Sleeping Problem

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I have had depression and anxiety for 15 years, and I've always had it under control until 5 months ago when most of the nights I am awake, and start feeling sleepy early in the morning. When I get up, almost all my day is gone, and I feel so tired and weak. My diet is messed up. I don't exercise anymore, and I've become so frustrated by this change which has trasformed me from an active and somewhat stable person to a practically useless and unproductive one. I don't know how to overcome my sleeping pattern, and sometimes feel I shoud put an end to my life. I have no one to talk to. Doctors have been hopeless so far. I hate to see myself like this. Is there anyone who can help me with my unusual sleeping pattern? I always thought that my depression is bed, but this unusal sleeping pattern has stopped me from living my life, or doing anything, and has made me a different. Please help if you can.

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  • Posted


    I'm surprised that if you told your GP what you have told us they have not at least given you some form of medication. I have suffered like you and know how difficult sleep disruption can be. I have found meditation and self hypnosis to work quite well but they do take time and patience. It is always a worry to hear people mention taking their own life out of desperation and I know you do not say it lightly, please talk to someone like the Samaritans if the thought persists but most of all remember it's may seem dark now but you have been there before and came through, you will do so again. Please let me know how you get on

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    • Posted


      Thanks for your advice. I don't know where to start from in terms of meditation and self hypnosis? Doctors have given me sleeping pills, but neither one of the pills has worked on me so far. Sometimes, I feel most doctors don't have enough knowledge on Depression and Anxiety, and their symptoms. They give medications based on trial and error. I don't think this field has had much progress ever since Darwin's time. At least, not as much as other scientific fields. My doctors sometimes get upset with me, when I tell them that their trial and error suggestions means they don't know much of what they got a degree for. I have a PhD from Stanford, and used to somewhat deal with my problems until 5 months ago when I got this sleeping disorder which is destroying my life. If I could go back in time, I would choose this field for my studying. I doubt if a lot of doctors who call themselves phycologists, or physiatrists know much. I think meditation or hypnosis is more advanced, but as I said I don't know where to start from. Thanks again.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ryan,

      a quick google search should provide you with plenty of information regarding both, for self hypnosis it's often best to download a self help relaxation session. As I have studied hypnotherapy I tend to do it myself but it would be difficult to explain here. As for meditation the simplist form is to sit in a quiet place either in a straight backed chair or crossed legs (sit on a pillow to raise you up a bit) and concentrate on holding a good posture while counting each breath. Practice letting any thoughts just drift through your mind and just relax. Sounds easy? Trust me it takes practice but you will find it useful

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  • Posted

    Here are some physical things that can interfere with sleep:

    A blood sugar drop - your body needs energy to sleep, which sounds counter-intuitive, but is true. This is why you can wake up in the night after drinking; alcohol causes a spike in insulin which depletes blood sugar levels. Some people also have trouble sleeping after cutting carbs from their diet. Try having some carboyhdrate before going to bed. 

    Low iron can interfere with sleep, iron keeps you asleep once you've dropped off so that might not be it for you but get your iron levels checked. Be wary of supplementing iron before getting it checked because some people have an inherited disorder that causes iron overload, though if you've had depression for 15 years that would probably have been picked up by now.

    Try resetting your body clock by not going to sleep in the morning. Try to stay awake for 36 hours and then go to bed at the normal time. 

    Don't drink caffeine in the afternoon. I can't drink coffee after 2pm or I won't sleep.

    Alliums are also stimulants - onion and garlic, especially raw. Try cutting them out of your diet. If you don't believe me, try eating some raw onion at night and see how wide awake you feel!

    Don't mess with your phone or watch telly in the evening: the blue light that they produce is the same wavelength as daylight and will upset your body clock. This is a hard one, but worth a try if you're serious about getting to sleep.

    Some more psychological tricks I've developed over the years:

    Have by your bed a book or books that you've read before (many times if possible). Something that is entertaining enough to re-read but not gripping enough to keep you awake, eg I use anything by Terry Pratchett or Georgette Heyer. It shuts out the anxiety long enough to make you sleepy. Force yourself to  keep going when your eyes are drooping then switch out the light. If that doesn't work, repeat the process. You can even get to the end of the book and turn back to page one.

    I also find that having a crossword by my bed from which I've done all the clues I can and am stuck on it helps. I memorise a clue then switch off the light and think about it. After I've had the same crossword and the same clues I can't do by my bed for a few nights, even picking it up makes me feel sleepy.

    When you're lying in bed tired and worrying about not being able to sleep, visualise getting up and doing something productive. Think about actually getting up in detail, and getting dressed and going downstairs, and doing some washing up or some work. Imagine yourself doing it, and the thought of the effort involved may make you feel more tired and help you to sleep.

    Anyway, there are a few tricks for you. Try all of them for a week, see if it helps. Good luck. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you Caludia for being a caring person to write a long comment with good information. I will try to give them all a try. Thanks agian. 

      P.S. Could you believe it is 3:30am in California and I am still awake. This is what happens to me 4-5 days a week, which I stay up till morning time.

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  • Posted

    Hello Ryan,  I understand how you feel,  i also struggle to sleep.  Claudia has given some good suggestions.  I have tried the crossword puzzle one and reading that doesn't need much concentration.  Another one i heard of is - stare at a spot on the ceiling and say to yourself i will not shut my eyes and the more you say it your eyes will keep wanting to shut ( reverse phychology ).  Also i go through the alphabet, pick a subject say Countries and name a Country for each letter, i usually get about half way, if not i will then choose another subject ie. boys names and do the same exercise.  This takes your mind off your anxieties by focusing on silly things.  Sometimes i will get up and do some jigsaw, i usually have one on the go. Hope you find a method that works.  I do still have nights where i am awake till around 3 and the sheer frustration is awful. You could try herbal tablets that help relax you, some work better than others.  Be careful if your on other medications as they can react with some.  



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    • Posted

      Thanks Elizabeth for your your suggestions. I will try anything that makes sense, including what you said in your comment.

      My sincere thanks to everyone who cares to help.

      One reponsibility of all human beings is to help others with what they know. I do the same in my field all the times.

      You're all wonderfull people. 

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  • Posted

    I got a tape helping with sleep.  I put it on my ipod and wear earphones in bed and listen to it.  I am not saying it helps every night, but it sometimes does.  Relaxation is the other thing that may help, and you can get tapes for that too. 

    There are over the counter tablets you can take which may help. 

    Try and get fresh air and a bit of exercise, just walking will help, anything to make your body more relaxed.  Worrying about not sleeping may make matters worse. 

    Depression takes so many forms, and what you describe, although new to you, is usual with depression.

    You say doctors have been hopeless.  In what way? 

    You can buy books about diet and supplements for depression.  I take lots of supplements.  I have had depression longer than you, so understand your frustration.

    Do you work?  If so then I understand how diufficult it is if you have to get up and go to work after a bad night.  No you do not to think you should put an end to your life because of this.  I have battled for 30 years, and I say to you battle on as I do. 

    You can talk to us at least.  I often get lonely, but I do have family and friends who I see sometimes.  I talk to my cat who is a great companion.  I got a dog once to make me go out as I was shutting myself away.  Sadly he is no longer with me. 

    I hope you get your life back on track.  I expect it is just a "hicup" as I get periods like you, but I do fight depression very hard and will not let it win.  You say you don't do anything.  Do you not go out at all? 

    Sorry I am not much help.

    Take care

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