T Nation



Hey all,

About 6-8 times a year I go through a week or so where I can only sleep an hour or so a night (if that). I used to be able to connect it to something stressful (like exams and whatnot) but now it's pretty random and damned unpleasant. In fact, if I have to stay up all night watching that plastic woman sell that goddam "body bar" one more night I might kick my TV set in.

What I was wondering was if this has happened to any of you out there, and if so, what'd you do about it?

I've tried Nytol, but i wake up feeling worse than I ussually do if I don't get any sleep (someone said its b/c Nytol interferes wih your REM sleep or something).

Anyways......any help would be much appreciated.


I have sleep problem also.

What has worked for me is valarian, l-theanine, and melatonin when I need them.

I will take the valarian and l-theanine to get me to crash, then if/ when I wake in the middle of the night to hit the rest room or what not I will pop a melatonin. I figure by waiting with the melatonin I can actually let my naturel production of it work during the first round of sleep and then supplement during round 2. It has worked great for me.

Hope that helps.

By the way I have also tried those PM meds and I am same as you, they seem to effect me the whole of the next day.


I know what that is like; I think that for the most part mine is stress induced and obviously alleviate the stress, alleviate the problem. I was put on various meds but in the long run the medications just made the situation worse; they made me very docile and complacent so I dropped them at my own perogative and I have never been better for it. I will make the assumption that you are relatively active, buf if not then there is your problem. There was a very stressful quarter in which I more or less completely eliminated training from my schedule; result was little desire for rest. So if you are not busting your ass in the weight room then do it, add some HIT, and if this doesn't do it experiment with varying workout times. Nothing puts me to sleep faster then spending hours studying, training for an hour, then spending another hour doing homework prior to bed. Completely physically and mentally exhausted. I hope that you can remedy this prolem. J Persinger


I have insomnia once in a while too, but I think mine is due to overtraining. Three things you could try is marijuana, ambien, or xanax. They're not good to use everynight but a few nights in a row won't hurt ya. Tell your doctor you can't sleep and he'll probably give you free samples of the second two...first one your on your own! :]


You could always get a night job and double your income...


ZMA makes me sleepy and I sleep like a rock for at least 8 hours.

Many on this board use it for better sleep. With the new low prices, you can't go wrong!


Zma doesnt really work that well for me. I dont really sleep that well either. I get about two good night s in a week. And as far as marijuana is concerned, while im not a big pot smoker i have tried it a it sometimes makes things worse..My roommate uses ambien about 5 nights a week and sleeps like a baby. But i really doesnt knock him out right away..Try jerking off....I'm not joking either..One of my doctors in college told me it works like a sedative (ambien)...And the worse thing that can happen is you bust a nut....Sweet dreams


I have pretty good luck with Ambien. It is the only sleeping pill I have ever taken that I don't feel foggy the next day. I go through a cycle of insomnia about every three or four months, it sucks. I would ask for the 10mg though instead of the 5mg. I find that I wake up after about 4 hours if I take the lower dose.


Just out of curiosity, have you ever talked with a psychologist or psychiatrist? It is possible that you have a form of bipolar disorder (aka manic depressive). Just trying to help you rule out all the possibilities, I am bipolar and during manic phases I tend to not sleep very much and it doesn't really cause me to be tired or effect my performance. Do you ever have swings in the other direction, maybe where you feel tired all day for a week at a time and have a loss of appetite or don't feel like training?


I don't have a problem falling asleep but I have a problem w/ waking up often throughout the night. Usually once b/c I have to pee(Hey what can I say? I know that casein shake before bed probably doesn't help but I dont trust the lactose in CC) so I guess that one is my fault.


I have the same problem...and when I take ZMA, I dont sleep...dont know why, considering its supposed to help you sleep.


Sleep disturbances can be caused by a multitude of things. Having wrestled with this problem many years ago I found a few things helpful:

  1. Make sure that you get to bed early! The quality of your sleep is largely determined by what time you actually get to sleep. The hormone Melatonin is secreted (from the Pineal gland) in large amounts when it is dark out. Going to sleep at 10pm and sleeping until 6am is far better than 12mid to 8am. As the room is darker from 10 to 12 than it is from 6a to 8a.

  2. Since there are only trace amounts of Melatonin found in certain foods, (Cherries being one of them). Tryptophan becomes important. It is an important amino acid that is the precurser of Seratonin which is the precurser of Melatonin. Therefore, eat foods that are rich in Tryptophan 60 to 90 minutes before bed. Foods such as, bananas, turkey, oats, almonds, peanuts and milk.

  3. Sunlight will also build up a larger amount of Seratonin which will be converted to Melatonin at a higher rate after dark. One good reason to workout outdoors whenever you get the chance!

Take care, and good luck!



Good advice Zeb. Going to bed early and consistently is crucial.

I might add that getting blackout curtains is something everyone should do. WalMart has them, among others. The darker the room, the better.

Also, consider using a CD or a player that plays soothing sounds: ocean, etc.

Or use a humidifier or fan/ac to make white noise -this is what I do.

Lastly, the room should be cool.


I"ve been fighting with this for years... tried several presccription drugs, and non of them lasted because either I would feel like shit the other day or they would only knock me out for 2 hours and I would be awake the rest of the night. I recently started taking melatonin... that helped for about a week and ow its useless must of been a placebo effect. I've tried cutting caffien, tabaco, and alchohal for 2 months made no differance. Tried the peanuts and milk (hey its a protien snack to boot!) but no help. I've pretty much given up and try not to schedule classes in the morning, and have a boss who is understanding when I drag my ass in 10 minutes late everyday.

not sure of all the point of this typing but hey at least you know your not alone!



How much melatonin were you taking? Also, may I ask what you are thinking about when you are lying in bed not sleeping?


I am not fond of the "Black out" curtains as they do not allow natural light in the room a little at a time in the morning to wake you up naturally. This can lead to a very groggy morning, among other problems. But, I can see how they would be helpful if someone could not get to sleep at the proper time.


I've tried 3-4.5mg after a couple nights of 4.5 I was pretty groggy and thought I might of overdone it but 3mg sure hasnt gotten it done. In bed I try to keep my mind as stress free as possible,,, alot of time spent thinking about how my current training is going and what I should change going into the next workout. Also think about my truck which is my other hobby.. so pretty low stress in the brain at least at bed time.


ever see taxi driver?