/ Insomnia - how do you spend your time?

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Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
Hello all,

I've been having some big issues with insomnia over the course of the past year or so, and it's got me thinking about how people spend their insomnia hours. If you're a sufferer, do you lie there, read, use the time productively, etc? I feel an article coming on...

N.b. I know what's causing my insomnia and I'm taking steps to resolve it. This thread isn't about that :-)
mike kann - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I'm working on a machine design right now. Haven't been able to think about it in the day, but getting somewhere with it now. Feel totally boxed but awake, and got to be on my way to a CAD seminar in 5 hours...
lowersharpnose - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Normally, I read in bed. But tonight I have been reading some reports online.

To get to sleep, I prefer non-fiction books that are not easy, and that I really want to read. This helps me realise when I am too tired to understand properly what is before my eyes, so I put the book down go to sleep.
Helen R on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hi Clare

For me - ipod and talking books. Although it's more that i wake up quite a bit during the night than inability to sleep in the first place. The ipod distracts the 3 am brain churn, and i'm (hopefully) back to sleep quite quickly. Occaisionally it doesn't work, but then i get to listen to about 5 hours worth of book....

I reckon more people should post on UKC - it gets really quiet between 2am and 6am UK time - just when us lot over on the other side of the world need distractions :-).

hr

Minneconjou Sioux - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I tend to stick with the attempt to sleep although I don't really suffer that often and usually then only on a work related matter which is then resolved. I never get up to read etc.
gcandlin - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Netflix
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I don't feel able to be productive. I'm generally very tired but my brain is churning - and often about bad things or things I'm worried about. The best distraction for me is Radio 4.
Ben Sharp - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I don't suffer from it anymore but I used go outside with a cup of tea and a cigarette. Insomnia is painfully annoying if it affects your everyday life but there's still something amazing about that time of night, everything still and quiet and that peaceful feeling of solitude when you seem to be the only one up.
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - 88-104-138-128.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hello Clare, my sleep patterns change over the year, have done for over ten years, it used to properly drive me to despair, but now is just part of the cycle. So I just carry on with the things I would do anyway.
ben b - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Very complicated area, insomnia.

A large amount of insomnia is classed as 'psychophysiological' and relates to an abnormal state of what is usually termed arousal (oooer) at the wrong time i.e. when you want to be asleep. It's often subconscious, but tends to be self-reinforcing and often leaves a difficult cycle of sleepy days and wakeful nights to break.

As a rule of thumb, the advice is to get up and do something non-stimulating and boring rather than lie in bed, and not to use a TV or laptop. Obscure journal articles on physiology or, paradoxically, sleep medicine ususally do the trick for me but it takes some discipline to do that rather than just pick up the iPhone and read ukc! Lying in bed watching the clock and getting faintly frustrated about not sleeping is a dangerous activity.

Happy to discuss by pm if you would like, and hope it is settling down for you

b

In reply to Tall Clare: Have a kip, that'll kill the time.

On a more serious note, masturbation.

I learnt to read Russian during a bout (but not while masturbating).
Trangia - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

1) Classic FM
2) Get up and make a mug of warm milk
3) Classic FM
4) Read
5) Classic FM
6) Surf the net
7) Classic FM
8) Sleep
9) Wake up in morning to Classic FM
ERH - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I know a guy who wrote two novels instead of sleeping. He is a doctor, sleeps one or two hours a night, and says he doesn't understand what people are complaining about when they just have more time in the day

The other guy I know who has insomnia used to just stay in a blacked out room for 14 hrs a day and complain at me if I ever assumed he'd be awake because it was 3 in the afternoon... he was a student at the time tho
Rob Exile Ward on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Quite often I just enjoy it, just spend the time thinking about ... stuff. Not sure that that's productive though.
birdie num num - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
I spend mine drinking coffee
Scarab9 - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

it's hard isn't it? And the worst bit is that employers and other people tend to treat you like you've just said "I'm hungover" when you say "I'm suffering from insomnia".

Took me a long time to realise, after being susceptible to long periods of having it, that lying there trying to sleep and gradually stressing out and making it worse is not a the way to deal with it. I find it helps a lot to get up and do something. Having a cup of tea and reading out of bed for 20 mins is also much better than staying in bed for me - guess it's similar to the idea that the bed should just be for sleeping and not for relaxing (insert smut here)
hokkyokusei - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I'm in the process of buying a house and I'm waking up at 5am every morning with something or other on my mind. It's a crap time to wake up because if you're not quick getting back to sleep it'll be time to get up!

I generally read a few pages and at the first hint of sleep get my head back down. Might also put on some quiet music, classical or at least very chilled.
davidbeynon - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I spend my time wishing I was asleep, as I don't tend to have the energy to do anything.

When my wife can't sleep she plays online risk or angry birds on her phone.
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012

Thanks for all the replies everyone! Interesting how many people use music/sound to help them off to sleep. I try to be as quiet as possible as Mr TC is snoring away next to me... Getting up is always risky as one of the cats (the super-clingy one) is in the kitchen, so she'd wake up and be exuberant, so I tend to rummage round the internet on my phone, watch American and Antipodean tweets, sometimes read, and make cryptic near-illegible notes. Last night I rewrote half the copy for my website, so that was useful.

Feel like a zombie today, mind... thank god I work from home.
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I've always been dead against televisions in the bedroom but I was staying in a hotel this weekend and not sleeping well and it was fantastic to be able to have the TV on to keep me amused. Maybe I should change my policy.
lost1977 - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

so long as its not raining i go for a walk or bike ride
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to lost1977:

Oo, someone who actually gets up and gets out - you're the first person to mention that so far. Do you go back to bed when you get back home, or just stay up?
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to lost1977:

Do you go out in your pyjames? I could never be arsed to get out of bed, let alone get dressed!
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Tall Clare:

Like i said above i just carry on as noraml, i assumed you can read into that what ever you can imagine, so some more detail, running, cycling, work in garage, walking, playing guitar, watching stuff, reading, medatation, washing, cooking, etc etc etc....
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to johnj:

So you just get up and carry on - do you then sleep during the day?

Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
Another question - are your insomniac activities influenced by whether you share the bed (or the house, for that matter) with others?
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Tall Clare:

Some very strong solar storms at moment, so it may appear to be night time, but due to the charged particals bouncing around it's actually barmier than mid summer, we just can't observe it in tradtional ways. Life in the brave new world eh!
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to johnj: sometimes to get through the day, i need to consume coffee to stay awake or get some fresh air, I work in an organsiation right now so can't take a nap mid afternoon. But if i could i would sleep as and when. I find I can survive on 2-4 hours a night if i really need to, then I can catch up in bulk when i can rest. Yes also the person you share a bed with or even the people you share a house with has a big effect on these patterns
omerta on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Struggle out of bed to find the Zopiclone mainly; that was what 3am saw me doing today, though this is a singularly bleak and awful time so I hope that things settle down soon.

Normally, I'd put my iPod on shuffle 'til I dropped off
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to sarah79:

I'll be mailing you today, missus.

:-)
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Tall Clare:

ps the best thing i find that puts me to sleep in regular patterns without resorting to the things we entake, is the rcomemded allowance of daily excersize
lost1977 - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

really depends sometimes you go out for 30 mins and that's all that's needed back to bed and drop off straight away, other times you end up just staying up (have found 24hr cafes in the past and even done my food shopping)
lost1977 - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Ava Adore:

i get dressed but its not like you really have to make an effort
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to lost1977:

The magic of living in the city... I know there have been various books written about the nighttime city. In the countryside it's all owls and foxes and yowling cats.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to johnj: Good point, nothing better then climbing into bed when your body is absolutley stuffed from excercise.

TC, you were talking about getting a dog. That would be good for going for long evening walks to tire yourself out maybe? (I walk my dog at night over the park and golf course - flashing collar from Amazon, a whistle and a torch...he absolutely loves it because the foxes are out in force)
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

Is your dog walking an insomniac activity or a before you go to bed activity?

As the OP says the thread isn't about cures for insomnia - it's about what people do in the night when they have insomnia :-)



(I'm so officious. Sorry. :-) )
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Mine is before I go to bed activity, apologies I was giving advice on a potential "cure"

I sleep like a baby everynight..10pm - 5.30am so cannot help.

Why don't you have kids? Sounds like you will handle the "night time" brilliantly ;-)
Tall Clare - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

Haha, there are already two children in my life, which is quite enough, I reckon. Next stop dog :-)

I used to be good at sleep. I will be again! In the mean time, it's all very interesting how people handle the sleepless hours.
jonnie3430 - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Whisky, films, computer games, books. Mainly I try to tire myself out during the day with something physical.
krikoman - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I usually sleep though my insomnia.
Doug on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Back when I was single, I used to listen to radio 4 or the world service but now I tend to get up and go & read something for a while to try & get some different ideas floating round my mind that whatever has been keeping me awake- I find fairly difficult non fiction is best, a good novel keeps me turning the pages for too long
MJ - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I've been having some big issues with insomnia over the course of the past year or so

Look on the bright side, at least it's only four sleeps until Christmas...
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to lost1977:

Don't forget I'm a woman so I have to put on full make up, heels and everything... ;-)
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Ava Adore:

You could always become your alter ego as a hoody and hang around the 24 hour supermarkets, such a stress free time to go shopping I find.
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to johnj:

Actually it's the whole getting out of bed thing that I struggle with. Even hoody and jogging bottoms represents a MASSIVE effort for me ;-)
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Ava Adore:

Hello Ava :+) Maybe there's a market for a spring loaded sleep sensitive bed, if you've been lying there for what you deem as too long without any sleep the bed ejects you!
Pursued by a bear - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: When it strikes - which is not often, happily - I get out of bed, make a cup of tea and do something. It can be anything; read a book, surf the web, whatever strikes me as long as it occupies me fully. Make sure I'm wearing something appropriately warm in winter. Then when I eventually think I may sleep, go back to bed. Or make some strong coffee and go to work.

The very worst thing to do for me is lie there and hope that sleep will eventually consume a mind that is awake; an awake mind has no place in bed. Well, not when you're trying to sleep at least.

T.
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to johnj:

Now that's just bloody mean!
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Ava Adore: Ah I see, so my new eject-o-bed invention is a bit too harsh, obviously it needs to slide the sleepy slumberer into an upright postion much more gracefully.... Thanks for the tip;+)
tprebs - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to Tall Clare) Have a kip, that'll kill the time.
>
> On a more serious note, masturbation.
> ...

Do you mean procrasturbation?
tlm - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I tend to be awake when I get too hot. So I get up and read, with just a thin cover over me, and that then eventually cools me down enough to sleep (after about 1/2 hour). I also sometimes change which covers are on my half of the bed. My thermal regulation at night seems to have gone totally to pot and I get too hot or too cold really easily - I have 3 sets of covers! A whole layering system!

My sleeping used to be something I took for granted until I worked shifts, which messed it up, but it is now more or less fine most of the time.
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to johnj:

Eject-o-bed would then be better named Erect-o-bed :-)
johnj on 23 Oct 2012 - fibre.melett.com
In reply to Ava Adore:

I like the soound of this Erect-o-bed, 'slide smoothly out of bed day or night' it sounds fertile but yet functional, at this rate we'll be on dragons den a week on tuesdays, and gazillionaires by 2069, who'd have thunk it :)
Rigid Raider - on 23 Oct 2012
There is a new school of thought that says the natural Human way is to sleep in two bits, in fact the Tiv people in Nigeria even talk about "first sleep" and "second sleep". You go to bed, sleep a few hours then wake up and wander around a bit, have a wazz and a smoke, chat with your hut-mates then go back to sleep for a few more hours. The biggest problem for people in developed societies is that we have been brought up to beleive we should enjoy an unbroken seven hours of sleep and if we don't get that we become all neurotic and upset, which makes the problem worse.
Clarence - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Astronomy and nude guitar playing.
Al Evans on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Reading and drugs.
simon c on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I found a night job, might as well get paid for being awake ;-)
In reply to Tall Clare: If all are asleep then I read. If I think I might wake the others then I watch for the sunrise lighting up the sky (when the summer option allowed) and think about what I've got to do in work. Sometimes I read work emails. Used to read FB and twitter but now avoid them (too addictive).
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I think maybe next time I'm insomniarific I shall come and post in this thread.
marsbar - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: When I lived on my own I would walk the dog, it was so peaceful wandering about at 3am. I try not to wake people up these days so I wouldn't do that. Reading is good. When it was really bad I used to watch dvds I had seen before and fall asleep to. Random stuff that puts me to sleep includes point break (the sea noise is soothing) the wombles, and last of the summer wine.
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to Tall Clare: The other advantage of being awake in the early hours is that the internet works quicker, which helps with viewing YouPorn.
ripper - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: When I can't sleep I usually lie there cursing to myself for about ten minutes, open one eye to stare at the clock, get up for a wee, and then - the important bit - roll the missus onto her side to try and reduce the noise she produces to a level approaching normal human snoring, as opposed to something that would drown out a flock of migrating canada geese. that usually does the trick.
Mooncat - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

The only thing that works for me is reading, if I listen to radio, watch tv or go on the internet I find it too stimulating and even harder to sleep.
kathrync - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Usually I'll get up, get something warm and caffiene-free to drink and maybe read for a bit and then go back off to sleep without too much hassle. Sometimes if I am awake for a while, I'll work on something. The wee hours of yesterday morning saw me drawing a flow chart for a program I need to write for some coursework. In that case, it was that piece of coursework that was bothering me, so doing something productive about it was helpful. I do try to stay away from backlit screens, although I will read my Kindle.

If I were living on my own and not in a tenement, I might trying playing my flute or twanging on t'other half's guitar for a while, but at the moment that's not really an option.

I have been known to go out for a walk (with the camera if it's near to sunrise). I won't do that when my partner is onshore though, because he would worry if he woke up and I was gone.

I have also been known to have a 4am bath :o)

Lastly, someone was joking about masturbation at the top of the thread. That does actually work for me, I will usually drop off very quickly afterwards. The problem is doing it without waking up anyone else who might be in the bed...unless of course they are willing to help out :o)

Thankfully, all seems to be serene at the moment and I am sleeping quite well for the most part.
Climbing Pieman on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: For me if I am really tired I usually just lie there as often too tired to get up! Sometimes with music on, sometimes not. Other times if I am sufficiently awake I'll read either in or out of bed, use pc, go out for a walk or other semi productive things, sometimes even shopping. Happens too often - last night no sleep (but too tired even to surf UKC) and none last Saturday either. Makes being productive in the day time hard. I need eight hours sleep to feel normal :-)! And yes makes a huge different if others are about as I tend to just lie quietly when I really should get up.
iksander on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Theory is to do something you find irksome... tiresome even - ironing? go though your bank statements?
toad - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I haven't slept properly in nearly a week. Regrettably I've spent my awake time coughing, sneezing, shivering and sweating. Everything they say about knowing when you've got flu is true. I feel like I've been trampled by buffalo.
captain paranoia - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I read something lightweight, that won't get me thinking too hard, or make me tense (e.g. not a thriller). It doesn't always work.

Usually, I can't sleep if I've got ideas running around my head, so I have a notebook and pencil beside the bed to scribble ideas. Some of the ideas actually get developed...

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/gear-features/the-squeezebox-files/5644.html

A recent tinnitus tone caused me to create a 'rain' MP3 that I play at night as a masker. If I wake up at night, I often turn this on, and it seems to help me stop thinking; maybe something abstract for my mind to focus on, even if I'm not aware of it. It sounds a bit like rain on a tent, which is nice.
TM_Horton - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

By a Decent head torch/oil lamp go bouldering. :) been enjoying my night time climbing recently. ITS AWESOME.
Bob Hughes - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Doņa Hughes recently bought me some herbal tea which knocks me right out. Really amazing stuff.
Apart from that I usually listen to a podcast which sends me off to sleep. I find This American Life is ideal. I use headphones so as not to wake up the slumbering Doņa Hughes.
lorentz - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I make soap with my alter-ego, whilst planning the next instalment of Project Mayhem...

Hard exercise works. I recommend fighting in dirty bar-room basements. Let your thoughts be pictures and patterns bubbling-up from the back of your head. Feel your pain!
lorentz - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lorentz:

By which I mean, I share your pain.
needvert on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Reading or watching about climbing. Be it ukc, supertopo, YouTube, books.

I like climbing.
johnj on 24 Oct 2012 - 88-104-137-156.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Tall Clare:

Erect-o-bed was very naughty again and set its self on auto pilot, time to hang out with the bats again x
stroppygob - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: [seriously] A good w@nk normally sorts me out.

Beware of those advising anything other than trying to sleep, you do not want to normalise your insomnia as it will only get worse and end up with further, bigger, problems.

Some sound advice here;

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sleep_hygiene

http://www.sleepoz.org.au/files/fact_sheets/AT09%20-%20Sleep%20Hygiene.pdf

http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/howto.html
Tall Clare - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to stroppygob:

Thanks for this but as the OP says, the thread wasn't about seeking advice - it was about the things people do when they're awake in the night.


I slept like a log last night :-)
johnj on 24 Oct 2012 - 88-104-137-156.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to stroppygob:

Problem I find with masturbation is its like a 1OO meter sprint, it may put me to sleep for a couple of hours, but them ping, pineal gland switches on like a light bulb and no sleep till Buxton no matter how many sheep I try to count.
Yeah yeah I know I could fluradate and calicfy the shit out of it with that gear that them pushers errrr I mean G.P's flog, or dope myself up on some heavy downers or some righteous Mary J, but then the day job lasts like for ever and then its still only 20 past 8 and I've been there for like four lifetimes.

And if them fine ladies like Maggie and Madonna could get by on a catnap, well i don't see it as you see getting worse and becoming a bigger problem, just another stage of the full cycle of life.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Bumming
eglwyseg-andy - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: I get up & throw a few darts, I find it gets me thinking of all the possible finishes for a certain number which helps me switch off.
Ava Adore - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Last night I took a pad and pencil up to the bedroom, all set to plan my life out if I had another restless night.

Slept like a baby. :-)
Tall Clare - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ava Adore:

Haha! I think only the truly unfortunate can plan their insomnia. Mine tends to happen every second night, as I'm knackered inbetween.
Ava Adore - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

OK, so that means I should leave the notebook and pen there ready for tonight then. :-)

My logic is that if I plan for it, it won't be necessary. :-)
John Lewis - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ava Adore:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> OK, so that means I should leave the notebook and pen there ready for tonight then. :-)
>
> My logic is that if I plan for it, it won't be necessary. :-)

Is this the moment when a true friend brings a pen(cil) for you as well? ;-)
Ava Adore - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to John Lewis:

Ha! Any friend that turns up at the kind of o'clock I'm talking about would get short shrift! :-)

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