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Insomnia - What works, what doesn't, for you ?

(103 Posts)
AnnieGurt Mon 27-Mar-23 00:59:18

The Curse of Insomnia will be familiar to so many ladies after menopause.
I've been tracking foods and activities to see what promotes sleep for me, and what aggravates the insomnia.

I'm an easy-to-sleep, waking at 1-2 and unable to get back to sleep, type of insomniac.
However, too much alcohol, any white potatoes, tomatoes and various other foods, can prevent ANY sleep.
Beefsteak, on the other hand, and cooked vegetables, can help me get a few hours.

What's your observation and experience ?

Taichinan Mon 27-Mar-23 01:04:13

With me it's the usual, so no caffeine after midday. However the phases of the moon seem to affect me - I must be a proper lunatic!! But I rarely sleep well when the moon is full. It will be interesting to see if anyone else has noticed the moon having an effect.

Doodledog Mon 27-Mar-23 01:12:25

Sometimes routine works for me. A hot bath, scented oil in the bedroom, a sleep mask with earphones in it playing hypnosis or rain sounds - if I keep things like that the same it can help me by association. Not always though.

Hetty58 Mon 27-Mar-23 01:25:39

Pain (my back) wakes me up after 3 or (if I'm lucky) 4 hours - along with an elderly dog who often wants to go outside. I'll have a cup of tea, a snack - then read, knit, watch films (or check forums like this) until I feel tired again. I don't find that caffeine or foods make any difference for me. I might get a couple more hours later on.

After lunch or late afternoon, I might take a nap - and wake, usually, after an hour or so, then I'm fine until the early hours. The main thing is - that I don't worry about it - I'm sure I get enough sleep. When young, I rarely slept more than five hours.

By contrast, my friend frets endlessly about a lack of sleep. She's in bed by 10 pm, then wakes at four or five. Shouldn't that be enough? She constantly feels tired (I think it's a stress-related mental tiredness, not physical at all). She drinks bedtime tea, avoids sugar, caffeine - also frets about her diet. I just see anxiety as her major problem - not a lack of sleep, but maybe it's bad quality sleep?

biglouis Mon 27-Mar-23 02:16:50

If I cant sleep I get up and have a hot shower. That usually relaxes me sufficiently until I drift off. I never lie there desperate to go to sleep. I get up and do jobs on the computer until Im falling asleep. I dont keep normal hours so it doesn't matter if I go back to bed at 11 am as I did one morning last week.

Esmay Mon 27-Mar-23 02:20:38

Welcome to vampire world !

This old bat needs to hang upside down in her bat cave during the day .

I used to sleep from 10.00 pm until 7.00 am .
I had energy and drive .

Bliss !

Now I think mainly because i
of my father , who is nocturnal I'm awake until 4.00 am .

At the moment , he's having his tea plus cheese and biscuits .
This will take him up to an hour to consume .
And he's in "I'm bored talk to me mood ."

Talking about his care with other carers -they all said that it's exactly what they have .

I think that my father feels safe during the day with my buzzing around and that at night he's seized with nightmares and night terrors and is too frightened to sleep.
His sedative used to knock him out for four hours now it seems to wear off within an hour .
I've tried a night light and he won't let me leave the TV on .
He wants my attention .

Ginny42 Mon 27-Mar-23 03:38:55

I am grieving at the moment, and I'm hoping that when this eases I will revert to a more relaxed sleep pattern. I find it's no use lying trying to go back to sleep with thoughts whirling round in my head. I get up and get things done. However, I find acupuncture helps me for a day or two. I've also found Paul McKenna's sleep recording helps when I'm really bad and awake after just one hour.

I read that 3.00 a. m. is the grieving hour when anxiety kicks in. That is certainly the case with me.

I do sympathise with anyone who is in pain like Hetty58, or like Esmay caring for someone. That must be draining.

Ginny42 Mon 27-Mar-23 04:15:35

Esmay just thought, would your father listen to talking books? That may be less strain on you.

NanaDana Mon 27-Mar-23 07:17:30

No drinks, especially caffeine, after 8 p.m. Audio books, usually autobiographies/non-fiction, playing quietly in the background, a good mattress and pillow, darkness (no TV, for example), bedroom temperature no higher than 18C, scented oil in the bedroom (lavender works for me), comfortable, loose nightie/pyjamas. All these work for me, and I guess I'm averaging around 6 hours sleep per night now, although not continuously, with a nana nap of up to an hour during the afternoon.

VioletSky Mon 27-Mar-23 07:33:19

Pain and restless legs keep me awake, flight socks and an electric blanket have made a huge difference

VioletSky Mon 27-Mar-23 07:35:55

And Amitriptyline, which is for nerve pain, of o take it late or forget it, I have a bad night like last night and can be awake till 3 or 4am

Katyj Mon 27-Mar-23 07:40:31

Esmay. Does your dad sleep all morning if awake through the night. My mum 91 doesn’t sleep well until around 4am and then won’t wake up until 1pm. The trouble is she doesn’t eat or drink either as she lives alone, it can be 18 hours with no food or drink, which can’t be good for her.
I wake around 3am when DH gets up for the loo, while he’s there I spray my pillow with This works sleep spray. I’m usually back to sleep within about 20 mins.

SporeRB Mon 27-Mar-23 08:13:23

I have tried all sorts of remedy to cure the curse of insomnia since I had my menopause in my mid forties. I would lie awake at night, fell asleep at 4am and had to get up at 7am for work. Now that I am retired, if I have a bad night I could have a good lie in.

The only thing that has help me is taking menopace tablets. Also fish oil with vitamin D.

Avoid looking at computer including GN or reading ebooks late at night. I love decaff coffee but I find coffee quite addictive.

nanna8 Mon 27-Mar-23 08:27:01

Yes avoid reading e books or using a tablet for games etc. I also have to avoid coffee from about midday. I found that taking anti histamines helps ( found that out when I was having hay fever at night). Too much chocolate doesn’t help, either and certain fruits make me wee all night ( passion fruit,mango,nectarines)

Baggs Mon 27-Mar-23 09:41:25

if it's pain that's keeping me awake I take painkillers and maybe have a cup of tea before settling down again.

If it's pain but I can't take any more painkillers, I have a glass (several shots but I'm not measuring) of Baileys and a cup of tea and read for a bit. <<< Worked well for a broken shoulder; haven't needed it for a broken wrist this time.

If it's early morning and light or nearly light, I get up and start my day. Maybe have a nap later.

Esmay Mon 27-Mar-23 11:50:10

Hi KatyJ,

When my father was a young , handsome and extremely fit man he was prone to endless mental upsets , moods and depressions .
We lived in dread of them .
It wasn't addressed by his GP though at one stage he was on Lagactil as well as huge doses of valium .Now he's on Prozac .
It takes the edge off his mental state .
He also has a sedative .
Yesterday ,he started one of his confusions
which is probably a urine infection .
I've called the GP .
It means more antibiotics .
By tomorrow they would have kicked in and he'll calm down .

I went to bed at three
He was screaming for me at five .
He's just completely soiled the bed and is being rude and uncooperative .

I think that he's always had nightmares and terrors and would get up , make himself some tea and smoke .
He also used to drink a lot too - if it's in a tea cup then it's medicinal .
So now he's bedbound , which was actually his fault - he's stuck unable to do anything.

He sleeps a lot during the day and has done over the last seven years now it's become more extreme .

Being nocturnal , not eating enough and more worrying not drinking enough and poor hygiene are common problems with elderly people .
I used to look after them and I know the score .
Out of all the people that I looked after there were only three who were really difficult one had tertiary syphilis and two were paranoid schizophrenics .
One of my friends is an expert in schizophrenia and thinks that my father has always has it in a mild form .
My father is far worse than they were .

As I write this he's complaining about me to empty space .

I am a terrible person .
And he'll complain about ne when we have people in .
If I had this every day it would become too much .
By tomorrow he should be better and calmer and possibly have no memory of the insults .

I'll try talking books, Ginny .
Thank you for the suggestion .

Good luck with your mother .

Katyj Mon 27-Mar-23 16:42:21

Your Father sounds very difficult. I feel so sorry for your predicament. Do you have help ? I sincerely hope you do.
My mum has had anxiety and depression all her life but was taken off antidepressants last time she had a heart attack. She has gone downhill since and has now started drinking every evening to relax.
I hope your father improves ASAP and you get some peace very soon. Take care.

pascal30 Mon 27-Mar-23 16:58:40

Esmay.. your situation sounds really there any way you would consider respite in a home for a while? I sincerely hope you aren't having to cope on your own.. it sounds like you really deserve to have a life of your own now.. I really respect what you have had to cope with.

Walkowl Mon 27-Mar-23 20:23:28

Since the menopause I often find I spend 2-3 hours awake most night. My mind thinks too much. Audiobooks help me.

MayBee70 Mon 27-Mar-23 21:12:03

I listen to podcasts or even programmes on iplayer. Don’t drink caffeine. Lie on my Shakti mat ( I’ve had back/neck pain recently and it’s sorted that). I can’t sleep without listening to something now. It started when I had pulsative tinnitus which I may or may not still have because I always have background noise.

silverlining48 Mon 27-Mar-23 21:23:37

I usually get to sleep within the hour but wake after an hour or two. On bad nights I can stay awake fir hours til I drop off, but always wake finally around 5. I cant nap during the day so had to resort to a low dose of pfenerghan which generally works but I still wake around 5 am.

crazyH Mon 27-Mar-23 21:34:16

Esmay flowers

Ali23 Mon 27-Mar-23 21:45:12

I know I’m not typical at all, but i find that e books (iPad set to low lighting level) really help me to wind down ready for sleep, and a chapter if i wake up often helps too.
Anything to stop me overthinking and maintain a sense of mindfulness and peace.
I also listen to meditation videos especially Yoga Nidra, which promotes a particular type of brain rest pattern.
I also recite some simple meditative staements that I have developed from listening to buddhist dharma talks.

But if I can’t sleep at all I get up and bring a warm drink back to bed.
Luckily being retired means I don’t have to worry about getting up early.

overthehill Mon 27-Mar-23 23:06:39

I can and do drop off in front of the TV then by the time I've gone upstairs, got undressed, cleaned teeth and got into a cold bed I'm awake again. There is no point me trying to sleep if I'm not tired. I do have a kindle and that can help

Joan123 Wed 29-Mar-23 11:45:58

I wake up several times in the night. These days I have to get up to pee a couple of times. I’ve found a free podcast called ‘Nothing much happens’ which has worked wonders to help me drift off. It’s just staying asleep that is the issue now!