Insomnia Sucks! | What Have You Done To Fight It?

in Natural Medicine5 months ago (edited)


Photo Courtesy Of Leonid Yastremskiy

What Is Insomnia?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.


Sleep? What Is That?

Let me start by saying that I have historically rarely had a problem falling asleep, and I normally sleep very well. The last time I remember having any sort of pattern of sleeplessness was over a decade ago when I had first arrived in the Green Zone during the Iraq War, at the peak of the mortar and rocket shooting gallery period. Even then it only took a few weeks before I accepted that if it was my time to go, it was my time to go. After that I slept like a baby aside from being startled by the occasional late night mortar landing nearby.

Fast forward to present day, and I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep. There are no rockets or mortars, and my life is not in danger. The root of my insomnia is not in my own welfare at all, but in the struggle of someone close to me. Their struggle has been a lengthy one, and my focus has been on their care at the expense of my own well-being. People tell you, just get some sleep, take a nap. If only it were that easy.

What Is Insomnia Like?

You are not at your best. Your energy level is for shit. You're in a constant mental fog with that feeling that you need to sleep, but it just never comes. You're physically drained and fatigued. Peak performance? What's that? In the best case you can just maintain, but not excel. Thank your lucky stars if you've been fortunate in the past. In my own case, I post less, I hustle less, I do less. I'm on a slow motion treadmill.

Turning The Corner

Only recently have things started to turn a corner, but the insomnia has persisted. I recently saw a physician, who proscribed some Ambien for me. He told me to try taking one, and if that wasn't enough to try two. Needless to say, one barely did anything. The following day I tried two, which almost got me there. Yesterday I made another attempt, and managed to sleep about six hours, which was wonderful. I'm hoping the momentum will continue. Only time will tell.

It's Just A Phase

I know that this will not last forever, and it's just a phase. The cycle will eventually be broken. I have no intention of taking Ambien for any length of time, since I've read some messed up stories about hallucinations and sleep-driving (The Kerry Kennedy Case is a good example). To date I've tried combinations of melatonin, valerian, lemon balm, CBD oil, chamomile, Jack Daniels (just kidding), etc., none of which made a dent.

What Have You Done To Tackle Insomnia?

Thanks for reading! Have you experienced insomnia and tackled it? What did you do to overcome it? What insomnia fighting weapons are in your arsenal? Please share in the comments.


I suffered with this for years, but don't take pharmaceuticals unless I'm near death. I asked a doctor in the USA who immediately went to write a prescription, but then I informed I won't be taking any pills. Puzzled, he left the room to go look up advice in his Physician's Desk Reference Manual.

He came with only lifestyle advice. "Your bed is for sex and sleeping, nothing else! Also, no lying bed for more than 15 minutes without falling asleep, and no caffeine after noon.

I followed the instructions, and it did seem my mind had made a shift with time. He told me it's better to fall asleep in a chair watching TV, then wake up in the middle of the night to go to bed than it is to lay in bed watching TV until you fall asleep.

These lifestyle changes made a huge impact, and I no longer suffer with it as intensely as I used to. If I find myself at night lying in bed more than 15 minutes without sleep, I get up and do something until I feel too drowsy to stay awake, then try again.

Since you're already doing Ambien, perhaps implement some of these techniques along with the pill, it certainly can't hurt. !BEER

That looks like some easy advice. I do spend quite a bit of time just lying there, thinking that rest is better than nothing. The Ambien has been hit or miss anyhow.

some sleep pills are highly addictive, careful. but honestly, maybe you should try anti-depressives instead. what you described as "insomnia" is actually the basic definition for depression.

That's certainly something to keep in mind, though I've never really seen it that way. Overwhelmed, yes.

Thanks for your comments.

I'm not saying that's necessarily your case, but depression can cause insomnia and vice-versa!

The last 5 or so years have been a lot hit and miss for me. Folks tell me you sleep less as you get older, and I would say it's partly that.

I find my best nights sleep happen when:

  • I'm in bed for 11. It feels too early, and I rarely make it there at that time
  • I don't drink anything after 9pm, and make sure the pipes are empty before bed
  • Biggest meal of the day at lunch, not the evening
  • 20 mins with a book in bed
  • Start on my back, get some oxygen on board, then go for the right side

Good luck!

11 is late for me, 10 or max 10.30 - and I think, I should learn from you to not drink anything a hour or so before. A book in bed is definitely going to be helpful - I have been hearing that from many , but yet to start. And I have heard, going to the left is better but I don't know where I end up after I sleep 😀

That looks like a good list. I normally don't eat anything past 6pm, but hadn't thought about not drinking anything.

I seem to store liquid (might be the vape) and so need a few hours off or else I'll be up during the night.

Best tip is bed earlier, the watch has been recording for months and the best results are when I've put an early one in.

I have Insomnia from time to time... and the best thing I do is to drink a glass of hot milk with honey. It calms down any stress and I readily felt good each time. I would go to the CR and tried to pee before bed so I won´t wake in the middle of my sleep. For me, it helps a lot!

I've done chamomile and honey, but never tried milk and honey. Thanks for the advice.

You are welcome...

Insomnia does suck. Thankfully, it's a rare enough issue for me that I haven't done anything to treat it. On the occasions where I just can't go to sleep — usually because of racing thoughts about something meaningless — I tend to not fight it; instead I just get up and go DO something; usually write a long rambling journal entry. Then I take a nap the next afternoon. Which works fine, of course, because I'm self-employed and set my own working hours.

I've had a couple of prolonged periods of insomnia, and the most effective thing was to change my sleep schedule. I went to "two sleeps" a day, which was actually common with farmers back in the 1800's and early 1900's.

Doing something and not just laying there seems like the way go. Thanks for your comments.

Insomnia sucks, and once you get in the cycle, it's hard to break. Note valerian CAN have the weird effect of hyping you up - it's one of those herbs, so be wary.

I've recently started using 5HTP - I need to write a post about it actually. I sleep super well with no apparent side effects - have a look into it.

I think @nateonsteemit uses melatonin. Very interesting topic - my mother in law has the WORST insomnia - like she'd be lucky to get an hour or two's sleep. Totally related to anxiety.

It really is a self-perpetuating cycle you get caught in. The underlying reason I wasn't getting sleep has subsided for the most part, but it's like my body is so used to not getting sleep it just continues on. I'll check out 5HTP!

Curated for #naturalmedicine by @justinparke.

I found a post in our curation of another Hiver with insomnia that's found some success with yoga. It might be worth checking out, now get some rest!

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Thanks, I'll check it out!

This is a topic that I'll bookmark and follow, hopefully, I'll find the solution for it!
Being a freelancer, my schedule is pretty fucked up, especially the sleep hours since I get to work mostly with people from the states and there is a huge difference of timezones which make me stay awake during the nights or overthink when I don't have clients. I tried many methods to find a solution to insomnia because even though my body is exhausted, insomnia still appears from time to time...

Let me guess, freelance writer? Technical writer?

Nope. Graphic designer

I wake up too early (5.15 am) and then can't sleep because of my brain starting to think a lot. The first thing is to pluck some flowers and if I am a little late, then it's hard to get them because there are many people coming early as well. But since it has been happening for quite some time, I have decided to grow some flower plants, because my brain will not worry about that and I can sleep a hour more may be.

And getting to sleep is not difficult for me. I have been trying to get to bed early after finishing the dinner early. My cute little daughter gives me some body massage some times to help me sleep. Goal is to sleep for 7 hours at least - right now it's somewhere around 5 - 6 hours. 8 hr sleep is a dream now.

Good luck. I hope that you find your ideal amount of sleep

Yoga Nidra works. Also acupressure points on my wrist.

I'll look into those, thanks!

Pills might work but it's the root of the problem you need to tackle. I sleep great every night and rarely have problems. If I do, I think of brick walls.. picture them in my mind, and minutes later.. zzzz..

I agree. It becomes self perpetuating after a while, and i was hoping to break the cycle.

Hola joshman,

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I have trouble falling asleep and I roll on the bed but once I do, I sleep like a baby. The problem is I wake up late.

I never had insomnia as a medical condition but I had sleepless nights with a long day afterward and without night's rest, everything feels fuzzy and unmanageable. I don't envy people who have to go through it constantly!

Anyway, somedays I used to pick up books that were really hard to swallow and I think they exhausted me to sleep more than once!