Berkeley Parents Network >
Adults > Insomnia
I have had insomnia for the last 10 years. Before that I
slept well throughout the night. For the past few years I
have taken a variety of over the counter sleeping pills.
I still wake up many times throughout the night, but
because I am drugged I go back to sleep fairly easily. If
I don't take anything it will take a long time to fall
asleep. Then I cannot stay asleep for very long. I am
really tired of feeling groggy in the morning and waking
up so often. I don't think I have sleep apnea because I
don't snore. I have never taken prescription sleeping
pilss. I want to do something, anything, that will make me
sleep like I used to. I am interested in a therapist,
acupuncture, a sleep clinic, books... anything that will
help me sleep through the night. My lack of sleep affects
my life. I really want to spend the summer working on
changing things. Does anybody have recommendations of who
I can see or something I can do?
-Desperate for a good night sleep
I understand! I've had insomnia my whole adult life (as had
my mother) and it used to wreck havoc on my life. I've got
a few recommendations.
1. Acupuncture. After having a particularly bad summer
last year, I found someone to work with who has really made
headway on the problem (Denise Daniel, Healthy Family
Acupunture in Montclair). We've been doing acupuncture as
well as herbs (in tablet form) since October and it has
2. Prescription Pills. Don't be scared of trying them (now
of course my acupunturist wouldn't agree). I got a
prescription for Ambien when my kids were toddlers. I took
it when things got bad and it works great and (oddly enough)
I felt less drugged then with any over the counter meds or
herbal rememdies I had tried. Generally just a half dose
works for me and I could deal with kids waking in the night
and deal with them and then go right back to sleep.
3. Read Insomniac by Gayle Greene. She is an insomniac
herself and covers all the current issues and studies. Most
importantly she critiqued the standard advice that is
centered around blaming insomniacs for having ''poor sleep
hygiene'' and discusses it as a physiological issue.
Good luck - and it does feel much better to have it under
I sleep much better since I gave up all fragrances and
perfumes. Scented laundry detergent, air fresheners, scented
personal care products, scented candles all destroy my sleep.
I too have suffered from Insomnia since 2000. It was the stress of being
pregnant, becoming a first time parent, Sept. 11, 2001, balancing family and
working full-time, the birth of my second child, job loss...basically.....modern
life kept me up most nights from 1-5 or 2-5.
The only thing that has worked for me is 3-4 x a week very very demanding
physical exercise. I am talking Stairmaster at the top of my aerobic range for
I still get it sometimes, but being up every 2-3 weeks is a marked improvement
from where I was.
I've read several posts about ending insomnia, and the general feeling
seems to be very anti-presciption medication. While it's great if you can
cure your insomnia with herbs or acupuncture or the like, if you can't, you
shouldn't be concerned about taking medication for it. Insomnia is a
medical condition. Taking medicine is ok. I take a low dose of trazadone
for my insomnia. It has helped tremendously. It irritates my tummy, so I
take it with food, and I drink a latte in the morning to help with the morning
grogginess. It's a small trade-off for being able to sleep at night.
Trazadone is also not habit forming. I've gone off it no problem at different
times when my insomnia wasn't so bad. Insomnia is pure torture. I wish
I think I suffer from 'learned' insomnia. Every once in awhile
(maybe once or twice a year), an incident occurs that keeps me
from sleeping that night.
It's usually not that big a deal - sometimes it's an argument I
had with someone that day, or, even more inconsequentially, it's
just that something 'big' is happening the next day where I feel
I need a real full night's sleep (like, a wedding I'm in, a
family trip, etc).
The next day, the issue that kept me up might be resolved.
However, I still worry about sleeping. My thinking goes something
like, ''OK, I hardly slept last night, so I *must* sleep tonight,
or else I'll feel absolutely sleep-deprived and terrible''.
I freak myself out to the point that I don't sleep well that
night, either. Often, I sleep even worse than my initial night of
insomnia. The next day, I'm even more tired and out of it, and
even more worried about getting sleep. And the cycle keeps
repeating, often for a couple of weeks or even a month. (During
my longer bouts, I will sometimes get a prescription for Ambien
from my doctor; however, I would rather not take a sleeping pill.)
I've looked through the archives for past advice, and I noticed a
lot of people mentioning undiagnosed depression. I'm pretty sure
that I'm not depressed; I feel happy with myself and my life.
However I can often become depressed if my insomnia continues for
days on end.
I'm thinking that hypnotherapy or guided relaxation or something
of that nature might help with my form of insomnia. I'd like to
learn some techniques that I can employ when my sleeplessness
strikes, so I don't have nights and nights of not sleeping unless
I pop an Ambien.
Any recommendations for a quality hypnotherapist, or even a book
to check out? I'm also willing to try other methods that might
work (acupuncture? etc.).
First, it's not truly insomnia and it's disappointing that your doc would give you
meds since it's not. The poor sleep must last for over a month to be diagnosed as
That aside, your point is well taken - you have anxiety about your sleep which makes
you loose sleep. If your doc is so willing to prescribe sleep meds, he should also be
willing to give you a referral for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is very
effective for this sort of insomnia and a few visits to a therapist will likely give you
strategies to address your anxieties when it repeats in the future.
Since your issue is very mild, short lived, if you're skilled in literature searches, you
might be able to read up on the various strategies CBT promotes for improved
Make sure, too, that you address the obvious - do you have good sleep habits: no
tv, reading, etc right before bed. Good sleep environment. Maintain a consistent
sleep schedule (weekends and weekdays). Avoid caffeine. And, it's really an anxiety
problem not sleep problem directly - so be sure you're dealing with other anxieties
in your life, including this, in a healthy way - exercise, positive social influences,
I have had similar problems with insomnia over the years. Then
I read the book ''Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-
Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School'' by Gregg D.
Jacobs. Yeah, I know the title is corny, but the book contains
a lot of sound advice based on scientific research--re. learned
behaviors, the long-term undesirability and ineffectiveness of
sleeping pills, automatic negative thoughts about sleep and
cognitive restructuring, relaxation techniques, etc. I no
longer use sleeping pills; and when I do have occasional
difficulty getting to sleep, it is no longer the big deal that
it used to be. The book sells on Amazon for $11 (and is
available at Berkeley Public Library)--definitely worth a try!
I have had great luck working with Dr. Robert Avenson. I don't
have the number handy, but he's located on San Pablo in Albany.
I'm sure you can look him up. He is not a hypnotherapist, but he
concentrates on helping his patients with strategies for
relaxation and calming. In addition to his in-person sessions,
he provides his patients with CDs to guide them through
practicing on their own. I am generally HIGHLY skeptical about
non-traditional therapies, and frankly I would take sleeping
pills forever if I didn't think they'd do more harm than good in
the long run. But I really really noticed the benefits of
working with Dr. Avenson. Strong recommendation.
I too feel that I have ''learned'' or habitual insomnia. Since
having a baby 2yrs ago my sleep patterns seem to have been
reprogrammed to anticipate my baby daughter's waking. Even
when she didn't wake up, I would wake up in anticipation and
had difficulty going back to sleep. My sleep debt was mounting!
I have had success with acupuncture to break the frustrating
insomnia cycle. Occasionally I start the cycle again but I
just go back for another session of acupunture & the cycle is
stopped. I can highly recommend acupuncturist Joseph Carter.
He is a calming, caring person & the acupuncture has been
amazingly effective for me. Even before I had the insomnia
problem, I went to Joseph Carter for gynecological issues & I'm
convinced Joseph Carter's care is part of why I have a happy,
healthy baby to keep me awake at nights. You can reach Joseph
at 510-524-4151 or email@example.com.
Good luck & sweet dreams!
a Well-Rested Mom
I think this is just the book for you....
Say Good Night to Insomnia by Gregg Jacobs. It has a chapter
(chapter 5) on how you view your sleep / insomnia and ways to
overcome that mental reaction of ''oh no, I'm awake, I'll never
get back to sleep''.
It helped me overcome insomnia that was way worse that what you
I have trouble staying asleep at night. I can fall asleep
asleep easily, but then in the middle of the night (around
3AM), I wake up and cannot go back to sleep until about 5AM
when it is time to get up! This is very annoying because I
feel sleepy during the day, at work (meaning I don't get enough
sleep). This has been going on for a while now and I would
like to kick out this bad habit. I don't want to use sleep
pills. Do you have some good remedy that could help me sleep
through the night (herbs, tea, etc.)? Thanks for your advice.
I've had the same problem for 20+ years. Recently I tried
acupuncture and, lo and behold, I've been sleeping much better!
Give it a try.
I used to have trouble falling asleep as well as staying asleep.
There are two things that I do now that have completely taken care of
1. I listen to books on tape when I am falling asleep. I always have
a large supply of books to listen to and a walkman at the ready. I
realized that when I was trying to fall asleep and when I woke up in
the middle of the night my mind was racing about things that are going
on or that need to be done and it was keeping me awake. The book
takes your mind off of things that may be going on in your life. It
may sound strange, but it works for me! When I first started this
ritual I would usually get through one side of a tape sometimes more.
Now it only takes about 5 minutes before I fall asleep. You can buy
books on CD too. These kind of books are a little expensive, but you
can buy them used on the internet for a lot less. Then you can return
the ones that you have already listened to.
2. I sleep with eye shades (a sleeping mask). When I first started
using them I lived in an apartment that had a street lamp directly
outside my bedroom window. I realized that the light was making it
difficult for me to fall asleep. Now I use them because when I do
wake up in the middle of the night my mind wakes, but my eyes remain
closed. That somehow makes it easier to go back to sleep.
Ok, sleeping mask and headphones probably don't make a pretty picture,
but you won't care when you start sleeping really well and falling
easily back to sleep when you wake up in the night.
Have you thought about why this happens? When did it start? What
was going on in your life when it started? I'd recommend some
sort of hypnosis or regression therapy for a long-term cure, but
in the short time, you can get Calms Forte (a homeopathic remedy
for sleeplessness) and a bottle of Valerian herbal tincture. Try
the Calms Forte first. If it doesn't work after a couple of doses
(and 30 minutes) then try a dropper full of the Valerian.
Yeah, they don't tell you about this one, do they? I remember
this stage--the baby sleeping through the night but not me. It
takes some readjusting on so many levels! You might try learning
about different relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation, etc.
Many places in the Bay Area have knowledgeable teachers who could
teach you practices specific for sleep. Make sure you are
getting enough aerobic exercise during the day--I've heard that
vigorous exercise around 4:00 pm is best for helping you sleep.
You might try seeing an acupuncturist, herbalist, or homeopath to
help with staying asleep. I've had good success with these.
I've also taken over-the-counter homeopathic remedies for sleep
during times of high stress. Ask at Elephant or Pharmaca. And
most of all, try not to freak out when you wake up and can't
sleep. That's a vicious circle with the anxiety of not sleeping
actually keeping you awake. When I can't sleep, I try to calmly
tell myself, I am not sleeping now, but I will be soon. that
sleeping better now
I'm sorry but all the herbs in the world will not help you stay
asleep at night. My best advice since you don't want to take
sleeping pills would be to see a therapist and find out what's
making you wake up in the middle of the night. Meditation might
also help. If you wake up at 3 am, instead of lying awake, you
could meditate until you fall back asleep.
My advice: chamomile before bedtime, two or three cups of it, is
On the other hand very effective, lettuce on a cup of hot water,
let it sit and wait until you can drink it, and your are gone,
all night!!!!!! WORKS!
Try Moon Drops. You can buy a box of 30 at Vitamin Express on
Shattuck @ Rose for $4.99. They've worked very well for me as
I've been going through menopause and waking during the night.
You don't give your age, but anecdotally speaking, the occurrence
of insomnia seems to increase with age and especially after
menopause. I've found that taking 600 to 1000 mgs of calcium in
the evening, PLUS 600 mgs of magnesium--whether it's included in
the calcium or as a separate dose--helps with sleeplessness. So
does melatonin. (As far as I know, all these supplements are
harmless, although magnesium can cause mushy stools in the
morning. You might check with your doctor to see what he/she
thinks of these methods and dosages.)
Have you ever been checked out for a deviated septum? I was
always an early riser, and I feel like I sleep better after
surgery to correct it. Of course, I don't feel like the surgery
was 100 percent successful, so now I sleep with a clothes pin up
my nose. Yes, really. Sounds nuts, but guess what? I sleep
When I can't sleep, I swear by melatonin. It is a natural sleep
hormone your body produces, and you can get the pills at any
health food store.
It is the ONLY thing that beats jet lag, in my experience, and it
is said to have a lot of other health benefits too.
Do start at the minimum dosage, though, because it affects
Say Goodnight to insomnia by Gregg Jacobs is the best insomnia
treatment I found (accupunctune didn't help me). I have needed to
reread it when the insomnia reoccurs but it is the best treatment
out there in my opinion. Particularily chapter 5 on the whole
area of ''negative sleep thoughts''.
I have exactly the same problem and have struggled with this for
Basically, I find that it's best if I don't get upset while I'm awake,
and I sometimes read, or sometimes just try to lie there thinking
meditatively. And then I get up at my regular time and go through the
day and in a day
or so, I'm so tired that I sleep a good sleep all through the night.
This seems to be somewhat cyclical for me, and I suspect it's related
to hormones. I also find that lots of vigorous exercise REALLY helps.
Most I just send you sympathy and look forward to the other responses.
My husband has never been a good sleeper, but lately he's been
troubled by insomnia, and for the last week or so it's been so
bad that it's really impacting his life -- he says he feels as if
his brain is in a fog. He tried sleeping pills (Ambien) for a
long time, but they've stopped working. I want to help him
explore alternative therapies and approaches, and I'd like some
advice about where to start. I've heard that some things that can
help are relaxation techniques, massage, and cognitive behavioral
therapy, and I'm sure there are other approaches too. I'm not
sure exactly where to begin to find help for my husband. Should
he start by seeing his doctor (who would probably just prescribe
another pill, which is not what I think he needs), or a sleep
consultant (if there is such a thing)? Or a cognitive therapist?
Any advice or recommendations of practitioners in the area (we
live in Berkeley) would be much appreciated!
Eager to help my husband sleep
I am a husband and I also have insomnia. It drives my wife crazy
when I keep getting up from bed in the middle of the night and
then tell her I couldn't sleep when she gets up in the morning.
This is the second time in my life that I have suffered from it.
My advice is to see a good therapist. The emotions are one factor
that keep me up at night and they can be strong at times
especially at 3 am when I need to sleep. Taking a sleeping pill
is only a temporary solution. All the things you mentioned:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, relaxation techniques, etc. are of
limited use because they don't solve the problems that are
causing the insomnia. Talking about my emotions in therapy as
well as experiencing them in front of my therapist seems to be
the best treatment. When I'm able to release my emotions and feel
more in control of my life, I'm much sleepier at night. Also,
having meaning and purpose in life and a less stressful job can
do wonders in solving insomnia. I am currently trying to leave an
unhappy and stressful work situation so that is no doubt one of
the chief causes of my insomnia. It may very well be career
issues that are keeping your husband up at night. But it can also
be so many other things as well which is why he should see a
therapist. In my case, it's also the emotions that keep me up.
One other piece of advice for your husband: Don't let him nap
during the day if he can't sleep at night. I know it's miserable
to be up all night and then have to go to work and stay awake,
but if he can wait until the following night, he's more likely to
keep a reasonable sleep schedule. If he gives in and sleeps
during the day, he definitely won't be able to sleep at night.
Another Husband With Insomnia
Insomnia will certainly cause many daytime problems including
being in a fog, dangerous driving due to the risk of falling
asleep, memory problems, etc so he should certainly look into
something other than Ambien.
He wont be able to see a real ''sleep consultant'' without a
referal from his doctor. You maybe thinking of a sleep study
which is done at sleep labs, but they typically aren't going to
record sleep for potential insomnia unless they think there is
some other sleep disturbance that might be showing up as
insomnia, unlikely. One reason that a sleep study (in which
they basically record sleep in a laboratory for a night or two)
could be helpful is to demonstrate that he's actually getting
more sleep than he thinks he is. This is not uncommon and that
information alone can ease the anxiety that he is getting
I recommend two routes simultaneously:
1) Push the doctor more. Go in educated. It is possible that
other meds will work better and it might be a worthwhile
temporary solution that you can phase out as you start the
behavioral solutions below. You could also request a referal
to specialist (psychologist or sleep specialist) who knows
cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
2) Underlying CBT for insomnia is practicing good sleep
hygene. These include things like - never watch tv, read, or
anything in bed other than sleep and sex. Don't watch or read
anything at the end of the day that will heighten your anxiety
(i.e, watching the evening news!). Go to bed sleepy but not
exhausted. Etc. Of course easing other underlying anxiety is
key. It's worth seeing a specialist who can give a very
thorough plan of attack.
Your doctor should know who to refer you to. There are sleep
clinics in Alameda, at UCSF, and the top one is at Stanford.
There are many options for the CBT.
You could be ME writing that email! Unfortunately I don't know of any
because we have tried ear plugs, noise machines, melatonin...
We have had the same problems with insomnia! I say ''we'' because his
waking up at
4:30am and not being able to go back to sleep has affected both of us.
For him, he
is obviously exhausted and drained, getting by on sometimes only 4-5 hrs
interupted sleep. For me, I start becoming annoyed with him for needing
to nap on
the weekends and constantly complaining of being tired. Then I feel bad
also because he obviously can't help it.
He finally went to Kaiser, and the NP just prescribed an
anti-anxiety/sleep aid. He
went in, asking for accupuncture because our friend really recommended
Kaiser only will let you do accupuncture for pain relief. Which is so
because it is quite expensive - about $75-100 per session.
The medication she prescribed didn't help much , other than leaving him
groggy in the morning.
We know that he needs to be able to handle work stress better because
that is the
main cause of his sleep problems. However, he has always been a light
seems to require fewer hours than, let's say, I do at 8 hrs a night! If
the dog barks or
the kids have a nightmare in the middle of the night, he has trouble
asleep. The weekend late afternoon naps probably don't help his cycles,
If anyone knows of any herbal remedies, or an accupuncturist (we will
pay out of
pocket at this point!)...please help!
I feel your pain....hopefully we will both have happier, better rested
husbands in the
--tired of his being tired
I have had terrible insomnia for years, always triggered by
anxiety and the long and stressful to-do list of juggling
motherhood, a demanding career, and everything else. I've been
relying on drugs to help me sleep and would like to look at other
options. I'm hoping there are therapists out there who can work
with someone like me on relaxation techniques, as well as talking
through the things causing the anxiety. Recommendations?
Tired of feeling tired
I identify completely with your situation, and perhaps my
experience could be of help. I spent six years, also as a new
mother, struggling with severe insomnia. I tried relaxation
techniques, herbal remedies, talk therapy, acupuncture, and many
other possible remedies, including a course at the Stanford sleep
Some of these worked a bit, or for a while, but nothing resolved
the situation. I heard along the way that insomnia is frequently
a symptom of depression, but I didn't want to take
anti-depressants -- I was convinced that I wan't depressed! I
tried them a couple of times -- and voila!! -- my insomnia went
away, but because I didn't want to be taking anti-depressants I
never stayed on them and the insomnia and anxiety came back.
Finally, after six years, I gave in and stayed on an
anti-depressant. It has been ever so much better for me, not to
mention for my daughters and husband. There are excellent
anti-depressants now, with minimal or no side-effects, and some
work well for anxiety/insomnia. Maybe it's not a ''perfect''
solution, but for me it's a whole lot better than not sleeping
and the pain of worrying constantly and excessively. It also
makes any therapy you decide to do more effective, as therapy
also takes energy and if you're exhausted, it's hard to make it
work for you.
Once I was on the anti-depressant for a few months, by the way,
it was easy to wean myself from the sleep medications. I rarely
need sleep medication now -- perhaps a couple of times a year
when I'm exceptionally stressed.
You may not need an anti-depressant. However, from your
description, I'd highly reccommend getting an evaluation from a
medical professional to see if this might be an appropriate
solution for you. In my case, I'm so glad I did, as is the rest
of my family.
A great alternative for anxiety related insomnia is John Nieters, Licensed Acupuncturist.
His practice is in Alameda and with acupuncture he is able to reset your central nervous
system, then the herbs seem to maintain that calm. After I had my son, I found that a visit
to John would help me regain my perspective and it seems to keep my hormones balanced. His
office number is 510-814-6900, www.johnnieters.com
My BF (age 32) has always had an extremely difficult time
falling asleep and has been using alcohol to facilitate
sleeping. He is often up until 3:00 a.m., drinking/thinking
and then gets up at 7:00 a.m. to go to work. When work is
stressful, he may even be up later obsessing. He can't seem to
turn off his head and is getting more depressed. He has agreed
to see a therapist and I am looking for a recommendation for
probably a male therapist, preferably around Oakland, with
Sounds like your boyfriend's sleep problem would be helped
tremendously by a prescription sleep aid that's geared toward
''Klonopin'' comes to mind: it helps users to turn off their
brain before bed so that they get a restful sleep.
Of course you'll need a therapist to prescribe the medication,
and I don't know any I'd necessarily recommend.
In any case, having difficulty winding down at night due to
racing thoughts seems to be a common problem, and a low-dose
medication can often help -- in addition to cognitive behavioral
therapy and/or changes in night-time routine.
I have had insomnia issues through much of my life (as do many of
my family members) and recently this problem has been exacerbated
by the stresses of a move, new job, big life changes--stress.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to alleviate this?
I get good exercise, do not partake of caffeine, and, when
sleepless, get up and do something until I am tired again. I also
keep pretty regular hours. I am afraid to take sleeping pills
because I am very sensitive to drugs and cannot afford to wake up
groggy. But if anyone can suggest a mild sleeping pill or
possibly a gentle homeopathic sleeping aid, I'd be interested to
hear about it. Thanks!
I suffered severe insomnia due to a thyroid disorder (have you
had your's checked?), and my wife suffered too, due to post
menopause. We both take antidepressants. She takes a low dose of
Trazodone, and I take Sinequan. These medicines correct brain
chemistry to allow natural sleep to happen, and we wake up
refreshed. I wasn't keen on taking a med for sleeping, but I
realized a good night's sleep was too important to miss out on.
I too am sensitive to meds, but after many tries, I found one
that worked for me. Before Sinequan, I tried Ambien and Xanax,
and I felt more knocked out, and groggy the next day, not to
mention the addicting nature of those meds. Also, have you had a
sleep study for sleep apnea? Good luck.
I have had the same problem for years. I usually drink a very
strong , yet small cup of chamomile tea before bed(if I drink a
whole cup i wake up in the middle of the night to pee)...on bad
nights i take a tablet or half tablet of Melatonin (the timed
release kind). Melatonin works wonders but I worry about
taking it daily...check it out...:-0
I have chronic insomnia and have tried everything you mention. I'm
currently taking trazodone, 1/2 the lowest recommended dose, and it's
helping. (Trazodone is an antidepressant, and the dose for insomnia
is a small fraction of the dosage for depression.) I do feel a bit
buzzed during the day, I admit, but also less tired. I don't sleep
soundly with such a low dose, but, when I wake up, I fall back asleep
easily. Good luck.
Wish there were better solutions!
Try Valerian Root tincture (available in Whole Foods, etc). It
works quite well. Take it about an hour before bedtime. Also,
believe it or not, I count backwards, starting with odd numbers
such as 147. It can help, too.
I have also suffered from insomnia all my adult life and it seems
to run in my family. This year (with the pressing needs of 2
little ones at home) I commited myself to really trying to find
some solutions because it had become such a quality of life
issue. You already mentioned some good things that you do and
there are a couple of other issues to consider. If you haven't
already, then I'd recommend reading some insomnia books where I
got some good points.
One issue that I learned (from my reading) is that you have to
accurately assess how much sleep you really need and only try
to sleep for that long. If you regularly need 7 hours of sleep
but are in bed from 10-6 over time your sleep will become
disrupted/disjointed and will deteriorate seriously... this has
Another helpful tip is to keep a sleep journal for a few months
keeping track of your sleep as well as any issues that you think
might be effecting it such as stress at work, sporadic exercise,
diet, etc. In doing this I discovered that my insomnia was
partly caused by monthly hormonal cycles.
For a mild sleeping pill, try melatonin. Both my mom and I have
recently tried and found it works well. My doctor said it was
fine to use and it has been tested in double-blind studies in
Germany and found to be safe. I take a low dosage (.5 mg) when
I'm really have problems and at least at that level it feels
pretty natural and is very helpful.
Try Hyland's Calms Forte (it is a homeopathic remedy), available
at Whole Foods (and I'm sure at other health food stores as
well). It certainly isn't as powerful as a sleeping pill, but it
often takes the edge off sleeplessness and helps me to relax
when I'm having trouble sleeping.
an occasional insomniac
Standford Hospital's sleep clinic has a cognitive behavior
insomnia treatment program which I found faily helpful and many
people found extremely helpful. Its a 9 week program and at
least it was a relief to be among insomniacs. Good Luck
It is nice to know that you are willing to try natural methods.
But it is difficult to say that a handful of Homeopathic
medicine will help you without actually taking your case. It
would be wise if you approach a professional Homeopath who
would be able to take your whole case and then prescribe you
the right constitutional medicine. You will be surprised that
it will not only help you in your insomnia but also in the
You can contact me as a Homeopath. Hope I might be able to help
you in sleeping well!!! You can either give me a call at
510.684.4248 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So the baby is sleeping great, but I've decided it's finally time to do
something about the fact that I'm not. I've been an insomniac since I was
about 8 years old and I want to know about serious solutions. Please--
no folk remedies, I've tried 'em all. I'm interested in taking things up a
notch. I've heard about sleep centers that diagnose problems, but I'm
also curious to hear about other things. Medications? A little gentle brain
surgery? Bring on the big guns! Thanks for your help.
Boy, do I remember that stage--seemed my body just wasn't able to
relax after the months of having to wake because of the baby. My
sympathies to you. For me, it was a stage that did not last that
maybe at most a month, month and a half. Though I know going through
it is torture. Since I was still nursing, i tried the over-the-counter
homeopathic remedies. For me, the Hyland Brand, Insomnia formula
worked best, same brand, Calms Forte, second best. If you're still
nursing, check with your doctor about what's okay to take. You might
also check out a book called, The Promise of Sleep. It's a huge,
comprehensive book on just about everything related to sleep. Lot's of
information and very readable. Good luck and Sweet Dreams.
I've had trouble with insomnia during three periods in my life,
and it's been really hard. I really sympathize. There are
probably books on the subject. Since you have had the problem
for so long, perhaps a sleep clinic would be good. But, in
terms of medication, I've recently had great luck with paxil.
Apparently, one of the side effects is that it makes you drowsy
in the evening. Also, if (like me) you believe that stress or
anxiety over other issues may contribute to the insomnia, paxil
reportedly is helpful on that front as well. (As I understand
it, paxil is generally prescribed for anxiety or depression. In
my case, I was not having anxiety attacks per se, but just
feeling generally overwhelmed by a number of issues that were
simultaneously demanding my attention.) I also have been
prescribed an antedepressant (I think trazadone) to use on the
evenings that I find myself having trouble falling asleep. I
understand that it is not addictive, as other sleep medications
may be, but again has the side-effect of causing drowsiness.
While trazadone has worked well for me, I try not to use it too
often, because it does leave me feeling drowsy the following
morning. Finally, if you have Kaiser, I think that it offers
classes by a sleep specialist on dealing with insomnia, and
those classes offer a lot of practical real world help (not
simply meditation techniques). Good luck to you!
Oh, boy, do I know what you are going through all too well! I
am also an insomiac and have been for many years. At times,
though, I have had excellent sleep patterns, but they never
last too long. After having two kids 17 months apart in the
last! three years, I am completely unable to sleep on my own
without any drugs. What I do now is take a normal dose of
Benedryl (or generic brand of the same thing) every night
before bedtime, and it works like magic for me. If you don't
function well the next day and feel really groggy, then it may
not work for you. I don't have that problem so it's working
for me. My doctor also was quite delighted at the fact that I
can actually take Benedryl and still have a clear head in the
morning. She much prefers that I take that instead of sleeping
pills. You might want to talk to your doctor and see if you
can try taking antihistamine to go to sleep.
To the insomniac: Unlike you, I have not suffered from insomnia
all my life, just postpartum, and until recently, it was hell!!
I was terrified. I also tried many ''folk remedies'' as well as turning to sleeping pills. I also went to
a sleep center for an
initial consultation, and felt very dismissed, though many do
indeed have in-depth studies done on them there. It's part of
Summit. If you have been suffering from this for decades, HELL
YES, it's worth getting a serious analysis done. You'll have to
start with your regular doctor, who can then refer you. If you
want more of my story and how it was ''solved,'' feel free to
email me directly.
I have found a great solution to my insomnia problem. There's a
drug called Remeron, an atypical antidepressant originally
developed as an anti-histamine. At high doses (45mg) it works
as an anti-depressant, but at very, very low doses (3.5mg) taken
at night before bedtime, it is a huge help with sleep. I take
this tiny amount nightly (1/4 of a pill) and sleep like a baby
after many years of horrible sleep. It has been truly amazing.
If you do decide to look into it, you will find out that
moderate or high doses can cause weight gain in some people. I
almost refused to try it for fear that I would inflate, but have
had no problem whatsoever. My appetite and weight have
remained normal, and I've been taking the drug for going on two
years. If you are ready for sleep and want a non-addictive, non-
addling drug to help you get there, give it a try (you'll need
to visit a shrink or GP for the prescription). Good luck!
Rested, former insomniac
My husband has recurring problems with insomnia. It goes away and
then returns with no predictable pattern. Work stress doesn't
always bring it on, and exercise doesn't seem to help stave it
Sometimes he'll be really tired, will go to sleep for 20 minutes
at bedtime, then wake up unable to go back to sleep for several
He has tried Ambien (an MD's prescription) which usually--but not
always--helps him sleep but he feels groggy in the morning.
Do any of you have experience with alternative medicine and sleep?
Any other techniques? We have 3 kids and it's hard to keep the
house quiet so he can sleep in the afternoons when he hasn't slept
all night... Thanks for your advice!
I have no experience with alternative medicine and sleep myself,
but I know that Homeopathic medicine can help a great deal with
that. There is a Homeopathic educational center in Berkeley, on
Blake street, that can surely help you more than I can (they
have books and some remedies).
Your husband may be interested to read a new book called LIGHTS OUT by TS
Wiley. Therein, Ms. Wiley gives some helpful
understandings of our sleep cycle and ways to get back on track. I personally
find 5-HTP (5 hydroxy tryptophan, a metabolite of
L-tryptophan) works really well. Also, taking a warm Epsom salts bath relaxes
my body. Finally, acupuncture and other body
work can rebalance the body to ''get with the program'' to sleep when it's
time. If your husband's pattern is easily disrupted
by stress, some helpful herbal formulae are available. They are tailored to
address the ''stressed and wired'' or ''stressed and
tired'' types. Avoiding stimulants and sedatives and getting moderate
exercise (not too late in the day) can also help recover a
lost sleep pattern. Sleep disturbances can disrupt 10 hormones, so it's
primary to find a solution soon.
this page was last updated: Sep 22, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network