Eric Hanson wrote:Stacy,
I am well versed in medication and tolerance issues. I am actually a psychology teacher and I strongly emphasize the significance of the biological/physical/chemical aspect of the brain and the effects on behavior. I do periodically change out medications, though Trazadone is the one with the least tolerance issues. For years I preached against sleeping medications precisely because of tolerance issues. That was until I was struck with insomnia myself.
Insomnia rules every aspect of my life, no matter what I try, nor how hard I try. My insomnia is not the light sleeping/frequent and early waking variety. Without medication, no matter how tired I get, I simply will not enter any type of sleep for even a moment. I suspect but don’t know that at some level my brain has lost the ability to sleep on its own. It is about 7:20 right now and I am already strategizing how to get to bed at 9:00 so that my meds will work but be worn off by 5:00 am when I need to get up. I have had a sleep study but it was worthless. It succeeded in telling me that I don’t sleep! I wanted my money back after getting that result. Worse still, though my meds induce unconsciousness, the state they induce might not really qualify as sleep. The stages they induce are terribly disrupted and in no way resemble normal healthy sleep. Trying to reduce stress is likewise fruitless as sleep deprivation IS a very significant stressor.
As I stated earlier, I would love to find the simple dietary or herbal solution, but thus far all have fallen flat.
Eric Hanson wrote: In my sleep study I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. However, this explains poor quality sleep and not the inability to fall asleep in the first place.
I was put on a CPAP machine. Actually, for a while I hoped this would really be the answer to my problem. But sleeping with a CPAP is like being suffocated by an octopus. I can’t move into a comfortable position, I can’t actually breathe on my own as the machine “decides” when I breathe and in between I feel like I am suffocating. I called it my Darth Vader machine for the sound it made and the discomfort it induced.
Catie George wrote:
Have you tried meditation (this may be a, duh, of course)? I have practiced my grandma's "just rest your eyes dear" theory of insomnia /napping for years, and it works better than nothing for me to become less tired. I close my eyes and just breath and relax for a while, not expecting or asking for sleep, just giving my brain a break. I want to try meditation after listening to a program on CBC about the effects of meditation on sleep quality, and the ability of meditation to change your brain, but none of the online resources I have tried have worked for me. Maybe I will find a class.
John Weiland wrote:
Funny how I just got done having lunch with an old co-worker and this issue of sleep problems, breathing issues, CPAP-mania and other things came up. I'm glad Catie G brought up the notion of meditation which, although not a magic bullet, is highly under-rated for myriad health benefits. It doesn't matter the source of my occasional bouts of insomnia, an important means of inducing relaxation and often re-entry into sleep is steady, full-breathing meditation. Whereas you described it as "giving my brain a break", in my own case I feel it to be giving my body a physiological break from the ravaging effects of my brain and busy mind. I don't know how the various classes in differing locations varies across the globe, but I was fortunate enough to enroll in an 8-week 'mindfulness meditation' course facilitated by a very competent instructor. That was 10 years ago and I've been practicing ever since, even if during some times of the year I'm more dedicated than during others. Would highly recommend it for many issues dealing with busy mind/anxiety/insomnia.