Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sleep Elusive Sleep

As you may know from reading this blog, Silent Sam and I have sleeping problems.  It seems there is an official term for it - sleep maintenance insomnia.  It means that we fall asleep just fine but we wake up during the night or early morning and can't get back to sleep.

Since we fall asleep just fine, most of the insomnia or sleeping problem tricks don't work for us.  So, I have done some more research.  Apparently they tie this type of insomnia to stress.  Yes, I think they are right. 

So here are some new tricks for us to try.

1.  If you wake up and can't fall back to sleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and read (but don't use a bright bulb use a lower wattage bulb so that you don't stimulate your brain to totally wake up)  Do not watch TV or use a computer as the light emitted by screens is stimulating to the brain.

2. Stay out of your head - hmmm...  this one means that you shouldn't concentrate on how you aren't sleeping but rather think about the feelings and sensations in your body.  

3.  Make relaxation your goal, not sleep - try mediation or deep breathing or visualization techniques  to relax.  While this is not as good as sleeping, it is better than making yourself crazy by just laying there thinking about how you are not sleeping. ( I am so good at this!)

4.  If you wake up with something on your mind, write down your thought and re-visit it in the morning when you are really ready to work on a problem or prize winning thought.  Write it down and forget about it so you will go back to sleep.  (This actually earned a guffaw from Silent Sam)

Silent Sam and I discussed these options.  I will tell you that he is extremely dubious about these techniques.  Despite the look on his face, I pushed forward with the discussion.  He has reluctantly agreed to try one of the relaxation techniques.  He has selected progressive muscle relaxation.  With this technique, you start at your toes and tense the muscles as tightly as you can and then relax them.  Then you work up to your feet, tense and relax.  This continues up through your entire body.  I have also asked him to make a list before bed of the things he will work on the next day.  The thought is that if you make a list then you will not think about it and let it disrupt your sleep.  (I think pigs will be flying if he tries this one....)

I will try the deep breathing and meditation approach.  At least we know that two of the techniques will be tried....

What do you do when you can't sleep?  Do you have a great technique for us to try?  Let me know!

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Way back when... I used my college history textbook to go to sleep. Worked then...