1. Hey guys, need some input. Know someone who has problems getting the needed amount of zzzz's each night. He doesn't have trouble falling asleep, just staying asleep!! No, no guilty conscience, but does have overactive mind once he wakes up (usually around 1 or 2 AM ) and can't get back to sleep. We're looking for suggestions- he's tried Benadryl, Unisom, and Ambien without any luck. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
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    About sunnybrook83

    Joined: Dec '00; Posts: 75; Likes: 1


  3. by   James Huffman
    Can appreciate the "overactive mind" part. I tend to wake up thinking about what needs to be done the next day, or fretting over business problems. This is what I have done. Works very well for me, and I pass it along for your information and thought.

    1. The primary, best thing I did was to KEEP MYSELF FROM CHECKING THE TIME WHEN/IF I WAKE UP. We have a clock in our bedroom (I need it for the alarm), but if I wake up, I do not look at it. Checking the time gets the brain engaged, and starts the thought process. I mean this. Absolutely no time checks. I roll over and just go back to sleep.

    2. The usual: room dark, nothing too active mentally just before bed (I have reading I call "bedtime books" which are fun, engaging, but not strenuous), room neither too hot or cold. I like a rain on the cool side, and prefer fresh air (even mid-winter ... this makes for some spectacular fights with my wife ;-) White noise (perhaps an electric or ceiling fan?) can be helpful for some folks.

    3. Perhaps the hardest: I schedule bedtime and waketime. 7 days a week. I usually go to bed around midnight, and wake up around 6. On weekends, I may let myself sleep in 'til 7 or so, but not much later.

    4. If mental activity is a problem, your friend may benefit from a peaceful mental scenario. The example I give is this: I can make myself go to sleep quickly, even when rattled, if I envision myself on a long (preferably trans-continental) plane flight. Peaceful? Yep: no phone calls, no pagers, I can just relax, watch a movie, and read. (This scenario was a little less than successful last September and October, as you might well imagine ... )

    5. Finally, in the "none of my business" category, I would suggest trying to go without the sleep meds. As your friend has found, they are often not helpful, and I suspect actually interfere with the body's sleep patterns. I used Melatonin for a while, and found it helpful then. I don't use it now, and readily agree that there might be a placebo effect going on.

    Good luck to your friend. Lack of sleep is tough. I wish him the best.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  4. by   nursedawn67
    I once heard a suggestion of keeping a note book by the bed and when you wake thinking of write them down and get them "off of your mind". Good luck in whatever method you try!
  5. by   oramar
    This sleep problem you describe is called Early Morning Awakening and is know to many sleep specialist as EMA. I have heard some describe it as just as serious as insomnia. It can be caused by depression or other disorders like anziety. I would advise you to do some searching under sleep disorders.
  6. by   sunnybrook83
    Thanks for all your input guys, I'll have him give them a shot. He's desperate for a good night's sleep and will try anything at this point!!
    And Jim you're right, the meds do interfere with natural patterns, but he tried them (only for a few nights) to see if it'd help.
    Oramar, I'll do a search on EMA- are there any good sleep centers in the Pitts. area? We're close to the MD border and the local health system there has a sleep center, but I'm not sure how good it is!
    Thanks again!
  7. by   aimeee
    I read somewhere that it is entirely natural to be wakeful at that time, and that in other societies people often get up and do stuff during that time (tend the fire, critters, etc) and then go back to sleep. I was having the same type of difficulty during more stressful times. Stopped trying to fight it. Would just get up and do stuff for an hour or so....catch up on paperwork, put away laundry, etc. Felt good about getting things done and after an hour or so was ready to go back to bed. Felt rested in the morning but needed a short nap in the afternoon to make up for the time missed at night.