blech. in my last year of college (when i was super stressed about my thesis and also dealing with a yearlong bout of depression) i started taking melatonin regularly, about a half hour before bedtime, and it totally helped me. valerian tea and chamomile didn't do much for me, but the melatonin knocks me right the fork out. i have to take it pre-emptively though, because if i take it after i go to bed and am having trouble sleeping, it's too late and i'll be groggy and irritable the next morning without getting a full night's sleep.

after taking that regularly (several times a week for...months?) i kind of learned the feeling of when my brain is shutting up, and got to a point where i can usually mimic that feeling myself, and now i only use it once every few months or so when i can feel that i'm anxious or too alert near bedtime and know it will take me hours without it.

so now i usually fall asleep in half an hour or so, which i know is still longer than lots of people, but waaaay less time than it used to be, and something i can live with. the other things that help me a lot are regular exercise and fresh air. especially together. like Tea, the best periods of sleep of my life have been sleeping in tents for months on end, even when my accommodations are way less comfy than my bed. sleeping in fresh air is super helpful for me, and those have also been during some of the most physically active periods of my life, but even currently, at a job where i'm on my feet all day and i get around everywhere by bike, it totally makes a difference.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:48 pm 
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ok what is melatonin. several people have now mentioned it. i feel dumb because ive never heard of it. it sounds like an herb?

---off to google it....

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:47 pm 
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Like 5-10 minutes. It used to take me longer, but I started cutting out TV/computers before bed and even though I never had huge issues falling asleep, there's still a noticeable difference now. These days I turn off my computer at least half an hour (but usually more like an hour) before bed time and go have a shower and then read for a little while. The other great thing is that I feel way more productive when I'm reading- I feel better about having read a significant chunk of a good book than I do about having spent the equivalent amount of time online looking at shiitake that I don't need and can't afford.

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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:22 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:

i read somewhere that tv/internet right before bed is bad and it's something to do with the way the light comes off the screen


Yes, i heard about that too - it's the blue light, and the idea is that it can delay sleepiness, because it's like bright daylight, as opposed to more yellowy light which doesn't interfere in the same way.
Check out http://stereopsis.com/flux/ - it's a free program you can install on your computer that alters the colour of light coming out of your screen according to what time of day it is.


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 Post subject: Re: how long does it take you to fall asleep at night
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:41 pm 
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i turn my ipod's screen way down to 0, and i am able to get sleepy while reading on it. (as long as what i'm reading is sufficiently boring)

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