Sleep Question.... Not What You're Thinking

Updated on February 07, 2013
K.L. asks from Erie, PA
9 answers

Nope, this isn't a "how to get my little one to sleep through the night" question... It's about me. I have always been a great sleeper but have been having trouble sleeping for several months now. I almost always fall asleep just fine. However, if I wake up at all through the night I can't fall back asleep. Any suggestions?

For background: I am borderline diabetic (although not overweight) but sugar levels don't seem to be the problem. I have tried to cut out alcohol, but that doesn't seem to help. I am not overly stressed, just the usual household management and "mom to three kids" kind of stuff, and I don't drink caffeine. I have tried over the counter melatonin with no success. Not sure what else I should try...

Oh yeah, all my adult life I've been an 8 hour a night kind of gal. This is really killin' me ;)

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answers from Chicago on

I've always had trouble falling asleep. I just could never get tired enough, until I had three kids. My sleep problems started coming back, so I tried taking a magnesium pill (suggested to be taken with calcium). I've been sleeping much better, falling asleep faster.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The over the counter sleeping pills work great-try Unisom. Depending on your age it could be hormonal as sleep disturbances is on that long list of fun things that happens to us as we begin to go towards menopause :-(


answers from San Antonio on

Lately I've been doing SleepyTime Tea (or Nighty Night) and then 6mg of melatonin. I fall asleep quickly and stay asleep! In fact, this morning, I woke up at 430am (typical time for me) and instead of getting up to do yoga, I fell back asleep until 615 when my second alarm went off. (The alarm that reminds me to start school lunches!)

Are you finding that you're waking the same time each night? Try cutting caffeine after 3pm. Also, take a shower before bed. My sleep doctor said the sudden change in temperature can help make you drowsy.

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Do you exercise? I would consider making that part of my daily routine if not. I have foudn that I sleep better ont eh days that I exercise. Consider a yoga perhaps in the evening time to help you wind down. Any meditation practices? I, myself, don't do them probably because I would be found sleeping on my floor but there are people I know who swear by them as it keeps them calm throughout the day as well. you also mentioned cutting alcohol; is that completely or just reduced? I read that wine helps you go to sleep but will mess with your sleep soon after. I have also looked to prayer in times of restlesness so if you are into that, it could be a consideration. Best of luck and sweet sleep tonight.



answers from Honolulu on

Chamomile Tea?

Or try exercising. It often helps people to sleep better.



answers from Allentown on

Exercising earlier in the day only, relaxing routine for yourself before bed. Are you taking the melatonin before bed or when you wake up during the night? If you don't have a problem falling asleep you should not take it before bedtime but you should take it just when you wake up during the night and you can take it every time you wake during the night. Keep the jar on your nightstand. Take the melatonin immediately when you wake up during the night, do not wait to see if you will fall back to sleep. I would recommend a chewable if you don't want to deal with swallowing pills during the night. But this is most important for melatonin to work. If you take it before you go to bed, it will have no effect once you wake up, it has a short half life and won't be effective, which is why you can take it more often. I would start with 1mg at every waking. If that is not working, increase the dose. Many people make the mistake with melatonin of thinking it is like a sleeping pill. But it does not work like a sleeping pill. It's effects are short lived, which is why a person taking it to fall asleep at night is recommended to take it about half and hour before they want to fall asleep. If they do not lay down then it often won't work as the effects are already worn off, and it will not put you to sleep if you up walking around or doing anything. It likely won't even make you feel super tired or anything, which is why many people find it doesn't work, they expect it to work like a sleeping pill. Now if you are already taking melatonin this way, throughout the night and it still isn't helping, then you need to find something else. Make sure you aren't eating anything with caffeine in it in the evening(chocolates/ice cream/etc.), as well as no alcohol at all. Then do something when you wake up. If you lay there and think about needing to go back to sleep and you can't, it will make you stay awake longer. Put on some music, or turn the TV on, both can distract your mind enough to allow your body to get drowsy again. But stay laying down, do not get up and become active, do not go do the dishes or start the laundry. Don't watch the clock, it makes it worse. And try not to worry about not getting enough sleep, that also makes it worse. But try taking the melatonin every time you wake up that may really help you. Good luck, lack of sleep is horrible and even worse when you can no longer blame it on the kids!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

It may be worth talking to your doctor about sleep apnea. I'm not saying you have it, only that it is one possibility. One thing that can happen with apnea is that you wake up for what seems like no reason. But there is a reason - you're not getting enough air. And once that happens, your body, which has just forced itself awake so you can breathe, will not let you go back to sleep easily.

It used to be that evaluation meant doing a sleep study overnight somewhere, but now they can do the initial testing with one of those finger oxygen monitors that you actually use in your own home, then turn in the next day. I get to do it tomorrow, in fact.

Whatever happens, I hope that you are able to get back to sleeping well soon. I know well that not sleeping well is a real drag.



answers from San Francisco on

If your doctor ok's it, melatonin is helpful for sleep and is natural. Hope you get this figured out.



answers from Raleigh on

Hormonal changes can cause sleep disturbances. You don't mention your age, but it could be an imbalance or just changes as you get older.
I take 1/2 dose of simply sleep. Works for me.

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