OK so I am gearing up to submission later this year and starting to work evenings and generally get pretty anxiuos about the whole business. Trouble is I just cannot wind down and get to sleep. And the trouble with that is that no matter how little sleep I get - I must be up at 6-7 am with my daughter. And then I can't nap during the day as I am either looking after her or working.
So how can I cure this insomnia? Drink hasn't worked.
just out of curiosity what is it that keeps you awake?
for me its that my brain is still trying to figure stuff out, it sits and chitters away to its self and all I want it to do is rest, and this isn't just for getting to sleep I quite often wake up early in the morning and my brains already full flow, worrying, figuring stuff out etc
So what I do is to put 'The simpsons' on DVD on. I have done this for about 15 years now and I think its because I pretty much know them all that I can listen to it without getting interested, which would happen if I put any old film on.
I find it distracts me long enough to stop thinking about stuff so that I can get to sleep or back to sleep.
I think I'd have gone mad if I didn't have this - even at that its not full proof but works for me
Drink makes me wake up early, and is not necessarily good for quality sleep. Do you exercise? That might relive some of the stress, although ironically if too late at night can keep you awake! I'd say cut out caffeine after about 4pm. Eating late can affect sleeping too. It sounds like you need to wind down and relax for even an hour before bed. Could you even finish earlier and start early as you are up so early anyway? Is there someone that can help with your child?
You could try things like relaxation at home e.g. buy a CD or yoga (DVD/book or class) or a warm bath, or the Simpsons...
The irony is diet, exercise, sleep go out of the window when you most need it to cope with the extra stress. You could also just accept that the extra work is temporary.
Do you have a pre-bed routine? Something like: a cup of calming herbal tea (camomile,pepermint etc), while listening to the sounds of ocean/classical musing etc in darkened room, then reading some pages from some nice novel....Having a routine helps. Also itmight help to do some things before sleep that take your mind off you work: playing with children calm games, watching easy movie, going for a walk with a partner/friend or dog...
- before you go to bed, cool down your legs (shower them with cold water). when going to sleep, the body cools down the legs&feet, and it works the other way round, too.
- i've got a whole selection of teas, that is, herbal infusions, that help go to sleep. camomile, lavender, orange blossoms, lemon verbena, or "calming" and "night" mixtures. hot milk with honey works too. avoid mint and ginger as both act much like coffee. dito for black and green tea. same for vitamin C - keeps you awake.
- a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. or some lavender oil in an incense burner.
- get one of those pillows with grains in them that can be heated (add lavender oil if you like). wrap it around your back.
- no TV 3 hours before you go to bed.
- go for a walk/exercise 4 hours before you go to bed.
- keep the temperature in your bedroom low. get rid of noise (husband snoring is as bad for sleep as aircraft noise)
- get some "go to sleep" music or a CD with nature sounds, such as water for example, and put it on when you go to bed.
- to get your mind off your PhD, give it something else to do("counting sheep" method). for a while, i would lie in bed, eyes closed, and list all words i could come up with that start with "bl.." pointless, but worked for me!
- make a ritual out of "going to bed". give yourself at least half an hour to go to bed - start with tea, install the CD, warm the "hot pillow", burn the incense, do all the stuff you normally do like brushing your teeth, shower your legs cold, tuck in, listen to the music/sounds, start thinking of words with bl...
- if you find you still aren't sleeping after half an hour (some say earlier): get up, move around a bit, make yourself another cup of tea, review the day, write down the thing that has been bothering you (sometimes i can't sleep because i have this "brilliant" idea, and want to remember it in the morning - you can torture yourself the whole night or you can get up, write it down, and sleep peacefully).
- i've tried herbal medicines and biomedical sleeping pills. didn't notice much effect from the first, unless i did my whole ritual anyway. the latter worked well for me in crisis times. but they are highly addictive, and they need prescriptions. you need to try them out - i only used half a pill per night; some people react conversely (the pills keep them VERY awake); you need to see how they make you feel the next day. so if a time/situation is coming up where you think you will need them, you need to try them out beforehand!
oh and do make sure you have excluded outside reasons. like, if you are suffering from hayfever or asthma, that can stop you from going to sleep. noise and light, as mentioned. pain. uncomfortable bed.
perhaps remove sources of electromagnetic fields, such as cellphones, cable-less other phones, wireless access points, computers, ... or turn them off at night. for certain, don't have any of those closer than 1m to your bed!
being able to sleep just like that is such a luxury which you only become aware of when it doesn't work any more. i used to always be able to sleep. not any more! thus evenings are now times when i need to consciously get ready for sleep.
Sometimes when suffering with jetlag I have used over the counter sleeping aids--because I tend to wake up at 2 a.m. and not get back to sleep until about 8 a.m. with jetlag, when I need to be up and functional...so the sleeping aids force my body into a new sleep cycle whether it wants it or not, and I at least get the minimum of sleep to function the next day. I think that so long as you can tolerate the over the counter aids, once in a while is not a problem. I am not sure they make you any more drowsy than a lack of sleep!
VD you'd think my own work might do the trick.
Sj - yes that's it. Don'thtink the Simpsons would work for me - but I do know most of the Star Trek series' by heart...
cc drink makes me wake up early too. I accept that it's temporary - but it's not temporary enough to manage like this. I burn out after a few days - old age probably. I have as much childcare (husband and 3 days/week nursery)as I can but my husband travels a lot.
I don't drink caffeine after noon. I'm not wild about exercise. I probably do need a wind down routine though. Hmmmmm. I do have some herbal teas in the cupboard somewhere and even some calms I think. I should dig those out.
You are so right about a snoring husband - it's torture!
I also have a cat problem which some of you (Olivia) may remember. I have to lock the cats in at night because Evil Fluffy comes in and sprays the house. Unfortunately this means my boy cat starts scratching to get someone up and let hin out at dawn. And dawn is getting earlier. And earlier.
Can't use one of those fancy eletro-magnetic whatever flaps because my girl cat won't tolerate a collar.
Between my PhD stress, snoring husband, dawn-hunting cats and early rising/night waking toddler - I think I'm doomed!
I wasn't really suggesting the simpsons for everyone - thats a me thing
but I do think that having something like this to distract my thinking process, that is not likely to pique my interest does help me shut off - as opposed to just watching the telly.
It used to be Billy connellys tour on tape
but despite all of this, if I'm stressed I'm stressed - and it keeps me awake so I just deal with it, get up (regardless of the time) and get on with what needs to be done. Then feel like s**t for a few days.
Sometimes all the herbal teas in the world don't work
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