Update From The Combat Insomnia Experiment

by Josh Hanagarne on August 27, 2010

Fact: if you declare that you’re about to finally take the steps to combat insomnia, thus bring to a close two decades of restless nights, going to Yellowstone National Park for the next four days will completely screw everything up. There is nothing less conducive to getting on a sleep schedule than taking a long trip with a toddler, staying up way too late, eating crappy food, sleeping in a freezing tent, and wondering if that sound in the night means that a bear is deciding whether to drag you out of your sleeping bag by the head or not.

But seriously, those are just excuses. Pretty good ones, but still–the fact is, the willpower that usually serves me so well is not doing a thing for me yet on the restless nights front. I have stated “I will do this and this,” and then I have not followed through.

That’s really not how it usually goes with me.

In short, as scientific experiments go, my attempt at insomnia relief has been a disappointment so far. Even after I got home from Yellowstone, I did nothing to get back on track. I’m honestly not sure what to make of my inconsistency.

If we decide to race each other to a strength-related goal, I’ll probably win. The same goes for reading the most books, eating the most shrimp, and so on.

When  I am driven, I’m not unstoppable, but it’s not the least applicable term either.

But I have not been able to buckle down with my self-imposed (and ignored) sleep study.

If you’ll remember, in my reasons for insomnia post, I was determined to:

  • Cut caffeine out of my diet after 12 noon each day
  • Start getting in bed at the same time every night

I have slightly decreased my caffeine intake, but I have only gotten in bed before midnight once or twice since that post. Some scientist, eh? I also put a couple of drops of lavender oil on my skin one night after someone mentioned that they were bathing in the stuff.

It made

So today, in light of this least triumphant of posts, I am recommitting to treating my insomnia. Or, at the very least, I am committing to figuring out why the hell this particular area of my life seems immune to my usual persistence.

Blah. (It hasn’t been all bad. The unlimited guest posts idea actually came to me while I was trying to sleep)

Josh

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd August 27, 2010 at 6:31 am

Funny–When I read Combat Insomnia, I picture some kind of MMA application being used to get to sleep. Okay, no more UFC/WEC for me… after this Saturday… wait, there’s another fight after that I want to see… I digress.

Getting to bed at a consistent “early” time is something that I struggle with as well. I just get so much done between 8:30 and midnight (when the wife and kids go to bed). I resolve that I will go to bed by 11.

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Jeanette Swalberg August 27, 2010 at 7:58 am

Did I already ask if you’ve had your thyroid checked? Doesn’t hurt to rule out the biological component to your restlessness. All the great sleep strategies in the world won’t do much for you if you are also fighting mother nature.

….And yes, I love that quiet time after the kiddos are in bed, but I lack the discipline to use that time well, lol

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Daisy August 27, 2010 at 8:24 am

Just a thought – if you’re getting brilliant ideas as you’re trying to sleep, your mind is definitely too alert. One of my tricks (with some success, not unlimited) is to tell myself “If you can’t sleep, at least rest.” Then I relax. Sometimes taking the mental pressure off is all I need to allow my brain to shut down and let me sleep.

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Boris Bachmann August 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

This is good advice.

My wife can’t sleep. It is a discipline issue (though I would never say so to her directly). It requires discipline to say to yourself “I’m going to call it a day. The drama ends now. Time for R&R.” and mean it, and do it every day. After a while, it will become habit, but it will still occasionally require discipline.

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Jeanette Swalberg August 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Daisy! I tell this to my semi-insomniac kids! Love it! Now, I just need to say this to myself…
*********
Anyone that talks about sleep hygiene tells you to cut off screen time 30-60 min before trying to sleep. How many of us have the will power to do that?

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Stephanie Smith August 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

Sleep is my one refuge from life’s hassles, but I do take a 1-2 hr nap between 12 and 2pm every day and it has been proven that even a short 20 min. power nap can help.
If you can’t stick to a routine, my suggestion is that perhaps you are making too many demands of yourself at one time. Try sticking to just the caffeine reduction, then once that is conquered, move on, and so on. Personally I think trying to go to sleep at the same time is a goal rarely within reach, esp. when you have kids. I have heard it is better to start a routine of preparing for bed and stick to that. It tells tour brain, “hey-these actions mean it is almost bedtime, thereby allowing your subconscious to prepare your body for “sleep mode”.
it’s worth a shot anyway! Good luck!

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Amanda September 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Have you tried reading Moby Dick? I swear the words are loaded with valium.

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Josh Hanagarne September 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

HAHAHAHA. Awesome. I actually really enjoy Moby Dick. I’m one of the few.

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