Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quilter's Insomnia?


Okay. This is getting ridiculous! I feel like this kitty!

I always heard that as we age that we sleep less. Or have trouble sleeping. It hasn't often been my problem, but this past couple of weeks.....

My body says "Go to bed" and I do. My mind says "Think Think Think" and won't shut up. I toss and I turn and I will myself to do things like remember each and every place I've lived, wander through the houses of my memory, hoping that will bore me enough to drift off, but nada!

Something's gotta give! I'm afraid of sleeping pills. I don't want to get dependent on them, and I don't want to feel like a zombie the next morning.

IS THIS HORMONAL!? Have you been through this? What do I do?

Lisa is on her way over this morning to work on the silk tie quilts! I can't wait to see them. We are going to quilt them up simple, and just play for the day. I will force myself to NOT NAP in hopes that I can get a decent night's sleep tonight ---

61 comments:

Beverly said...

I found that I could not tolerate caffeine like I did when I was young, so I cut that out. If I do caffeine or chocolate I try to do it by noon and none after that. Also I eat light at the evening meal, no heavy meats. It helps, nothing is fool proof. Aging is what it is! :(

Vesuviusmama said...

So sorry I can't help - I've never really experienced insomnia. But I hope you have a fabulous time working on the silk tie quilts today!

Quiltin' Jenny said...

One thing that helps me is to keep a notepad and pen by my bed. I find that my insomnia is largely due to a running "to do" list in my head of things I'm afraid I will forget. Writing them down seems to give me "permission" to go back to sleep.

So sorry! I know it is a frustrating feeling! Hope you get some rest soon.

Cheryl said...

My OB-Gyn had a great suggestion. Keep an ipad next to the bed. When you wake, plug in. Keep it loaded with meditational tapes. I haven't tried it, but it sounded better than drugs. Try soy milk for the plant estrogens. And when I am desperate, I take a 25mg. Benadryl. Not as 'drowsy' the next day as a full dose. Good luck!

Debbie said...

Been thru it, Bonnie...I gave up fighting it and finally figured out that my hormones had a different schedule than me. Now, I just get up if I don't fall asleep and distract myself by sketching , etc. Usually, I settled down and get sleepy after an hour or so. BTW, love the kitten passed out....adorable.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Bonnie, it could partly be hormonal or stress. I've never had any problem getting a good nights sleep until a couple of years ago. Two ladies kept telling me how they couldn't sleep at night, and before long I was experiencing the same problem! I, like you, would never nap in the daytime. One thing I have read is some people get a better nights sleep if they are in bed by 10:00. I've always been a night owl, so it was hard to do. But I am back to sleeping soundly again. There is an occasional night where sleep doesn't come, but for me, it has mostly passed :-)

Mimi said...

All these folks have touched on the different pieces that happen.... first off NO NAPS, you are not tired, just too close to a bed or couch. The caffee thing is very valid... sleep got alot more regular when I quit drinking soda about 4ish. Then too, if I stay UP until 10 p.m. a longer strech of sleep.

I use to read in bed for hours in the evening, that no longer "works". So I do quilty stuff.

Have done the get up and do something for decades... latest is BLOGS ! reading

Bottom line: It is not a "one" thing to fix situation and don't labor your brain over trying to make it ONE thing.

Paul said...

Turn off the TV and Computer an hour before you lay down. Drink some Cammomile Tea with a drip of honey, and dim the lights to about half their normal brightness during that hour before you lay down.

Our bodies are triggered to sleep by darkness, but the key is natural darkness... Suddenly going from bright to dark confuses our brain which is expecting a slow transition. Think about nature, when the sun sets, we don't go from bright noon sun to complete darkness with the throw of a switch. The transition takes an hour or so from light to dark.

As we age, most of us must allow our bodies to revert to the "Norm"...

Karen said...

Bonnie, for me it was menopause. I used to sleep like a rock, but no more (and that's been about 8 years ago). I sometimes take the sleep-aid from WM (generic). It's like Tylenol PM with no Tylenol. You feel great in the morning. It's not real strong, but it helps. Good luck.

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

I feel for you, Bonnie. I've had this going on for years. I find that if I can't get to sleep within a half hour or so, I get up. Reading helps me more than anything. It distracts all the lists of things I go over in my head that tend to keep me awake. Hope that helps!

Quilter Kathy said...

This is a tough one and I have accepted that I do sometimes need to sleep less sometimes, even though I feel tired during the day. I never nap as that makes it much worse. I have a bedtime ritual now, like when my children were young...getting ready for bed, getting relaxed and clearing my racing mind...herbal tea, hot bath, music or meditation tape. I do have to run down the checklist of whether I can sleep or not...are the kids all home, do they have housekeys, might they call me for a ride, is the door locked, the furnace turned down, etc etc. No caffeine or sugar in the evenings, If everything doesn't work, I get up and do some hand stitching while listening to a relaxation tape until I'm ready to try to sleep again. I also set an alarm and try to get up at the same time every day so that my body can get on a regular schedule. It sure is a challenge, but my quilting friends tell me it will get better, and I believe everything they say :)

karenfae said...

I am one of those who has to take a sleep aide for medical reasons (fibromyalgia) but I have heard that a lot of doctors suggest you try taking 25mg to 50 mg of benedryl before you go to bed and that helps a lot of people and it is not addictive.
I also tend to keep a notepad by the bed if I wake up with a to do list in my head - I am an expert of writing in the dark and being able to read it the next day :)
Good luck
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Char said...

I'm 55 soon to be 56 years old. I've had the same problem for years. I drink only decaf tea after dinner. That has helped. There are still nights when I can't turn off the old brain. Usually I dream of all the quilts I'd like to make. That list is so long, before I know it, I'm asleep.

Judi said...

I use a couple tricks. I have a pad and write things down. I sometimes take Excederin PM which works great. I go to the second bedroom and sometimes just the change in location and I'm sound asleep. Some nights I just toss and turn and nothing works.

Loretta said...

As you get older the amount of Melatonin that your body makes drops off precipitously. Melatonin tells your body it is time to sleep. You can buy Melatonin over the counter at Walmart or any drug store. Take it 30 min. before you want to go to bed and it will help with sleep. Also, Valerian Root is called the "herbal valium". It helps to relax your mind but isn't addictive and doesn't leave you feeling hung over. I'm 50 and take one melatonin 3 mg. and one valerian root every night before bed to help get me to sleep and keep me asleep. Hope this helps!

Sherrill said...

WOW, the others seem to have been able to take care of the problem other ways but those didn't work for me. I'm 56 and have been on Lunesta PLUS Benadryl for a long time. I just do not sleep otherwise and get really cranky. So I just do what I must to sleep! Good luck on finding a non-medicinal option.

Maureen said...

At almost 50, I need less sleep than I used to. If I don't fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, I get up and do something. I also practice emptying my mind and if something is worrying me I tell myself there is nothing I can do about it right now. Basically, I tried to just accept the changes and use the extra time to be productive.

Ann Marie said...

I think the weather has something to do with it, and the moon sometimes too. I just go with the flow, don't take naps in the daytime, and deal with it. I know it only lasts a few days and then it is back to normal.

Wonky Girl said...

What Karenfae said, try Benadryl. It is actually for something like hives, but makes you sleepy. It is not addictive and gives no hang-over. I have fribomyalgia too and have been taking two tabs every night for years. Recently my DH has been taking one tab at night and he stays asleep and doesn't snore as much! LOL

NeverBored said...

I've been having the same problem ever since menopause hit and I've tried a long list of things, from quilting until I'm sleepy, to reading if I wake up, to eating a banana and having a glass of milk when I go to bed (natural tryptophan source) and nothing always works. I've even considered my sleep pattern follows the phase of the moon since I seem to sleep well for 2 weeks and then hardly sleep at all for 2. Like you I don't want a chemical aid to sleep, but when it's really bad I resort to taking Ibuprofin. Sometimes that helps. I wish there were a switch so I could turn off my brain and the ear worm playing whatever we sang in choir!

paula, the quilter said...

Like the others, I stopped ingesting sugar and caffeine after 1PM. I also make sure to not eat ANYTHING after 6PM. Carbs fire you up fast and protein kicks in after the carbs are done so when you eat something later in the evening, you are just wiring yourself. Hope this helps.

banjo795 said...

It's not just you, believe me! I find that when I am under stress or have a deadline or have something on my mind (like a quilt design in progress....), my brain just won't shut off. I keep a notebook beside the bed, and when things occur to me while I am trying to fall asleep, I write them down. I throw the notebook on the floor so that I'll step on it in the morning. In my brain, this means that I have taken care of the matter, and I can usually then fall asleep. It is sometimes a challenge to figure out what I wrote in the dark, but I can usually do it ;->. Also my alarm clock has a light on it, so I cover it up with a dark cloth to keep it from shining in my eyes and I also use an eyeshade to keep DH's alarm clock from shining in my eyes. And I abide by the no naps and "no caffeine after 4" rule - it seems to help.

Dora, the Quilter said...
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Dora, the Quilter said...

You've received some good suggestions so far.
I never sleep as well as I did when I was younger. If job stress is too high for me, nothing much helps. That said, a 10 to 15 minute bath tub soak with two cups of Epsom salts and a few drops of pure lavender oil about an hour or two before bedtime helps. (A large percentage of the population is magnesium deficient.) I used to take capsules of Passion Flower Extract if I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep but I haven't found that for several years. Often inositol and choline help me get back to sleep.
I don't dare take anything with benedryl since then I'll not be able to sleep for the next 4 or 5 nights.
On the rare occasions that leg cramps awaken me, potassium helps.
Strangely enough, if I fail to get adequate sleep for several nights (for me that's 7.5 to 8 hours), I find I'm more likely to start having problems staying asleep.
I recently realized the LED numbers on my alarm are too bright--I'd been told to keep it a long way from the bed, but I do need to reach it on work days. I began covering the numbers with several layers of folded paper just before I go to sleep and immediately noticed I was sleeping better.
I hope you'll be able to find something that works better for you.

UFOQueen said...

Bonnie, I have had sleep issues for years. The Dr. told me the same as what Paul was saying. Don't watch TV, or use the computer for an hour before bed. The light stimulates the brain and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. If you have runaway thoughts, like going through things to remember, I put a pad of paper near the bed to write them down so my mind can let go of them.

This last piece of advice is kinda weird, but sometimes if I still can't turn my brain off, I just say some nonsensical words over and over in my head to try to refocus my brain off of the the other things that are just rattling around in there. Something like Bittity Bobbity Boo. I just seems to break the cycle of stressful thoughts.

I hope this helps!

Jill said...

Try some high quality lavendar essential oil on your pillow. Just one drop. You should sleep like a baby. Lavendar is a relaxing oil. I love essential oils.

thefairygardenerquiltstoo said...

Wish I could offer more suggestions but one thing I read and did, was to take the TV completely out of the bedroom and it helped. Also watch the wine. Wine makes you drowsy but you'll wake up later.

Celestial Seasonings "Sleepytime" tea works great.

Gail :)

The Calico Quilter said...

No naps and definitely cut the caffeine, at least after noon. When I turned 40 my tolerance for it tanked and I was sleeping terribly until I gave up caffeine cold turkey. You'll feel awful for a few days, but it will pass. I also quit reading and watching TV in bed. Reprogram your brain that when you go to bed you are going to sleep. Having said all that, though, if it's menopause there's nothing to be done but ride it out! In a few years (!) you will be back to sleeping normally. At least that was my experience. I know - that's cold comfort to the sleep deprived. Oh, I also just had a thought - you travel so much, are you getting your internal clock confused? Zooming across time zones will do it to you. I spent a miserable jet-lagged week in Seattle once. Never could get transitioned off Eastern time.

Kim said...

Me too!
If you find a way to solve this issue...I think you'd be a millionaire.
I sleep so little some days I don't know if I coming or going... meanwhile on the other side of the bed....... my DH puts his head on the pillow and in less than 60 seconds snoring! All night long the man never moves!

Menopause? Who knows?

Happy sewing.....it helps keeps me sane.

SubeeSews said...

I am one of those who has to take a sleep aide for medical reasons (fibromyalgia)

Above is a quote from one of your followers yet it fits me to a tee.
I find I sleep well for a couple nights then I am a prowler for hours at night. It seems I sleep soundly until 1 or 2 a.m. Then I will just get up as if it was the regular time. I can get so much done when the house is quiet.
A notebook or recorder at the bedside works too.

Cannot wait until tomorrow!!!! WHOOHOOO!
Subee

regan said...

Yep....it's the menopause! I've done the meletonin (which worked for a couple months, then not so much) and the tylenol pm (which left a bit of a hangover). No tv and a quiet dark room don't always work, cuz then I hear every creak in the house, imagine the worst (murderers!) and freak out!

I read somewhere that if you sleep on your right side, there is less pressure on your heart (higher in your body, less pushing down on it) and that seems to help, unless my hubby is breathing/snoring on me!

I always sleep better the night I change the sheets....something about the smooth, tucked in feeling. Also, how old is your mattress? Maybe it's time for a new bed.

Also, I'm now singing "Put it together and what have you got....Bippity Boppity Boo.....thanks a bunch UFOQueen.....like I needed THAT rambling around in my head!

Hope you find some relief.....or, like me, just plan on riding it out until the end of menopause. Tired and a bit cranky, but that's my life!

dakotaessence said...

Bonnie also remember you are grieving some losses. The sleeplessness could be part of that too, especially if your brain feels wired... I was told if you can't sleep after an hour get up.

Gwynette in NW Arkansas said...

Love your 'HEXAGON' background. My friends are at the 'I can't go to sleep stage'. They hate me because I nap AND sleep like a baby at night... go figure!!! Hmmmm, as a matter of fact, looking at the kitty makes me need a nap!...LOL

Sandy said...

Yes, it is hormonal and Loretta above hit it right on the head...melatonin (3 mg.) and a valerian (which smells like dirty socks...)about 30 min before bed. Also, don't underestimate the impact of the creativity you're channelling. The world itself has sped up and your on the receiving end of a fire hose re new ideas and plans for the future. In watching how much you do every day...it might be a good idea to step back and take a bit more down time, just to try to put in order all your thoughts and ideas. skeefe@mindspring.com

Bug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bug said...

Obviously some people here will recoil in horror at my solution for sleeplessness - my iPod. A few years ago I was dealing with a nightmarish situation with one of my kids, and every time I'd turn out the light, I could not stop thinking about it. I would feel my heart rate increase and my temperature rise. So I started taking my iPod to bed and playing games such as solitaire on it. Kept my brain focused on something other than my stress, and was boring enough that I could fall asleep playing it.

Good luck and hope you find something that works for you!

YankeeQuilter said...

I've gone a bit opposite of some of the posts...I've taken away the notebooks, magazines, and books from the bedside. I also do not watch the new right before going to bed. I do some relaxation/deep breathing exercises too. If however I find I cannot sleep due to whatever (usually pain of some sort) then I don't hesitate to take either a Tylenol PM or an Ambien. I find it only gets worse if I fight it...

Allie said...

Oh I've been doing this for years - I'm a natural night owl anyway, and after menopause it just got so much worse. Now I'm lucky if I can fall asleep by 4am. My brain just won't shut down. There is one thing that helps - listening to classical music, VERY SOFT classical, or an audiobook. It helps to refocus my mind on something soothing.

It probably would help a lot if I could get up earlier - but with fibro, my body requires 8 hours, and won't let me do without it. So if I don't get to sleep til 4am, I end up sleeping til noon. And that STINKS. I would dearly love to be a bright early morning person but after all these years, I'm not sure it's possible!

Cbar said...

I don't want to take sleeping pills so my Dr. told me to take Melatonin before bedtime. It doesn't make me a zombie at all. I won't sleep through loud noises and I wake up alert. I take 5mg at bedtime.

Anita said...

I have the same issue. Last night I decided to see if a Hershey bar at 2 am would help me sleep and it did! Mmmm, maybe I'm onto something. ;)

Tamie said...

This is one of the things that is a real problem as I age... I usually fall asleep now but wake up and have things running through my head. The most recent tip I was given was to count backwards from 300 by 3's. So far it has been pretty successful. It has to do with using the other side of your brain. Give it a try- there is nothing to lose.

Tracy said...

I haven't had a decent night's sleep in I can't remember how long. Part of it is my hands go numb certain ways I lay(getting a massage soon for that). Another is the 'mind won't stop' thing. I've found that melatonin helps. Within 1/2 hour of taking one I get sleepy and if I have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom(too much water in the evenings!)I can usually fall back asleep pretty easily. It's supposed to be natural and I'd rather take that than the OTC drugs.
Good luck and let us know if you find a 'cure'!
Another thing that helps is when DH can't sleep and goes downstairs to watch tv...I get the whole bed to myself!

Kathy in FL said...

Yes, I have been through this before, and sometimes it comes back, too. My approach was to not fight it. If I wake up "in the middle of the night", thoughts racing, and no hope of getting back to sleep, then I just get up and do something. Make a list of the things that are going through my mind. Do some sewing. Read a chapter in that book I am reading/want to read. Just don't worry about why I'm awake, just be awake, and sometimes I get sleepy enough to go back to bed. If I don't, then I don't. If I get a nap the next day, I do. If I don't, then I don't. I found that the more I worried about "it", and the more upset I became, the worse the insomnia. Once I stopped fighting it, I got over it. It took a few days (maybe even a week or so), but the insomnia did go away.

Arley Haner a.k.a. Smiley Quilter said...

I have this regularly and found deep breathing and concentrating on that; I literally repeat in my head - in - out - in - out in time with my breathing. I learned this technique in a yoga class years ago. It blocks all the other thought and you usually fall asleep. I also recently read somewhere, i wish I could remember where, that you shouldn't worry if your mind seems to never stop as if you are laying still and your body is relaxed you are getting the rest you need. Good Luck.

Hey ... I'm Lindsay ! said...

Hey Bonnie ... you've gotten some good advice there ... I too suffer form insomnia or restlessness in the night ... these are some things I've figured out ...

A man friend told me if I wake up and feel like getting out of bed, if I will just sit up on the side of the bed for about 15 minutes, it'll usually get me thru that hump of needing to jump up, and I can actually go back to sleep :)

Sometimes it IS hormones! I'm 58 now, so I don't usually wake up sweating, but sometimes I'm awake. The no caffeine past (whatever) time is good! Mine is late afternoon. If my blood sugars are running high, I will wake up in the middle of the night.

Sometimes I need to get up and make a list and download my brain onto a piece of paper... it works! Sometimes I blog for an hour or so then go back to bed, or even sleep in the recliner... That seems to work for me for some reason. :)

Sometimes I just need to get up and talk to the Lord, then I can rest like a baby.

and SOMETIMES I resort to sleepytime tea ... it's a natural relaxer of chamomile tea, and just takes the edge off to help you relax to sleep. Non addicting, no druggy feeling ... just nice !

But you know when I slept the best? When I was doing Zumba and drinking lots of water! Seems the exercise was doing me a world of good, and I will be getting back into it after the holidays... hope some of these tips may help!

bunbear said...

Bonnie, try prayer. It works for me. Say your prayers while trying to fall asleep. Also, I build my dream house in my mind when I can't sleep sometimes. Good luck!

Louise said...

Yep, happens to me on a chronic basis. Thank goodness I don't have to get up early anymore, so I don't worry that much about it. I do Sudoku puzzles in bed and that helps take my mind off other things and gets me sleepy. Crosswords might work too.
One Benadryl tablet helps, too.
Louise

Head in the Clouds said...

Count backwards from 100 or 200.
It works everytime.

TheaM said...

Wow, LOTS of good suggestions here, but I didn't see the one the Dr. gave me (see#3) when I started meno... never mind how long ago!
First, of course, cut out caffeine - that's been mentioned, but it's really true - and keep in mind that decaf still has SOME caffeine, so cut that out too - my last cup of decaf is no later than 4PM.
2- take a pain killer at bedtime - aspirin, tylonol, motrin, whatever your preference - if I forget mine, it's worth it to get up and take it.
3 - and this is the one that has not been mentioned... a relaxation exercise I learned when my kids were teenagers and my stress was off the charts... Once I lay down, I IMAGINE myself laying on a warm beach listening to the ocean waves... (I used to have a tape of wave noises that I played, but I wore it out) then I consciously relax my joints - starting at my toes, ankles, knees, hips, fingers, elbows, shoulders, neck...zzzzz
and one last thing - in the winter, when the bed is cold - preheating really helps!

Becky said...

When your mind is racing and you can not sleep. Get up take a calcium and 2 vitamin B's. The calcium settles your muscles, the Vitamin B settles you brain. No sleeping pill hangover. Just make sure you use a quality vitamin.

craftthefinalfrontier said...

I knit in my head....one slow stitch at a time....maybe handquilting in your head would help.

Sharon said...

Bonnie, a sure and free cure is to mentally say the ABCs or any mindless thing again and again. If the thoughts intrude, go back to the ABCs as soon as you realize it. You will bore your brain to sleep. It may take up to 3 nights, but you will sleep.

Sharon said...

Oh yes, no napping
Sharon
sjhughson@gmail.com

Kelly said...

Lots of good advice here, but I have to do things differently! When I can't sleep for several nights, I sleep whenever I can! Power naps during my lunch hour or evening naps help keep me and my hubby sane. Within a week or two, my body returns to 'normal' sleeping habits. Why torture yourself (and your family) because someone said naps aren't beneficial? I say - sleep whenever you can. The more you worry about it, the harder it is to sleep.

Beth said...

I use lavender lotion on my hands and arms when I have trouble going to sleep. I live in the desert..so lotion is ALWAYS a good thing!) and I tuck my hands under my cheek, so the aroma is close. Next thing I know, its morning! My hubby knows when he smells lavender, I'm toast! lolol

Quilting Diva said...
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Quilting Diva said...

Lots of good advice but, I'll add my 2 cents too.
Valerin ( find it at health food stores or online) is a combination of valerian, passion flower and chamomile all good for relaxing and great sleep aid.
Melissa (find it at CVS or Walgreens) is an all natural combination of lemon balm, magnesium and B vitamins. Great for relaxing and sleep aid too.
Relaxation breathing exercises while listening to relaxing music. You can do this in bed and might be asleep before you know.
Some yoga postures for relaxation and calming the mind, work great too. At yogajournal.com you can find some routines or podcasts.
Hope some of this helps. Blessings.

Jean said...

WOW! I've learned sooo much from reading the comments of these great people. I'm sure you have too.
Hope one, some or all the above work for you. Nothing like not getting to sleep. My problem is when I get to sleep and start having waking problems... I find that my hubby is snoring soo loudly that it wakes me completely. Such is life!

julieQ said...

Caffeine, yes...but Bonnie...You may want to get your thyroid checked. I have been insomnic for about a year...bad! I went and got checked...HYPER thyroid!! You may want to look it up and see if this fits you...I wish you all luck...and sweet dreams!

sbcmom said...

Not sure you'll see this because I'm responding to an old post, but I, like many others, was having the same problems. I've started getting up at 4:30 in order to get to the YMCA at 5, work out for an hour (weight machines, stairmaster) then head home to wake up children and get off to work/school. The exercise has completely taken care of my sleep issues. I'm in bed between 9 and 9:30 and asleep a few minutes later. I tried almost everything else you've had recommended to you and exercise is what did it.

Ullan tilkut said...

Hi! Greetings from Finland! I love the cat! :)