oh to get a good nights sleep

For years ,and years i have never gone to bed and had a full nights sleep. I haveamazed always liked a drink for 25+ years i always had a few glasses of wine in the evening.

Over a period of time I began to realise that my sleep pattern was all over the place. I would go to bed aound 11 or 12pm either not be able to fall asleep and have to get up after an hour or so, or fall asleep and wake up an hour or so later.

I am totally amazed how i continue without sleep, dont get me wrong i feel tired all of the time, i am always saying if i could just get some energy i know i would feel alot better, its just been one massive tired slog.

Obviously the drinking must have affected my sleep pattern for years. All my GP has ever done is prescribe sleeping tablets which i briefly tried many years ago but i found i couldnt keep a limb still, so i stopped taking them.

I watch so many friends and family and see that they are full of vigour, energetic, and doing so much even though most are much older than me.

I stopped drinking about 3months ago, started eating a healthier diet, have lost weight, and feel alot better in myself. Only I still cant sleep as I should be doing.

Will my life be shortened due to my lack of sleep, I just wish i could rest easy, just dont know how to keep still never have done. Anyone else experience lon term chronic sleep problems?

7 Replies

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  • It's not uncommon.

    As this is a forum devoted to liver issues I'll start there. Drinking every day without breaks - is not good for your liver. The liver gets inflamed from the damage the alcohol does and from fat deposits. If it doesn't get a break from that routine, the inflammation turns to scarring and with enough scarring (cirrhosis) liver function is seriously impaired.

    Trust me - Cirrhosis is not something you want. It's very serious.

    So you need to give your liver breaks from alcohol - and if you've been drinking for a long time (doesn't have to be large quantities as long as it's persistent) it could well take a long while for the damage to be undone.

    I mention this as two of the markers of liver dysfunction are disrupted sleep and fatigue.

    So it sounds like you're doing the right thing. Keep it up.

    Lack of sleep over a long period is definitely not good for you. but you need to deal with it in a measured way - it's almost as if the more you worry about it the more difficult it will be to sleep.

    One aspect of sleeping in the modern world is the role of hormones - We evolved in a pre-electronic age without artificial lighting.

    When it gets dark the body starts to produce a hormone called melatonin. A few hours after melatonin production starts people get sleepy and go to sleep.

    When light breaks, the light penetrates your eyelids - it's why they're a bit translucent if you've ever wondered so that some light will pass through them. As soon as the light hits your eyes the body stops producing melatonin and produces serotonin instead. Serotonin wakes you up (other things happen too).

    In the modern world we tend to screw this system up by having bright artificial lights and screens which produce light at the blue wavelength (i.e. just like daylight) and looking at them before we go to bed. So you look at a screen, go to bed at 11 and close your eyes. Only at this point can melatonin production start - and it won't peak for a few hours. By the time it peaks you only have a short time before real daylight kicks in and you start serotonin production and wake up - hence disrupted sleep.

    So.... if you want to sleep better you have to do all the usual stuff - relax before bed, don't get too stressed etc. But additionally keep away from artificial lights, and screens in the hour or two before you go to bed - and preferably sleep in a blacked out room - pitch black - it takes a while to get used to but it does work.

    One other thing you could consider is "blue-blocking" glasses. They look yellow and dorky but they block out the blue wavelength light, so if you put them on a couple of hours before bed, even though you can still see everything (it looks a bit orange) your body registers that it's dark because there is no blue wavelength light and so starts melatonin production. By the time you get to bed you should be quite sleepy. I've used them and found them effective. The brand I used were Uvex skyper 1933 - they're not expensive.

    Anyway hope that helps. Sorry it's long but if you knew how badly I type you'd appreciate the effort :)

    Best regards.

    PS - If you can add exercise - that will help you sleep. It is really important.

  • Thank you so much MrX for your great explanation i found it extremely interesting. I appreciate your advice and it is well received.

    I will follow it through starting by putting my ipad down which i tend to spend most of my day and night bolted to.

    I am exhusted cant keep my legs still after about 9pm especially my right one????

    I do excercise but some days i feel so tired i leave it out (fast walking on tread mill) incase I am pushing myself to much with lack of sleep.

    I did ask the GP if I had any liver problems would it be made known in my bloods,gamma,ct scan etc, and I was told yes it would show??? anyway no use mulling on what i've done in the past just want to look to the future now, since i was diagnosed with a fatty liver I have done everything I can think of to get more healthy incuding getting my Cholesterol down from 8.1 to 5.5 which am really pleased about, surely that would mean my fatty liver is improving or maybe not??, thanks again so nice to discuss issues when ones so concerned, hope you have a good sleep tonight x

  • That's very kind of you. In fact lots of people here have helped me without knowing it both by asking questions and by writing answers so I'm happy to try to return some of the benefit I've received.

    You sound like you're doing all the right things. You can do a lot of damage to the liver before it shows in blood tests - it's an amazing organ it can function with only a fraction of itself working and can regenerate from a huge amount of damage - but once the cause of the damage is removed it has an enormous capacity to recover.

    Do take a look at the glasses - I found them quite good. Also in addition one thing to consider is the type of activity - the more "bitty" it is - like web surfing, email etc which makes your brain "jump about" in search of stimulus, the less relaxing it is compared to say reading a book which is a continuous process. It takes a long time to break old habits but if I were you I'd get the glasses, get some books, use the glasses and read a book at bedtime and then sleep in a pitch black room - it will take a few weeks to get used to but it will be worth it. Also when you say iPad add tv, computer and even lights as they all have quite a bit of blue wavelength light. If you use the glasses (or a lightbulb which doesn't emanate blue wavelength) then it's ok. So either glasses or cut those things out entirely - or a mix

    It sounds like you're doing the right things, think of it as a slow incremental but rewarding process - don't beat yourself up about not getting instant results - but also do try to stick to the method you set for yourself if you chop and change it won't work.

    I don't have experience of restless leg thing I'm afraid but it seems like the first line of treatment is to fix sleeping patterns.

    Best of luck.

    PS - pitch black room - seriously - will take a while but will definitely help.

  • Try this , takes some practise , but works.

  • Thanks for this Bermuda., sounds effective. Have trouble sleeping myself sometimes x

  • Hi there. You quit drinking 3 months ago? Don't be impatient, stick with it. People don't realize how long it takes to completely clear from system, and for your body to get on a regular schedule.

    It took me close to a year to get 6 hours straight.

    This is entirely normal if you have used alcohol to help you sleep before.

    Don't worry, it will come back.

    Exercise is really important to help that process, and eating healthy, no caffeine or sugar 2 or 3 hours before sleep either.

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for all your advice I am taking it all in and it's nice to know that people are around to share problems with 💕

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