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Sleeping Problems? 253

hugo_pt asks: "I have had sleep problems for some years, but it always get worse in the Summer. Yesterday I slept one hour, so when I got home at 8PM I thought I'd sleep till 9AM or so. Wrong. It's 1.36AM, and I can't sleep anymore. Instead, I'm reading The Complete FreeBSD, and the urge to sleep is gone. I was wondering how many Slashdot readers suffer from this problem, and what they do to combat it ?"
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Sleeping Problems?

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  • Solution (Score:2, Funny)

    by daeley ( 126313 ) *
    "I was wondering how many Slashdot readers suffer from this problem, and what they do to combat it ?"

    Go to work. Repeat as necessary.
    • Caffeine?
    • by missing000 ( 602285 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:08PM (#9835196)
      but it may be worth trying.

      Years ago, I had an extended bout with insomnia, and the only thing that cured it was a career change.

      Often, sleep loss coincides with stress, and that typically is job related. Even going on vacation doesn't tend to help due to the fact that you still think about work (at least in the sub-conscious.)

      At the time, I was sleeping maybe 3-4 hours a night, and I had no idea what was causing it. On the advice of a professional, I tried another industry, and found that my sleep pattern improved almost over-night (no pun intended.)
      • Often, sleep loss coincides with stress

        SO true...

        Loss of sleep (and Oversleeping) are symptoms of Anxiety and/or Depression. I know. I suffered from it... Somedays I could sleep 14h strait... a week later, I would get 14h of sleep in 3 days... Not fun...

        But simple insomnia is also a chronical problem. If it really is a problem, I suggest seeing a doctor. He can probably point to some group or clinical study.(if he doesn't just gives you pills)

        I know that the University of Montreal has a kind of
    • Man, I wish I had this guy's problem.
      I have problems sleeping too MUCH. I have trouble getting to bed some nights, but usually, after 8 huors of sleep, I have trouble getting out of bed. Sometimes my blood pressure is about 70/40 mmHg when I wake up and my pulse is about 40BPM (my physician's best guess is that my body slows down so much when I'm asleep that I don't get enough oxygen).
      I never have the energy to do anything. I'm young, in fairly good health, get some regular exercise, eat a mostly balance
      • my physician's best guess is that my body slows down so much when I'm asleep that I don't get enough oxygen

        Sound a bit like Sleep apnea [] altough it would give you HIGH blood pressure, not low... You might want to ask your physician about that...
  • Get some kids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by o1d5ch001 ( 648087 )
    My wife has given birth to two beautiful children in the last three years. We used to like to stay up late and sometimes I couldn't sleep. Now I go to bed at 10:30 PM if I can, and stay there as long as possible. Which is usually until 7 AM when our 2 year old wakes up and wants breakfast!

    I never have a problem sleeping.
  • by dave-tx ( 684169 ) <df19808+slashdot@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:31PM (#9834618)
    ....cut way back on coffee. I've got similar sleep problems, and I'm convinced it's caffeine related. I don't drink coffee after 3PM, but if I don't have a cup early in the morning, I've got headaches for the rest of the day.

    Currently, I'm cutting back, and have been on a 2 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon ration. Bit by bit, I'm going to get off it completely. Of course, when work gets busy, I'm sure I'll get back on it.

    • I second that. Since I've given up caffeen almost entriely (used to down massive ammounts of mountain dew), I've had very little problem going to sleep at night. The upside is your body dosen't have the tolerance to the stuff, and when you really need it, it works great. Just don't get hooked on the feeling awake feeling.
    • by pbox ( 146337 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:02PM (#9835073) Homepage Journal
      I second (third) this. My limit is 4pm and usually getting to bed at midnight. If I drink coffee later, I stay up later, with miserable sleep.

      Other thing is your monitor. It is proven that staring at a bright object will postpone your sleep cycle. (It applies to TV as well), so lay it off by 9-10pm, then you will get sleepy naturally.
    • I switch from coffee to boring tea. I went from one day drinking three cups of coffee to the next day drinking a similar ammont of tea. There is a chemical in tea that is similar to caffine, but not nearly as strong. The tea prevented the headaches. I was able to quit tea cold turkey after about a week. Now I drink a lot of water instead. I think drinking water is a psycological depedancy.
      • They call that an "Oral Fixation", heh heh.

        The big thing about Tea is that, cup for cup, it has less caffiene than coffee, but it does have caffiene. It also has some other stimulating chemicals and, if brewed for a long time, some other stuff that counteracts the stimulants.

        Caffiene is one of those substances where you don't *need* to go cold turkey, you can fade out your caffiene intake over time.
    • Cutting back on caffeine is not a bad place to start.

      It's helpful to know how much caffeine levels vary between different forms of liquid refereshment. []. Your average 12 ounce cup of drip coffee, for example, has between four and six times as much caffeine as the same volume of Mountain Dew. (Note that the figures on the website are based on '7 oz' cups. Who the hell has even seen a 7 oz cup?)
    • Try drinking a few glasses of plain water during the day. I've found that doing this greatly helps me during the day in terms of fatigue and just feeling better.

    • The headaches will go away after a few "dry" days. I also have trouble staying awake in boring meetings and I find a glass of water helps me just as much as coffee. I rarely drink coffee anymore, aside from the random "hanging out on a sunday w/ good coffee" type thing.

      Plus, since I stopped I have gotten back to the point where it works on me, so if i stayed up drinking all night, coffee actually helps me get through the day.

    • How about quitting cold turkey? You know if you take caffeine free aspirin or ibuprofen for that whole week that you'll have headaches, you'll be free thereafter?

      Seriously, even with sustained high levels of coffee over years, it shouldn't take much more than a week to beat a caffeine addiction. One drink and you'll be back, but it's not nearly as hard as some people make it out to be. It's not heroin, people. It's not even cigarettes.

      With any luck, the headaches will convince you of what a stupid ide
    • I do drink too much coffee, but I have way too much stuff to do in way too little time, so I always sleep very well at night.

      Coffee for me keeps me very alert during the day (good for proving theorems and taking notes in booooring classes), but I don't have any problem sleeping at night. I wish I could sleep fewer hours, though. Oh well :)
  • I usually have the problem close to the deadline for website or during a big network job.
    usually I cant sleep because I cant stop thinking about what I am going to do the next day.
    So I will usually get up, take a benedryl or 2 and do some work. Then I get sleepy in an hour or 2 and then I am good till morning.

    But then I am usually groggy in the morning.

    Tylenol PM also works.

    I only have to do this from time to time so I am not too worried about getting hooked.

    Watch out for sleeping aids... had a
    • You should get a perscription for a real sleeping pill.
    • I also can't sleep because I'm stare at the ceiling thinking about network cables or parsing perl... code dreams are the worst.

      My doctor gave me the following advise: Get the generic brand of Benadryl and save money.

      If you can't sleep because of stress, don't take Tylenol PM just for sleeping because it also contains a painkiller, acetaminophen, which may upset your stomach.

      If two Benadryl makes you groggy in the morning, try taking just one.

      Benadryl and Tylenol PM both contain the same active sleeping
    • Re:benedryl (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 )
      Be VERY careful not to take an over-the-counter medication like this on any long-term basis (longer than 2-3 days straight) as a "solution" to your sleeping problems. These medications are harsh on your liver and kidneys and are not meant to be taken for longer than a few days, max. If you take them every day over a long period you can permanently screw yourself up.
      • And not to mention, continuous use of sleeping pills cause your body to "expect" to have a depressant in order to sleep.

        Same reason why folks are lethargic when you've secretly replaced their coffee with decaf....
      • > Be VERY careful not to take an over-the-counter medication like this on any long-term basis (longer than 2-3 days straight) as a "solution" to your sleeping problems. These medications are harsh on your liver and kidneys and are not meant to be taken for longer than a few days, max. If you take them every day over a long period you can permanently screw yourself up.

        And if you must use depressants to sleep, use alcohol. A (qty: 1) glass of wine with your evening meal will produce relaxation, is highl

  • by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <ieshan&gmail,com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:34PM (#9834664) Homepage Journal
    Most Slashdotters probably don't notice how much caffeine they consume during a regular day - and there's even a whole bunch that think, "It has no effect on me whatsoever!"

    But, it realy does. On days I'm not feeling well or have sleeping issues, I simply cut my caffeine intake for the next two or three days and my body usually cycles back to normal.

    It IS possible to be "over-tired". Try doing something quiet with the lights low, like reading a light book in bed, or talking to a friend on the phone with the lights off. It may take a while, but you'll usually doze off.
  • Insomnia (Score:2, Informative)

    by higuy48 ( 568572 )
    I'd say insomnia is pretty well known. Did it occur to you that you are suffering from some form of it? Check it here [].
  • No, seriously, altering your diet will help. I've noticed if I'm surviving largely on non-nutritive junk foods for a fairly prolonged period of time and my body has depleted whatever reserve of materials it needs, I will start losing sleep - the solution oddly enough has been just an over the counter multivitamin supplement for a quick fix, and changing my diet so I'm actually eating right for a change. The big one has been fruit juices and gatorade in lieu of straight water, as I don't eat much fruit or
    • For my wife, who is for some reason nocturnal by default, melatonin has been *a* solution.

      I'm glad that it's helping your wife, but I would like to add a caution about melatonin.

      Given what the archetypical /.er's diet, stressful job, caffiene consumption, etc, I wouldn't be surprised if many have prehypertension (defined as BP at or over 120/80). Since melatonin can constrict blood vessels, there's some concern that it may pose a danger for those

      Now, in the Jan. 20, 2004, rapid-access issue of Hyperten

      • That's odd, because I'm left with the impression that 120/80 is actually an optimal BP.

        (An aside,she takes it infrequently - I only slightly more often.)

        As far as the peanut gallery, remember too that your doctor can (and should) tell you more about your blood pressure. If you don't know what that number means, DON'T ASSUME.

        • That's odd, because I'm left with the impression that 120/80 is actually an optimal BP.

          It used to be, but they changed the standard.

          In November 1997, the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC) issued the report that classified 120/80 and below as "optimal", which is a standard that many are familiar with.

          However, after further research, the JNC concluded that the risks are greater than previously realized. On May 21, 2003, they published

    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @07:59PM (#9838617)
      > If it doesn't look like something you would feed to your own children regularly as more than a snack, why the HELL are you putting it down your own throat?

      ...and I'll take "Questions never to ask your wife" for $2000, Alex.

  • Things to do (Score:4, Informative)

    by damu ( 575189 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:36PM (#9834705) Journal
    There should be a ton of resources all over the web about this. First, don't stay in bed or do other activities in bed other than sleep. Your body needs to know that when you are in bed you are there to sleep. Cut back on the chocolate, sweets, coffee, etc, specially late at night. Drink some warm milk before you get to bed. Do different things before you go to bed and see which one actually makes you sleep then try to get that in a routine before going to bed. Exercise!
  • by blunte ( 183182 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:38PM (#9834730)
    1. Halt all caffeine intake. Caffeine stays in your system a long time and interferes with natural sleep signals.

    2. Stop watching TV or other "bright" displays a few hours before you wish to sleep. I forget the name of the brain chemical (and I don't feel like looking it up), but bright light (sunlight esp., computer monitors, TVs, etc.) cause the brain to generate "wake up" chemicals. Instead, try reading print material if you need intellectual stimulation in the evening.

    3. Go to bed when you first feel drowsy. I have a window between 9 and 10pm where I get drowsy. If I don't go to bed then, I'll magically refresh and then stay up until 2+am.

    4. Get a regular schedule. Don't nap. Get up at the same (early) time each day, and go to bed at the same time each night. Ideally, try to align your schedule with the sun. It will help.

    Good luck.
  • my solutions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xutopia ( 469129 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:39PM (#9834745) Homepage
    1. play sports
    2. drink only on week ends (yeah drinking just a bit makes it harder to get a restful night)
    3. I have sex (regularly)
    4. I never have any cafeine after 3 in the afternoon.
    5. try to keep my bed/eating time the same throughout the week (means week end too)

  • I recently had to get thick curtains, and pin them to the wall around my bedroom window. Ambient light can be a huge problem.

    Stress is another factor. If you are finding yourself responding emotionally to things you think about while falling asleep that may be another problem. This one is harder, as you cannot pin people in your life to the wall when they piss you off. All I can reccomend on this one is trying to keep things in perspective, being able to shelve your work life for example when you go ho
  • I tend to sleep less and feel crappy as a result if all I've been doing is sitting around all day long in front of a computer. I'll feel tired, but I'll stay up anyway.

    OTOH, when I'm more active, like jogging a couple of miles a few times a week, my body's much more willing to rest for 8 hours.

    In short, I'm not a doctor, but I suspect the level of physical extertion could play a role in how much sleep you get.
  • Whitenoise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by schnits0r ( 633893 )
    I like white noise, I have a aquarium bubbling in my room, a computer that is always on, 4 pet rats that scurry around at night and now wiht the heat, I have a 20 inch fan that is in use during the night. I find the whitenoise helps me sleep. When my computer was in for repairs I couldn't get any sleep at all, every little noise woke up up and it did't feel normal.
    • When my computer was in for repairs I couldn't get any sleep at all, every little noise woke up up and it did't feel normal.

      You were just worried about your computer being away from home, all alone and exposed. didn't fix your own computer? What has slashdot become?!
    • I have a 20 inch fan that is in use during the night

      Your fan reference made me think of something - I sleep much better in the cold.

      If it is warm, I will wake up constantly, even though I might not feel very warm or sweaty...

      so try some AC
  • by Mordant ( 138460 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:47PM (#9834876)
    Works like a champ . . . ::yawn:: ;>
  • by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:48PM (#9834880) Homepage Journal
    A good long run, bike ride, treadmill jog, or stairmaster workout should help.

    I find that after I get on a regular exersize regimine, I acually sleep a little less, but I am more rested because I sleep harder.

  • Ok, I made a lifestyle adjustment a LONG time ago to not use an alarm clock (yes I have one, I use it when I absolutely HAVE to be somewhere at a given time - but not daily). I find I fall into two catagories

    1) Not able to sleep - too much stress
    2) Not able to wake up - nothing interesting to do

    My solution is when I get into one of these two states for longer than a few days is to go find another job. If my job isn't interesting enough to get me out of bed in the morning, lets go find something interes

  • by raider_red ( 156642 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:53PM (#9834930) Journal
    I've dealt with sleeping problems in the past, and have made some adjustments to deal with them.

    First, I don't drink caffeine after 5:00 PM. Second, I exercise regularly. Third, meditation of some form usually helps. Fourth, when all else fails, there's Benadryl. And finally, you can always try reading documents from .

  • Get Some Exercise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:55PM (#9834951) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. However, I never have any trouble sleeping if I got some good exercise that day.

    Why should your body rest itself when it hasn't been worked? At the very least you can run around the block once or twice an hour before your bedtime.

  • Sleep disorders can be a symptom of medical problem. And lack of sleep can lead to them. Don't be a dork. Go to the doctor. The doctor will likely perscribe you some anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills.

    Asking medical advice from these folks is silly.
  • Good news for you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    John Kerry is scheduled to speak for 55 minutes tonight.

    Your sleep problems are solved.
  • Disclaimer: I am not a physician. This is not medical advice. If you are in need of medical advice, please consult a physician licensed to practice medicine in your state.

    That said, I've had difficulties regulating my sleep for years. I've recently had success thanks to some of what I'll share below.

    First off, if you have insurance, don't be afraid to see a doctor regarding this. The same advice that we're giving, if it comes from an MD, would probably carry more weight to you. As such, you're more l
  • I am not be a normal slashdoter in the sense that I do not drink beverages with caffeine and I do take a regular vitamin suppliment. As I have gotten older I have had to stay up later to get work done. High school is a joke, college requires some serious study/homework time and then running out of time after getting off working fulltime.

    I remember reading about a study where elderly folks were brought into a room that simulated sun light in order to change their biological clock to align with what is consi
  • Several factors can all affect your sleep schedule - much of it is lifestyle.

    Diet - so cut back on the junk food and eat more fresh friuts and veggies

    Caffiene - cut back on this (paradoxically, caffiene relaxes a few people)

    Exercise - too little, or too much close to bedtime, can make you less likely to sleep. Regular moderate exercise helps almost anyone. Regular sex helps too! ;)

    Light - Artificial light can screw up your diurnal cycle. Minimize exposure to bright lights in the early evening for

  • a result of a few health issues I have basically eliminated sugar and caffine from my diet, eat probably 90% fruits and veggies now, only drink water, little to no beef, and take a million (it seems) pills for vitimins and such a day. Well I can't get enough sleep now...I fall asleep at 9:30-10:00 if i can manage to stay awake that long. I still have to wake up at 6:30 for work, but always wake up still exhausted now...I feel tired most of the day and basically can't wait to get home and just go to b
    • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:03PM (#9835966) Journal
      eat probably 90% fruits and veggies now,... so much for a healthy life stly being good for you...

      Above all else, trust your own body. If you aren't feeling healthy, you aren't healthy.

      I focus on the "90% fruits and veggies" part of your post because if I had to guess, this is the source of your problems. Depending on the fruits and veggies you are eating, this can leave you short of fat (good kinds) and protein (all kinds!). In fact, unless you have studied vegetarion dieting carefully it is almost certain that you are short. You need large enough quantities of fat and protein that you can't take them in pill form. (Protien supplements exist, but they are mostly targetted at body builders, and that is probably right.)

      Now, personally, I find none of the reasons for vegetarianism compelling, so I say, go ahead and eat meat. Just try to eat it as unprocessed as possible, which is good advice for nearly all food. You may want to pay extra for organic. We've been eating it for millions of years, and many meats (including fish, seafood, and other such things) have a lot of good stuff in them that is difficult or impossible to get through fruits and veggies.

      If you want to stay vegetarian, you must educate yourself on how to do it. There are a lot of resources, but as you may expect I can't recommend any :-). But I know you must be careful to eat more protein then you would if you didn't try; hence the popularity of tofu. (Nuts also, I think, but I defer to people who have actually lived this lifestyle on the issue; I wouldn't be surprised that there are different kinds of protein that nuts don't have or something.) If you don't educate yourself, you're headed for a world of premature hurt.

      AFAICS, there are two things that are universally agreed on by nutritionists:
      1. Vegetables, esp. green leafy ones, are good for you.
      2. There is room in a healthy diet for all the food groups, and nobody (without an ideological agenda) supports removing fruits, veggies, and all meats (some would remove red meat, but I know of no serious nutritionist who wouldn't want you to eat fish).
      Beyond that, the controversy still rages because nutrition isn't really a science right now [] (links to my defense of that statement, see third or fourth header); stay sharp, make sure you are getting all of your nutrients, proteins, fats (good ones, at least, probably), and other vital building blocks. The more you restrict your diet a priori ("only fruits and veggies", "low carbs", etc.), the harder that is to do. (Of course, unrestricted diets are only easy in theory, in practice we seem to do a bad job on average.)

      (I would be happy to hear from you if this helps.)
  • Do something that is physically challenging for an hour some time prior to going to sleep. You will get longer and better sleep if you are actually tired and not just sleepy.
  • by Breakerofthings ( 321914 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:14PM (#9835274)
    I just went to the Dr a couple of weeks ago for this very problem. Turns out, my insomnia was being caused by a very serious medical problem. A medical problem that I didn't know about, and would have likely killed me (eventually) had it not been discovered.

    So my advice is, go see your Dr.
    • I don't mean to pry, but I think a lot of us would really be interested in knowing what probably-fatal disease has insomnia as one of its primary initial symptoms. Could you elaborate?
      • by Piquan ( 49943 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @08:33PM (#9838896)

        I can't tell you about the OP's condition, but I can give you a few examples.

        Fatal familial insomnia is a rare, inherited degenerative brain disorder. It's pretty much what it sounds like: the victim gradually loses the ability to sleep, and dies within 7 to 36 months.

        Nocturnal cardiac ischemia is one cause of insomnia: chest pains keep the victim awake at night. It is caused by atherosclerotic heart disease. (You can Google this stuff.)

        Any number of obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema, can cause severe insomnia.

        Now, I'm going to talk about a more common disease that can be fatal, but is frequently misunderstood: obstructive sleep apnea. In this disease, the soft tissues of the throat collapse during the night. The lungs work harder and harder to pull in air, and this only draws the throat tighter, like sucking a milkshake through a straw. The victim eventually wakes up, the throat muscles tighten, and with a gasp, the lungs fill. The victim then goes back to sleep.

        All this time, the victim's blood oxygen level is plummeting. The victim is suffocating, turning blue, and the heart is losing its ability to function. Too long without oxygen, and the heart can stop altogether, possibly unable to restart. What's more, when the heart does get oxygen, it suddenly is working like mad to get it to the rest of the body: transient BPs of 300/* have been measured at this time (normal BPs are around 115/*). An estimated 38,000 strokes and heart attacks per year are due to apnea.

        This happens hundreds of times per night. And, amazingly, the victim doesn't know it; the barely-awake mind doesn't have its long-term memory wired up right yet.

        At best, the victim knows that he snores, and that he's tired during the day. Besides the direct fatalities during the night, tired people can be killed in a number of ways, such as missing a light if they doze off at the wheel, or making a bad judgement and crashing a ship (Exxon Valdez). Apnea is theorized to be an indirect cause of a number of high-risk conditions, particularly high blood pressure.

        I'm going on about obstructive sleep apnea because it's amazingly common and dangerous, yet amazingly easy to diagnose and treat. What's more, apnea (like most sleep disorders) is barely-- if at all-- understood by most physicians: they just don't have training to deal with it. So people get misdiagnosed for years, maybe decades.

        Personally, I'd recommend that anybody who feels tired and snores should learn about apnea, and see a doctor (possibly not in that order). I learned about it by reading a book I heard about on /.: The Promise of Sleep [], by Dr. William Dement, which I strongly recommend to anybody who wants to know about sleep.

        Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and have no medical background or training.

  • Reading Helps (Score:3, Informative)

    by north.coaster ( 136450 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:14PM (#9835276) Homepage

    I find that it's much easier for me to get to sleep if I do some light reading for a few minutes immediately before turning off the lights. This helps me wind-down and distract my mind from the events of the day. A couple pages of a book or magazine (not work related!) is all that's necessary.

  • One of my biggest problems is that I'm so busy during the day, I rarely get a moment to sort through my thoughts and start doing some deep thinking. A significant portion of my job requires long-term thinking and planning, as do a lot of my own personal projects. Since I can't really ponder them on my own time, I start doing it the second my mind gets a break. In other words, when I start to go to sleep. I would lie in bed for hours at a time, just churning away until I finally exhausted the queue.

    Now I ma
  • by Grab ( 126025 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:15PM (#9835294) Homepage
    First move is exercising. Do some. If you're working insane hours (12+) at work then you'll likely have no problems sleeping, simply through exhaustion. Otherwise exercise will use up some energy so that you don't feel twitchy.

    I know people say "don't exercise after 8pm/10pm/whatever", but it's not a big deal. It may take you an hour or so to stretch, shower, chill out, etc after you've been running, but you'll sleep much better after that. Being a little later to bed is no big deal if you get a better quality of sleep.

    Second move is to be relaxed before you go to bed. Do something that doesn't take serious mental effort. Play a game, play a musical instrument, read, whatever. *Don't* spend hours hacking immediately before bed, otherwise your brain will still be racing.

    And if you can't sleep, get up and do one of the above for a bit until you *do* feel sleepy. Sometimes all your body needs is a change of scene - go to the bathroom, have a drink of water, and your body will get into "sleep mode".

    • BS: exhaustion is not the solution. I once spent 15 hours at a contruction site, working the whole day!
      Guess what, I only got 3 hours sleep that night.
      I can see your attempt in trying to help, but you are way of the mark, like all the others.
    • play a musical instrument

      I guess you're not a trumpet player.

  • by Fished ( 574624 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yrogihpma'> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:20PM (#9835366)
    As a long-time insomniac (read "programmer"), I've found that there are several different kinds of insomnia.
    1. There are some medical - i.e. conditions other than insomnia - that can cause sleeplessness. If this is a new thing, you might ask your doctor although he's unlikely to be very interested.
    2. Are you depressed? (Doesn't sound like.)
    3. I find that often my schedule just gets out of wack. In such cases, I find that melatonin - available over the counter as a "diet suppliment" helps most. Melatonin is allegedly the compound your body makes at night and is why you tend to get sleepy at night - don't know if this is true or supplement "hype". However, it is as effective for me as prescription sleeping pills, but without some of the side effects. It DOES, however, have other side effects, particularly if you're hypertensive or have an Autoimmune problem. Read up first.
    4. There are several kinds of sleeping pills available. The most common is diphenhydramine, i.e. benadryl. Available over the counter, don't take a big dose because a big dose can make you hyper. Doxylamine Succinate is also readily available otc, works much better for me than benadryl. It is usually found under the brand name "unisom", but not everything with a unisom label is doxylamine succinate. Buyer beware! Last, the doctor has many, many options, ranging from valium-like drugs (ambien, ativan, etc.) to anti-depressants (Remoron, one other whose name escapes), to blood pressure meds (clonidine.) However, I find that Doctors tend to be cavalier about side effects, so would try prescription meds last.
    5. Most of all, exercise will help, especially first thing in the morning. It helps set your cycle.
    6. "Sleep Hygiene" is important as well. When you go to bed, don't read: go to sleep. (If you're hitched, have sex - this is also a good sleep aid.) Don't do anything in bed but sleep and have sex. Put the clock where you can't see it - looking at the clock just gets you worried and keeps you up. Go to sleep at the same time every night, get up at the same time every day.
    That's all that comes to mind. :)
  • see a doctor (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bishop ( 4500 )
    Several posts have listed the standard best practices:

    reduce caffine intake


    change in diet

    regular schedule

    A regular sleep schedule is deffinately the most important. However if making those changes do not help then you should book time with a doctor. Some people suffer from hard core insomnia and will require a little help to get back on track. Some times insomnia is a symtom of a larger problem. At any rate lack of sleep will cause many other health problems.

    There have been some posts suggesti

  • If work a rotating shift schedule, get off and get stable working hours.

    If you consume caffeine 8 hours or less before your bedtime, stop. Even if you used to get away with this, the body's metabolic rate changes as we grow older.

    If you stuff a lot of sugar into your body, don't. The last thing you want when you're trying to fall asleep is a brain that's on a sugar buzz.

    If these suggestions don't work, or don't apply, get your doctor to send you to a specialist. Sleep disorders are real and wicked probl
  • I had the same problem for yeaaarssss. So I started working out. It helped a little bit. But I still would be up till at least 3am and not sleeping well. Changed my eating habits, helped me lose a few pounds. But helping me sleep better. I then cut back, then pretty much eliminated caffeine on a regular basis (no coffee or tea in the mornings, and no caffeine past 12PM). I still have it every now and then, especially the winter. That made a nice impact. I was able to fall asleep earlier, and sleep better. B
  • Funny you should ask (Score:5, Informative)

    by Piquan ( 49943 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#9835808)

    I just got back from an overnight sleep test at the Stanford Sleep Clinic.

    There's a lot of misunderstandings about sleep. Many "pop" books regarding sleep, and a number of physicians, have plenty of misconceptions about sleep and sleep problems.

    I highly recommend the book The Promise of Sleep []. It's written by Dr. Dement, one of the foremost sleep researchers. It helped me understand healthy sleep and sleep disorders, and lead to my discovery that I have a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder (which has just been diagnosed, and I'm about to begin treatment).

    Sleep problems can lead to lots of problems in your physical and mental well-being. In my case, over the last several months, my productivity at work is shot. I can't concentrate on my code. I also don't have the energy to go out and have fun with my friends like I used to.

    It's also difficult to recognize the results of sleep problems as such. You might not feel tired, even when your body is desperately needing more restful sleep-- but it still interferes with your daytime activities. You might think that they're related to other problems. I thought that my problems were the result of problems with diet, exercise, etc. In my case, these were contributing factors, but the sleep thing seems to be the biggest cause.

    I highly recommend you-- and anybody else who has the slightest inkling that they may not be sleeping as well as they could-- read Dr. Dement's book.

  • You know how much most geeks (including myself) would pay to be able to do what comes naturally to you?
    If you're not tired, you probably don't need the sleep.

    Even with megadoses of caffeine, I either get the shakes and am jumpy, or nothing happens and I'm still tired... I'd LOVE to be able to reduce my sleep down to a few hours - I'd have SO much more time for research, learning, working on my computers, etc.

    As it is, if I get more than 8-1/2 hours of sleep, I'm groggy as hell and my muscles are all stiff
    • If you're not tired, you probably don't need the sleep.

      This is a very widespread misconception. I've read about studies that show people who say they're not tired but testing (most notably using performance tests or a protocol called MSLT) indicates they are. Performance testing time and again indicates that sleep deprivation == impaired performance, even if the subjects don't recognize the degree.

      I don't have precise references, but one such study that comes to mind was performed by Tom Roth of the He

  • My wife had our child 2 months ago, and it forced us to be more aware of the sleep we need to get to be available for our son. Screaming babies at 3 am require someone to at least be alseep for 3-4 hours at a time... Have a child... it will require you to be more responsible to be rested.
  • Physical exercise during the day/evening:

    If I have been physically busy all day I just cannot sleep. I feel cosy and tired, but cannot sleep. I need lots of mental activity during the day to be able to sleep.

    Less caffeine:

    I barely drink coffee during the week-end, but drink lots during weekdays. No effect whatsoever on sleeping patterns.

    Need 8 hours/day:

    I get by with 4-5 hours. If I sleep longer than that, my sleep gets completely disturbed after a few days, and I need to stay up really late for a few
    • Physical exercise is Not "physically busy"; Really Getting off your ass really does help

      Caffeine varies from person to person but most people need to leave off farily early to sleep well

      Need 8 hours of sleep a day: Again varies person to person, it's really important to sleep the same amount of time and get up at the same time. I sleep 5 to 6 hours nightly and have for 20 years.

      Take a shower: Works for me 1~2 hours before bed, not 10 minutes

      One other thing it's important to do only do two things in be

  • All the old sleep therapy techniques apply to geeks too:

    1) don't eat food/drink caffeine close to bedtime
    2) don't put TV/'puter in bedroom, bedroom is for sleeping
    3) excercise daily
    4) always go to bed at the same time every night regardless of tiredness

    Do any of us actually follow this though? I don't heh.
  • This is gonna sound weird but water might help. I noticed that the last few years my sleep schedule was getting erratic, I was dead tired around 3-7pm and wide awake most of the evening to the point where I couldn't get too sleep easily until 3am.
    I was also gaining weight and getting some bad headaches regularly.

    After someone mentioned to me that it might be dehydration I started drinking water all the time. Drinking two glasses when I get up, taking two liters to work every day to drink and a few more whe
  • Caffeine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Skalizar ( 676291 )
    Several people have posted about caffeine, I'll add to that. I didn't think I had a problem with it either, never drank coffee, but did drink soda during the day and I like my chocolate. I decided to eliminate it due to some odd headaches I seemed to have whenever I didn't have any caffiene for a while. The headaches were horrible for about 3 days and I went from 5-6 hours of uneasy sleep to about 11-12 hours of dead-to-the-world deep sleep for several weeks. After that I eased into a normal, restful 7-
  • I had problems sleeping for a long long time. I could be dead tired, lay down, then be wide awake for 2, 3, 4 hours+. Cutting back on caffeine, exercise, etc all didn't seem to do the trick. Doctor referred me to a psyche, and the psyche said I had sleep deprivation and prescribed me Trazodone. Trazodone is one of the early Anti-depressants, but isn't used much to treat depression anymore because of a side-effect. That side effect is drowsiness. Let me tell you, it it's wonderful to be able to sleep 6-7 hou
  • by Grabble ( 91256 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:29PM (#9837136)
    Running to your doctor before doing obvious Life 101 things like...

    1) Exercise daily
    2) Eat right
    3) Avoid a constant stream of chemcial stimulant
    4) Reduce TV

    is so typical... and stupid.

    Insomnia wasn't my particular problem, but I had another serious circadium rhythm problem. THE solution for me was to take a 5-10 minute walk immediately (givertake a few minutes) upon awakening.

    Boy howdy, did that fix me.

    It helps to look at the sky. There are thingies in our eyes that respond to sunlight by reducing melatonin -- and getting your melatonin levels reduced in the morning 1) wakes you up, 2) gets your body's rhythm ready primed to go back to sleep in about 16 hours.

    Deep rhymthic breathing while walking does WAY more than coffee.

    If you're not doing the Life 101 things mentioned above, I hope you will start ... before running to your mommy ^H^H^H^H doctor/drugpusher.
  • In order of preference:

    Cut out all caffine

    Cut out all alcohol

    Physical exercise

    See your doctor




    Seriously, if you go the medication route, do it as a temporary thing while you change your lifestyle.

    While the caffine thing is obvious, the alcohol will also disturb your sleep cycle.

    No beers before bedtime!

  • We've had some hot weather lately, which puts all sorts of funky particles into the air (more wet/cold weather they stay down more). This has caused my allergies to go berserk, leaving me tired on a regular basis. Some things I've found though, is that:
    a) I get congested when I sleep, with fluids draining towards my chest which makes breathing laboured (bad sleep)
    b) Sleepin on my side, and taking an allergy pill, relieves (a), better sleep.

    Alternately, I can nap after work and feel 100% again, but then
  • at least until MyDoom becomes less prevalent.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.