Sunday, January 16, 2011

Insomniacs Unite-and Help Me!

by Leann Sweeney

As I write this, I could fall asleep. Problem is, the time is six-thirty PM. If I close my eyes now, I am guaranteed another night of waking up at one AM, two AM, three AM, or maybe even all of those AMs. So, I will take my chances, stay up as late as I can and hope I fall into a dreamless slumber that lasts for --gosh, I'd take 6 hours in a row. Even 5.

Last night it was the dog. First the neighbor's dog, left outside to bark his head off. Cute dog, not so cute noise. My dog sleeps in the utility room and she heard that dog barking and joined in. I turned up the volume on the book I was listening to and that helped for about an hour. I did fall asleep. But then I had to go to the bathroom. And what happens? I open the bathroom door off my bedroom--no, I didn't smack myself in the face with the door, not this time anyway--and was jumped by my own happy, rambunctious ADHD labradoodle. She got a get-out-of-jail-free card and she was thrilled. And she nearly knocked me on my butt.

Why was she in the bathroom? Oh. My husband couldn't stand her barking at the outside barker and decided to put her farther from the noise. In the bathroom. Sheesh. So I round up the dog and bring her water and her pillow back to the bathroom (husband neglected to do that) because outside barker was still going incessantly strong. Couldn't those people HEAR THEIR FRIGGIN' DOG????????????? Sorry. Apparently not.

Now, I have to add that Rosie the labradoodle loves, loves, loves my husband. And since she was now close to us, every time my husband sighed, snored or even turned over, she woke up and started whining and scratching at the door. Unlike my human children, who at this point would have been swept up and tucked between my husband and me so we could all get some sleep, the ADHD labradoodle thinks any time with us is playtime, chew time, eat time, any time but sleep time.

Besides a hefty dose of Benadryl (for the dog, maybe BOTH dogs, even for me) got any suggestions on how I might get a decent night's sleep? I suppose I should offer up all the things I have tried: drugs (prescription and non-prescription, including hormone replacement, valerian, melatonin, chamomile, antihistamines--if it says anything on the bottle about sleep, I've tried it.) I've given up coffee. I've done deep breathing. Played relaxation music. Used masks that block out every sliver of light. I wear a night guard. I have a regular bedtime. I've even had a sleep study and guess what they found? I DON'T SLEEP. Duh. Knew that. But the CPAP mask woke me up twice as much as whatever is making me wake up anyway. And the plastic seal gave me a rash all over my face.

I can fall asleep, for the most part, especially if I listen to a book being read by someone with a British monotone. But how do I STAY asleep? Or am I asking too much of the universe?


Kathy B., Rome GA said...

I have an "unspecified" sleep disorder associated with Fibromyalgia - which means it defies the rules by being some of all and all of none. Anyway - I use lavender body wash at night (works good as a bubblebath, too), earplugs to block out sound, and Body Lotion
Sleep - Lavender Vanilla, that my sister got for me at Bath and Body Works. Lavender is a natural sleep aid, and vanilla is a feel-good scent.

Hope you're able to get some sleep! Good luck!

Pam said...

sounds like you have tried a lot of the natural treatments.
Like Kathy, I have fibro but I also have degenerative disc disease and started getting steroid injections this week, which means I had to give up 1) the ambien and 2) the occasional xanax.
I am an herbalist and have tried all the ones you mentioned and others without any results. But now I am determined to find a mix that gets the results we need. So, I will keep you posted.
Have you tried sound treatment for your dog? putting a radio or cd player in the room you put her, so that is what she hears instead of the other dogs.
I hope you soon get some good sleep


Laura K. Curtis said...

Earplugs really do help. I don't know how old Rosie is, but is it too late to crate train her? That's a big help with dogs.

I also found a supplement that helps me. I've tried a number of them in the past without success, but this one really does. It's called Natural Factors Tranquil Sleep ( ).

But I still have nights where I can't sleep, and there are specific hormonal shifts that will completely destroy my ability to sleep.

I wish you luck. Let us know how it goes!

Esri Rose said...

My husband uses a CPAP, and it took quite a while and experimentation of the different masks before he could use it well. I've never heard of anyone having a reaction to silicon. You might have gotten a heat rash. Are you sleeping cool enough?

Joe went through the mill trying to get to good sleep. No alcohol, especially before bed. When the depressant effect wears off, you get an adrenalin bounce back. Tension relievers: half an hour of good exercise a day. Simple yoga exercise a bit before bed. Here's the sun salutation. Don't bend back as far as she does during that initial move. Take it easy. Don't watch the news before bed if it makes you tense. It's also not a good idea to read, because the bright light on the page can wake you up. Sometimes a warm bath an hour before bed can help. And I didn't see that you had tried 5-HTP. It can be hard on your stomach, so get the buffered kind, don't get the cheapest brand, take it with a little food maybe, and do some research on it. And something has to be done about the dog situation. I can't tell you what to do there.

Unknown said...

The only thing that ever works for me is hot milk with nutmeg or (hot) Ovaltine. Mr. Microwave is my friend.

Last night I had the best night's sleep I've had in weeks. I woke up about 30 times, but I actually got back to sleep. Last night was the first night I've dreamed in three weeks, too.

I'm hoping the dark circles under my eyes will go away before my book launch in three weeks. Otherwise, Mr. Concealer will be my friend.

Leann Sweeney said...

I, too, have fibromyalgia, so I can see I am not alone with the sleep issues. You've already given me some good ideas. I am keeping a list. As for our dog, she is not the problem. Friday night was an aberration. I wish I could sleep like that her! It was the neighbor's dog that started all the problems. I hope the ideas keep coming. Yes, hope springs eternal.

Barbara said...

My husband has sleep apnea and he also was a long time getting used to the CPAP. I had quite a time getting used to the noise from the CPAP, but after a few weeks I stopped noticing it. I think it works like "white noise" for me. Now the only time I wake up is when it stops.

Debra said...

Is this the fibro club? I have it too. I take 50 mg of amitrypiline in the early evening. Turn off the tv same time every night (before the news) and switched to audio books. I have been listening to all of Agatha C's books,they are hypnotic.
I once lived in a very noisy neighborhood in Brooklyn. (As an aside when my son was an infant at 6 am in the morning a man turned on the fire hydrant under my bedroom window (to wash his car)and a very loud boom box. I ran out in my bathrobe and scared him away. Moving to this area made a real difference. I can hear crickets.
You have to address the barking dog issue and meet with the neighbors because you are a light sleeper and their dog's barking does not help your situation.

Leann Sweeney said...

The audio books are an essential for me. There's a book called "A Fine Place for Death" by Anne Granger that I call my sleeping pill. The narrator puts me to sleep in 5 minutes! LOL. I don't think I will ever finish that book. :-) You'd think the neighbor would be sensitive to things like a barking dog. He's a county sheriff. And kinda scary. :-)

Kate Collins said...

Two suggestions, Leann. One: Make a tape recording of the dog barking and call your neighbor in the middle of the night and let him hear it. This works only if he can't find out who's calling. I saw this on a comedy and thought it was great.
Two: Take big doses of melatonin. I use a 10 mg pill 1/2 hour before bed, and then a time release melatonin spray, 3 squirts. No side effects from melatonin, btw. Well, there is one. It makes you sleepy.

This really works for me.
Hope some of the great comments here give you some great ZZZZZZs.

Heather Webber said...

I don't have any ideas, but hope you get some sleep soon. Insomnia is awful.

Booklady said...

I've tried the 5HTP and found that it's good for getting me to sleep and keeping me asleep, but my dreams are so much more intense I wake up tired. Leann, I hope you find a solution soon.

Leann Sweeney said...

thanks all. I have a list and will be trying some of these suggestions. What a great bunch of readers we have!

Nanc said...

Isn't it interesting or perhaps sad that so many of us women of a certain age are starving for good sleep?? For many years I dealt with the fall asleep quickly then awake at 3:00 a.m....then true insomnia hit. Now I am happy that Ambien works but am anxious to get off "medicine"...I do use a lovely lavender lotion that seems to help: Johnsons and Johnson lavender baby lotion...I will be trying the 5-htp and will again revisit Melatonin in larger doses. Thanks for opening up such an interesting and informative dialogue!!
Sweet dreams to us all!

Leann Sweeney said...

I don't know about all of you but I haven't really slept well since my first kid was born, more than 30 years ago. Very unfair! :-(

Heather said...

Wait. Your neighbor is a county sheriff and his dog is guilty of disturbing the peace?!

If a dog is barking all night, I would definitely report it. There are noise ordinances, whether you are the sheriff or not. Maybe being fined by one of his deputies would clue him in. It would probably help if you can get other neighbors to report it as well.

I have to sleep with a fan on year round in order to sleep at night, even in winter when my apartment often feels like an igloo. Not only does the white noise help lull me to sleep, it also helps block out some of the noise of rude neighbors in my building.

Like you, though, there are times I wake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. Not so bad on weekends when, like last night, I wake at 4am and can't get back to sleep until 7 -- but not so good on nights when I have to get up for work in the morning. Sometimes reading for a while helps, but not always.

Leann Sweeney said...

Yup, county sheriff with a barking dog. BUT, they now actually keep the dog in the yard. I no longer have to rescue the poor thing and take him back home like I used to have to do EVERY OTHER DAY. I think the dog catcher finally got involved, called by someone else, not me. He really is the sweetest dog. And he doesn't bark all night on a regular basis. But I was so afraid he was going to get hit by a car and told the neighbors as much each time I brought him back. bet they had to pay a nice fine and that's why he stays in the yard now. (a really odd conglomeration of people over there. I really don't want to confront them about anything. I'm hunting down the white noise machine I know I have somewhere tomorrow!)

Lindy said...

We have an air filter in our bedroom that my husband loves for the white noise, and I like for the dust removal. You mentioned trying a CPAP machine, but you didn't say anything about sleep apnea. I couldn't tolerate the CPAP so my doctor sent me to a sleep medicine dentist who made a mouth piece for me that holds my mouth so that my tongue doesn't block my airwave. I join the others in wishing you a good night's sleep (on a repeated basis).

Linda McDonald said...

I've been reading all the comments because I wake up a lot in the night. I'm going to try some of the suggestions I've read here. Gosh Leann, I wish you the best with getting to and staying asleep.