View Full Version : Insomnia and the beginings of SAD
10-13-2008, 06:16 AM
I am a pretty light sleeper at the best of times, the smallest things can wake me up or make it difficult to settle. However, there are times when it is much much worse and i just don't sleep. At best i might dose (doze) but i can be lucky to get mroe than a couple of hourse actual sleep within a 24 hour period. I can deal with that for a few days but after a while and especially if i am busy during the day it just gets horrible.
After the 11 days totaling aproximately 14 hours sleep (i had one night when i actually slept for 4 hours straight! :woohoo:) i feel absolutely horrendous. I had to call in sick to work (which i feel guilty about, since it is only a temporary job and boy do i need the cash!) this morning because i hadn't slept again and i felt sick and shakey. Of course the less i sleep the more stressed i get and then the harder it is for me to sleep. :help:
On top of that i suffer with SAD (Seasonal Afective Disorder) which is a sort of depression thought to be caused by lower light levels during the winter months. It is only OCtober, but since i am already run down i can feel it kicking in already. I know the standard advice is to get outside for some good healthy excercise and to eat pleanty of fruit and veg, but how the hell am i supposed to do that on a) an average of 1.5 hours sleep a night and b) a painfully tight budget.
does anybody have any tips with coping with these problems or ideas for getting me up and running again. Sorry to be whinging but i realy am at my wits end now.
I've had problems sleeping in the past (still do sometimes but only occasionally). I found getting a definite routine helped. It's not a long drawn out going to bed one, it's just before I go to sleep I do a few things the same every night. I also started wearing a sleeping mask. I find it helps me a lot.
I know it's hard to do this but you should really try not to go to bed angry or stressed. If I have an argument with hubby or am stressed I have to try and get it at least partially resolved before I can settle. This has led to a few very late nights in the past but at least I slept afterwards!
Oh and try not to look at the clock! If you have a clock by your bed that you can see then maybe try moving it. I know it means you won't know how much sleep you've had but it also means you won't know how much sleep you are missing and maybe that will take a bit of the stress away.
10-13-2008, 10:06 AM
I know that light is supposed to help people affected by SAD. I've read SAD sufferers should try to expose themselves to as much light as possible, and, I believe there is a type or wattage of bulb recommended for SAD sufferers.
As far as the insomnia goes, unfortunately I have no non-medical recommendations. I suffered from insomnia for years and the only thing that ended up helping me was getting a prescription for Lunesta.
You may want to try taking a warm bath and drinking some chamomile or sleepy time tea.
I know it's tough though, when you suffer from SAD or depression, because the problems seem to just feed off of each other. You can't sleep and that worsens the depression and the worse the depression, the more you can't sleep. It's a vicious cycle. You may want to talk to a Dr. if it's gotten to the point where it's interfering with your life. :hug:
10-13-2008, 10:13 AM
Sophie, I read that you have a temp job but do you work with an agency that provides health care?
If you can see a doctor or health care provider, there are treatments you can try.
I'm not the best sleeper either and I take melatonin every night. I'm just hoping it has no horrible long term effects since it really hasn't been studied too much.
Hope things get better for you!
10-13-2008, 10:18 AM
Also, here is a good link for sleep hygiene:
10-13-2008, 10:48 AM
thank you. i have heard about the light therapy but the light boxes are so expensive. Those link were usefull though as i wasn't sure if just making sure i was getting natural light through a window would be of any benefit. It is good to know that even if i am in work the light coming through the windows will be helping. The temp agency i'm with doesnt offer health benefits but since i am in the UK i get the NHS (hoorah! i don't care how much people complain about it, having a national health service is wonderful!) i think you are right i should book an apointment with my GP. I am always reluctant to and i always have to be told to because i worry they will think i am whining or a hypocondriac!
10-13-2008, 10:55 AM
I just went to a sleep study Friday night. I didn't sleep well and partly because the girls there were talking and laughing early in the morning. I don't think I have sleep apnea. The doctor will be calling this week to give me the results. In the pamplet I have, it says don't drink caffeine after noon. Sleep at the same time and get up at the same time, even on weekends. If you don't fall right to sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing, like reading a book or knitting. Go back to bed when you get sleepy. Don't use your bedroom for anything else, but sleeping and sex. Hey, that's what it said. lol Always go to your bed to sleep. Don't take naps during the day. I don't know if all this will work. Good luck.
10-13-2008, 11:19 AM
I'm the same way it seems to hit after we change the time, which this year isn't till Nov. I try to get out and go for a brisk walk even if it's snowing...or see the sun for a few minutes...the light boxes were recommended to me and making sure I open all my blinds and just sit by a window for a spell.
My dr also suggested cutting back on caffeine and taking a Vitamin D
I would check with your dr and see what they say as well :thumbsup:
10-13-2008, 12:17 PM
I have wonky sleep due to hormones and have fall-onset SAD, as well. I was much worse when I lived in MN due to the latitude (much better here in SoCal). I did find tremendous help from the light therapy. My doc, at the time, was able to write a script for it so insurance helped. Is that an option for you? I got my light many yrs ago ...haven't used it in yrs but will never give it away....and know they've not only improved them but the type of therapeutic light has changed, also. Supposedly the number of lux and bands are different and easier to get from more sources. I have a cheap ($30) 'craft' light that I knit/crochet under and it claims to simulate natural sunlight. While it's not as dramatic as what I experienced with my lightbox I will say working under it does seem to help. (There are small desktop versions of the same....very inexpensive.) Any amt of natural sunlight you can get each day, even when overcast, helps.
10-13-2008, 02:50 PM
If you are a light sleeper, then put a good fan in your room for white noise. Keep it on for the whole night. It is constant and loud enough to drown out other noises that may be waking you up. My husband and my son are both light sleepers and this helps a lot.
When we bought better sheets for our beds (300 thread count), my husband claimed to have slept better. He said they felt so good and comfy that I think it helped him to relax in bed better (he also suffers from mild migraines and has a hard time going to sleep at times). For some reason, my husband and son, both love the snuggliness of a sleeping bag too. My son sleeps in his sleeping bag that's over his duvet :roll:
10-13-2008, 03:14 PM
I can have problems with insomnia when I'm stressed. While some of my friends have found that something like Ambien helps them, I have preferred to find ways to reduce stress (that is - fix the problem, not the symptom). For me, that means really taking care of myself. Eat well - good food, and not too much. Don't eat too close to bed time. Let myself nap when I can! Make sure some relaxing activities are part of my day (for me, that's cross-stitch and leisure reading). Exercise helps, too.
I have also found, when I'm having the most trouble sleeping, that staying in bed and getting mad about it doesn't help too much. It is better for me to get up and do something which is productive. Usually, decluttering (putting away things which should have been put away a long time ago, cleaning out the refrigerator, etc.) is a good way for me to sort of clear out my space and make the space feel more relaxing.
I also have learned that I need to work with my natural biological clock. I'm a morning person, and I need a lot of sleep to keep myself on track. So, I go to bed early and at least give myself the opportunity to get as much sleep as I need.
Some of this is pretty much against what the doctors say, but it's what has worked for me. For me, insomnia has more to do with not being able to shut down my brain from my worries than it does from anything else. But again - that's ME, and you may need to find your own causes to work on the solution that works best for you.
Have you tried journaling to see if you can pinpoint causes of your insomnia? What about a white noise machine to help block out the noises that might wake you up? I use an air purifier since I also have some allergy issues.
Good luck. I know it stinks to not sleep enough.
10-14-2008, 10:42 PM
I also have problems with insomnia and I do all the sleep hygiene tricks.
I borrowed a book from the library "The Insomnia Answer" by Paul Glovinsky & Art Spielman.It is an excellent book with lots of techniques and info about why we have trouble sleeping.
10-16-2008, 01:47 PM
I just wanted to thank Tarrentella for this post because she raised the issue of SAD. For a long time now, my family has been telling me that there is something "wrong" with me. Various family members have told me that I am bipolar, manic, depressed, schizophrenic, you name it! I've been dragged off to the doctor against my own will by my family and made to take HORRENDOUS drugs - which made me SOOOOOO much worse - all in an effort to try to "fix" me. My self-esteem has been destroyed because I've been told that I am mentally ill so often by people that I love so much. I haven't been able to hold down a job, and have even been kicked out of my own family by my own husband and children before.
But the doctor even told them that I don't fit the classic bipolar discription (still, he trusted them more than his own diagnosis and was willing to try treating me with bipolar medications!! and they think I'm crazy?!) My "cycles" are months apart, not days or several times within a day like a true bipolar would be. And I never go completely "manic." The doctor said that it could be a type of hypomanic bipolar but the drug for that almost killed me. Because I am not suicidal, and am "oriented" (meaning, I know where I am, what I'm doing, what day of the week, month, year it is, etc.) I don't hear voices or see hallucinations, I do not fall into any classic mental illness.
The one thing no one ever thought of was severe seasonal affective disorder! And it is the one thing that makes the most sense. My "crashes" come once every spring and once every fall, and for about 3-4 days each event. I have no energy, and have even referred to it as hybernating, every winter. I CRAVE outdoors, sunlight, fresh air, etc. and BEG family members to take me out for a long hike in the woods. And I have SEVERE sleep issues, ESPECIALLY during the change of seasons.
I think you have FINALLY cracked the code on what is really wrong with me! THANK YOU!!!! Maybe I can finally get some dignity back and have a little self-esteem again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
MARIJUANA TRICHOMES (http://trichomes.org)
10-16-2008, 10:54 PM
When I lived in Germany I had sleep issues and was constantly tired. The docs told me I didn't get enough sun light nad had SAD, So now I make it a point to open the blinds in our house so I still get light in even if its cloudy. I also go to bed close to the same time every night. I have to play DS for about a half hour then I'm relaxed and fall asleep (sometimes in the middle of a game or section ofa game).
10-16-2008, 11:49 PM
I just saw this article on Yahoo and wanted to post it for ya:
10-17-2008, 08:47 AM
I've been thinking about you lately and did want to add - if you're having chronic problems with insomnia, please discuss it with your doctor.:hug:
10-17-2008, 04:51 PM
MoniDew big big hugs for you. how horrible to have to go through that.
There are problems with mental health in my family. My grandmother was bipolar, my dad has suffered with recurring depression and SAD for years, by brother had a period of depression and has anxiety problems, by mu mhad depression and anervoous brek down, my aunty had .... well i could go on but i think you get the picture. Whilst in many ways this is not a good thing, in some ways it is excelent.
When i started to show signs of depression, anxiety and SAD (at various times in my life) they respected it, recognized it and new how to deal with it/help me, snce they had all been there before. I have been on tablets, and found that they just did not work for me (tried a few varieties) but have had success with other things.
An update on the situation. I am sleeping a little better. getting at least a few hours every night. Its still not enough and i am tired during the day but it is better than it was. I have an apointment at the docs on monday (and with the nurse for my winter flu jab). Best of all i managed to go swimming on Thursday. I had forgotten how good swimming can make me feel. It realy lifted my mood and i was still feeling good about it today. I must push myself to go swimming now at least once a week.
I realy want to say thank you to you all. Your kind and helpful words realy make a difference and can stop me just sinking into a black mood. you are lovely people.
10-20-2008, 12:04 AM
I didn't know that I was affectly by SAD until I read information about it several years ago. This explains why I have so many lights on in the house...uplights in the corners, art lights on paintings, colorful Tiffany lamps everywhere...lamps everywhere in general...
....and the long story short...I feel happier when the lamps and lights are one. I even feel better when I walk by a room that has a certain light on, waiting for me to enter.
This need for the lamps is not as great in summertime.
I get very very irritated with DH when he turns off even one lamp. (he's an outside person...and he gets his daily quota of daylight at work). So after 37 years of marriage, he has the drill down. Almost. I noted that two art lights were turned off last week, one in my office, one by the front door. Grrr. I turned them back on.
This lamp thing eases my depression. I know that dark corners depress me. I can feel it.
I knit under an OTT LITE...one of those lamps that replicate natural outdoor light. I love my OTT. I have taken it on vacation with me whenever possible.
As for insomnia, my remedy won't help you much. I knit til 3 am...and sleep like a log til 9 am. I fall asleep within 15 seconds or less. If I have a worry that nags at me and prevents it, I just lay there and feel good about resting flat in the dark...or else I get up and knit til 5 am. By then I will fall asleep within 15 seconds...and sleep like a log til 9-10 am.
Only a good remedy for someone who is self employed. Sorry.
I hope you will be feeling better soon with all the other helpful replies! :hug: