Frequently Asked Insomnia Questions

I thought it was about time I started a Question and Answer page on the site. So we need some questions please!

Feel free to submit your insomnia questions and I’ll do my best to answer them here. Your question may help someone else in the same situation so…. Fire away! Please understand that your question will end up on the site unless you specifically tell me not to use it. Thanks!

You can contact me via the form on the contact page or post as a comment on this page below.

Go to our frequently asked questions on infant sleep and baby sleep here (I’ve moved a couple of questions previously on this page to baby faq)

Update … due to the size of this page, newer questions have been moved to their own blog posts. You can search in the category “Readers Questions”.

Question

Hello Wendy! I am a 56-year old male from the Philippines. I have insomnia for the past three years. This condition has been putting a lot of stress in my life. Aside from insomnia, I have high blood pressure (14 years) and I am also a diabetic (4 years). Before, I was taking western medicines to alleviate my conditions. But last year I decided not to take anymore the western medicines. Instead, I consulted an ayurvedic doctor and he gave me some ayurvedic medicines. initially, the ayurvedic medicines helped my conditions. Lately however, my insomnia is comming back, although with the ayurvedic medicines, my blood pressure is a bit controlled (130/90) and my blood sugar is around 110. My insomnia is what bothers me right now. Can you offer me some help? I would appreciate if you can reply to my e-mail. Thank you.
Ruel

Answer

Hi Ruel

First let me congratulate you on avoiding sleeping pills. Since there could be many thing causing your insomnia. can you pinpoint when it first started? Then try and work out what else changed in your life at that time. Were there any changes in your family life? Your health? With your job?

Many people are suffering anxiety at the moment due to the economic downturn. If this is the case for you stop watching the news and refuse to listen to any more doom & gloom! The press knows very well that bad news sells and they pump it out day by day never reporting any good news. So we are all getting an unbalanced view of the world.

Practice gratitude, make a list of the good things in your life and focus on these. This will make you feel better right away. I am telling you all this because stress and anxiety are the leading cause of insomnia. Without knowing more facts this is just guessing though.

Cheers
Wendy

Question

I am fourteen a year old girl and I have trouble a lot of trouble sleeping. I have heard that sleep problems come from not doing enough exercise in the day. Although I started having sleep problems when I began rowing. I rowed 4 times a week and on other days I did mild exercise. Now the rowing season is over andI am doing rowing leisurely 2 times a week
the rest of the days I either swim or go for a jog. I avoid all caffeine and try to maintain a balanced diet most of the time. I have been drinking a lot more water lately as well, but none of this seems to improve my sleeping.

On one occasion I go to bed and I lie there for 2 or more hours, trying to stop my mind from thinking. I’ve tried drinking a warm glass of milk but this does not work. Another situation thatI most commonly experience is being half awake the whole night and remember ever toss and turn thatI make. Please help me! I find it so hard to remember and do basic things at day time. And I am finding it very hard to concentrate during school, as I am coming up to year 12 it is getting more important for me that I sleep.
Lydia

Answer

Hi Lydia

You are right, exercise is certainly beneficial for sleep and also reducing stress. It looks like you are doing adequate exercise and also taking care of other health aspects so that’s all good.

It sounds like you have the classic “monkey mind” complaint! As soon as you lay down to sleep your mind goes in one direction after another. It also seems that part of your mind is not prepared to let go and allow the natural sleep process.

I think you really need a combination plan of attack. First up do some form of relaxation technique every evening. I’ll send you a link in a separate email following this one. Secondly read the article on busy minds, (link also following)

The third is the distraction technique that works well for me. Put on a CD at low volume, not music but someone talking. This helps to distract the monkey mind.

Last but not least, stop trying to go to sleep. Easier said than done I know. Just try to relax about the whole sleeping process and find something else to focus your mind on. This does get easier with practice :-)

I hope this helps. I will send another email with links so please white-list wendy@insomnia-connection.com if you haven’t already.

I would also like to add this to the site with your permission. To do this I’ll need your first name. Please reply if it’s ok to do this, it may help someone else in the same situation.

Cheers and good luck!
Wendy

Follow up e-mail

Ok Lydia, here are some resources for you.

First the relaxation techniques… http://www.insomnia-connection.com/relaxation-techniques.html
And the article on busy minds…link removed (No need to buy the product, just use the info in the article)
Also read this page… http://www.insomnia-connection.com/teenage-insomnia.html

All the best, feel free to write back if you want to and best of luck in the exams!
Wendy

Question

I sleep very late, usually from 12 to 2 becauseI feel much better at night andI wake up at 7 or 8 but many times i just collapse in the sense thatI sleep till 11 or 2 and even thenI feel weak and tired.
The most difficult time for me is after intercourse where even after one time of ejaculation i can feel shaky and sleep till 2 and sometimes till 3 or 4 andI would go to sleep that night by 1 or 2.
I feel very shaky in the morning and don’t even have the strength to go to the bathroom. i am only 30 years old and the past 11 years of my life isn’t active. I study for about 8 hours a day and am busy with 4 of my children and my wife. I would to hear your suggestion. thank you.
Jack

Answer

Hi Jack

It sounds like your body clock (circadian rhythm) is out of whack. If you
got that working better you would feel better during the day and have a lot more energy.

Also you sound like you really need some exercise. I know it’s difficult
when you’re studying but it’s so important for your general health as well as your sleep.

I would suggest going for a checkup with your doctor, just don’t ask for
sleeping pills! Melatonin will help you reset your body clock and is
available from health stores in most countries.

I hope that helps a little!

I would also like permission to post your question on the site so it may
benefit others. I won’t do it without your permission though. If you would like me to publish it please give me your first name.

Thanks & good luck
Wendy

Question

Hi Wendy, I’ve had insomnia/sleep trouble as long as I can remember. From sleepwalking from ages 4-7 to crying at 3am when my mom was asleep, but I still wasn’t at age 10. Here I am now, age 26 and I’ve been on Trazodone for 9 years. I started on 3 pills everynight. This put me more into a coma than sleep.. unable to wake when I needed to.

I’ve weaned myself down to a 1/4 pill 2 nights, then no pill the third night… but with or without the pills I don’t sleep now. I’ve been on the 1/4 pill since May 2008 and have been doing every third night for 2 months, but I’m feeling hopeless to get off the pills all together since I can’t really sleep well with or without them.

I work in a restaurant, so my shifts day to day vary greatly, otherwise my only other stress is self-created (gotta clean the house, etc). My constant exhaustion is negatively affecting my marriage and social life and I’m sick of it, but with no REAL cures to insomnia, especially insomnia that’s as far reaching as mine, what is one to do? I don’t want to be an exhausted hopeless sleeping pill addict (I do have withdrawls from them although they are prescription) anymore! Please help.

Answer

Hi Leah

You sound just like I was a few years ago so I know exactly what you are going through.

I think the first thing to do is to get rid of this constant state of stress. Relaxation can be learned but we also have to change our attitudes towards certain things. For instance try not to worry if the house doesn’t get cleaned as often. Just ask yourself “Does this really matter?” Just try and conciously question what’s happening when you’re feeling stressed, what are you thinking and could you possibly look at things from a different perspective?

I know this is easier said than done and it took me a long time to do. Even now I find myself slipping back sometimes and getting all worked up because things aren’t the way they should be!

You’ve already done well by cutting down on your medication. Just try and be a bit easier on yourself now. Don’t try to be superwoman and look after your health in other areas too. Are you getting enough exercise?

I see you have signed up for the newsletter, that will give you some basic tips.

If you would like the e-book “Natural Cures For Insomnia” just reply to this email & I’ll send one out to you (no charge)

Also I would like to have your permission to publish your question on the site in case it may help others, but I won’t do it without your permission.

I hope this has helped a little.
Wendy

Question

You recommend different natural sleep medications, What’s the difference and which is best? (Taylor, Connecticut)

Answer

I get asked this question all the time Taylor! Here’s a general guide:

Triple Complex Sleep Tonic is the safest, gentlest sleep medication, it’s function is to rebalance and help the body produce the hormones necessary for stress relief and healthy sleep. Even babies and pregnant women can use these.

SerenitePlus and Serenite Jr. are faster acting for immediate effect. They are a drug free herbal blend (junior is for children over 6 months) For those wanting to stop taking sleeping pills, Serenite Plus can help you gradually stop without too much withdrawal effect.

You can get 20% off the preice of Serenite Jnr from me, simply enter this code SAV20INSOMNIA at checkout. No minumum purchase and free shipping.

Serenite-LT helps long term chronic insomnia and may be taken on it’s own or in combination with Serenite Plus. Both the Serenite products are good for sleep onset (going to sleep) or sleep maintenance (staying asleep) and for stress relief.

So I hope that helps a bit!
Wendy

Question

Scott writes:

“Hello,

I’ve recently been reading about new information on the recommended hours of sleep one should have, per night. Apparently sleeping over 7.5 hours or under 4 hours has a higher mortality rate (statistically) than people who sleep on average 6.5 hours. Apparently 4-6 hours, though a slightly higher mortality rate than 6.5 is still lower than having upwards of 8 hours of sleep.

I’m a relatively creative (or at least I’d like to imagine so) person who averages 6-6.5 hours of sleep, but have found that I have less and less hours in the day between work and life at home; trying to find time to write music is nearly impossible.

I’m wondering if you’d know if having only 5 hours of sleep would be considered healthy? I’m not especially athletic, and my stress level is relatively high. Both of which I plan on regulating if I were to have an hour less of sleep each night. I just realized that if I were to live another 60 years (23 currently) and were to sleep an hour less each night, I’d be conscious for another 2.5 years.

Very tempting prospect, considering the work I could be doing..

Thank you in advance for any advice you could give me!
Scott”

Answer

Hi Scott

Because we all have different sleep requirements, it’s difficult to make hard and fast rules.

Also our need for sleep is influenced by Our lifestyle, how stressed we are, how well we sleep etc.

I’d give it a try. If you’re not getting enough sleep your body will soon tell you! You’ll feel tired and drained and you won’t be as creative.

I’m a bit suspicious of those that come out with these statistics. 5 hours may be plenty for you but not nearly enough for another person. The older you are too the less sleep you may need.

Anyway good luck with whatever you do!

Best regards
Wendy

Question

Tamby writes “I would like to stop using these drugs, but I suffer from insomnia, I don’t know what to do, I also suffer from side effects. Please help!!!”

Answer

Hello Tamby

The important thing with any drug is to stop very very slowly. There may be some sleepless nights ahead as you wean yourself off these pills, but give yourself permission to remain awake. This may sound strange but it will take the pressure off and allow you to relax more without constantly worrying about getting to sleep.

There are natural sleep medications on the site which can help you as you are reducing your drug intake. Go to the sleep medicine page and read about the options there.

If you are taking more than one drug I would advise you to keep in touch with your doctor as you come off these drugs.

Stress is a major cause of insomnia. If you would like a free book on stress, please reply to this email and I will send one to you.

I hope this helps a little. I would also ask if I can put your message on the site so it may help others. Nothing will be shown except your first name.

Good luck to you
Wendy

Question

Eliza writes:

“Hi Wendy

I don’t have any real problems going to sleep or staying asleep. My real problem is feeling terribly drowsy in the afternoons. It gets so bad sometimes that I have actually nodded off in front of the computer!
I sleep 7.5-8 hours at nights, so I don’t think it’s lack of sleep

I work 9-5 so afternoon naps are not an option.

Thanks for any suggestions, Eliza”

Answer

I know how it feels – I used to have the same problem! It’s partly due to our natural 24 hour rhythm. Certain countries have the right idea, that’s why the siesta was invented!

However there is a ‘workaround’. If you’re sure you’re getting enough quality sleep, then I’ll tell you exactly what worked for me. It costs nothing and it’s instant.

Don’t eat carbohydrates for lunch. It sounds simple and it is. Carbs boost serotonin levels and will make you sleepy after eating them. If you pack your lunch make sure you have protein – a hard boiled egg or similar – and perhaps a green salad. Don’t eat bread, rice, pasta or sweets for lunch or as an afternoon snack.

Of course you can reverse this later in the evening, you’ll probably sleep even better.
Wendy

Question

Joe writes:

“I can’t sleep on Sunday nights! I sleep ok every other night of the week. I know it sounds stupid but I toss and turn every Sunday night and I feel like a zombie at work the next day. I’m not stressed about anything.

Please help!”
Joe

Joe, I know you’ve just told me you don’t have a stress problem, but are you a bit worried about Monday mornings? We joke about it, but Mondayitis is a real condition, especially if something’s bothering us at work.

What time do you get up on Sunday morning? Do you have a ‘sleep in?’ Try getting up the same time as you normally do – yes, even if you’ve had a late night!

Finally, you may have developed an unconscious habit. You’re expecting that you won’t be able to sleep every Sunday when you get into bed. This ensures you won’t sleep. Try reversing this belief.

I hope these suggestions help!
Wendy

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