T Nation

Insomnia Help

For the last 3 weeks I have been sleeping like hell.

I can fall asleep easy. I go to bed at 9:30 or 10. Then by 3 am. I am awake. I need way more sleep then this. But I can’t fall back a sleep. Sometimes it is earlier. Like 1am …toss and turn to 3 am and I am up.

By the time I need to go to work. I could fall asleep again. So this makes me feel over tired and exhausted. My mind is slipping and I am starting to see stuff out of the corner of my eyes.

Things I have tried melatonin and diphenhydramine. I just end up groggy and in a worst spot.

Any other suggestions?

I don’t drink booze, or caffeine or do drugs.

maybe try drinking and drugs?

that’s all i got.

Have you tried going to sleep later? Like midnight or 1am or something? 10:00 is crazy early.

[quote]csulli wrote:
Have you tried going to sleep later? Like midnight or 1am or something? 10:00 is crazy early.[/quote]

I am out the door by 7 am. Normally up at 6am

Make sure you are getting enough sex. Drinking and drugs never hurt anyone, either.

Ever since I started lifting heavy my sleep has been automatic. My body just shuts down, even on nights when I don’t lift.

So, in conclusion:

Deadlifts, squats, sex, drugs and booze. Find the right combination for you.

[quote]dirtman wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
Have you tried going to sleep later? Like midnight or 1am or something? 10:00 is crazy early.[/quote]

I am out the door by 7 am. Normally up at 6am[/quote]
Yea but you’re only getting like 5 hours of sleep anyway right? It may at least be a bit of a bandaid if you go to bet at say midnight and insomniac out at like 5 or 6 that way you don’t have enough time to get re-sleepy before work.

Recently my gf bought two new pillows, and man, what a difference!
The old ones were just awful, and now I’m sleeping nice and deep again, my head/neck area is more relaxed, harder to get out of bed, that’s for sure!

I suffered for a long time with insomnia. Right now it is “under control” but sometimes bothersome. A good comfy bed/ pillows etc is useful for better sleep. Honestly, magnesium is great for getting to sleep and sleeping deeper. I found that I could be fine on 5 hours a day for about three days in a row with no adverse effects. Z12 is amazing although I can’t always afford it.

You seem to suffer the same type of insomnia as me. Terminal insomnia which is waking too early and not being able to sleep. I still sometimes get this but only occasionally. Although I find it happens a few nights in a row. I think because I am anxious of it happening again.

I think doing things like sorting your mind out before bed is beneficial. A brain dump where you write all your thoughts down on a piece of paper helps. It seems to get your mind a little clearer.

Brain candy every morning is amazing too. I’m sure it helps sleep later in that same day as well.

Google “biphasic sleep”.

what about temperatures?

the colder it is in your room the more likely you are to fall asleep and stay asleep.

I blast my ceiling fan on max, it’s wonderful.

I have been having problems like that for quite a while…in fact last week was very, very bad for me. A couple times last week I only got 3-4 hours of sleep - max. It’s a very terrible way to live, lol.

Somethings could be your diet, if you’re low carb and/or low cal that can mess with your ability to go to bed and/or stay asleep. Cortisol can really screw you up, and I’m not talking just daily/life stress - diet/training induced stress does raise cortisol.

I’ve found that Valerian Root helps me relax and get to bed. It’s a natural herb and I take the standardized version so you’re more or less getting a “guaranteed” amount of the active ingredient. I took a capsule last night and was out to bed in short order and also slept pretty good throughout the night.

5-HTP works good too and there are a couple other herbs that help you to relax and get to bed, stay asleep.

  1. Don’t read self-help or fiction books before or near bedtime as those can get the mind/creative juices going. Try for something dry like “Bibliography of Benjamin Franklin” or some other non-fiction book. Got some accounting books lying around?

  2. Keep a sleep journal. Jot down anything that’s been on your mind all day, things to be done, things that were undone, things that just run through your mind. Waking up in the middle of the night thinking? Jot it down in your journal.

  3. Try a warm bath before bed, helps some unwind or have a nice cup of herbal tea (if you’re into that kind of stuff)

  4. Create a sleep routine, I use a sleep hypnosis recording by Doug O’Brien - very relaxing.

  5. Remove the alarm clock in your room to a spot where you cannot see the time and the bright light is hidden. But of course you still want to hear the alarm.

  6. If you’ve woken up and can’t get back to sleep within 20 mins or so - do something. Grab that accounting book, sleep journal, etc. Then try and get back to bed once you feel drowsy enough or emptied of your minds thoughts. Pop another cap of Valerian Root (my favorite).

  7. Avoid strenuous exercise 3 hours before bed, no HIIT.

  8. Ensure the room is completely dark, completely. Tell your gf if she ain’t coming to bed with you - sleep outside. Little noises and light entering the room as she creeps in/out repeatedly can throw off your sleep routine.

Hope some of that helps…

Google ASMR. That tends to help me fall asleep when I can’t. Maybe it’s not a viable solution for yourself but it has worked for me.

[quote]Claudan wrote:
what about temperatures?

the colder it is in your room the more likely you are to fall asleep and stay asleep.

I blast my ceiling fan on max, it’s wonderful. [/quote]

Normal cool room temps

If you eat a bunch of “slow” carbs before bed that can interfere with your sleep. Also go by Walgreens and get some melatonin. It’s cheap and helps one sleep.

This type of insomnia is exactly what melatonin “should” help with, although I see where it didn’t help you. I, personally, have seen big variability of effectiveness from different brands (or even different batches of the same brand). I would suggest trying another brand, and I would also play with the dose. Try 3mg., 6mg., even 9mg. About the worst that can happen is crazy dreams.

Someone above suggested 5-HTP, and this is a good suggestion. However, DON’T take it if you are on any type of SSRI! 5-HTP is a precursor to seratonin; seratonin is a good thing, and is part of the sleep cycle, but too much is definitely a bad thing. Be wary of dose with this; I suggest 100mg.

What’s the interaction of SSRIs and 5htp? What are you suggesting can happen?

[quote]Claudan wrote:
What’s the interaction of SSRIs and 5htp? What are you suggesting can happen?[/quote]

5htp is a serotonin pre cursor, if you take it with SSRIS you could run the chance of serotonin syndrome from over dosing. It is also important to keep steady doses of any med you are on and 5htp will also throw this off as well.

Melatonin is a natural hormone used in the body and you also never want to go above 1mg a night. It is also important not to use it for extended periods of time because you can get dependent and affect natural production.

Tryptophan, and GABA are also very effective for sleep. Sometimes people also use glutamine because they may be deficient. Another issue actually could be stemming from deficiencies or imbalances of some kind which are depleting, or affecting neurotransmitters like Norepiniephrine, Dopamine, and Serotonin. If these are off balance it will interfere with production of natural hormones like melatonin and could be throwing everything out of whack.

Light and Dark therapy is pretty useful but it doesn’t sound like the kind of insomnia you are experiencing. It is always helpful to have very good sleep hygiene, do not look at screens at least 2 hours before bed. If you need then try downloading flux so it doesn’t give off a blue glare and trick your brain into thinking it is daytime.

You could look into having some basic mineral and vitamin levels checked to see if there is an issue there, there are other things you could investigate to but for now these are all good options to start. It is worth trying to find the source of the issue though rather then treating it until it hopefully goes away. Sometimes depression is a very big factor of this but I don’t know where this fits in with you.

First thing you can fix is the caffeine. Start drinking it in the morning since you said you feel like you’re starting to get tired at work. Coffee is not bad.

I get that too where I wake up at 3AM and stare at the ceiling for an hour or more…I really should take my own advice on this because I hope that I will fall asleep again soon but I think it might be a good iead to say “Fuck it!” and just get up and read a book or something.


Since I was so tired when I got home from work. I passed out at 7:30ish. And I slept till 10:30. Went back to sleep after being awake for 10 mins. Then slept till 1am. Awake for 2 mins or so. Then kinda slept till 3am.

Its going to be a long day.

Assuming you are not having any issues which are preying on your mind and which are the root cause of the problem…

You may be well off to embrace the wake up call. Don’t fret it or you could develop too much anxiety over the issue. Instead just get up, have a leak, have a glass of milk, give the milk two or three minutes to gurgle down the tubes and just relax yourself. Keep the lights off through out.

It works for me.

IIRC TC wrote an article a while ago on getting in the first sleep, waking up and then getting in the second sleep. You could just be a frustrated second sleeper.