T Nation

Dealing With Insomnia


#1

Guys and Gals,

I need a hand. For two weeks I have been dealing with pretty bad insomnia that came on out of nowhere. Its never really happened to me before, certainly not like this. I cant believe how much lack of sleep can effect someone.

The difference in mood and focus is intense. Its not fun feeling like a Zombie.

Im in the process of ruling out medical causes, but I still have to look at the possibility of apnea.(Otherwise, the docs say Im healthy as the proverbial horse).

Im also a shift worker who alternates between three shifts every week(1week days,1 week nights, 1 week afternoons then back again)! Yes, its nuts and I think the years of doing it may be catching up to me. My blood pressure and pulse are elevated, something they cant explain any other way because of my level of conditioning and healthy diet.
Im fanatical about my health and this whole episode has caused me great stress.

To make matters worse, I think I have managed to reinforce an anxiety loop with bedtime and Im seeing it as a struggle every night whereas I never thought about it before.

ZMA isnt helping much and melatonin does nothing(in fact, I suspect the 3mg dose made it worse). Ive been using Lunesta which usually only puts me out for 2-3 hours. I tried Ambien once and hated the way it made me feel. It has since gone down the toilet. Generally, I am resisting the drug route the docs keep suggesting because I know it is not curing my problem.

Im pretty intense and type A but not over the top. I havent experienced any major stressors that I can point to, other than my sleep getting jacked up in the first place!

Basically, Im open to suggestions and would greatly appreciate any experiences
or remedies that anyone else may have.


#2

how hard are you working out right now?


#3

Get yourself some Valerian Root. It's natural and helps you relax and sleep. Also smell some REAL Lavender. Like Lavender Essential Oil from the health food store. Not this fake crap you find at Walmart or wherever. Lavender is calming and soothing.


#4

Pretty hard, but not anymore than I have done in the past. Probably a little less actually, as I used to fight competitively as well(congratulations by the way). Ive considered the overtraining angle and I may try a few days of complete rest to see what happens(although that will probably drive me nuts).


#5

JD430,

I feel your pain bro. I have insomnia for as long as I can remember, even as a kid. I've always dealt with it, until recently my wife made me go to the doc. I hate doctors, and I especially hate the bills! So I wasn't real amped. First they put me on Ambien. Didn't work, and made me feel like I had been drinking Milwaukee's Best all night.

Then they put me on Lexapro, which I still take. He said it helps to release the seratonin to the brain to help sleep. Didn't work (alone). I've just got done trying Lunesta. It helped somewhat for a few days, but does nothing now. I've done every over the counter pill, melatonin, zma, for sleep, sex, whatever. Nothing works. I don't drink caffeine or take fat burners. It's nuts.

I did recently have to do a sleep study. They strap wires to your head and body and expect you to sleep. The lady came in at the end and said that I dozed off for about 2-3 seconds according to her readings. So, I see them again on Monday to see what drugs they want to put me on. They did say that they thought I had Restless Legs Syndrome. I don't know. I just want something that will knock me the F... out.

Just thought I would let you know you're not the only one. Everyone else thinks it is an easy solution, and offers their opinions, but none work. Hell, I used to take 3 vicodin with about 10 or so beers so that I could fall asleep. Then I started to get a gut, so cut it out.(And the fact that I was probably killing myself)
Good Luck Man.
Sleep is for the weak!!!


#6

Dude, its pretty obvious that its your job man. Switching shifts that often every week? Come one man! Most people have trouble adjusting from the weekend schedule of sleeping in a few more hours then having to wake up early for monday! And thats just a few hours!

Get a new job man


#7

Jesus man, I thought I was having a rough time.

Everybody is different I guess and the medical doctors are only so much use in
these kind of situations when they cant find anything physically wrong with you(as in both of our cases).

The past few nights have actually been much better, although Im still using the Lunesta.

Im trying the herbal route too with Valerian root. Ive also started meditating again. Maybe its helping, Im not sure.

The toughest thing for me has been dealing with how this episode has made me feel ie...so much more anxiety than I am used to and a feeling of not being "right", if that makes any sense.

Anyway, its sometimes nice to know Im not the only one dealing with this.

And Velvet Revolver, Im considering your solution as you are absolutely right.


#8

Hey JD,

I'm an experienced insomniac and have tried many different meds/supplements to help me out. The problem with most meds is they're addictive.

I've gone through exactly what you are going through now and it took me a quite a while to get back to sleeping. As much as you want to avoid the med route, I think it's best to get something that works and end this as soon as possible.

The best single med I have found for insomnia is Remeron (AKA Mirtazapine), works 95% of the time. As with most sleep meds it is addictive, so I suggest just taking it for a couple nights to re-establish a regular sleep pattern. I think you'll find once you get a good night's sleep you will have a MUCH easier time falling and staying asleep.

I found half the lowest dose (7.5mg) was enough to get me a good night's sleep, just don't take too much the first time or you'll end up sleeping 16 hours and feel like garbage the next day.


#9

I have the exact same problem as stated above, and just about the same work sched, of 1 week days the next week nights. And I can never get myself into a regular sleep cycle, and what ussualy ends up happening is out of week or so I will just get a night where I cant sleep and if I cant force myself awake the next day it snowballs and my system really starts to get messed up as to when and how it should be sleeping. Wish I could offer up some advice, but I just try and get my sleep when my body tells me sometimes its not enough other times too much, its not the best, but its all I can do for the moment.


#10

melatonin has a weird dose curve. For most it is a bell curve.. IE: past a certain dosage it does more harm then good. For me the perfect dose is around 1-2mg. 5 mg's and I will be restless all darn night.