Hey all, I need some suggestions here. I suffer from chronic insomnia, and as a result I end up extremely fatigued most of the time. Obviously I need to address my sleep issues, and I have indeed made major improvements on it, but I still have those days where I slept horribly the night before and I'm dead tired.
How do I survive? I find that stuff like coffee doesn't help because it just screws up my sleep even more. I am also not a napper either.
Acetyl-l-carnitine seems to sharpen the mind a little and reduce the need for coffee, and is popular with the nootropic/life extension crowd. Commonly combined with lipoic acid which also anecdotally helps a little.
Rhodiola rosea or schizandra are slightly stimulating adaptogens which some people respond very well to. There's a double blind placebo controlled study on pubmed on doctors after night duty who had improved alertness and decision making on rhodiola. I can attest to its effect when I've been sleep deprived. Always worth checking there's no reason not to take such things though, like interactions with medications you might be on. The effects wear off if taken every day so best to use intermittently.
SAD type lamps for a 15min burst on rising and during the day helps keep you more alert by switching off your melatonin production. A dawn simulating lamp can make waking up easier and regulate your cycles, and i guess trying some press ups on waking could do some good :)
Try not just to survive the day, but fix the problem!
Restoring proper magnesium and zinc levels is critical, taking both before bed is optimal for melatonin levels. Be sure to sleep in total darkness, and even keep lights dim before bed, avoiding any stimulants past noon and not doing or watching anything stimulating before bed.
Rooibos tea is great for reducing cortisol, and really helps calm down the nervous system and improve sleep. Re-balancing your cortisol levels is critical to beating insomnia.
I have found a breakfast including coconut milk to be terribly helpful on mornings after a night of bad sleep. The MCTs in coconut oil seem to provide a steady source of energy where a lot of other things don't.
Can't speak to coping, but I discovered last summer that selenium cured my insomnia that I could have sworn was due to stress. 200 micrograms/day -- don't think the timing matters. I didn't take it for sleep issues either so it wasn't a placebo effect. I take it only once or twice a week now as I eat more carbs than I used to and that seems to help. I have the occasional bout still, but now I really know it's stress causing it!