T Nation

Work and Sleep


Okay. The topic of poor sleeping habits has been beating to death.

You know the story - Insomniac, can't sleep worth a damn, blah blah blah.

Well, hear me out. To try and rememdy my lack of ability to sleep, I take Valerian Root, Magnesium, and Melatonin. (Probably too much, but whatever.)

I work Asset Protection at Best Buy. I'm basically just the guy who stands up at the front and catches people stealing shit. Thing is, I really don't give a shit about my job. It's a part-time job to help me pay for college.

This is where the problem comes in. I'll come home at night, ready for a good night's slumber, and I will be in a matrix of half sleep/half work all night. I'll "dream" (though I'm barely sleeping) that customers are coming up to me all night, asking me questions. Just made up customers, asking about made-up things.

What the fuck?!

It's pretty much fine if I don't work, but I'm raking in at least 20-30 hours a week, so I'm generally working at least 4-5 days a week. Use your thinking caps, and you can equate that I don't get much QUALITY sleep. Sure, I "get" 7-9 hours every night, but none of it is unbothered, solid sleeping. Hell, if I can sleep for more than 2-3 hours without having to piss or having some ghost customer come up to me in my bed, I'm ecstatic.

So, I know it's messed up, anyone have this problem before?

...Or have any solutions to this?

I've really tried to avoid becoming part of RX-Nation with perscribed sleeping pills, but I don't know what else to do.


I do not have any answers for you, but I have suffered from insomnia for years. It gets worse when I am under stress, or if I am outside of my normal environment. I have literally gone up to three days with no sleep at all. This started when I was a small child. My mom tells me that even as a toddler, I would be, as she puts it, ghosting around the house in the wee hours. I also was a sleepwalker as a child, and will occasionally sleepwalk even now. When I was in college, and drank somewhat heavily and used...ahem...pharmaceuticals....I would sleepwalk much more.

Just wanted to say be careful with any sedatives you may end up taking. Most do not work for me at all, and in fact, seem to make me feel more wired. I took Ambien, and had a scary incident of sleepwalking. I actually got out of bed, dressed, except, for some reason, my shoes, and got into the driver's seat of the car. My sister found me there. Apparently, many sleeping pills turn off the brain, but not the body. Scary. Luckily for me, I did not have the keys. A friend of mine who sleepwalks a lot keeps his keys in a glass of water, under the theory that putting his hand into the glass to retrieve the keys will wake him up. I rarely sleepwalk without medications.

Melatonin is known to help. L-tryptophan can help. Massive doses of fish oil can help.

Nothing much helps me in the long run. Used to be I functioned fine on little or no sleep but I am now being impacted quite a bit. I am having difficulties with fine motor coordination and short term memory, among other effects.


Beat your dick like it fucked your sister.


In all seriousness, if you know you don't care about your job, quit. Find a new part time job.


There are a lot of folks here that swear by Z-12. I rarely have problems sleeping, so I've never tried it, but it might help you.


I dream a lot if I'm worn out from work and such when I go to bed. Last night I dreamed that I was down in some catacombs and there was a throng of people lined up and marching into a furnace. There were guys in the back shooting guns at the line to press it along. I thing I remember most is that the line was so long that the people in the back would have a couple of hours to dread their fate before facing death.

Yeah... I wasn't as rested as I could have been this morning.

But oh yeah, on to helping you... hmm, one thing I know is don't rush to bed right after work or training because you 'have' to get X hours of sleep. Take your time and watch TV or something, get relaxed and tired. I sleep much better when I don't force it.


Um... Physical activity? I'm not saying just lifting weights. You need to get into something that taxes your CNS and your muscles. Hard pickup basketball for an hour. Rowing... Track workouts, hard sprints and mid distance runs. Avoid ANY stimulants 6 hours prior to bed, no sugar, caffine, anything that could lead to excess stimulation.

Thats a couple things you could try without going Rx



People sleeps 7 - 9 hours uninterrupted.

Sleepwalking stories are the best! I have woken up in closets a few times but that was after bottles of Jose...


I used to get dreams like this all the time. I typically use dreams about work as a sign I need to quit that job ASAP. I used to have dreams of the alarm at Home Depot when I worked there. It goes off so frequently, it would go off in my dreams and fuck me up. So I quit- It seems strange, but this has happened at 2-3 jobs, and is a major reason for my leaving.

In regards to sleep walking, I was at a hotel once and when I woke up I was on the main lobby floor in nothing but my boxers sleeping against a door. The elevator ride was awkward. There were no drugs/alcohol involved...


I'm in this boat too. I used to have that half awake half asleep shit.. dreaming about cooking burgers at Micky D's (worked there several years ago. I always tossed and turned restlessly in bed because I thought I had work to do/responsibilities.


i used to get dreams about stuff like that all the time. I found out for me it was that I was thinking too much while trying to sleep. So I put a t.v. in my room and set the timer for like 30-60 mins put on sportscenter and close my eyes. This way im not thinking about anything else and all i hear are the scores from the day. My weird dreams seem to have stopped since then. So maybe give that a try. Good luck.


How old were you when this happened? I use to have problems sleep walking, but somehow I would always end up where I went to bed. Perhaps cause it was a hotel, you're subconscious couldn't find it's way back?


Probably 13ish. It was a nice hotel that was still under construction. I slept on some cot in our room, and woke up in the hallway. I thought I was just outside of our door, so I opened and walked in, and it was just a torn up room with carpeting/dry wall everywhere.
I freaked out. I then realized I was on the main floor and had to 'Splinter Cell' myself around the hotel to the elevators without the receptionist and the 10 people in the lobby noticing me. Rode the elevator up and the door to the room was cracked. Walked in and got right back in bed.

It was the fucking weirdest shit ever. Your theory sounds extremely plausible. I have always wondered wtf happened...

EDIT- I should say, in terms of location of the wrong room:my room in the hallway, they were the same. That could help prove your theory. Trippy!


SSC I've had dreams just like you describe. They always happen when I'm under a lot of stress, or when I've been extremely stimulated or had a bunch of adrenaline--all of those are basically stress though so same thing.

In college during exams it was brutal with the insomnia and the fucked up math dreams and infinite loops my brain would get stuck in while half awake and computing the alarm clock values. The closest I can compare it to is fever dreams.

After social events that while I do find them enjoyable, I am an introvert and if I have to do any presenting or speaking in front of a group for any amount of time seems to affect my sleep that night, same weirdness. Confrontations will do it too.

I have a bit of a fear of heights and recently went on a steep and challenging climb that scared the shit out of me on a few occasions. I had half awake nightmares for several days afterwards where I'm waking up clinging to the side of my bed because the slope is too steep and I'm going to slide off! But the feeling is that lucid repetitive nonesense state you describe.

Could it be stress/adrenaline for you too?


I have done all kinds of bizarre things when I have been sleepwalking. As a kid, I always stripped my pajamas off after i fell asleep. My mother actually witnessed me doing this, not realizing I was sound asleep. I used to wake up naked, and I had no recollection of how it happened. Kinda freaked me out, thinking someone was doing it while I slept. As a teen and now as an adult, I don't bother, because they never stay on anyway...probably TMI, hm? My mom once found me standing in the bathtub, fully clothed, with the tap running. Another time I was walking up and down the stairs for no apparent reason. I also used to get outside on occasion. Mom said I would always just be standing vacantly in the back yard. She installed bolts on the interior doors that I could not reach. By the time I could reach, I was old enough to be sneaking out on purpose, whilst awake...

In college, my dorm roommate found me several times wandering around in the study lounge. There were several instances, after I moved into an apartment with roommates, when I got up in the middle of the night and raided the fridge, making a hellacious mess. I thought it was my one roommate making the mess, and it used to piss me off no end. Imagine my chagrin when I finally lost my temper and yelled at her, only to find out it was ME. Thank god I do not do the sleep-eating thing anymore. Though, on second thought, it makes a damn good excuse for weight gain! Heh. Once I was older, I only really wandered around in my sleep after partying, but it also happened most often when I was under a great deal of stress. I learned never to drink during finals week.

I am sure there are lots more examples, nothing totally mortifying, and nothing as amusing as Coolnatedog's experience. It was more of a pain than anything, and it made sleepovers at other kids' houses a stressful event for me. I was always the kid who stayed awake as long as possible. Hm. Could be the start of my lifelong insomnia.


OP: I would suggest trying to eliminate all distraction from your room before anything else. No lights at all, no TV, no sound. Try to get on a consistent sleep schedule for a bit where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Even if you don't sleep, get in bed and out of bed at the same times. I've also found meditating before bed can really help clear your mind for good sleep.

Vegita: To add to his advice, I would caution you and remind you to try and fit in said physical activity earlier in the day. Something about cortisol levels I think messes up your sleep if you work out too late in the day.

I've actually gone to sleep with unfinished calculus problems at times while studying for finals and woken up with the exact numerical answer in my head. I've also walked in my sleep and pissed in my dresser drawer. The brain is an incredible thing..