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Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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kateinsocal

Hello all, 

 

Seeking clarification when it comes to bedtime - 

 

I know getting in a set schedule is important, but is it more harmful than good to try to sleep when you don't feel sleepy? 

I can't decide which is worse for me, trying to sleep earlier knowing I likely won't, then end up getting frustrated, or staying up later until I am more sleepy and have a better chance of falling asleep. It's hard to decipher at times, as the melatonin makes me feel like I could fall asleep, but half the time can't get there (or stay there). 

I've been opting for #1 lately - and it's great on the random nights when I can fall asleep quite quickly, but on the ones where you can't, it tends to frustrate me more than it would if I just stayed up later. 

 

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apace41
38 minutes ago, kateinsocal said:

I know getting in a set schedule is important, but is it more harmful than good to try to sleep when you don't feel sleepy? 

 

Kate,

 

Unfortunately, sleep in withdrawal does not come with a playbook that can be universally followed.  It is marginally helpful to read what the sleep experts and thought leaders have to say and some of their tips can help at the margins.  Things like blackout shades and cool temperatures and turning off your screens well before bedtime are all of use, however, when the brain says "I think I'm going to flood you with cortisol and make it impossible for you to fall asleep" then all bets are off and none of those "secrets" are likely to help.  Distinguishing the "trouble falling asleep" days from the "I'm not going to sleep" days becomes an art form and is very hard to do.  Sometimes you can "force" sleep but that is, in my experience, the exception to the rule when the cortisol is really high.  On those days, I get out of bed so as not to disturb the wife and I go into another room with my iPad and read or watch a show or do something to try to pass the time and see if I come down from the high level of energy that is keeping me up.  If I do, I try to go back to sleep, but, frequently, I find that I'm up much or all of the night.  Like you, when I try really hard to sleep and can't it is frustrating so I can empathize.

 

I don't think there is a "right or wrong" answer to this and all you can do is let your body guide you.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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nr47
On 17/03/2011 at 2:38 AM, Altostrata said:

 

Can we revive the "Light therapy for sleep problems" thread, moderator? I've found that after 8 years of using antidepressants, a 10,000 LUX light therapy box used upon waking for 30 minutes was the only thing that fixed my sleep problems. I went from oversleeping every night to sleeping just the right amount (7-9 hours per night). I think the effects of this tool shouldn't be undermined. Thanks!

Edited by ChessieCat
added note about link update

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rupa

300m.l of lukewarm buffalo milk ,mixed well with half a teaspoon turmeric powder,one hour before bed time.

It is doing wonders for my withdrawal insomnia.

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Chochka
On 23/03/2017 at 8:46 PM, Kestrel777 said:

I am tapering off of Lexapro and have trouble finding more than three hours of sleep per night. This was the case before I started the drug also. I am dealing with a great deal of health related anxiety, financial anxiety and CPTSD. Getting help with all of the above but I feel that if I could get a good solid 4 for 5 hours of sleep that I could deal with life more successfully.

 

Recently I read that Benadryl has been found to contribute to dementia. It crosses the blood brain barrier. I used to take Benadryl 25mg for sleep no more than 3 times a week, about two weeks ago stopped after I discovered a link between the drug and back pain not to mention the dementia news. 

 

QUESTION: What can I take to help me relax and fall asleep? Any herbal teas? I have hot flashes several times in the early morning but I am used to them. I won't take hormones. Sleep is of utmost importance to me right now. Sleep is healing. 

 

I am starting a cardio routine 45 minutes a day now. I am practicing Mindfulness also each day. 

 

Your advice is greatly appreciated. 

 

Kestrel

I had the most terrible insomnia for the first year of w/d. I barely slept and eventually had to reinstate. I tried again a year later and had completely different symptoms with insomnia only a sporadic symptom. It was still bad though and would go on for a week or two at a time. I know this might be unwelcome advice for some but I was persuaded by a friend with MS to try cannabis and it worked a treat. Not strong stuff or 'weed' and I did have to start smoking but it was worth it. I know that some people can't handle cigarettes in w/d but fortunately I can and cannabis is the only thing that gets me to sleep when the insomnia is bad. It means I can still work and function. 

 

I hope this is helpful. I know it's not the most welcome of advice but nothing else touched it. I used to panic when I started to get insomnia because the idea of it lasting a year again was terrifying but now I'm more relaxed about it. I also meditate and have a ridiculously healthy lifestyle other than the occasional smoke. I really hope you find a solution to yours. I know how devastating it can be. 

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UniEase
On 9/2/2017 at 12:52 PM, pinkfairy said:

Had like to share this with you all,I thought I wasn't sleeping at all....

 

i bought a very fit (cheap version of fit bit)

it tracks sleeping 😌 

i was shocked as it said I was getting 6 hours,I was like no way..

it said 3.25 deep sleep An the rest light sleep,it's like my little security  blanket on a night now!!

my mind was adamant I wasn't sleeping only to be told other wise!

i honestly thought I was going to go insane after 2-4 hours a night after 13th month...

1))I didn't 

2))it's creeping back up 

3))every single thing is mind games,these drugs are like been in a mentally abusive realtionship...

learn to ignore the games An lies it tells you..eventually when your time comes you will walk away from this An it will all be a million miles behind you..

4))when your symptoms are high,that's when all the healing is taking place.

5)) repeat 24/7 this is not me it's the drugs,you don't have to believe it,but eventually a little seed will get planted.

6))NEVER EVER GIVE UP 

because one day this will happen 🐛🦋

huge hugs 🤗 to you all pink 

FIT Bit uses movement to track your sleep. So if you don't move if thinks you're asleep. I have one too and it said I slept 5+hrs on nights when I did not sleep at all. 

Read here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/22/fitness-trackers-sleep_n_4637328.html 

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Athena

What is the least bad med to help sleep in cases of total insomnia and desperation? Benadryl? Mild sleeping pill? Thank you

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UniEase

Hi all,

 

These responses are from last year. I am just curious how folks are doing. Sleeping more, sleeping deeper/more continuous or still the same? 

 

For a skin infection, I used 2 mg of pimozide, an anti-psychotic for 2.5 months early 2017 then quit cold turkey and was fine. It did take away skin issue temporarily. But then skin condition recurred then I started drug again Sept-Nov. By mid-Nov, my brain snapped into severe insomnia. I quit cold turkey. I did not sleep 2 months straight. You can read full story on my profile.

 

Its been 4+ months now, I am through with rx for insomnia that can cause insomnia as well. I am now detoxing with hot yoga taking only herbs at night and averaging about 4-6 hrs/night but very broken sleep 1-1.5 hrs at a time and very light. Having dreams are the only way I can tell if I'm sleeping. Wondering when my brain will bounce back from withdrawal.

 

On top of that my skin symptoms are recurring minimally but I don't want to touch this drug anymore after what it did to me. Would love to hear from folks especially any success stories. Thanks!

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Altostrata

The least bad med is an antihistamine such as Benadryl, but it can go paradoxical with regular use. Use search in this forum to see our discussions about this.

 

These bizarre-looking sleep aids might help get your sleep environment dark enough to trigger melatonin

https://ostrichpillow.com/products/ostrichpillow-original

 

https://ostrichpillow.com/products/ostrichpillow-light-reversible

 

In the reviews, some people say they've had extraordinarily good sleep using the Ostrich pillow in particular.

 

However, morning light on your skin can still wake you up --- you have light-sensing nerves there, too. If you have extreme sleep difficulties, you will still want to use blackout shades and curtains and keep your bedroom cool and dark.

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ChessieCat
1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

However, morning light on your skin can still wake you up --- you have light-sensing nerves there, too.

 

I didn't know that.  Thank you for this information.

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Loreli

I'm not tapering yet but I do get insomnia sometimes and there are some free apps you can get on your phone. They are guided meditation and they really help me to fall asleep. They seem to work better if I use earbuds to listen rather than just normal. There is another app called Calm that has natural sounds like a soft rain, bonfire, lake etc. Then it has mindful meditations that I really like to help with stress, anxiety or just to use to chill. There are many meditation apps and I had to download them to try them and then delete until I found the ones I liked the best. Some have binaural beats that are supposed to be good for Neuroplasticity. 

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serrj

I need an advice on acute insomnia. It's been almost 3 weeks since I lost ability to sleep. I don't know how to explain, but I just don't want to sleep. I go to bed, close my eyes, try to relax, but nothing happens. I don't feel myself sleepy or tired. I don't feel sleepy on next day either. This drives me crazy. Is there a medication-free treatment? 

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Altostrata

You have classic withdrawal syndrome. Please see my responses in your Introductions topic.

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Athena
On 08/04/2018 at 8:22 PM, Altostrata said:

The least bad med is an antihistamine such as Benadryl, but it can go paradoxical with regular use. Use search in this forum to see our discussions about this.

 

Thanks Alto. Also I see you and others are/were taking Aspirin 81mg... Is this something that can be used more often? One night out of 2 for example?

Thank you.

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Altostrata

Please use search in the Symptoms forum to see our discussions about aspirin.

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TryingToHoldOn

UniEase,

 

I’m going on my 16 month of insomnia and I still never feel sleepy or tired.  On a good night I will have 4-5 hours of broken sleep (averaging a few nights a month).  Most nights, I sleep ~2-3 hrs and a few with no sleep at all.

 

Tiny improvements i’ve Noticed:

- falling asleep while listening to a podcast.  One minute i’m Awake and then i’m Not.  I tend to wake up after 30-45 min but it’s deep sleep because husband hears me snoring.  So yay!

- I wake closer to 5am when i’m able to sleep.  For a better part of a year I would wake between 3-4am.

-occasionally, i’m Able to fall back asleep after I wake in the morning.  Before it was impossible, once I woke I was awake for the day.

 

I am still unable to nap and there are many things that continuously concern me about my sleep, but I *try* not to about not sleeping.  Easier said than done.

 

Oh another thing, I do not take anything for my insomnia.  Scared to death to put any type of poisons in my body.  I do drink mag citrate and rub magnesium oil on my feet at night, but it doesn’t seem to have any impact good or bad on my sleep.

 

How are you doing?  Has your sleep improved?

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dj2010
10 minutes ago, TryingToHoldOn said:

UniEase,

 

I’m going on my 16 month of insomnia and I still never feel sleepy or tired.  On a good night I will have 4-5 hours of broken sleep (averaging a few nights a month).  Most nights, I sleep ~2-3 hrs and a few with no sleep at all.

 

Tiny improvements i’ve Noticed:

- falling asleep while listening to a podcast.  One minute i’m Awake and then i’m Not.  I tend to wake up after 30-45 min but it’s deep sleep because husband hears me snoring.  So yay!

- I wake closer to 5am when i’m able to sleep.  For a better part of a year I would wake between 3-4am.

-occasionally, i’m Able to fall back asleep after I wake in the morning.  Before it was impossible, once I woke I was awake for the day.

 

I am still unable to nap and there are many things that continuously concern me about my sleep, but I *try* not to about not sleeping.  Easier said than done.

 

Oh another thing, I do not take anything for my insomnia.  Scared to death to put any type of poisons in my body.  I do drink mag citrate and rub magnesium oil on my feet at night, but it doesn’t seem to have any impact good or bad on my sleep.

 

How are you doing?  Has your sleep improved?

i'm having a lot of success with CBD oil for my insomnia, I have tried a few and find this one is working best:  https://cbdbrothers.com/product/purple-edition-cbd-oil/

 

if try need to start off with a extremely small dose and work way up,

 

hope your sleep improves,

 

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Mobc1990

My insomnia is not as serious as some people here,but I went off to sleep at 11pm and planned to wake up at 8:30am.I went to bed at 11am but cannot fall asleep and like yesterday I fell asleep at 1am and woke up at 8:30am,so still get around 7 hours.

 

its been a week not taking any psych meds.Now I am only taking Omega 3 fish oil

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Altostrata
8 hours ago, Dabhob33 said:

....

****Started new online Sleep course called Go!to Sleep through the cleveland clinic.   Tracking sleep and using CBTI.  I’m meeting with creator of program Dr Drerup on 8/29/18 for sessions.   But others not in cleveland can use the online / remote course.   Might be something for others to consider who are having sleeping issues.   Here’s the link - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/-/scassets/8881218339914257bc112d6cb986b4e3.ashx

....

 

 

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Rosetta

These things worked for me:

 

Walking every day or almost everyday is the most important thing I do.

 

1. Go to bed early and use a sleep mask to block out the light.  Get black out shades for the window.  I use both.

2. No screens for an hour or two before bedtime.  No blue light.  Low, golden light or candles in the house.

3. Use a fan for white noise.

4. Go to bed at the same time every night

5. Drop the temperature in your bedroom before you go to bed (I have to drop mine to 73).  This will signal your body that it's time to sleep.

6. Soothing music - yoga, meditation or singing bowls music perhaps.

7.  Walking almost everyday

 

To sleep later:

8.  Use a sleep mask/black out shades to sleep later on days you don't work.

9. If --after daylight -- you wake up anxious and can't fall back asleep, get up and do something to distract so that you can get to bed earlier that night.

10. Turn down the thermostat if you had let the temp rise in the night.  

 

If you wake up in the night:

 

11. Drink warm milk.

12. Use a microwaveable shoulder wrap or neck wrap that you can heat.  I heat mine 2-3-4 times if necessary.

13. Don't watch tv or movies or read a kindle or use the Internet. No blue light.

14.  Try to avoid turning on the lights.

15.  Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees.

16.  Turn on a fan or some type of white noise.

17. Observe your breath -- in, out, in, out (meditation)

18. Repeat a mantra -- I am safe.  I am safe.

 

 

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Mourad

Dear fellow chronically sleep-deprived,

 

Here’s are my top 3 occasional life savers:

 

SleepGenius app.  Funnily enough, the overly elaborate sleep module doesn’t do much for me. But the power nap and the relaxation program modules, each roughly 30 mins long,  are very helpful. They don’t quite get me to sleep — not more than a few seconds or so at least — but close enough

 

The Andrew Johnson Relax mp3 or app. Again, the sleep hypnosis app/mp3 he also offers, doesn’t do much. But this Relax one does. I may even doze off briefly, slightly

 

The BrainSync Brain Massage mp3. Supplies gentle music or ambiance with binaural beats inducing gamma and delta waves. Not quite sleep-inducing, but very soothing even so.

 

May our sleep return soon,

Mourad

 

 

 

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Happy2Heal

folks considering using melatonin to help with sleep may want to watch this (or read the transcript)

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-melatonin-supplements-safe/?utm_source=NutritionFacts.org&utm_campaign=ffb2ee4b35-RSS_VIDEO_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_40f9e497d1-ffb2ee4b35-23428565&mc_cid=ffb2ee4b35&mc_eid=18558a9b97

 

 

there are foods that have melatonin in them, it might be safer to eat those. 

Some foods naturally contain melatonin and are therefore great to have at an evening meal or as a light night time snack:

Bananas

Morello cherries

Porridge oats

Sweet corn

Rice

Ginger

Barley

Tomatoes

Radishes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

https://lifespa.com/melatonin-rich-foods-will-improve-health/

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Altostrata

Thanks, H2H. Those can be good foods, but the amount of melatonin they contain is very, very tiny.

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Happy2Heal
On 9/1/2018 at 12:01 PM, Altostrata said:

Thanks, H2H. Those can be good foods, but the amount of melatonin they contain is very, very tiny.

yes I suppose that's true, however  it's enough to make a difference, at least for some ppl (it's been studied, I'll try to find the studies (dbl blind placebo controlled etc)

and If I'm reading this correctly, a very small amnt of melatanin from food converts to a much larger effect in the blood stream

"gojis* have just 15 micrograms an ounce, but melatonin is potent stuff. You inject 10 into people, and you can boost their blood levels fifty-fold in five minutes."

 

(*goji berries have the most melatonin)

 

plus none of the worries about the purity or actual potency of the supplements.

 

after being so horribly screwed up and screwed over by things that come in a pill,  I'm not eager to take my chances with them any more

 

🤨😐😶

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Mourad

Dear all,

My GP is now suggesting referring me to a sleep clinic for a sleep study.

Has anyone ever done this? Was if of benefit to you? I’m curious about  your experiences.

Thanks so much!

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Altostrata

H2H, I am highly skeptical of these claims made for "superfoods," they push food fads.

 

Mourad, if you have withdrawal insomnia, the sleep studies will not be helpful. All they will do is show you're not sleeping, which you already know. For the most part, they are diagnostics for sleep apnea, a breathing condition.

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dj2010

been a lot of articles about a new insomnia technique the last couple days, worth a try for people struggling

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6124063/Secret-military-technique-help-fall-asleep-night.html

 

 

 

Is this the end of insomnia? The secret US military technique that could help you fall asleep in as little as TWO MINUTES

  • The secret US army method is guaranteed to help you go to sleep in 120 seconds 
  • It was reportedly first developed by army chiefs worried about pilot mistakes
  • After six weeks of practice, the secret technique has a 96 per cent success rate

Many of us toss and turn at night as we struggle in vain to try and get some sleep, but it seems as if there might finally be a solution that could have you nodding off in as little as two minutes. 

A book titled  'Relax and Win: Championship Performance' features a secret US military method that can help anyone get to sleep in just 120 seconds.

The title was originally published in 1981, but the method has recently resurfaced online according to Joe.co.uk.  

It's used by soldiers to ensure that they are able to get some rest - even when on a battlefield - and is said to have a 96 per cent success rate after six weeks of practice. 

The technique was reportedly developed after army bosses tried to eliminate mistakes made by pilots because of tiredness. 

The technique involves a combination of relaxing your muscles, breathing techniques and visualisations.  

Insomnia is a huge global problem, affecting around a third of men and women in their 30s and 40s and nearly half of women over 65.

 

There are two types, Type 1 insomnia where you can't get to sleep and Type 2, where you can get to sleep okay, but tend to wake at least once during the night.

Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to serious problems including diabetes, heart disease and strokes, and it can even affect the strutcture of the brain.  

How to fall asleep in under two minutes 

Firstly, you have to relax the muscles in your face, including your tongue, jaw, and the muscles that are around your eyes. 

Then you should drop your shoulders as low as they'll go before relaxing your upper and lower arm on one side, and then the other.

Step three involves breathing and says you should breathe out, relax your chest and then, finally, relax your legs. You should start with your thighs and then move to your lower legs.  

Once you've relaxed your body for ten seconds, you have to then clear your mind completely.  

According to the book, these three methods may help you do that: 

Firstly, picture yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake, nothing but blue sky above you.

You can also picture yourself snuggled in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.

And finally, you can also try saying 'don't think, don't think, don't think' over and over again for ten seconds. 

 

 

 

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Happy2Heal

I can see how that technique could help you fall asleep but my problem is waking up every 2 hrs or so

 

what do they do for that?

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Happy2Heal
20 hours ago, Altostrata said:

H2H, I am highly skeptical of these claims made for "superfoods," they push food fads.

 

Mourad, if you have withdrawal insomnia, the sleep studies will not be helpful. All they will do is show you're not sleeping, which you already know. For the most part, they are diagnostics for sleep apnea, a breathing condition.

I didn't see any claims about superfoods

the article points out that there are foods that contain melatonin and that it takes very little in the food to have a much greater affect on amnt in the body.

 

 

didn't link to it, but just watched a second video on pistachios having the most melatonin. and you only need to eat 2 of them LOL I'm gonna give it a try, I love pistachios anyway lol

 

 

for those of us who are averse to taking pills, but have sleep issues, I don't see how it could hurt to try adding some of these foods to see if they help


I don't go in for all that super food craze, either, nor all the "dieticians' selling expensive supplements and cleanses and all that nonsense.

 

 you need a wide variety of healthy whole foods for good health.

but if you think you *might* be low on one thing  or another, it might be helpful to include a bit of foods that have that thing in them, whether is fiber, or phytochemicals, a ALA or melatonin

 

surely a LOT safer than popping pills that aren't even regulated to know if they've contain what they claim to have in them imho

 

 

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Altostrata

I would not discount the placebo effect, and eating a few goji berries or pistachios probably can't do any harm.

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Happy2Heal
57 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

I would not discount the placebo effect, and eating a few goji berries or pistachios probably can't do any harm.

 

I never discount the placebo effect  😂

 

too bad that the placebo effect of ADs and other psych drugs came with the very real damaging effects. what's the worst thing a few nuts or berries can do? (assuming they're not poisonous or rancid lol)

 

 

 

 

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Songbird
On 9/5/2018 at 4:02 AM, dj2010 said:

been a lot of articles about a new insomnia technique the last couple days, worth a try for people struggling

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6124063/Secret-military-technique-help-fall-asleep-night.html

 

 

 

Is this the end of insomnia? The secret US military technique that could help you fall asleep in as little as TWO MINUTES

 

Firstly, you have to relax the muscles in your face, including your tongue, jaw, and the muscles that are around your eyes. 

Then you should drop your shoulders as low as they'll go before relaxing your upper and lower arm on one side, and then the other.

Step three involves breathing and says you should breathe out, relax your chest and then, finally, relax your legs. You should start with your thighs and then move to your lower legs.  

Once you've relaxed your body for ten seconds, you have to then clear your mind completely.  

According to the book, these three methods may help you do that: 

Firstly, picture yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake, nothing but blue sky above you.

You can also picture yourself snuggled in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.

And finally, you can also try saying 'don't think, don't think, don't think' over and over again for ten seconds. 

 

 

 

 

This sounds a lot like progressive muscle relaxation, which I often use to help me fall asleep.  It isn't new, or secret! 

 

Also, it's all very well saying relax this and relax that, but the problem is most people can't relax, and it doesn't actually say how.  With PMR, you contract the muscle first and then relax it.

 

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brassmonkey

Moodyblues78 posted this on my thread Tao of the Brassmonkey and I think it has some merit in helping with sleep so I'm reposting it here:

 

 "When I was at my worst I developed a method that would help me sleep. After an exhausting day of just surviving I would go to bed, raise my hands up, open my palms and just observe my symptoms. I would talk to them calmly and invite them all to come. Now I have time. Lets talk. I don't mean you should keep your hands in the air. Just keep them above your head on the bed.  Usually this took the bad feelings away from my many many symptoms and I could relax. Even sleep. You get better at it as you practice."  

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Mourad
On 9/3/2018 at 9:21 PM, Altostrata said:

Mourad, if you have withdrawal insomnia, the sleep studies will not be helpful. All they will do is show you're not sleeping, which you already know. For the most part, they are diagnostics for sleep apnea, a breathing condition.

 

Thanks, Altostrata, for confirming this, it's what I was afraid of: the site of the sleep clinic is all about respiratory issues. It won't be of much use.

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