I can't describe it… How to sleep without alcohol or drugs?

caroline_13

MyPTSD Pro
I have PTSD and I am trying my darndest to live with it. Not one incident but several, my question is, how to sleep without alcohol/drugs? Ironically I'm a trained holistic therapist.
I put Wayne Dyer on repeat. It's free on YouTube.

He has a three hour track that repeats over and over [paraphrased]: I am pure spirit. I always have been, and I always will be. ... The answers are speeding their way to me. When the tie comes, the answers will be there.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
how to sleep without alcohol/drugs?

I think it depends a bit on what’s stopping you from sleeping/what the barriers are.

And also perhaps what aspect of sleep are you particularly struggling with. Getting to sleep in the first place? Staying asleep? Waking up (perhaps from nightmares) and then can’t get back to sleep? Getting some sleep but not feeling rested? All of these?! Something else?!

I have a non-REM sleep disorder so some of my challenges (and related strategies) are directly connected to that. I also have moderate sleep apnoea but don’t use a machine for that. And I have experienced insomnia in the past, but that’s not something that troubles me much now.

Sleep hygiene is crucial. For me, key aspects of that are:
- keeping my room cool
- making sure the room is really dark (black out blinds)
- wearing earplugs
- not doing/watching anything stimulating in the hour or so before bed
- going to bed when I’m tired (or, at least, not going to bed when I feel very alert
- reducing caffeine intake. I don’t have much caffeine at all and, if I do, I avoid it in the evening

If I can’t get to sleep because of racing thoughts, I have a few options:
- write thoughts down
- do 10+ minutes of diaphragmatic breathing
- do a ‘countdown to calm’ exercise
- read something easy eg a magazine
- use a sleep app (I like Pzizz)

I also sometimes find that, if I lay awake for ages, if I get up and lay down in bed in the spare bedroom, I sometimes get to sleep really quickly. I don’t know why that is! But sometimes that change of scene just does the trick.

Have you considered doing CBT-I (CBT for insomnia)? I think there may have been other posts about it here, so it might be worth a search. I did a group course a few years ago at the sleep clinic who diagnosed and continue to treat my parasomnia. It was a CBT-I course but also aspects geared towards parasomnias. It didn’t transform my sleep, but there were some things of value in it for me.

Another thing I find effective - having an orgasm!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I used to suffer from terrible insomnia and I'm an alcoholic. I haven't drunk for nearly 2 years and alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns leaving you even more tired and irritable making you want to drink more too relax. It's a vicious cycle.
 

Friday

Moderator
I think it depends a bit on what’s stopping you from sleeping/what the barriers are.

And also perhaps what aspect of sleep are you particularly struggling with. Getting to sleep in the first place? Staying asleep? Waking up (perhaps from nightmares) and then can’t get back to sleep? Getting some sleep but not feeling rested? All of these?! Something else?!
This.
 

siniang

Policy Enforcement
I also sometimes find that, if I lay awake for ages, if I get up and lay down in bed in the spare bedroom, I sometimes get to sleep really quickly. I don’t know why that is! But sometimes that change of scene just does the trick.

I've come to realize that a lot of the normal "sleep hygiene" recommendations have the exact opposite effect on me (e.g. complete darkness, noise, ...). One thing I was taught in one of the courses on sleep I took (doctor's orders) was that one should establish that the bedroom is for sleep and only sleep. No reading. No computer surfing. No watching movies. In return, one shouldn't take a nap on the couch or similar. This way your brain is supposed to learn that bed==sleep.

Since my insomnia is caused by a gazillion different reasons, I've found that this actually increases pressure and stress if I still can't fall asleep or stay asleep in that one place that's supposed to have been conditioned to help you sleep. I too found that sometimes changing the scenery immediately does the trick if I yet again can't fall asleep in bed.

The only 'sleep hygiene' thing I really try to follow is to go to bed at the same time every night. Because if I don't.... this particular one affects me in a way that if I miss 'that point' of when I should be going to bed/sleep by a mere 15-20 mins, I won't be sleeping for hours, regardless of how dead-tired I am.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
The one single thing I know is:

The more you stress about not sleeping - the less likely it is to happen. So...I do or don't and it is....

"It is" is a thing I learned long ago. Sometimes if you can't control the outcome or change it...it is. Stops the squirrels from running around thinking about why I can or can't.

I also turn up the red LED strip lights behind the TV and only leave the tungsten color equivalent lights on. If you can, find lamps with the lowest kelvin temp for color you can. The number on lamps packaging that reads ####K is the lamps color, determined by the temperature a carbon block needs to be heated to to produce that color of light. Lower numbers like 2700K, are the equivalent of old Tungsten bulbs and produce more red light. 5000K or Daylight bulbs produce more blue light, turn them off.

Red light is a signal to your brain it's evening and time to sleep. So everything else with a screen should be set to night mode starting in the evening as well. Most computers and mobile phones have schedules for this so it happens automatically.

I also use cannabis and am vaping high THC content cured resin. The quick spike up and then down helps me get to sleep. Big note: it's the down that produces sleep effects.....

Nights sleep doesn't come - put on something I have seen a million times and if no sleep - rest all I can.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I've come to realize that a lot of the normal "sleep hygiene" recommendations have the exact opposite effect on me (e.g. complete darkness, noise, ...). One thing I was taught in one of the courses on sleep I took (doctor's orders) was that one should establish that the bedroom is for sleep and only sleep. No reading. No computer surfing. No watching movies. In return, one shouldn't take a nap on the couch or similar. This way your brain is supposed to learn that bed==sleep.
It's really interesting how what we are "supposed to do" sometimes doesn't work at all. I HAVE to read before bed (and I do it in bed), even if just a short bit. I sleep pretty much like a baby these days.
 

leggirl

Learning
I just keep waking up in terror. I run to deal with stress. My boyfriend is coming next year to live with me. I only need to make it 9 more months.

Sleep comes from pure exhausting anxiety. Then a nightmare sets in, and l wake up with anxiety, which walks me over to stress. I do bombard myself in at night because l don't feel safe. So my ptsd is ongoing.

I always make a conscious choice to stay in if overwhelmed.
 
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