questionshow do you reset your sleep schedule?

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So sorry. Sounds like you're doing everything right - no sugar, not eating before bed, no caffeine, etc. Have you tried a warm bath before you go to bed? Reading in bed? If that's something you enjoy & it's feasible. No strenuous exercise. (Don't go there!)

Have heard that melatonin is good; also heard that you must not take too much, or it will have the opposite effect - follow the directions.

Wishing you the best on your reset. Sleep and sweet dreams.

tag saved for posterity: cant-sleep-clowns-will-eat-me

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I used to use Benadryl until my doctor told me it's not good for you to use all the time. I then switched to melatonin that you mentioned in your post. Doesn't seem to work at all -- the Benadryl was much better.

I just toss and turn instead. So then I'm tired in the middle of the workday and sometimes take a nap around noon if I don't have any meetings scheduled. One of the benefits of working from home and having a couch in the home office.

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What's your slowdown routine before bed? I struggle with insomnia for a few different reasons that I'd rather not get into, but I found that developing a routine before bed really helps me slow myself down and get ready to sleep. Other than the normal bathroom stuff like brushing teeth, I also read a book and listen to relaxing sounds (I grew up near the woods, so I listen to forest sounds at night, like crickets and the like). Worse comes to worse, I take a warm shower.

I used to work swing shifts too (4 days from 7AM-7PM, 4 days off, then 4 days from 7PM - 7AM, 4 days off, repeat) and had to get used to longer 'days' as I'd shift my sleep schedule around. Thankfully it doesn't sound like that's your problem! But the pre-sleep routine really helped me there too. And blackout curtains... maybe there's too much light in your bedroom?

Good luck! Hope things work out for you.

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@gmwhit: I have always heard that if you have trouble sleeping, you should not read or watch TV in bed. The mind should link the bed to sleep and nothing else. I am prone to every sort of sleep disturbance, but the most prevalent is waking frequently during the night and sometimes having trouble going back to sleep. The two things that have helped the most (but certainly not cured me) are:
1. Pre-bed routine. I have about a dozen steps to go to bed. I do them in the same order every night. It's like a launch code, my mind and body know we are progressing to the sleep period. Any routine will work, but this is mine: Take the dog out to pee. Close up the house and check all the locks. Turn off the heater or cooler. Hang tomorrow's clothing in the bathroom. Use the bathroom. Get the cat and dog settled in the bedroom. Drink a glass of water. Set the alarm clock. Lights out.
2. When wakeful in bed, I don't permit myself to dwell on real-life issues. Instead I tell myself...

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...a story. I am a role-player, so I imagine details from my characters' lives before or during the campaign. Or sometimes when I have seen a movie or tv show that has captures my imagination, I continue with the story in my own mind. This relaxes my mind and allows me to drift easily to sleep; often it sends me into pleasant dreams in worlds I'd like to visit. It takes some mental discipline and if I am torn up about something I can't always keep my mind on track, but it is the single most important technique I have found for beating wakefulness in bed.

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My bedtime routine (takes about 30min)
TV off.
Laptop off.
Take dogs out.
Take out contacts.
Wash face.
Brush/floss/etc. teeth.
Put on pj's.
Lights out.
Snuggle husband and chat for a few minutes.
Get comfy and attempt to sleep.

ETA: If I start a book before sleep, I'll stay up and read it until it's finished...

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@thumperchick: Can you watch a movie? I find that taking my mind off stuff works. When I start to get into an insomnia cycle, I can't sleep, I can't sleep because I worry I can not sleep, I like watching Fight Club, it in funny way it makes light of insomnia. What is the worst that can happen I start my own army.
It works for me.
NO NAPS during the day.

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@thumperchick: You didn't mention, but I have to make sure. You aren't watching TV in bed are you? If so, then stop. Now. No reading or watching TV in bed.

Besides that, your story is one of the very few that would get me to prescribe a short course (maybe 2 weeks, maximum) of zolpidem (Ambien). I'm very happy that (even though it's taken 15 years) that the rest of the medical world has come around to my way of thinking about this medication (it is dangerous and habit forming, and has some very nasty rebound effects when withdrawn).

That haveing been said, it may be reasonable just to get yourself back on a decent sleep schedule. Discuss with your PCP.

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@wilfbrim: There is no TV in our room. The window shades are bamboo and not much light gets through. No extra noise, besides the snoring of the hubs and 2 dogs. I even do focal point meditation and try to relax into sleepy time with vocal meditation.
I'm leery of taking Ambien, or any other sleep aids, because a medication is what started this. Don't get me wrong, if that's the route I have to take, I will, I'm just very hesitant to add more chemicals to my body and brain. The drug that started this was Chantix. Since then, I've had to take a stomach acid reducer to help fix the daily nausea and vomiting. I just really, really, don't want to take more meds.

I did sleep for about 4 hours last night. I don't feel overly tired today, so that's good. But I didn't fall asleep until 6am. It's a dang good thing I'm a housewife. Dirty laundry won't fire my butt for not being on a schedule!

Thank you all for your answers.

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I know a person who gets to sleep by watching the SAME movie every night. In her case, Philadelphia Story. Sound down low. Nothing else ever plays on that TV.

For me, normally my routine is enuf.

When that doesn't work I use melatonin (usually a little, sometimes a lot). Never have a negative reaction or hangover from it.

When that doesn't work I use earbuds and an Android app called Ambiscience or Binaural Beats or something like that. Sposed to do something with your brainwaves. Anyway, it works. Again no hangover.

When I had an iPhone, I had a brainwave app that also worked.

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@f00l: :LOL. I used to joke about using the TV series Pushing Daisies as a soporific. Something about the narration for that series put me to sleep before the first commercial break every time I tried to watch it. When I need to relax in order to complete a home project, I watch Deep Blue Sea. Although is is an action film, for some reason the cool sea colors and the music calm me and the familiarity of the pacing helps me to focus on what I am doing. But it doesn't make me sleepy.

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melatonin works wonder for me

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Hey TC! Sorry about your sleep loss....I don't have much to offer that hasn't already been posted. I drink beer for a few hours after work then crash on the couch about 11 PM woot time. I'll wake up about 4-5 AM to pee then go to bed. Up at 6:30 to be at work by 7:00. The Chantix never caused me any sleep problems, but the dreams were freaky. :)

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So, looking some things up online about melatonin... and now I have found a ton of conflicting information.

So, for helping with circadian rhythms, it looks like you should take a low dose (<1mg) about 90min before bedtime. Does this sound right to those of you using it?

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I use say 2 tablets of Walmart melatonin (cheap) to start if I can't sleep. If not asleep in 30 min, I take 4 more. If not asleep 30 min after that, 4 more and my Android brainwave app. This is usually enough ... sometimes i need another round but that is rare. Usually the 1st or second dose is sufficient. No hangover. Some friends who use it tell me they can tell in the morning after they used it, I can't, and other friends also feel no hangover. The ones who feel a bit different after taking melatonin tell me the after effect is far less than with Benadryl or any sleeping pill they've tried.

I chew the tablets for faster absorption.

If you have a smartphone, search in the market for "brainwave" and "sleep" and try the free apps. You have to have earbuds that will stay in your ears for at least an hour. I put the phone under the pillow on a power cord. If you like the app approach, you can buy memory foam sleep masks on EBay that have earbuds in the foam.

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I'm told melatonin is a staple for athletes and businesspeople who travel for work ... I've heard athletes mention it in interviews ... including Olympic athletes.

I never heard of it hurting anyone. I think its prob pretty safe for an adult. If you have medical issues, or are frail, run it past your doctor of course.

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I figured I'd check in here with my results. I've gotten to sleep, quickly, and completely, every night since I started taking my 1mg of melatonin and winding down over the course of an hour. (lights down, tv off, etc.)
It's kicking butt. I don't feel groggy, I don't sleep fitfully, I just sleep. It's a glorious thing.

thank you all for your advice and feedback. Sweet dreams!