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Difficulty falling back to sleep in the middle of the night


Princess5
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I'm 44, maybe premenopausal.  I used to sleep a lot when younger. Sometimes I fall asleep quick sometimes not so.  I usually wake up to go pee in the middle of the night and once I wake up it's hard to go back to sleep.  I'm just tossing and turning for 1 to 2 hours and then slowly fall back asleep.. Can I do anything to help improve the quality of my sleep.

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I listen to a soothing podcast on headphones that are also eye shades. I drift off again really well. Something like this - UK product but there are also US versions 

https://www.snoozeband.co.uk/products/snoozeband™-deluxe-sleep-mask-with-headphones?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwx5qoBhDyARIsAPbMagBTz6WcsThk_uYJ_a2_-XX3gaBNSo4iwq0MHcbXSICgPVLAqL2plg4aAujOEALw_wcB

Edited by Laura Corin
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47 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

I listen to a soothing podcast on headphones that are also eye shades. I drift off again really well. Something like this - UK product but there are also US versions 

https://www.snoozeband.co.uk/products/snoozeband™-deluxe-sleep-mask-with-headphones?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwx5qoBhDyARIsAPbMagBTz6WcsThk_uYJ_a2_-XX3gaBNSo4iwq0MHcbXSICgPVLAqL2plg4aAujOEALw_wcB

I don’t have this device, but I do use podcasts sometimes.

I have to be cool, bordering on cold.

Magnesium helps me only if I’m having leg pains, muscle aches, etc., and sometimes I need potassium too if that is the case.

I don’t take melatonin, but Nature’s Path (?), which Kroger carries, has a bi-layer tablet. One layer kicks in early, and the other layer kicks in later. DS has used it. They also sell quite small doses that might be okay for taking in the middle of the night without it messing you up during the day.

Do you know if your cortisol pattern is off? That can lead to waking at the wrong time.

So sorry you are having difficulty! I get up often (I retain water, and having my limbs at heart level while sleeping let’s my body pump the fluid out better at night), but I usually go back to sleep okay if I can be quick and don’t encounter light). I also sort of hear the rest of the family get their staggered start or end to the day (DH does shift work; no one gets up at the same time either). That makes me sleep lighter at certain points.

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17 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

What dose do you take? Podcasts work to get me back to sleep,  but not waking up at all would be better. @stephanier.1765 too?

I take Xymogen's RelaxMax powder. Most often half a scoop is more than enough for me, but I will escalate to a full scoop if I really want to ensure deep sleep or if I'm struggling a lot with muscle stiffness and cramping. One full scoop contains:

75mg magnesium

2g myo-inositol

500mg taurine

100mg GABA

50mg L-theanine

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21 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

What dose do you take? Podcasts work to get me back to sleep,  but not waking up at all would be better. @stephanier.1765 too?

The type of magnesium is relevant as well, as I understand it.  I've heard that Mag. Glycinate is helpful for this, though I have not found it to be so. I also take Mag. Citrate. which does not stop me from waking up either.

Edited by marbel
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I get up, do something for an hour to reset my brain and go back to sleep. 

I have been dealing with this since the beginning of perimenopause. 

What helps me is realizing that, historically, biphadic sleep is very normal, and that the expectation of eight consecutive hours of sleep is rather modern. It helps me not agonize over it. I read or do housework or play a game on my phone.

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Podcasts.

Psychological self-care - not getting het up about the wakefulness. Not looking at the clock. Understanding that it's quite normal for humans to have two periods of sleep. Understanding that being awake (and even being tired the next day) is not an emergency.

Not going to sleep too early. If I go to sleep any time before 10.30, I will wake up around 3/4. 

 

 

 

 

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My mom found that all her sleep problems went away when she got off caffeine. Her tolerance just dropped as she aged. It was a brutal two week withdrawal though. That apparently included terrible low back pain and days of low energy, not just the typical caffeine withdrawal headache. 

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I've done 2 things.

1) Refuse to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Eventually, the need disappeared.

2) Embrace the biphasic sleep. I pick a good podcast before I go to sleep at night, and get it ready to play.  Then when I wake up, I just listen to it for an hour, or maybe 2 podcasts in 2 hours. I'm currently doing economics, and learning heaps.  It doesn't put me to sleep because I am really biphasic and that is just life. But I don't feel like I'm wasting my time, and it is very relaxing.

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4 hours ago, Katy said:

My mom found that all her sleep problems went away when she got off caffeine. Her tolerance just dropped as she aged. It was a brutal two week withdrawal though. That apparently included terrible low back pain and days of low energy, not just the typical caffeine withdrawal headache. 

Oh yes. Stopping  caffeine by 1pm makes a big difference to me.

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Waking up having to pee can be a symptom of sleep apnea so you'd want to rule that out.

Glycine taken in the evening. It works by preventing a spike in body temp in the very early morning hours.

A programmable cooling pad, such as the ChiliSleep Ooler, that can be set to drop slightly in temperature just before you tend to wake. My husband and one son use this system. In studies, participants outfitted in special temperature-regulated outfits were brought in and out of sleep just by moving temp up or down. Matt Walker, a sleep researcher, did some of these studies which he has discussed in interviews. You can find those on YouTube.

 

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There is a guy on this app called Insight Timer…Stephen Davies. “Fall Asleep Without Even Trying”. 
 

Sounds gimmicky, but it’s actually quite helpful. The premise is recreating or mimicking what the body does as it’s falling asleep. It works really well for me most of the time. But…BUT…It is also super helpful to NOT allow myself to become anxious about not being able to sleep when I think I should be sleeping. Easier said than done—-I know. 
 

So…I use the guided meditation mentioned above paired with an intentional appreciation for the comfort I feel while resting—wherever that may be. Those sleepless hours can easily exacerbate your anxiety. You have to choose gratitude to override that anxiety. It isn’t a magical solution, but it helps me. ymmv 

 

Sleep studies are great if you can get one. Mine revealed that I have a neurological sleep disorder. Just knowing that helped to relieve me of the pressure of trying to get “the perfect night’s rest”. It helps to lower the bar sometimes. If I experience wakefulness, I focus on getting comfortable and enjoying the comfort.
 

When I was younger (and not chronically ill), I was advised to get up and do some mundane work when I couldn’t get back to sleep. Just for a little while and then go back to sleep. That did actually help at the time. 

 

Edited by popmom
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Adding to my above suggestions…

Trazodone has helped many, many people sleep. It is one of those meds that has been around for eons and is proven safe without much side effects. I’m actually considering asking for it at my next appointment. I took it for awhile ages ago. One of my DDs takes it currently and it really helps her.

Edited by popmom
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This may not be advice for you, but it is what has worked for me. After the kids finally started sleeping through, I was early 40s and would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep again. I felt as though my body was just in a new sleep pattern from the kids and I needed to retrain it. So I took an anti-histamine before bed, which caused me to sleep like a log (and was woozy all the next day), but that re-set my sleep pattern. I'm 50 and the only times I sleep badly now is if I'm emotionally in a bad place, like we've had a big fight or something. Apart from that, I go to bed early and get up early and I rarely wake up for long periods in between. 

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13 hours ago, Katy said:

My mom found that all her sleep problems went away when she got off caffeine. Her tolerance just dropped as she aged. It was a brutal two week withdrawal though. That apparently included terrible low back pain and days of low energy, not just the typical caffeine withdrawal headache. 

My tolerance for caffeine has lowered as well. I've also found it takes about 3-4 weeks to reset my system.

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I started doing the same thing when I hit 40. I’ve had to lower my caffeine intake significantly and I take magnesium as well. I also learned not to stress about being awake and to try to read my kindle and stay in bed so I can fall back asleep more quickly. All of these things have helped so much! I went from rarely sleeping through the night to rarely waking up in the middle of the night.

Every now and then I’ll get stuck in a bad sleep pattern again and then I’ll make sure to have a very restful day, try do to relaxing things and start to prepare for bedtime really early in the afternoon. I won’t do anything or watch anything that is too stimulating, skip my evening walk to keep my heart rate down and take a bath and read or watch something cozy. That will usually do the trick and I will sleep well that night and reset my sleeping pattern to sleep through the night again. 
 

 

 

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16 hours ago, stephanier.1765 said:

This! I used to wake a 4 every morning. Sometimes I could go back to sleep. Other times I couldn't. Once I started taking the supplement I almost never wake up, even to go pee. I find I fall asleep better too.

This is so interesting, because DH and I wake up at 4:00, too and can’t figure out why. Most of the time we fall back asleep, but why 4:00am? That is so strange. We’re going to try the magnesium supplement to see if it works.

Edited by KrissiK
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4 hours ago, popmom said:

Adding to my above suggestions…

Trazodone has helped many, many people sleep. It is one of those meds that has been around for eons and is proven safe without much side effects. I’m actually considering asking for it at my next appointment. I took it for awhile ages ago. One of my DDs takes it currently and it really helps her.

My neighbor has been taking Trazadone for sleep for many years. 

I basically take two short naps each night. I sleep for a while, get up for a while, sleep for a while, and then I'm up for the day.  Most days I take a short nap just to refresh (about 30 mins) so I can make it through the rest of the day.  It works at home, but it's hard to travel with others when I'm up during the night, go to bed early, and get up for the day very early.  

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I rarely make it through the night without waking. I used to be so wide awake and get so fretful about it that I would just get up and start my day at 3:00am or the like. Which made me tired the next day, of course, and I would overeat during the day. Then I would be so overtired by bedtime I would enter into another night of disrupted night. 

At some point I decided it was okay not to sleep and that just resting with my eyes closed and letting my body rest even if I was still awake was still beneficial. Once I stopped getting upset about it, it did get better. I did also find that the majority of the time if I did not get up and start my day I would eventually fall back to sleep and get a few more hours and feel pretty well rested even if I had an hour or two of resting while awake. 

I do also take melatonin but I'm not sure how helpful it is. 

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45 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I rarely make it through the night without waking. I used to be so wide awake and get so fretful about it that I would just get up and start my day at 3:00am or the like. Which made me tired the next day, of course, and I would overeat during the day. Then I would be so overtired by bedtime I would enter into another night of disrupted night. 

At some point I decided it was okay not to sleep and that just resting with my eyes closed and letting my body rest even if I was still awake was still beneficial. Once I stopped getting upset about it, it did get better. I did also find that the majority of the time if I did not get up and start my day I would eventually fall back to sleep and get a few more hours and feel pretty well rested even if I had an hour or two of resting while awake. 

I do also take melatonin but I'm not sure how helpful it is. 

So much of this is the same for me.  Mentally, it helps a lot to just accept it and not panic about how exhausted I'll be from not sleeping.  And I find that just resting with my eyes closed really does help an enormous amount as long as my mind isn't racing about something.  

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2 hours ago, KrissiK said:

This is so interesting, because DH and I wake up at 4:00, too and can’t figure out why. Most of the time we fall back asleep, but why 4:00am? That is so strange. We’re going to try the magnesium supplement to see if it works.

One of the things that I read that made sense to me was that it was related to cortisol from the day before. 4:00 is when you're affected by unresolved stress.

Magnesium did help me with that. Also, morning walks. There's science behind it.

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2 hours ago, Kassia said:

So much of this is the same for me.  Mentally, it helps a lot to just accept it and not panic about how exhausted I'll be from not sleeping.  And I find that just resting with my eyes closed really does help an enormous amount as long as my mind isn't racing about something.  

A sleep specialist one of my kids saw said that lying quietly, resting and not worrying about actually falling asleep, but idly thinking pleasant thoughts (not drumming up pleasant thoughts to think about, more like daydreaming) was just about as restful as sleep. The key was to not lie there panicking about not getting enough sleep, and not to worry about other stuff. Of course it can take effort to stop intrusive thoughts. 

When I was a kid, my mother basically said the same thing. She never told me to go to sleep, and I've actually never understood the instruction "go to sleep" because people can't necessarily control that. But people can rest, and rest can often lead to sleep (not always). 

When I worked odd shifts, I'd take an afternoon rest listening to very calm music and always felt refreshed after, even if I didn't fall asleep. 

Now, I struggle with the intrusive thoughts when I wake in the middle of the night. I wouldn't mind the waking up if I could relax and rest. 

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24 minutes ago, marbel said:

A sleep specialist one of my kids saw said that lying quietly, resting and not worrying about actually falling asleep, but idly thinking pleasant thoughts (not drumming up pleasant thoughts to think about, more like daydreaming) was just about as restful as sleep. The key was to not lie there panicking about not getting enough sleep, and not to worry about other stuff. Of course it can take effort to stop intrusive thoughts. 

When I was a kid, my mother basically said the same thing. She never told me to go to sleep, and I've actually never understood the instruction "go to sleep" because people can't necessarily control that. But people can rest, and rest can often lead to sleep (not always). 

When I worked odd shifts, I'd take an afternoon rest listening to very calm music and always felt refreshed after, even if I didn't fall asleep. 

Now, I struggle with the intrusive thoughts when I wake in the middle of the night. I wouldn't mind the waking up if I could relax and rest. 

First, my mom was also huge on "just rest". When I was young I thought this was because she was desperate to have a break from me at nap time by any means possible, even when I was whining that I wasn't sleepy; but now I think she was on to something bigger. 

Second, these days you can use Youtube videos or (probably) apps to do Yoga Nidra or NSDR (Non Sleep Deep Rest), which is essentially that same thing. They'll talk you through relaxing, and then just floating around in that daydream or liminal, hypnogogic state for various periods of time, with or without a little "wake up!" at the end.

Finally, I, too, spend time pondering what it means to "go to sleep." Boy howdy, I love thinking about those implications and experimenting with stages of consciousness .... Right before I read this thread I was listening to a podcast discussing meditation and conscious/aware sleep which is when the light of consciousness penetrates even beyond the dream state (as in lucid dreaming) into the state of sleep itself for perpetual mindfulness. All of which makes it more interesting to wake up in the night because it means I get to have a little adventure.

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48 minutes ago, GailV said:

Second, these days you can use Youtube videos or (probably) apps to do Yoga Nidra or NSDR (Non Sleep Deep Rest), which is essentially that same thing. They'll talk you through relaxing, and then just floating around in that daydream or liminal, hypnogogic state for various periods of time, with or without a little "wake up!" at the end.

I tried several of those, and found them so stressful! 🤷‍♀️ I don't know why but that method has never worked for me. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/17/2023 at 9:15 PM, sassenach said:

I apologize for bringing this thread back up, but I bought this stuff and oh my word, it really works. I first started taking a magnesium supplement after reading this thread, and it did work, but then I added this cream and I sleep more deeply and don’t wake up at all. Honestly, I am amazed because things like this never work for me.  Thanks!

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Andrew Huberman’s podcasts lately are all about sleep. Very interesting. It’s a lot about the science of circadian rhythms. And how important light, sunlight is. Some of it I already knew, but I learned some new things, too. 
 

We have been using candles at night and no overhead lighting. 
 

And these in lamps we leave on overnight 

hooga Sleep Light Bulb, Blue Light Blocking Amber Night Light. 1600K Sleep Aid Emits Only 0.06% Blue Light for Healthy Sleep. Baby Nursery Light. 1W LED, 7W Replacement 4-Pack https://a.co/d/j4XQEf0

Edited by popmom
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