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Can't sleep... at all


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I haven't slept in ages... or at least it feels like it. I've tried to log my sleep patterns and after six weeks, I realized I fall asleep after 3am 6 out of 7 nights a week. I've had the month of October off from work so I can sleep in but I feel like this is only hurting me because I fall asleep after 3am and wake up at 9am. I am on day 4 of my second Whole30 (really day 23 just had a few slips so I've had to start over).

 

I'm an anxious person and I've had some stressful things happen over the past few weeks but I don't feel this is the reason I'm awake at night. I just feel wide awake as I lay there!

 

I've tried everything : meditation, camomile tea before bed, over-the-counter sleep aid, therapeutic vibration music, reading before bed, no tv/computer before bed. I never have caffeine after 9am. I don't eat a late dinner. I count slowly to 1000. My room is pitch black. I get in bed around 9:30pm. 

 

My dad is a doctor and we both agree that I shouldn't take a real sleep medication at the age of 23. His idea was to have a small glass of wine with dinner but since I can't have alcohol on Whole30, I'm out of ideas. Does any one have any suggestions? 

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Alcohol is a bit of a myth, while it may help you GET to sleep, it disrupts your sleep patterns further into the night.

 

Check these articles by Whole9 South Pacific!

 

3 Ways to Improve your sleep before lunch:  http://whole9life.com/2014/09/improve-your-sleep/

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep After Lunch: http://whole9life.com/2014/09/improve-sleep-quality/

 

For me personally, if I eat ANY sort of sugar (fruit, coconut, wine when not on Whole30) within a couple hours of bed, my sleep is totally disrupted. 

 

I also love my eye mask, my ear plugs, my comfy duvet and a cool room.

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Before I began my Whole 30, I experienced poor sleep for 35+ years.

 

During my FUBARed W30, I've experienced a couple of nights where I stayed up MUCH later than I should have, due to stress.

 

Here's what helps me:

  • Melatonin (I started at 3 mg and increased the amt until I found what works for me--I fall asleep 30 to 45 mins after taking 10 mg)
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene (comfortable room temp, right amount of blankets, right kind of pj's, no light pollution in the room, no annoyances such as weird sounds or lights shining into my eyes through a gap in the curtains, etc.)
  • Allow for 8 hours of sleep
  • Have a schedule and stick to it, every day, even on weekends
  • No caffeine after 3 pm
  • Limit the use of electronic devices for an hour before bedtime

If my boyfriend and I are going out, activity and second hand exposure to nicotine will "wind me up" and affect my sleep.

 

I live in a remote area where I can do this, and I realize not everyone has that opportunity, but... Other than my W30, more than anything else what helped me with my sleep was to go camping in a primitive area, without a generator or solar panel, where there are no RV hookups, and be off grid for a week. During that week, go to sleep when it's dark, get up when it's daylight, and have no exposure to anything electric/electronic.

 

Something else to consider: Do you work out? If so, what time is your workout? 

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Ladyshanny, Thank you for the articles. I didn't think about not eating sugar before bed. Since I've been on Whole30, I don't have any fruit/sugar after dinner so that my mind doesn't think it's "dessert" but I will keep that in mind for the future.

 

83501Maria, I tried Melatonin back in high school and it gave me weird dreams and dizziness - it was so strange. I already follow your other suggestions.... I hadn't thought about camping though so maybe I'll try it one weekend! 

 

Physibeth, I'd be happy to share - just remember that I have the month of October off of work so my schedule is kinda shifted time-wise. I allow myself to sleep in since I fall asleep soo late (maybe that's my problem?) Anyways, I am one for a routine so here's what a typical day looks like for me (it doesn't vary much):

 

9:00-ish : Black coffee with an egg on top of cubed sweet potato (sautéed in ovoo) and avocado cubes, some tuna, a handful of almonds

10:30 : An hour of exercise - rotate between spin, run, weights, cardio, etc.

1:00-ish : egg and tuna on top of a bed of lettuce and tons of veggies with ovoo and basalmic, guac

4:00 : apple with a few avocado slices or banana with almond butter

5:00 : occasional yoga or walk

7:00-ish : a piece of fish with ovoo and spices, veggie casserole of some sort

 

 

Once I start work again in November, the 10:30am exercise will move to 5:30am, but the food and meal time will stay about the same. 

 

Let me know what you think!

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Ladyshanny, Thank you for the articles. I didn't think about not eating sugar before bed. Since I've been on Whole30, I don't have any fruit/sugar after dinner so that my mind doesn't think it's "dessert" but I will keep that in mind for the future.

 

83501Maria, I tried Melatonin back in high school and it gave me weird dreams and dizziness - it was so strange. I already follow your other suggestions.... I hadn't thought about camping though so maybe I'll try it one weekend! 

 

Physibeth, I'd be happy to share - just remember that I have the month of October off of work so my schedule is kinda shifted time-wise. I allow myself to sleep in since I fall asleep soo late (maybe that's my problem?) Anyways, I am one for a routine so here's what a typical day looks like for me (it doesn't vary much):

 

9:00-ish : Black coffee with an egg on top of cubed sweet potato (sautéed in ovoo) and avocado cubes, some tuna, a handful of almonds

10:30 : An hour of exercise - rotate between spin, run, weights, cardio, etc.

1:00-ish : egg and tuna on top of a bed of lettuce and tons of veggies with ovoo and basalmic, guac

4:00 : apple with a few avocado slices or banana with almond butter

5:00 : occasional yoga or walk

7:00-ish : a piece of fish with ovoo and spices, veggie casserole of some sort

 

 

Once I start work again in November, the 10:30am exercise will move to 5:30am, but the food and meal time will stay about the same. 

 

Let me know what you think!

Maybe we can offer some suggestions based on your meals. While sleep problems can come from a variety of sources, it's entirely possible that you are not sleeping because you are hungry.

 

So - for example:

 

Within one hour of waking up : two to four eggs egg on top of cubed sweet potato (sautéed in ovoo) and avocado cubes, some tuna, a cup or two of sauteed greens

Just before exercise: some protein and fat (hard boiled egg is good)

10:30 : An hour of exercise - rotate between spin, run, weights, cardio, etc.

Just after working out: some lean protein and carbs (tuna and sweet potato, for instance)

1:00-ish : plenty of egg and tuna on top of a bed of lettuce and tons of veggies with ovoo and basalmic, guac - you can't imagine how big a salad has to be to fill you up on Whole30 - or maybe you can, if you're eating out of a mixing bowl

4:00 : Hungry? Eat a meal, or at least a mini-meal including protein and fat.

5:00 : occasional yoga or walk

7:00-ish : a piece of fish with ovoo and spices, veggie casserole of some sort - good! Eat plenty!

 

 

Final note: don't drink caffeine before breakfast, but instead after, since it is an appetite suppressant.

 

This may or may not have any impact on your sleep difficulties. I have struggled with sleep for decades, and I found that Whole30 helped point me to a health practitioner who got me on supplements that were appropriate for me - and now I sleep!

 

I wish you the best, eat up, and let us know how it goes.

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Maybe we can offer some suggestions based on your meals. While sleep problems can come from a variety of sources, it's entirely possible that you are not sleeping because you are hungry.

 

 

Thank you AmyS for taking the time to help me. I will try to eat more ...  I do not necessarily feel hungry but maybe you're right! It can't hurt to try :)

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Amy's suggestions are spot on. I have one more thing you can try. I personally feel better when my starchy vegetables are later in the day. I would try moving your morning sweet potato to meal 2 or meal 3 and maybe even have something starchy at both meals. I have also struggled with my sleep and I have found that when I eat more carbs in the evening I sleep better. Your mileage may vary but it is something to try.

 

I would also say that establishing a sleep schedule may require you to get up regardless of when you fell asleep for a few days. This is something I'm working on myself. 10-6 is pretty ideal time to sleep for most people. There might be something psychological going on when you know you can sleep in the next day. Maybe try setting your alarm a half hour earlier then when you have been typically getting up and try moving it back gradually. If this adds more stress to your insomnia though then by all means keep waking naturally. Do you linger in bed or do you get up when you wake up? Are you waking a lot in the night or just having trouble falling asleep? Something else I've noticed is that if I let myself look at the clock it can add anxiety so I try never to look at the time when I wake in the middle of the night or when I'm having trouble falling asleep.

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I'm with Physibeth on the sleep schedule. I personally require quite a bit of sleep so I have a sleep schedule of 9-6 that exists every single day, weekends included. For about 3 months I maintained that sleep schedule even though I felt extremely lame on Friday and Saturday nights. Once my brain, body, hormones all figured out exactly what sleep they would get, my sleep deepened and I woke up feeling much better (obv Whole30 has helped with that also). Only in the last couple weeks have I started to allow weekend nights to stay up later but I still always get up at 6am, that part is non-negotiable.

I don't believe that everyone is born knowing how to sleep anymore than we are born knowing how to lift weights or swing a bat. It's something that you might have to teach yourself to do but it'll come.

The lack of TV, electronic devices AT LEAST one hour before bed (or better in your case, a couple or three) and NO light in the bedroom. Earplugs if you need them for awhile.

You probably need to defend your sleep hours!

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