Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: How do you sleep?

107 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Maz,

    A few glasses of wine is one thing, but stress is definitely a big factor. Oh, and staring at a laptop during the evening.
    I can recommend meditation, as even a little bit makes a big difference, staying away from the laptop during the evening, and only using the bed for sex and sleep.
    I'd also avoid tea and coffee, not so much because of the caffeine, but because of the diuretic effect; having to get up in the middle of the night is obviously not conducive to a good sleep.
    Good luck

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah,

    Oh I hear you! Last night for me was filled with bright ideas in the wee small hours, and thus had me trying to convince my brain to rest while another part of my brain was frantically drafting some writing in my head ...

    Exercise during the day, no screens in bed, and singing in my head when my mind is racing help for me.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Maz,

    A few glasses of wine is one thing, but stress is definitely a big factor.

    Yes. Lying awake worrying is not my idea of fun, but I'm not really too stressed at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I've never had trouble sleeping (touch wood), but it's a topic that interests me in a nerdy way. One thing - even if you're not asleep, lying in bed is still resting your body and mind. Yeah, it's not the same as sleep, but it helps. Also - my Mum is a big fan of getting up and doing something in the middle of the night, like watching that air crash programme on Sky and doing a bit of knitting. Sleep usually finds a way of getting what is owed.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Tell me about it. I crawled into bed at 2am and found myself wide awake at 6.30. This is my new norm, and yep, wine makes it worse. Beer not so much.

    The upside is that I also find now that I can deal with long international overnight flights with relative ease, quite painlessly (aside from my back) going into a day with 3 or so hours of fractured sleep bent into an odd shape. That never used to happen and I guess it's the result of needling less sleep.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    Poor sleep is strongly correlated with anxiety and depression, but also it is just an age thing... Blue light from screens is something to be avoided and some form of specific relaxation technique is a good idea. But on the other hand, why do we expect to sleep through the night anyway?

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    1.30am has become my witching hour. Have to turn the lights on down stairs, have a glass of water, pay a visit, then hope for returning to sleep, which lately has taken longer than usual. Also some of the weirdest waking dreams. Might be the books I’m reading, but still…

    I’m pretty sure the coffee doesn’t help, but when I’m at my most chilled with life, I can have a short black at 9pm, and still get a good night’s sleep. What’s with that?

    Also – my Mum is a big fan of getting up and doing something in the middle of the night

    You reminded me of this research.

    Apparently;

    In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.

    Fascinating.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    But on the other hand, why do we expect to sleep through the night anyway?

    Ah, snap! (-ish)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Our lad was not a great sleeper and I had periodic insomnia for his first ten years or so. Awful, and anyone with this has my deepest sympathy. It's much, much better now. What works really well for me is what Kate said - a bit of exercise/fresh air really helps. Also - reading in bed until I doze off. Works a treat though I know it goes counter to that advice about bed only for sex and sleep.

    I have noticed that there are strong patterns involved - if for some reason you wake up at 3am you are also more likely to do this the following night, and so on.

    A suggestion i've heard is to replay the events of the whole day in your mind,right from when you first woke up, remembering every little detail in the right order but resisting the temptation to analyse or get distracted. Sounds a bit weird but it did seem to work at calming thought patterns.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Here is something from the BBC I remembered from last year
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783
    Basically being awake for a while would be thoroughly normal if we hadn’t all been up late due to artificial lighting.
    [Edit, others got there first while I was writing this I see :) ]

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I sleep well and heavily, which I know is quite obnoxious and I'm very sorry. I could quite easily sleep through someone coming into my house and removing all my furniture (don't get any ideas, you guys). These child-raising years have so far been a series of literal rude awakenings. Damn baby monitors, ruining my hibernation time.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    As long as you have something more productive to do than joining your fellow dotards on late-night talkback. In the meantime, may I suggest this. Works for me.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    As long as you have something more productive to do than joining your fellow dotards on late-night talkback. In the meantime, may I suggest this. Works for me.

    You're the second person to recommend that in 10 minutes. I might have to have a look.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm glad I gave it time, as it looks pretty weird at first.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I used to be the worst sleeper in the world. Now I'm not even the worst sleeper in the house. And I say this having had 1 1/2 hours sleep last night.

    Works a treat though I know it goes counter to that advice about bed only for sex and sleep.

    I can't sleep at all if I haven't read. It winds down brain and body. However, sex is worth trying, from a getting to sleep point of view. It doesn't work for everyone, but a big whack of relaxy endorphins might be just what you need.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I sleep well when I get exercise during the day and don’t drink too much.

    I've also come to realise that I have a "window" between about 9:30 and 10:15 where I find it easy to get to sleep, then I start to become alert again. The next window is some time after 1 am.

    Almost two years ago I discovered to my horror that if I have enough stuff to think about – stress – I can actually get into a state so agitated that I stay awake all night. I had always thought that if I just calmly waited, I would fall asleep, and discovering this isn’t so led to a worry that sits behind the other worries – what if I can’t get to sleep at all?

    Luckily, I discovered that this is what zopiclone is for. On the rare occasions since where I have got into a stress tangle and just cannot stop thinking, it does the job.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    I have periods when I suffer from insomnia - used to really do my head in trying to force myself to sleep, until I stopped fighting it and gave in... so when awake I'd do awake things and when sleepy and possible (ie not working etc) I'd grab the zzz's I could. Not my ideal sleeping pattern, then again I'm unsure what that is or would be

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    A couple of months ago I decided to try counting sleep and then spent the rest of the night trying to figure out whether I was 'watching' multiple sheep or the same sheep going round and round in circles, and if the latter, how it was getting back round to the left-hand side of my imagination without me 'seeing' it.

    I think I did get to sleep eventually, but without ovine assistance.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    How do I sleep? Like shit, since I was about 18. Some years later I paid a specialist a fair bit of money to be told that I have proper insomnia and here are some drugs. (Well, not that abruptly - I trialed all sorts of solutions before settling on one that helped the most.) At best, the pills helped me to get to sleep more easily and stay asleep a bit longer, but the concept of waking up feeling refreshed and rested has always been foreign to me.

    Then kids came along and I stopped with the sleeping pills, since I'd rather be sleep-deprived than be drug-addled when dealing with a baby in the wee hours...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    a worry that sits behind the other worries – what if I can’t get to sleep at all?

    That sounds familiar. When I find myself in that state, I get up and read a book or watch TV for a bit. Basically, busy my mind on something relaxing. Or dead boring - I've found the Communist Manifesto is a great cure for insomnia. Unfortunately, though, I don't know where my copy is - probably out in the village, which is annoying because I could've used it when we were up there on the weekend, but I didn't think of it.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Gaz Tayler,

    Last night was awake until after 1:30am... my mind would not stop racing, despite a body screaming out that it was tired from renovation work on the weekend. I suspect too much shitty coffee @ work.

    Does quality of coffee make a difference?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Gaz Tayler,

    Not for me.

    I gave up coffee for a couple of months earlier this year. Although it improved my general state of mind considerably (many double espressos a day and very strong filter coffee left me agitated and overstimulated), I didn’t notice much improvement in sleep quality, neither have I noticed it getting worse now that I am on a couple of coffees a day again. I never drink coffee after mid-afternoon, though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    The Manifesto is not in copyright, and is freely available online. With footnotes. :-) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Going through the alphabet with NZ place names (mainly towns but I allow Vinetown, Whangarei and Upper Hutt) helps. And if that doesn't work I do international countries and cities.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    A couple of pieces of advice I was given, that work for me:

    1. Train yourself to associate light with being awake and dark with being asleep. When you can't sleep, turn the light on. When you want to try to go back to sleep, turn the light off. If you can't sleep, turn the light back on. I eventually found that turning off the light helped signal to me that dark was sleep time.

    2. Keep something by the bed to write down any thoughts, so you won't be worried that you'll forget something. Once it's written down, you won't forget it, so there's no need to dwell on it.

    Some other things that have helped:

    Making sure the bed is a well-kept, nice place to be.

    Taking care to be comfortable before going to bed: make something of a routine of carefully preparing for bed, and winding down.

    And, of course, medication. (I slept right through a bluegrass band right outside the tent, playing most of the night, after taking one pill. And we're talking banjos here ...) But I don't think it's recommended for more than occasional use.

    Being physically active for a period each day also helps.

    I've found the problem with reading in bed is that I just don't have the self-discipline to stop.

    I've found meditation techniques very useful, adapted for going to sleep.

    The fact that I use all these methods shows that nothing is guaranteed to work. I expect everyone has sleepless nights sometimes.

    Worrying about it caused a feedback loop, that made the problem worse. At various times, some of the above techniques have overcome that.

    In contrast to some people, I've found the issue easier to address as I've aged.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.