Can't fall asleep quickly

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tzhu07, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. tzhu07 macrumors regular


    Nov 12, 2008
    I've noticed this sleeping problem I've had for years.

    I can only fall asleep quickly if I'm dead tired.

    Anything less and it takes me an hour or more of just laying in bed. It becomes a complete waste of time, not to mention incredibly boring to just lay there.

    Are different people just hard-wired differently when it comes to sleep?
  2. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    In the last 5 years my wife (58) has had issues falling asleep. Based on my discussion with her, it has to do with not shutting her brain off when she lays down, still thinking about events, things to do, things that bother her, etc. She has medicine, I think it's trazadone, that sometimes helps. I have always been pretty luck in this regard. I lay down and brain auto goes to neutral. Even when I'm thinking about stuff, the sleep que takes over and it all fades away for a good night sleep.
  3. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
  4. ThisBougieLife macrumors 68000


    Jan 21, 2016
    SF Bay Area, California
    I don't usually have a problem falling asleep initially, but sometimes I wake up in the early morning and can't get back to sleep, which sucks.

    But if I do have a problem falling asleep initially, I find that reading before-hand helps. There's something about reading before bed that can have me nodding off.
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Agree, but a book not a tablet!

    I'll send you some videos by our technical manager. That will send you off. ;)
  6. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Breath deeply but slowly through your nose and out through your mouth and try and keep your focus on your breathing. You'll be asleep in no time.
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Reading is a very good way of helping yourself to fall asleep.

    I'd also suggest no distractions - such as TVs, iPads, or iPhones in the bedroom. I'm never online in the room where I sleep.

    Now, some people are naturally night owls - I am, myself - whereas others are the proverbial larks. Irrespective of that, owls can still sleep as long as they have cut further distractions to a minimum.

    Mind you, needless to say, stress and worry are sleep inhibitors - they key is to try to switch off your mind if at all possible, ad allow yourself the luxury of deep sleep.

    A nap at an earlier tome of day can be helpful.
  8. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    I have never slept much in my entire life- since I was a baby. I can only manage about 5, maybe 6 hours most of the time. The thing is, I wake up perfectly rested and can fall asleep usually pretty easily these days, but that hasn't been the case. When I'm asleep, I can sleep through a marching band.

    People do have different biological clocks- some people require more or less sleep, some people stay up late, others wake up early.

    The main question I would ask you is besides the "inconvenience" of taking at least an hour to fall asleep, do you feel rested in the morning?

    Generally there are two major problems regarding falling asleep:
    1) Anxiety and/or Depression - Do you find yourself worrying about things that happened in the day or what is going to happen in the next?
    2) Proper Sleep Hygiene - Are you winding down your evening, shutting lights off, avoiding electronics and excessive stimulation at least an hour before bedtime?

    Stress relieving activities, exercise, good diet (esp. avoiding sugar and caffeine in the evening), and winding down your evening is a good place to start. There are a number pharmaceutical solutions out there, though as a pysch PharmD I wouldn't recommend many of them to most people, especially if this is a chronic issue. Many of them tolerance forming, potentially addictive, lose their efficacy within ~2 weeks, and actually interfere with the sleep cycle and obtaining a meaningful rest. There are however some good options out there for people with chronic insomnia, especially with difficulty falling asleep.
  9. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2015
    A sleep 'noise' generator can be helpful. Some have multiple effects such has white noise, flowing brook, train traveling etc... Or simply, fan noise, from one you already may have.
  10. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Not really, although it concerns me.

    Actually this happened to me this morning! Woke up at 4am which in itself is not all the unusual, but I laid there for an hour and did not fall back a sleep. So I went out to join my wife, who was pulling another all nighter. She finally fell asleep and got a few hours , but she is definitely sleep deprived and a primary reason she has a short fuse. Yes, she talks to the Dr about it. A couple years ago she started using a sleep apnea machine which, when she falls a sleep keeps her from snoring.
  11. tzhu07 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 12, 2008
    Many things you guys said are unfortunately true about me:

    - I stare at displays right before going to bed (with no winding down)
    - I tend to worry about many things (most of which I have little to no control over)
    - I don't have a good diet, nor do I exercise
    - My mind seems to race at 100MPH when I'm laying down, and I can't put the brakes on it
  12. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Talk to a Dr about this, changes in lifestyle or medication may help.The big key is putting the brain in neutral, stop thinking about **** that worries you or what you are going to do tomorrow when you lay down. Yes, I realize this is easy for me, someone who does not experience this problem, to say. :p

    When I used to study for a test, sometimes I'd go to sleep thinking about what I was studying, as in reviewing stuff I was memorizing. That was a big mistake!! I'd fall asleep and dream all night about studying, but what I studied in my dream was all wrong, lol!
  13. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Try regular exercise, it usually helps quite a bit. At least, it works wonders for me.
  14. mikeka macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2013
    I've just returned today from a sleep specialist recommended by my doctor and stumbled on this topic. I've had sleep problems for the past two decades. I am in my sixties. Either it's hard to fall asleep initially or (most often) I wake several times during the night and find it hard to get back to sleep as my mind takes off and loops the most mundane things over and over. I am fit, a non-smoker, exercise daily, drink no caffeine, and eat healthy food. Unfortunately all that is not enough for me to get a restful night's sleep. I have tried prescription and OTC drugs and dislike them all. Ugh .....
    I have to say that 420 does help a bit but is not a complete solution for me.

    Here's what the doc recommends (and he said it will take several months to 'retrain' my body):
    > Bed is only for sleeping or sex. No TV, no reading. Should be dark. I removed TV from the bedroom years ago but do like to read before sleep. Doc said read in another room before bedtime and when you get drowsy go to bed.
    > If you do wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep get up and do something. Do not lay there tossing and turning.
    > No naps during the day. If you're burned out the next day avoid the nap and do something .... take a walk or do some other activity as hard as that might be.
    > No alcohol and he stressed zero. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week but will give that up.
    He did say that after I've been 'retrained' it would be OK to imbibe moderately.
    > Right after waking up and before breakfast go outside and walk one block to get sun on your body to improve the circadian rhythm. I told him there's plenty of light coming in the windows of my home but he feels it's important to be outside however briefly and let the sun's rays hit you first thing in the morning.

    Hope this helps (and I hope it helps me!) :)
  15. heehee, Jan 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016

    heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    I don't have a problem falling asleep, but I usually wake up in the middle of the night.

    Exercising and diet helps a lot.

    Try slow deep inhale through your nose with your belly rising up, exhale through nose and belly going down. Most people when taking a breath, breaths into the chest. It takes a bit of time to get it right, but it'll eventually come naturally.

    Edit: do you take naps?
  16. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
    Op, this is not a recommendation. I'm just posting about my personal experience.

    I have terrible sleep issues but it's under control with Ambien. It's definitely isn't for everyone and has side effects, but it has helped me considerably.
  17. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    - Watch Bob Ross' "The Joy of Painting"

    - Download "A Deus" from the Grandia II soundtrack.

    - Listen to Sade or Astrud Gilberto at night.

    - Watch Full Body Massage (1995) on YouTube.

    - Watch a boring Chris Nolan film like Interstellar (2014)

    - Take multivitamins before sex.

    - Buy a medical marijuana card.

    Watching and listening to Bob Ross while my TV is on sleep mode usually gets it done for me within the first 15 minutes.
  18. ProjectManager101 Suspended


    Jul 12, 2015
    OK, you suffer from anxiety, a mild one. Try this...
    Train your body to sleep at 10, 11. Remember is better to sleep a lot an early, you have to tell that yourself.
    The things you have to do, WRITE THEM DOWN! 99% of your anxiety is remembering not to forget the things you have to do. Write them down and TAKE CARE OF THEM TOMORROW MORNING, they can wait.
    Then, you can listen to some mantras once in a while, that music cleans your mind so fast.
    Pray, say: Thank you God for this day, for taking care of me, thank you for helping me out and be with me tomorrow to resolve al the issues.
    Do not eat before going to bed, at least 2 hours prior, drink water in between. Digestion will keep you awake.

    Now... while in bed.... imagine you are floating in an sphere, like in the street, you are floating and you can flote in space, around earth.... ZZzzzzzzz.....
  19. Foggydog macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2014
    Left Coast
    Perhaps I'm in the minority, but usually within a minute or two after lying down, I am asleep. I have even set the music to play for as little as 3 minutes and never hear it turn off. Now in the winter months, I do find myself going to bed much too early because it is dark. Then I often wake up as early as 3-4 am and that sucks. When spring comes around, I will go to bed around 10 and wake up about 5-6.
  20. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I take melatonin sometimes and use

    But if you've been worrying like that for years, maybe it's best to try a therapist.
  21. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Same... particularly in the summer, as i also tend to drink allot more too (u just gotta look at how many 2 liter coke bottle there are in the fridge to know) . if its not too hot during the day, i can often sleep sometimes at is the only time i can really. I started driving bottled water too.

    Usually if i lie down, i only get up again 5 minutes later.. but if i can fall asleep, i'll go to sleep ASAP as i have trouble reading books or anything, i just wanna go to bed..

    Other times, every night pretty much, i stay up.... I'm a 'night-owl' so i tend to enjoy the nightlife more and when i can, sleep sometimes during the day... Very rarely can ever i sleep every-night, but not impossible.
  22. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    Welcome to the party pal. Go to a sleep doctor if you can. Try tylenol PM or ZZZZZquil to take the edge off. Or play with yourself, if you're male.
  23. Strider64 macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2015
    Suburb of Detroit
    I always tell myself sleep is over rated anyways and it seems to work for me most of the time. :) Seriously, ever since I used to work midnights (I did that for about 7 years), I take the little sleep when I can where I can. I now can catch some ZZZs watching TV and that was something I was never able to do before working midnights. Thank God I don't work midnights anymore, but it was a learning experience. The hardest time of the year was Spring/Summer when people would be cutting their grass, shouting across the yards to the neighbors or construction during the work week (you'll be surprised how many people remodel or build things). I can fall asleep if I'm extremely tired if there are even a bunch of people talking.
  24. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    get some drowsy tablets,That will put u to sleep in seconds.
  25. caoimhin macrumors member


    May 11, 2006
    Each of these is a great piece of advice.

    I have sleep problems for which I've tried all sorts of solutions, from Ambien, to melatonin, to valerian, to l-tryptophan, etc.

    Ambien has always worked, but it's a diabolical medication that I wouldn't recommend. Too many strange side effects. However, it has helped with jet lag, and times when my sleep schedule is completely opposite where it should be.

    If you find you need a supplement to help you sleep, have a chat with your doctor. Ask his/her thoughts on things like melatonin before jumping to prescription medications like Ambien or Lunesta.

    I recommend the Calm app, which does some guided mindfulness meditation exercises to try to quiet your mind. We (people who care enough about technology to be posting here) tend to be very active consumers of information, seeking constant stimulation. That can be extremely disruptive at bed time. Calm has helped me clear my thoughts and get in a good mental state for sleep.

    I would also download f.lux for your Mac, and use the night feature on iOS 9.3 when it is released. I find this to be helpful earlier in the evening.

    Another great tip. You should try to be as active as possible during the day, so your body wants to rest, and gives your brain as little say as possible in the matter. Even if you are just taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, you should notice a difference in the quality of your sleep.

    Most importantly, establish a pattern in your day. I find it astonishingly difficult to wake up any earlier than I need to. If I have no obligations until the afternoon, there is a strong impulse to sleep until shortly before that obligation. That takes some willpower and practice, but consistently waking up at the same hour helps you feel tired at the correct hour.

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