naomi_jay: (Matteo)
[personal profile] naomi_jay
So yeah, I've been having sleep troubles lately, which is why I didn't post yesterday. I was too busy at work all day fixing a massive grant proposal, which somehow the person who was supposed to be an expert in such matters cocked up completely, leaving me (who's never done this before) to sort it out. What? I don't know. It was horrible. I had to calculate inflation rates for PCR machines and I don't even know what that means.

Anyway. I came home and was all, "Friday night! Yeah! Let's watch Dr Who from the 80s and eat fish and chips and then I'll totally write loads!" And what actually happened was that I ate fish and chips and fell asleep on the sofa. This is turning into a habit. For the past two or so months, my sleep has been utterly unrefreshing. I go to bed exhausted and wake up equally tired. I'm tired all day and work and then in the evenings too. At the weekends I dream of sleeping all day and then get up around 8-9am because I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I wake up once or twice each night too, and it takes me forever to get back to sleep again. It's driving me crazy because I'm starting to get too tired to do things I want to do, like write or watch films or go out in the evenings. 

So, because I'm a bit like this, I spent about an hour last night (after I woke up from my surprise!nap) looking up sleep disorders online. I'm sure what I actually have is plain old insomnia and a bit of stress, but it doesn't hurt to rule out advanced sleep phase syndrome, right?

And that's when I found out Exploding Head Syndrome is a Real Thing.

You guys.

How much do I love the human brain right now?

Actually, I'm fairly sure I did used to suffer from this - I can distinctly recall dozens of occasions where I woke up panicked in the night because I'd heard a loud, inexplicable noise. I always heard it as a scream.

Anyway. I don't know. I'm tempted to start trying sleeping pills, but when I used them as a student, I just ended up foggy and grumpy for hours the next day. I don't know if I'm suffering from lack of sunlight - my desk at work is more or less in a black hole and I see no natural light all day. So...Anyone got an good natural insomnia remedies?

on 2011-12-17 01:49 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mikodragonfly.livejournal.com
Exploding Head Syndrome. Priceless. If you don't find a way to write this into a story, I'll be very disappointed... and eventually be forced to do it myself!

on 2011-12-17 02:11 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
I'll do my best! It's too good to ignore.

on 2011-12-17 02:56 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com
Long walks does it for me.

on 2011-12-17 02:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
We do have some nice walking routes in my village. I might give that a try tomorrow.

on 2011-12-17 03:03 pm (UTC)
ext_7009: (Judge Anderson - psychic wars)
Posted by [identity profile] alex-beecroft.livejournal.com
Eat two handfuls of pumpkin seeds every night just before you go to bed. It starts to work in about a fortnight, so you have to persist past the initial "it's not doing anything at all!" stage. I used to suffer from insomnia a lot, but eating pumpkin seeds not only made me sleep like a log when I was eating them, it seems to have cured the insomnia altogether, because it didn't come back after I stopped.

on 2011-12-17 03:05 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
Oh wow, I never heard that before! I'll give it a go - thanks!

on 2011-12-17 07:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] brit-columbia.livejournal.com
I'm going to try that, too! I've even got them in the house.

on 2011-12-17 07:23 pm (UTC)
ext_7009: (winter)
Posted by [identity profile] alex-beecroft.livejournal.com
It definitely worked for me, so my fingers are crossed that it will work for you two too :)

on 2011-12-17 06:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nathreee.livejournal.com
Exploding head syndrome caused by stress sounds very familiar to me. Thanks for the link.

I have always been a difficult sleeper. When I had a bout of insomnia ten years ago, I enforced discipline by going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time, regardless of any sleep happening or not. It helped me survive, though it didn't cure the insomnia. More recently I learned to meditate and that has been a lot more helpful in making me fall asleep without nightmares or exploding head.

on 2011-12-18 10:37 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
I generally do that - bed by 11pm at the very, very latest, up at 6.45am (because I have no choice!). I think I probably also need to get into the habit of stopping work an hour before bed. I'm sure it can't be good for the body.

on 2011-12-17 07:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] brit-columbia.livejournal.com
This is an ongoing problem in my life. I would say it's the biggest issue in my life because how can one get through the day and be productive if one is dragging oneself around in a weary fog?

I take melatonin and over-the-counter sleeping pills intermittently. But these are band-aid solutions. The best way to get more sleep is to make a lifestyle shift, and it's really not easy. These are the things that are helping me.

1. A small, simple dinner eaten at a normal time. Not later than 7:00 if you can manage it. Certainly not at 10:00 pm.

2. No food or drink containing sugar or fat after 7:00.

3. Force yourself to go to bed a full hour earlier than you want to, even if it seems like you only had a pathetically short forty-five minute evening, even if you reckon you could get another five hundred words written by staying up, even if the kitchen is a mess. This way, even if you still end up waking up at three a.m. and worrying or ruminating for a couple of hours, you will still have gotten more sleep than usual when morning comes, by dint of having gone to bed earlier.

4. Go to bed with the intention of sleeping, not reading or making notes for work tomorrow, or checking your email on your phone/tablet/etc. in bed. Turn off the light.

5. Different bodies react differently to caffeine. Also, this can change at any time. Be aware of how your body reacts. Cut yourself off from caffeinated drinks in the early to mid afternoon.

6. The more dehydrated I am, the worse I sleep. Pay attention to your fluid intake. You have to drink extra if you have eaten salty or fatty food.

7. Avoid too much mental stimulation in the latter part of the evening. Suspenseful movies and novels will fill your head with ideas and images that won't easily settle down when it's time to sleep. I especially avoid watching the news right before bed. The same, sadly, goes for writing.

Good luck. This is a hard time of year for sleep. Every single person I know (except my father and my cat) is sleeping badly at the moment. I think we may be eating more rich food and seasonal treats, or maybe it's the old hibernation urge.

on 2011-12-18 10:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'll be trying some of these if I'm not already doing them :)

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