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Resetting Sleep Patterns

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I don't have any diagnosed insomnia problems, but my sleep goes right off pattern sometimes. When I ask my GP, she won't give me any sort of tranq or sleeping pills (addictive personality), just a relaxation CD (wave music etc.) and some techniques to practice. Which work excellently for calming my mild anxiety, but don't halp me sleep.

I currently sleep about 2am - 9am, and am usually awake for an hour or two about 5am but then I'm exhausted and can't stay awake by about 3pm and have to sleep for 2-3 hours.

Does anyone have any tricks for either getting to sleep earlier, or staying asleep? I'd like to stop napping, as I know it's probably making it worse (once i'm asleep, i can't wake up for 2-3 hours, cannot do 20min naps), but I'm so tired.

Does missing out a night's sleep and staying up for 24+ hours and going to bed at 11pm the next night work?


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You can reset your sleep pattern that way, yes. Depending on your dx, I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

The other way to reset your sleep pattern is to force yourself out of bed an hour earlier every couple of days, no matter what. And you cannot take naps. If you take the nap, you won't be resetting your sleep pattern. If you have to walk for 2--3 hrs to stay awake, then that is what you do.

Over time, you will find the earlier wake up time to be helpful in resetting your circadian rhythms.

If that doesn't work you can try either dark therapy or melatonin, both of which are cheap, easy, and work for some people (and OTC). some people find melatonin increases their depression, so use with caution.


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I agree with eliminating the nap.

If you want to go to sleep earlier in the evening, you have to change your behavior. If there is a computer or a TV in your bedroom, they have to be shut off a good hour or so before you want to sleep.

Try to create an evening ritual. Maybe a shower or bath, or a relaxing cup of herb tea. Then you change into your sleeping clothes. Then you brush your teeth. It doesn't matter WHAT you do, as long as you do the same things every night. Creating a repetitive ritual cues your brain that sleep-time is coming, so all those snapping neurons start to calm down and get ready to chill out.

Get into bed and play your relaxing music and maybe read a boring book. Or read an old favorite that you have read many times. Do NOT do stimulating things like texting your friends or similar activities that will make you wide awake.

When I was in my 20s, I wanted to stop keeping the hours I used to have in college (staying up to 2 or 3:00 AM) because I was working and needed to get into a more daytime-oriented pattern. I learned yoga and used to do several of the relaxing postures just before bed. If you know how to do yoga, it can be very effective in helping you to sleep.

I also agree with setting your alarm for an earlier time every day. If you keep getting up earlier and earlier, you are going to be sleepy well before midnight.

Sweet dreams!


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Also, make sure to turn off all of your electronics (TV, computer, phone, etc) at least an hour before you decide to go to bed because they tend to stimulate the brain. And shut as many lights as possible off sooner. Light tells the brain it's still daytime and that is one of the reason why some people have trouble falling asleep.

And once you start to sleep earlier/wake earlier - do it every day! Don't stay up later on the weekends, or you'll throw the whole thing off. Honestly, Anna is right, it's best to do this one hour at a time. I started going to bed at one, then midnight, then 11... and now I'm usually in bed by 11 and up by 6:30 (without an alarm). But I still nap occasionally, however I can do the 30 min nap, and it's freaking hot here! It wears me out.

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I haven't got any particular time to be up - 9 or 10 is about right for now, with the intent of getting up earlier in a couple of months when I go back to college. But getting up in the morning is the only part i'm okay with. Obviously more meds would not be what I'm looking for.

It's naptime now, but I'm working atm and will go for a walk in a little bit. Staying awake until nighttime is going to be hard (i'm very tired now), but napping seems to be more of a hinderance than I thought.

I usually try to wind down before going to bed, listening to relax music, reading etc., so I'll make sure I keep up with that. :)

Thanks very much for the advice all. I appreciate it.

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