I Can't Sleep - York,SC

Updated on August 04, 2012
M.A. asks from York, SC
9 answers

I can not sleep. I'm so tired during the day from not sleeping at night, so I nap when my son takes his afternoon nap. He only takes 1 nap a day, so its not like hes sleeping all day like a newborn or anything.
I'm tired all day until around 11 when I seem to perk back up. Thats when my body says "hey, we should totally clean the kitchen right now" So I normally do, because if you have the urge to clean something, you may as well do it, right? When else is it going to get done.
I've always been a night owl, I like things better when its quiet, but I do a lot of stuff during the day; outside stuff, animal stuff, all kinds. So I should be tired at bedtime, but I'm not. I do drink coffee during the day, in the morning and afternoon, but I don't think its the caffine kicking in at 11. I do try to make myself go to sleep, but it doesn't work. I get restless and can't get comfortable and then I can hear my kitchen calling to me to clean it and I have to answer the call.

Help me sleep! What should I do?

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answers from Charlotte on

I used to be a wonderful sleeper, M.. Then I got sick and my health problems lasted for a long time. On top of it, I was going through menopause and I think that allowing my brain to get used to not sleeping somehow "altered" it.

You say you are a night owl, but you are playing with your "rhythms" too much and causing yourself a lot of problems. Here's what I would try if I were you:

No TV an hour before you want to go to bed. Pick a time and stick to it for a whole month. Make it 8 hours of what would hopefully be continuous sleep. An hour beforehand, lay down and read a boring book. That will get your mind prepared to sleep. Having a fan in your room or white noise will help as well.

Don't drink ANY caffeine of any kind after your morning coffee. You think that the caffeine isn't kicking in at 11:00 pm, but other forces are at play. You need to cut the caffeine substantially (not all at once, and not all of it. Dropping it all at once will cause you headaches from withdrawal.)

NO MORE NAPS. Sorry - you really have to stop the naps during the month of changing your rhythms. During this "tired time" is when you should be cleaning your kitchen, even if it kills you to do it.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the day. Don't eat after 7:00 pm, and don't do anything physical (other than good ole sleep- inducing sex) after you lay down for the night (with that boring book.)

If you do all this, every single night for a whole month, and it still doesn't work, you need to get a sleep study done with the doctor.

Really and truly, lack of sleep can cause you tremendous problems as you get older. Don't let it happen to you. I work very hard to get sleep - it is indeed precious and people who don't have trouble getting it don't understand how devastating continuous lack of sleep really is.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

I read somewhere that for women, caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. It's supposedly best not to have any after noon.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Definitely cut out that third cup of coffee, for starters.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

That's a tough situation – I'm a night-owl, too. I start perking up around 8-9 in the evening. I never consume caffeine in any form, and take melatonin about 1/2 hour before I need to be asleep. It does seem to help. There are also OTC sleep aids that may help you fall asleep faster (these are in the antihistamine family, known to cause drowsiness).

But I agree with Dawn the whole way. You would do well to retrain your body and brain to accept an earlier bedtime. I think a lifetime of giving in to your raw impulses probably make it harder to get enough sleep as you age, and menopause does a number on many women.

And your son won't take those naps forever. So start weaning yourself now, or you'll have to deal with your own changing nap pattern while you're helping your son adapt to being awake days. It will be tough enough just to work on one of you at a time!

Wishing you the best.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Dawn's advice is spot on. It takes lots of prep to set up a great sleep schedule.

I think you may be waiting too late at night to try to sleep, so when following Dawn's advice, try to settle in at 9, with the idea of being asleep by 10. Also, consider eliminating stray lights in your room. That means room darkening shades and paper covers over the clock light, the t.v. button lights and the phone button lights, although I really am hoping you don't have a t.v. or phone in your room.

All my best.

As someone who had a "night mind" making it difficult to go or stay asleep, I understand the urge to do something right away. May I suggest you leave a pad of paper and pencil beside your bed. If you have idea of jumping out of bed to do work, just jot it down. I would do this in the middle of the night when I woke up with the need to accomplish something. I didn't even turn on a light. I just jotted in the dark and then went back to sleep. In the morning I could always remember what I had scribbled and often the tasks didn't seem all that important!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Janesville-Beloit on

I would cut out the naps (hard, I know!) and take a melatonin (over-the-counter) about a half hour before you go to bed. Melatonin worked wonders for me!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My husband and I are both night owls but I have to be at work early in the morning and he doesn't. I go to bed and he stays up real late. When he has to get up early it completely messes with his sleep/wake cycle and it takes weeks to get back into the rhythm. I would suggest first thing that you don't nap at the same time as your son. Find something to do in the quiet house that will keep you busy. A nap during the middle of the day, no matter how long, makes your body think that it is going to get a full 8 hours of sleep when you are already tired. It may be the culprit in your energy boost at the end of the day. I agree with giving up caffeine for a week or two as well as the naps and you should start realizing that you are tired enough at night to go to bed when you should.

At one point my husband's sleep/wake cycle was so messed up he went to his Doctor who ran bloodwork for thyroid levels but recommended a sleep study. He found that he took a long time to enter deep sleep - which is the more restful sleep - so naps are especially bad. It doesn't do anything to alleviate the tired feeling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

About 20 years ago I struggled with sleeping mostly because I had too much to do so I could not get comfortable or settle my brain down. I finally made a conscious decision that when my brain was running I would just get up and let it run, or get up and do what I had on my mind. In other words, I just decided not to worry about it any more. If I thought it needed to be done, I got up and did it. Every single time I would get tired shortly into my task and just go off to bed without a problem. There are some nights where I get up and ultimately end up staying up for several hours, and I say "so what!". I just keep on keeping on. I guess just don't give it energy and embrace it. Your body will let you sleep eventually.

Sweet dreams!


answers from Chicago on

I too am a night owl ... my suggestion, cancel out all caff for a week and see if that is part of the issue as well as your over all schedule change it gradually.

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