Posted by: Kay in Gtown | 2009-09-23

Sleeeep, come to mommy!

Dear CS -
Greetings from your neighbourhood batty, middle-aged cat lady! Hope you and your feline are well.... :) (And a wave to everyone who knows me here, as well!)

I' m struggling on the getting-to-sleep side of nights, (perversely, not on the other end.).I remember you once saying to someone that if they had not fallen asleep within 10-15 minutes, they should get up again and read or do some quiet activity until tired enough to lie down again. What I specifically want to ask, is why is it recommended to do this, rather than simply stay in bed? I often lie in bed feeling too tired (and too warm and snugly) to get up again, but still unable to get to sleep. I’ ve always thought that at least I got some rest, even if not sleep.

I' m currently in a manic episode, and I am trying to get into a daily routine to help stabilise my cycles. Sleep ‘ hygiene’  is the hardest for me. It often takes between 0.5 and 3 hrs to get to sleep, and my total is anything from 2 -11 hrs. Plus there are all those brilliant IDEAS that inevitably arise in the evening, (my bedside notebook is getting full.) My meds are geared towards sedating at night (Seroquel) and I don’ t have sleeping potions, other than the occasional mug of hot milk with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. (I’ m astounded at how much that helps, and it tastes much better than Dormicum. More nutritious, too. Not to mention cheaper (so why won' t the medical aid cover it?  ))

But I digress. Might getting up after 15mins help me sleep better and if so, why is that?

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Our expert says:
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The why for the sleep advice is based on the idea that NOT doing so, builds a sort of conditioned reflex, and automatic expectation of being restless and sleepless in the actual place of bed, rather than one's body and mind assuming that sleep will rapdily and satisfyingly occur there. I suspect most of us have experienced how irresistably drowsy one can feel sitting in front of the TV, where it can be so easy to nod off ( especially with DSTV's nerw devoption to showing and re-showing lousy old films and not providing the new ones they used to ). Then one can grow the habit of feeling drowsy in front of the tv, and by contrast, going to bed and feeling wide-awake there.
If you really feel too comfortable and tired ( which isn't always the same as sleepy, if you've noticed ) while in bed, and reluctant to get up, then one might try reading a boring book right there. The worst is to lie there alarming oneself with the " It's been 3 hours and I'm never going to get to slep at all" thoughts.
The hot milky drinks work both by being satisfying comfort food, but also some of the natural chemicals in milk do help to promote sleep.
Try the getting up until drowsy. If it works for you, fine. If it doesn't --- stay in bed !

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Our users say:
Posted by: Kay in Gtown | 2009-09-23

Thanks very much, CS. I' ll give it a bash.

Reply to Kay in Gtown

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