Katy: I think you'll be pleased with what keeping a Sleep Diary can do for your anxiety. I forgot to mention that I keep track of any new meds, how they are working or not, and if I'm taken off a med, by whom, and why. If I have an appt the next day, I note that and what time I need to be up and out of the house by. Simple, but it works. If you want or feel compelled to write more, you can.
I've even gotten to the point where I use a symbol like an arrow, i.e., read (arrow) sleep. My brain knows what that means by now. It's a remarkable tool, we just have to learn how to use it to our advantage.
Thank you for the suggestion about how to keep the journal. I never thought about making it so short and simple. Lol. I am truly someone who loves to write -- so I tend to make things much longer than they need to be.
And for the melatonin suggestion: I've used it before and it does well as long as the insomnia isn't from anxiety. I would say probably 80% of the sleepless nights are from plain anxiety. I will try to keep a simple sleep diary and see how I do with that.
You all are wonderful to want to help. I really appreciate your advice.
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Oh, Honey, you don't have to write down anything personal in your Sleep Diary. Just the regular things you do to get ready for bed and sleep. When you hand-write things down on paper, it is like programming a computer. So you can just write something down, like, 'I'm worried about money' without any details. That lets your brain know you have noted it and it is okay to go to sleep. Since I like to read before going to sleep, I write, "I will read for one hour, and then sleep." In an hour, I turn off my reading light and go to sleep.
Send other signals to your brain that it is time for sleep, like turning off the TV and computer an hour before bedtime.
Let us know how you are doing, sweetie. We DO care.
Thanks for that suggestion. I have journaled quite a bit in the past. The process helped me to vent quite a bit and relieve a lot of frustration, but more than once my journals were violated by people in my home and I just quit keeping them. It's been a long long time. I now have two children that are both curious and can read, so I am reluctant to start that process again. As I remember, it did help a lot, but not with my sleeping patterns. Sometimes my thoughts race so fast, I really am not sure what I am thinking. There's no focus to the thoughts, it just manifests mostly in feeling extremely anxious. When that happens, no sleep medication helps at all. The anxiety has to be put down before sleep can come. I haven't really found the point where I can turn it around myself yet. I think if I can recognize a pattern of cause, then I might be able to handle it before it manifests physically...I know journaling would help to identify that cause, however, again I am reluctant because it is a very private process and I know what it felt like to have my journals read behind my back and then confronted with my own writing. I felt extremely violated, embarrassed, and in the end it caused even more anxiety. I think those consequences would be multiplied if the readers of my journal became my children. I'm almost used to feeling this way and have accepted it as part of life, but I do still get frustrated. It would be nice to wake up one day cured. For now, I cope.
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Katydid, welcome to the "I need sleep" team! There is something I recommend for racing thoughts when you are trying to sleep. It is not new, it is proven to work, and it does not involve drugs. It is journaling.
Journaling is a way of recognizing and validating that you do have problems to solve. Writing them down helps you organize your problems along with any solutions you are considering. It gets them into a workable format.
Assign a page to each problem so you have room to write all your thoughts on it, possible solutions and even solutions that seem impossible right now. They might become possible in the future. Set a time frame for the solvable problems. Also write down problems that you have already solved and what you did to solve them. As you record your solutions to your problems you wil see that you are capable of caring for you self!
Then, when you go to bed and the thoughts start swirling you can say to yourself: Stop! I know what I am going to do about that! I have a plan for this! I will take care of that on ...day! It will put your mind at rest so you can sleep. It might take some practice for a while but it will work!
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The book mobile is a service provided by the regular library here. The library the book is coming from is about 20 miles away. But the book mobile will bring it up to the college that is 2 blocks away.
My name is Kate and there are many nights I lie in bed wanting to sleep but my brain is on overdrive. I am a full time student and a single mom. I am probably thinking a minimum of 5 or 6 things at once, but when I can't sleep it's more like so many thoughts they are just bouncing in my head. I have been diagnosed with Panic and Anxiety disorder. I find medication will help me to sleep - anti-anxiety meds, but getting a prescription for anything that works for me is not likely here in WV. So...I do deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation techniques which help some...but rarely actually puts me to sleep. I do notice a difference with regular exercise, but still...I might sleep good for a few weeks and then I'll go usually 3 or 4 days where I don't sleep at all. The first time I can remember not sleeping all night, I was only 4 years old. This has definitely been a lifelong challenge and I do wish there wasn't so much prescription drug abuse here so that maybe a Dr would prescribe what I know for a fact works for me...I'm so tired of being looked at critically by Drs here just because I know what works and really only need to take something once every few weeks or so. I did have one Dr prescribe an anti-anxiety med - 3x a day for 30 days, and wrote it for only 30 pills. I was going through a crisis situation at the time and still had 8 pills left when I went back a month and a half later and the Dr said to me "only 8?" I was like, really? There have been times in another state I was living where the Dr wrote for 90 a month and I'd still have like 80 left at the end of the month...under normal circumstances - not a crisis situation. If I have meds the first night of insomnia, it breaks the cycle and I can sleep the second night. Ok...sorry for venting so much, but it is truly frustrating.
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