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Sleep? What's That?

Discussion in 'Sleep & Nightmares' started by cookie, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    does anybody else fight sleep? i am taking something for sleep(natural, anthony)but it is not working, i think because i fight it. i have slept about 16-18hrs. last week, total. 0 last night. probably none tonight, i see my therapist tomorrow eve., and i am nervous already. i know what she wants me to talk about, and i think i will be sick over it. i am starting to make no sense because i'm so tired. even just typing here, i keep catching myself stopped, staring into nothing, eyes crossing. what do you do to sleep? anybody?
     
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  3. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    Cookie, this is a really one of the main struggles with anxiety with PTSD. I also took a natural supplement, melatonin I think, but it did not help. For me, I took ambien and it worked better. I got weaned within a week and I haven't taken anything for sleep for 9 months. I also tried sonata but that didn't work at all.

    Sleep for me is VERY important. Just the lack of sleep would cause depression and anxiety. Obviously, you're not getting sleep. Make it through tonight and TALK with your therapist about your sleeping problems.

    Otherwise, what else have I done to get to sleep?

    No TV or loud music one hour before night time. I read books (nice happy ones...not therapy self help books!) Take a bath. Write in my journal, and play sleep music. Instrumental hypnotic music. Sometimes I would take a nightly walk with my husband. And something that helps all of the human race to sleep is exercise. Just not right before bed.

    I hope this helps...and I wish you a very good night...:sleep: :sleep:
     
  4. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Suggestions to Aid Sleep

    Hi Cookie.

    THis is a sheet my therapist has given me to help me out. I'm taking sleeping aids and melatonin right now, but I won't give up on getting back to a non-aid sleep. BTW, Melatonin just regulates your sleep cycle (as in makes you tired at the same time each night.) You have to take it for about three weeks before it starts working, also you need to cycle your use of it. Take it on weekdays but not weekends and take a whole week off once in awhile. Otherwise you develop a tolerance to it and it won't work at all.
    I hope this helps out. I've typed it out below for you.

    Bec


    Suggestions to Aid Sleep

    These are simply suggestions and by no means a cure. Try not to be discouraged if your attempts do not work the first time. It may take several tries before you begin to feel its effects. If one suggestion does not work for you, try another one. Remember everyone is different - - do what feels good to you.

    1. Try not to become overly upset about not sleeping, as this just perpetuates your inability to sleep. Have confidence that EVENTUALLY you will sleep again.

    2. Go to bed and get up about the same time everyday, including weekends. A regular routine keeps your inner clock set. If you always awaken early it may help to go to bed earlier.

    3. Don't try to force sleep. If you can not fall alseep after 30 minutes, get up and do something unexciting or peaceful, like knitting. Then go back to bed. Repeat this if necessary.

    4. Take a warm bath and/or drink warm milk before going to bed. Warmth is soothing and milk contains amino acid that helps you to sleep. Even cold milk may help.

    5. Take time to unwind. Do not go to bed after a flurry of activity, either physical or mental, like balancing your checkbook.

    6. Read light books, so the last thing you're thinking about is the book instead of your grief and worries. It helps to get your mind off your insomnia.

    7. Learn some kind of relaxation technique.

    8. Exercise daily, but NOT close to bedtime.

    9. ALWAYS AVOID ALL SOFT DRINKS, COFFEE, TEA (HOT OR COLD), COCA, CHOCOLATE AND ANACIN WHICH CONTAIN CAFFEINE!!

    10. Avoid watching television in bed. Even dull, boring shows may keep you awake.

    11. Be aware that sleeping pills, alcohol and cigarettes may even cause insomnia. Alcohol or sleeping pills may help us to go to sleep, but as soon as they are out of our system we wake up.

    12. Try not to spend daytime hours in your bedroom. Reserve that room for sleeping at night. Do not nap during the day. Avoid heavy meals before retiring.

    13. Try sleeping in a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet room.

    14. The hum of an air conditioner or special bedside machines that produce soft noises may induce sleep.

    15. Watch the temperature and humidity of the room. Warmth helps to relax muscles and induce drowsiness, but overheating and excessive dryness from high temperatures interferes with sleep.

    16. Try curling up in bed with a pillow or large, soft stuffed animal. It may comfort you.

    17. Lie on your side. Place a second soft pillow over exposed ear, leaving your face out between the two pillows-or use ear plugs.

    18. If problems and anxiety are causing you much sleeplessness, consider talking them over with an understanding friend. If this doesn't help, consider counselling.

    19. Widowed people suggest sleeping in a different room; sleeping on your spouse's side of the bed so your side is empty instead; putting a pillow behind your back as you lie on your side.

    20. Try mind games - counting sheep, recalling a nice day, plotting a novel, planning a trip, etc. Pleasant relaxing thoughts help to distract you from worries and the inability to sleep.

    21. You may find the repetition of prayers to be sleep inducing.

    22. Concentrate on the sleep that you do get. We often sleep more than we realize. Try to keep an optimistic attitude.
     
  5. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Cookie,

    Bec and Nam have covered the answer to this problem very well. I agree with the exercise bit, it will make an impact as it elevates the serotonin levels in the brain.....basically gets all of the 'feel good' stuff happening. I'm anticipating your next point is that you are too tired, no doubt you are right now but once you speak to your therapist and organise a strategy, you could add it to your daily regime. Just like having a shower. I know even that's an effort somedays when you are feeling unwell.

    I suggest also that this has become habit forming and now you can't wind down enough to sleep. Just like all bad habits you can undo this one. From my observations with Anthony you will still have days when you just can't sleep well but for the most part your sleep can improve. Have hope, it DOES get better. Although I can't convince Anthony of the virtues of regular sleep hours, he at least goes to bed and has mostly uninterrupted sleep now.

    If all else fails, you need to borrow a toddler or two - guaranteed to wear you out!!
     
  6. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    thank you all. you have some good suggestions most of which i've heard before , but am too lazy to do. i needed a good reminder. i do exercise almost every day. I hear you about the toddler, kerrie-ann. i am busy, busy during the school day(i teach kindergarten) and usually pretty busy at home for the first hr or 2 during the evening, then i just become a slug! i tend to fight sleep because sometimes i am awakened by nightmares and flashbacks, and i'd just rather not go through that. thing is, i know that if i get some sleep that stuff decreases, too.. i have become like a child myself, trying to make myself go to bed!
     
  7. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Cookie--I hear you...I just can't fall asleep for the life of me...and a lot of the time when I manage to fall asleep I wake up a couple of hours later and toss and turn for the rest of the time...nothing really seems to work for me...though I haven't tried sleeping pills and it's not something I'm willing to try. I've heard everything that Bec and Nam have said above and have tried some of it but to no avail...Exercise is crucial I think...but then I don't really do it...I just have no energy and when I'm really down...which, lately, is quite often, I find it hard to grab something to eat...let alone get up and go for a run or whatever...I even find the prospect of playing basketball (something I loved to do) tedious...
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Cookie, you can see from just what I pulled out above where the issue lay. I am about to slap really down with also confirming this below...

    Now, we can sit here are dwell on how lazy we feel each day (depression or mentally worn out) or we can say, "stop that thought, don't think for a minute, go put joggers on, appropriate dress (still no extra thinking), now start going for a walk. Why? Because when your actually worn out, and you think you don't have the energy to exercise, it is a thought, and not actually the situation. Exercising, especially when you least feel like it, will help your body near immediately recover and create more energy for you to continue your day or evening. Exercise creates energy, it doesn't actually consume much energy... illogical thinking produces illogical actions.

    Lets look at a personal trainer shall we. They exercise hard from sun up to sun down, they eat appropriately to maintain the energy levels required for the intense exertion they perform training others. They can start at 6am and not go to be until 10pm, all from constant exercise and healthy eating.

    You are copping out if you think exercise exerts extra effort for the energy it actually produces. The only thing you are successfully doing, is using a negative thinking style to create an outcome that pleases you. Both aspects are a poor choice for the benefit of your health and beating PTSD.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now lets talk turkey shall we. The points listed above, are also listed throughout this forum, and these points in one form or another DO work if varied to individual needs, though they do take practice, ie. months of practice for some, and they are not immediate relief. Techniques mentioned above are more an effective coping strategy for maintaining your sleep cycles and produceing healthy sleep patterns.

    What these techniques do though, they are attempting to treat the symptom, and not the cause. You have severe sleep disturbance because of your trauma. You will never fix your sleep, even medicated, until such time as you deal with your trauma. You are effectively trying to use a bandaid approach to your sleep, in that you think you can live with your trauma locked up tight and get better sleep without nightmares or flashbacks. Wrong....

    You can learn from the techniques now to start enhancing your sleep later. You can do exercise now to begin gaining immediate results towards your health, depression and sleep, however, you must come to grips with facing your trauma and deepest fears. Until you do, you will never have undisturbed sleep, nightmare free and flashback free days and nights.

    One way forward... hundreds of bandaid approaches to the left or right though... neither the left or right will produce long term improved sleeping. The longer you fight your fear, the longer you harbour your fear, the longer you continue with the symptoms of PTSD winning.
     
  9. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    anthony, i know you're right, and i'm trying to face my trauma. i go to therapy once a wk.-twice a wk. after today. i am writing in the diaries. what else is there? i'm willing to try anything. my therapy is cbt, and i tried "thought field therapy" , but it was not working. if you know another way, tell me, please.
     
  10. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    It takes time, Cookie. Takes time to get your body physically healthy again, and it takes time for your mind to think differently. (The latter taking longer....for me anyway) But with determination, I know you can do it. You may have some dips or feel like you're degressing, but you have people you can count on. You have your husband. You have your therapist. You just have to hang on to the goal of getting better. In your poem you talk about happiness and I how it seems to escape you, but now you have a plan! You can do it. I'm not suggesting to wait, I'm suggesting to keep doing what you are doing and slowly, gradually, things will change. Until, finally, you realize that the worst is behind you.

    Something you could do if you are not doing it already. Be HONEST and OPEN in your therapy sessions. I know this is hard, but tell the truth and say everything. Don't leave anything out. Especially the toughest parts. And then, if your therapist says anything at all, LISTEN. I know when I was carrying around all that guilt and shame, she told me to shed it. Take the coat off, it's hot under all that baggage. She told me that I didn't have to carry it anymore. At first, I resisted, thinking that I deserved to carry it. It was my destiny to carry it and be miserable forever. But I believed her and bit my bit, the baggage went away. It's amazing how happiness can creep in if you let it. There are people on this very forum who have been where you are, right now. I know it sucks, but it does get better. Trust us and just hold on and keep going...
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Cookie, the more you keep asking, the more you keep telling, the more you continue to learn. With all this learning (education) that you will do, you will begin to put all the pieces together that are relevant to you, and make the jigsaw complete, thus the jigsaw being you. It takes time... this is not going to happen overnight, nor in a week, or a month. You need several months, minimum, to begin grasping all the concerns, sorting yourself out, coming to terms with what has happened, what needs to be done and actively doing towards getting yourself better.

    Because every person is unique, no one idea works for everyone, however; ideas and experience when come together can be effectively shredded into the pieces that you need, the pieces that are relevant to help you fix your problems and symptoms. You are doing what needs to be done now cookie, please keep doing, and you will find with some time and the way you are now more proactively approaching your PTSD, you will just standup at some point soon to say something like, "WOW... I don't do that anymore, or; WOW... I am no longer hanging nightmares each night, or; WOW... I actually did just do (x) which I haven't been able to do for years" etc etc.

    Things will begin hitting you, that everything your doing now is coming together for you. The more you ask, the more you learn, the more you talk, the better the results in the coming months and years.
     
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