Insomnia -does anything work?
At jojoca's suggestion on the "New You New Year" thread, I thought I might start this thread to see if anyone has had any real success with the problem of insomnia.
After a lifetime of a ridiculously perfect ability to fall asleep anywhere at the drop of a hat, I find myself plagued (for at least five years now) with insomnia. It came about along with menopause, and since most of my women friends are suffering similarly, I've somewhat concluded that it is an aging issue, at least for women.
I believe there are two general categories of insomnia -the inability to fall asleep, and the inability to stay asleep. I seem to suffer from both. It takes me hours to fall asleep, and then I wake up at least once an hour after that. I haven't had a dream in years and years, which may be indicative that I'm ever entering the deepest sleep cycle, I'm not sure.
The oddest thing to me is that I'm rarely (almost never) exhausted. I'm shocked I'm not. I've even worn Fitbit type devices to be sure my perception of being awake half the night is accurate, and it is, but I don't operate like a sleep-deprived person, in terms of low energy, yawning, etc. However, I've begun to realize that the lack of sleep may be affecting my brain in ways I have not previously considered. My lifelong constant state of optimism, lack of worry, natural positivity, etc., has been somewhat overtaken by thoughts of gloom and doom, other's suffering, negative self-talk, worries both near and far, complaints, and other negativity. I believe I have determined a correlation between particularly bad nights and a particularly bad mental state the next day, which is what led me down this line of thinking.
Things I do (and have pretty much always done), that are supposed to be good sleep habits:
- I go to bed at the same time every night, following the same routine
- No TV in the bedroom
- Regular exercise (walk 3 miles/day)
Things I've tried with no success:
- Pretty much every OTC sleep aid such as Tylenol PM...
Things I've tried that work with moderate success:
- Heavy blankets on my lower legs
I'm not interested in taking Ambien (as a few friends do), both because I'm not much of a pill person, and because my understanding is it is sedating you but not truly putting your brain in sleep mode.