I have had sleeping issues (trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, wake up easily) for the last year, the onset was initiated by an increase in workout intensity/frequency. I've cut back significantly on the workout frequency to address the sleeping issues in the last 3-4 months but have had no success.
Ive been using Melatonin supplements at 3-6mg sometimes with 5HTP but the consistency of a good nights sleep is still varied. On average, I can have one night of 7-8 hour sleep every other day, and the other night i will get 2-3 hours. I've stopped exercising almost completely in the last 3 weeks but have seen no improvement and as such am contemplating sleeping pills of higher potency. Though I am worried about side effects, I am tempted to think that getting a full nights sleep is outweighs the risks? Please advise!
Hm. You might want to reexamine your sleep hygiene (google sleep +hygiene +tips, which is a list of boring stuff your mom always told you, but important). Your circadian rhythms may have gotten messed up.
In particular, getting up at the same time seven days a week, and trying to go to bed at the same time seven days a week is really important. However, if you go to bed and can't fall asleep, get up and don't go back to bed until you're sleepy.
Reliance even on melatonin long-term can be somewhat problematic (concerns that the body might stop producing melatonin on its own). Avoid light in the blue end of the spectrum from two hours before bedtime: blue-blocking glasses, f.lux on the computer, no TV/iPhone. Try to get some daylight exposure first thing in the a.m. every day--regularizes circadian rhythm.
Try giving up coffee.
Have yourself screened for depression (the terminal insomnia). Have yourself screened for anxiety (the sleep-onset insomnia).
Do you snore? Any possibility it might be sleep apnea?
There's also something called "sleep state misperception," which is when one sleeps for normal durations, yet severely overestimates the time taken to fall asleep. Someone might believe they slept for only four hours while they, in fact, slept a full eight hours.
Wearing orange lenses about 2 hours before bed times helps me out. I fall asleep faster on the days I remember to wear them before bedtime. The glasses supposedly helps with circadian rhythms. Take them off before going to bed.
Prescription sleeping pills are highly addictive and should only be used in very short-term scenarios, but I recommend avoiding them like the plague. I learned the hard way that there is no "weaning" off of the pills. Once I realized what I was doing to my body, I stopped them, which was incredibly painful. I researched the different pills and every single one I looked at mentioned they were to be used for a short period of time (like two weeks).
Health food stores (brick and mortar stores and online) carry various forms of melatonin and tryptophan.
I'm so glad someone asked this. I've been taking a medication to sleep for some time (I think 1.5 years) and I really want to get off it...however as previously said, it's about impossible to make a comfortable transition from relying on them to sleeping without them. I installed the blackout curtains, I tried to wean off them while dosing melatonin...neither works. Even with the medication, I'm such a light sleeper that my husband's heavy deep sleep breathing wakes me. I can't decide if not sleeping is the greater evil, or if taking the medication is the greater evil. I mean, I don't often feel rested when I wake. I recently heard a great description of what sleeping pills do - they make you forget your thoughts - so true, but forgetting my thoughts doesn't let me feel rested. However, I once had 4 months of insomnia before getting any relief and I can tell you that it wrecked me. I know I don't want that to happen again. If I were to do it again, I would try anything and everything before taking a medication to sleep, including letting a doc do a sleep study on me.
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