Insomnia

hey,

I just wanna here what other people with PTSD think may help. I've spoken with health professionals and followed their recommendations, but they didn't help me.

generally, my PTSD is doing great. I've made great progress and it doesn't affect my daily life much anymore... except for one big thing: I have trouble falling asleep. That's a massive understatement. This is a long term issue and missing sleep has had a serious impact on my health - mental and physical.

The issue is that I can't fall asleep. I don't get tired until very late in the night. If I am tired, there is something inside of me keeping me awake... sometimes the processing that never takes a break, sometimes it's anxiety and one stream of my thoughts always dedicated to planning the future and worst-case scenarios, sometimes hyper-vigilence ( to me, in this context, it's the sense that I can't sleep because something might happen while I'm asleep and I need to be there for that), sometimes it's an intense fear of entering the world of sleep and nightmares, and sometimes it's emotional exhaustion because if I don't sleep, I'll get more rest and "down time" before tomorrow.

Having a "healthy sleep routine", or suggestions like white noise, as recommended by heath professionals doesn't seem to help because it works up the anxiety i have about sleeping vs. not sleeping. If I turn off the light and put on rain sounds all I think about is sleep. It's torture.

I've tried having a schedule, which works for a while, but I will still miss whole nights of sleep, and I never get a full 8 hours. Probably closer to 4. I eventually have to drop out of school or quit jobs because of the effects of sleep deprivation.

I've tried having a free schedule... just letting myself sleep whenever it happens, and I feel like I get enough sleep, but I always sleep at different times, which means I can't have a job or attend school, and it makes me very isolated... so obviously not a long-term solution. It also still often involves staying awake for long periods of time when I'm too exhausted to do anything enjoyable or productive, which is shitty way to live life, IMO

Most sedatives are pretty much useless, because I am still mentally fighting the sleep. I can stay awake through an extremely high dose of sedatives. My body is sedated, but my mind is still wide awake. I imagine the high strength sedatives would knock me out, but honestly, I'm looking for a long term solution and the risks+costs vs benefits of hardcore sedative doesn't even come close to adding up for me.

I feel like I need to do some mental work to fix this problem... for me it always seems to be mental work.

How can I take the anxiety out of sleeping? Is there a way I can make sleep feel "safe"? Is there a way to get a deep, rejuvenating sleep that I won't wake up from feeling exhausted? Is there some variation of the recommended "healthy sleep routine" that is more suitable for me? Is there a way of changing my state of consciousness into one where sleep is natural (I've had good luck using math flashcards to stop flashbacks)? I'm open minded to anything, and I want to hear it even if it's just a guess or a theory.

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  • Hello, Can you try a sleep meditation? There are special ones you can listen to every time you sleep with combinations about sleep and music. I use Bell Ruth Naperstek. Also if you meditate on a regular basis you can get some rest that may equal out to sleep. Maybe try regular hard aerobic exercise to help with the chemicals that keep you awake and make your tired.

  • i used to run every day. It made me feel good physically and even mentally, but even after almost a year my sleep was still a mess. Meditation is okay and it helps with the waking stuff, but so far it hasn't touched sleep.... maybe I just have to do more of it?

    I tried a Belleruth Naparstek guided meditation that I found on youtube. I love the idea of it, but when I tried it, it just made me feel unbearably nauseous. IDK... maybe I just need to try it more? I tend to not do well with visualizing or focussing on safety. It makes me panicky. I actually do better with watching violent movies or tv shows. Mind you, if that worked every time or even close, I wouldn't be writing this post.

  • hey, I should apologize - I went to her website and listened to the guide that was specifically for trauma, and it seemed to be alot better. I think I'll give it a shot!

  • I'm not always successful with this either!

    Two things that seem to help on average:

    1. Working on stuff during the day so that at night I have less to process.

    2. Sunlight/SAD lamp. If my sleep is disrupted for too many nights in a row ny body clock gets trashed. Spending time outdoors in strong sunlight or under a SAD lamp helps to reset it so I can become tired.

    3. Have fun. Doing stuff that's fun during the day can help me relax and de stress.

  • these are good recommendations. I don't have fun enough. It's hard to do lol... I always have to make a point of it, it doesnt come naturally anymore.

    Ive actually been thinking about an SAD light... I live pretty far north and our winters can be very dark.

  • Yep, fun can be hard work, that's why it's important :)

    If you don't want to commit to a SAD lamp you can experiment using a high wattage "hobby" or "craft" daylight bulb and see if using it as a desk light perks you up. If it does then look at a SAD lamp. The LED ones can be cheap and are strong in the right part of the light spectrum.

  • oh, good idea! I'll for sure look for one.

  • Chili, you have good ideas and thanks for sharing.

  • This is my major problem too ; apart from terror which IS terrifying when I'm in the grip (but I'm not now thank God at the moment for the past two weeks or so been relatively clear of that except for couple of desperate days) the other more low grade problem i have is constant overprocessing and insomnia.

    The way I am looking at it is that the more I find the healing to my difficulties then the more the insomnia will reduce. So though it limits me massively and I am for example unable to maintain a work routine as I only manage a couple of hours a week if that due to constant total exhaustion; I do feel that the betterI get in myself the more that difficulty will start to subside a little.

    I have other difficulties which i have also decided not to focus on or deal with "head on" as I believe that as I start to feel better in myself these difficulties will fall better into place too as well.

    That seems to be a good way for me at the moment.

    Still_trying.

  • I agree that having an active fun day helps a lot. I have found that reading a light novel in bed after I have taken a sedative is very helpful. The reading redirects my mind while the sedative works and I drift off. I've also discovered that I need to avoid sugar and carb heavy foods for a couple of hours before I sleep. If I eat junk, I can't sleep. It took me a long time to figure that out. Hope you find something that helps. I tried to stay away from sedatives and finally gave up and now use them carefully.

  • Oh Equis-Canine, you said it: sugar and other carbs after dinner, before bed is the no-go zone. May I share this with you? What had been keeping me awake was all those old tapes playing in my head. I started using the 'as if' method. I'm in bed, I smile. And them I smile again and hold it. Little by little I feel more relaxed. I smile and SOON I wake up in the middle of the night and smile again and go to sleep. So simple. It works for me. Con

  • What a great idea. I will try it!

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