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I Can't Sleep!


Anyone feel the same way? Im REALLY REALLY tired, but yet, as soon as I lay down, I am wide awake again. I have thought about sleep aids, but I hate taking pills if not necessary. I have tried the "long hot shower", warm milk (thats gross), running around until I want to collapse, having a glass of wine, but NOTHING will help my body run down. So now my waking hours are all messed up, and I have a week to correct it (i start back to school on the 27th).

I even tried listening to one of those "Sounds of Nature" CDs to try to relax, but it sounds too much like flushing toilets, and makes me want to go the bathroom as soon as I get settled down and comfortable.

Anyone have any techniques for getting settled at night? My mind always goes at 100 miles an hour, even though my body cant quite keep up. Its becoming a real hassle!



HI, Brandy! I am here, and anxious to talk to somebody, but you aren't answering your IMs....:)


Hi Brandy!

Yes, I can totally relate to your problem, as it's now 3:36 AM and I'm wide awake! Of course, there's a reason for that, as you'll discover when you read my other post.

Something that has worked for me in the past is mentally putting myself into a state of total relaxation. What I do is make sure there are no distractions (tv, etc..) and then I tell myself to physically relax, one body part at a time. I start with my head, making a conscience effort to relax every muscle in my face. (you'd be suprised at how much tension we place on our facial muscles especially when deep in thought) Then, I relax my way slowly down to my neck, and my back all the way down my body. Usually, I don't make it to the feet, but if I do, I'll find my facial muscles have scrunched up in consternation over some erant thought again, and I just start over. I think the key here is to just stay focused, and pretty soon sleep comes.

Hope this helps you some!

Sweet dreams!


I've been there more times than I can count. Usually with some stupid "crisis", either in school or here at home (two teen boys here). What I usually do is make my room as dark as possible, close my eyes and "meditate". By meditate I think of anything that I find soothing to me. My favorite is thinking about warm sun shining down on me, classical music and a beach that I am totally alone on. If that doesn't work I put on the headphones and play classical music, soft and easy to listen to (no beethoven's fifth!).

When I am in school I am constantly worrying about an upcoming exam, papers that I have to write, and things going on here at home. All of these thoughts must be conciously put out of my mind in order for me to relax.

My last option, if nothing else works, is to spend a little money and get a complete massage. It's well worth it because there is nothing more relaxing to me!!

Forget the warm milk....turns to a solid and makes the tummy work harder!!! LOL!!!

Hope this helps!

Been there. It sucks :) You know, I used to feel like that about taking pills. I mean, I'd really try to avoid taking anything unless I just couldn't bear whatever was wrong even one second more. And then one day, I just said to myself, "Self," I said, "why am I making myself suffer over this?" So now I don't wait until headaches are so bad that I can't even see straight before I take something for it, and I don't wait until it's four a.m. before I take something for sleep. I don't usually have much trouble sleeping, but when I do I find Tylenol PM to be very gentle and helpful. I only take one though, because that's enough to work for me. They don't really make you feel groggy in the morning either so that's nice.


Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

Have had a few of those nights in the past few days myself. I have no magic answers.........but when I know its catching up with me.......and I really feel I need a good nights sleep.....I take a lil Benadryl.....:)

Try some chamomile tea or some variation there of. There are several tea blends for insomnia. Also lavender is supposed to relax you. You might try burning a candle scented with lavender oil. Quiet music also helps. Good luck. I, too, am trying to adjust my sleep pattern in anticipation of school. Orientation starts tomorrow.:eek:

Brandy, dahlin', sometimes you just gotta break down and pop some benadryl. 50-75 mg, and your butt will be OUT. ;)

Caroline and essarge are talking about (basically) self-hypnosis. If you just can't bring yourself to take benadryl, get some tapes on self-hypnosis or see a psychologist trained in it.

BTW, don't drink wine. It's been shown that alcohol @ bedtime, although it puts you to sleep initially, makes for a very restless night. Stick w/the gross warm milk and chamomile tea. :p

You could always eat a turkey sandwich in a warm bath full of lavender bath salts...:D

Hope you will be resting soon!!

Thanks everyone :)

After getting up twice, and getting on my computer, I went in a fixed some ramen noodles (chicken flavor), ate them, went back to bed, turned on Lifetime, and fell asleep watching Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack, the host, has one of those deep monotone voices that reminds me of my Physics Professor (I had NO trouble sleeping in THAT class).

I woke up when Kevin left for work, but I fell right back asleep, and slept until 10.

Now I am off to fix lunch for Kevin, and then I will probably be back :) Its my last week off of school, so I want to enjoy it :)

Thanks everyone!

BrandyBSN - *yawn*

Brandy, I have the same problem. Iam a night owl and stay up till all hours of the night. Plus my job is nights. my kids start school tomorrow, and I start a few weeks from today. I think I will rough it out. tomorrow at 6am is going to be a shock to my system but I figure a few days of getting up that early will get me right back into schedule.


Has 10 years experience.

Brandy, I am having troubles too maybe it is anxiety in regards to school. I got a couple of classical music Cd's and it is helping a little the nature Cd's don't work for me either. Also Tea is helping. Also I know for some people it is hard and some people simply can't do without and that is fine but I have cut way down on caffine after 4pm and that has been helping too.

Take care

I know exactly what you mean....your mind goes through school, kids, what needs to be done and on and on.....I rarely sleep more than 2 1/2 hours without waking up.....it sure does make for a long night. About 6 months ago I was so tired that the Doctor put me on Trazadone. I have only taken about 7 out of the bottle. I don't really want to take them if I can avoid it, but sometimes I am so tired....I have tried the Tylenol PM thing and it works wonderfully. I only take one as well. I drink the chamomile tea.....I have to sat tylenol PM is the best way for me...and a hot bath with a book....good luck........


Specializes in Leadership/Critical Care/Surgery/Seniors. Has 34 years experience.

Some tips that may help....

- follow regular bedtime rituals, i.e., take a warm bath, cup of tea,read, or whatever else, but make it a routine

- sleep in a cooler room - it will improve the quality of your sleep

- don't partake in stimulating activities before you go to bed

- darken your bedroom to near total darkness - light interferes with our sleep patterns

- eliminate as much sound as possible - wear ear plugs, unplug the phone, run a fan to create "white noise" if necessary, sleep in the basement

- avoid caffeice for at least 5 hours prior to bedtime

- don't drink alcohol

- don't go to bed too full or too hungry

- don't exercise for at least 3 hours prior

Hope this helps!

I know it sounds new age, but I have a 20 minute yoga tape for the p.m. to get you in the state of mind to fall asleep. I've never taken real classes and don't know if I do it all right, but it really makes you focus your mind only on relaxing. I'm usually able to go right to sleep even if I was wired before I did the tape. Hope that helps some.:D

Brandy, I used to have the same problems. A change of life style had helped me out.

I now start the day with yoga. It makes me feel good all day. Also I had changed coffee to tea. I eat the largest full meal at lunch time. Dinner is usually foods that are easy-to-digest types: homemade shakes (banana, walnuts, yogourt..etc.), soups, etc.

I find sauna baths at the day's end very helpful too. especially when they are followed by a long shower & a massage. I also like listening to calm classical music before bed time: lie in bed for 10 minutes with feet slightly elevated, this generally makes me sleepy.

Hope all is well,

Best wishes, Christina

Brandy, My yoga teacher had also made me cut the ice cold drinks and food. She said they are stimulants.



Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.


I know JUST how you feel! There would be times when I was working the 7a to 7p shift and could not fall asleep! I'd be awake till 3am then had to get up at 5:30 am. I am up right now and this is one of the biggest reasons that I am swithching to Night shift next month.

I agree with Kristina! Take some Benadryl. It aint gonna hurt. 50-75 mgs will knock you out quicker than Mohammed Ali!

Good Luck!



I know exactly what you're going through. Ever since my chemotherapy treatment a year or so ago, a whole bunch of stuff is screwy with me (too much to even go into.... I hope it fixed what was wrong because it sure did screw up what was right!). Insomnia was one of the biggies. I was taking Ambien and Ativan (not together of course) for a spell, but they don't recommend that you take them for very long and they weren't really effective anyway.

So now, I take Tylenol PMs. Two before bed. In about 30 minutes I'm drowsy, and I sleep in a cool room with the AC on and a fan to circulate the air. No hangover effect in the morning.... I have taken as many as three... that leaves me groggy. One isn't quite enough to ensure uninterrupted sleep. My problem wasn't really falling asleep, though, it was staying asleep.

I agree. Warm milk is pure, unadulterated nastiness.


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