any tips/advice for insomnia sufferer?

hi, this is post regarding my partner so not a thyroid sufferer as such (although he has to deal with me on a daily basis so kind of is! :/ )

sometimes it takes him a while to get off to sleep but has a really bad habit of waking 4am-6am most mornings, way before he has to for work. it is a habit from working regularly but has had lots of time off lately so really doesn't need to get up but he says he cant explain it, he just spends hours tossing & turning sometimes then gives up and goes downstairs for a tea.

of course, he then gets horribly tired and can go back to sleep late morning (if not got work) naps in the day and the cycle begins again.

is there anything i can give him supplement wise or tests he could maybe get that has helped other insomnia sufferers on here? my insomnia was to do with a hashi's flare up so not quite the same. TIA

8 Replies

  • I love melatonin as a supplement but you can't get it in the UK so you'd have to settle for 5htp which is the melatonin/serotonin precursor.

    Insomnia is more often than not stress based (or related to preexisting conditions and exacerbated by stress) so the first thing is to try shut him down before bed time. Suggestions that worked for me from my therapist:

    -no screen time (use a Kindle on very low/ no back light if you read ebooks because the phone/tablet emits a lot of light even with reduced blue light) at least 1h before bed.

    -nothing exciting or new (books or TV) so no excuse to stay up to finish it.

    -bed room and bed is only for sleeping (and urm, bed related fun) so no working once you get there. See no screen time.

    -designate a relaxing activity you do every day befor bed. Basically you are training your brain and that's a signal for it to stop (like a red light=stop car). I take a bath because it's relaxing anyways but now I'm so trained I can take a bath first thing and fall asleep again.

    My sister used sleep hygiene app that is a lot stricter than these rules but one of the things is sleep starvation (you're only allowed x hours in bed regardless of actual sleeping time) and she gave up because it really interfered with work and running after her kids as well. Apparently people swear by it but i suppose you do feel really shitty during that period. What she finds helpful since she's a ruminator is very gentle yoga or meditation before bed to clear the mind.

    The only thing my mum did was the Kindle thing and apparently it worked wonders (and this is the woman who has been on sleeping pills for God knows how long).

    My insomnia varies with hypo and the whole depression/anxiety thing so guess not the same as his either. I find I need at least 1 1/2h to wind down (bath and read) + at least an hour at home to chill before I start my bed time routine so I try to be a bit more aware about staying out past 11 now. It just seems to get longer every year!

    Hope this helps!

  • Those are all great suggestions. I'd add to that list restricted caffeine and alcohol, no full stomach before bed and, if you can manage it, no or low artificial light. Candlelight from about 9pm can be really helpful to prepare you for sleep.

    When I can't sleep and my mind starts whirring I find saying the alphabet backwards is just challenging enough to occupy my mind but boring enough to allow me to drop off.

    If it isn't working, don't lie there and stew about it. If there is no sign of sleep, get up and do something undemanding and non-stimulating in low light for half an hour. Change of venue might help too. I used to find when I couldn't drop off in bed I might be okay on the sofa.

    I hope something helps. Not getting enough sleep is so awful.

  • Both giving great advice there. I'd like to add that I've been taking 5-HTP for a while now and it has helped me considerably. One thing to watch out for though - he can't take it if he's on antidepressants (I guess he isn't, but thought I'd better mention it).

  • Maybe he should have his thyroid hormones tested as some men do develop a problem. Follow the procedures recommended for the best possible way to take a blood test.

  • thank you for everyones great advice! i've forwarded them all to him to have a read in his own time and will order him some 5HTP to try as i know that helped me at my low times.

    he hasn't been to the doctors in years so i'm tempted to try persuade him for a once over and check everything he can just to see how things are. at least now with the knowledge I've learnt on these support groups, i could help him interpret his results! :)

    thanks again - i need to adopt some of these tips too so it's given me a bit of a kick up the bum :P

  • I find Bach night rescue remedy helpful, either drops or spray. Hope something works for you .....Not sleeping is the pits!

  • I use that myself, but I find the rescue remedy more effective than the night one if I'm honest.

  • I turned everything off at 9pm and read until 10.50pm but started to get very hypo like restriction in the throat that caused me to gasp several times, fast heartbeat, hot rushes, pulse throbbing in my neck, face & ears - I don't get it?! Been fine for a while and then this happens out of the blue. Was awake until gone 2.30am in the end and I'm so tired and grumpy now I can't think what caused it?? Food? Didn't eat anything naughty or unusual lately but I have been feeling more dizzy, sharp stomach/body pains and head spins have crept back in the last couple of days but haven't changed anything. Does anyone know of this is more adrenals or under medicated on T4 only (I'm on 75mcg, have been since April with a 3 week gap where I unsuccessfully tried NDT)

    Please help, worried I'm going backwards now ☹️

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