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Yes night time is not a friend of people with GAD. What works for me is listening to a podcast or doing a guided relaxation when the thoughts appear. Most times I lift my hand and I say "stop" meaning I won't go there and it works. Change the subject, read a book, do something else. This is a technique that I've learnt with Cognitive Therapy the only thing that works for GAD.
Obsessing about something or not is a choice and one can choose not to do it. It takes time and effort though. Usually the obsession is there to distract ourselves from things that matter or feelings that are too difficult to handle like sadness.
It's an automatic response to something that troubled us in the past, and although the root might not be there anymore, the response has life of it's own. It's a cozy habit that we know and believe it or not, it can be more comforting than facing new challenges.
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I find that I too cant sleep at night. I get really moody and stay awake thinking about things for hours. The other night I took a vistiril AND a xanex. I was unable to sleep for another 4 hours then slept for 6. I hate doing that as I have two kids but I start to get really uncomfortable in my own body. I also fine that when I start to get anxiety or panic attacks I feel COLD...Anyone lese feel that? I hate the night time and in past before kids had a night job so I was up and out till morning. I am not scared of dark or anything it just seems that as night draws near so does my anxiety! GRR....
I recently read many people who suffer from insomnia have a GABA deficiency. Without the the GABA our brains cannot shut down very well.
So I started to look into GABA supplements. Now it appears there are many who believe GABA cannot be absorbed as a supplement without the aid of vitamin B6.
I've been told by a nurse that unless you're a vegan you should get enough GABA through your diet.
Therefore it's my conclusion Vitamin B6, which is already known to help with anxiety, is what's missing to a good night's rest.
I have not yet started a VB6 yet, I seem to be doing better just by adding exercise to my daily routine for now.
Things that have worked for me:
I do not like to take sleep aids either. I have two small children & I like to be attentive if they need me in the middle of the night.
Meditation audio used with headphones
Getting up with a little light & and mapping something out on paper... be it the weeks food menu, goals, coming up with a new schedule to fit something new in for the day etc.
Well I've been doing a bit better with this... been trying the reading (actually found some books I haven't read laying around haha) and I've actually been writing in a journal again. I have this strange paranoia about people finding my journal though... its strange to feel the need to hide your journal when you live alone LOL. Oh well... it seems to be working for the most part. There are still some days it's bad, but considerably less. I'm sure the exercise is helping too. Oh and I've tried to stick to a more strict sleep schedule, maybe that's helping? Hmm... I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, it's working for now haha.
I listen to audio books on my iPod and it usually works great. One of the best is Fear and Other Uninvited Guests by Harriet Lerner. It was listening to this book that I determined I have anxiety and some suggestions on how to deal with it. Also, I listen to soft piano music which I never listen to otherwise. Still haven't seen a doctor so I guess I am trying to treat this with exercise and ????
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I always have trouble getting to sleep. It takes me a good hour to 2 hours to finally pass out, and then I wake up every few hours after that. I am constantly tired and on edge. Most of my anxiety at night stems around work.
I sometimes drink chamomile tea, or take xanax if its real bad (but I dont like to rely on meds). I honestly haven't found a way to stop it, I just deal with it I guess and as a result my physical health is going down the tubes. I'm going to start seeing a therapist who is studied in ACT therapy.
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I have been pretty tired lately so I really haven't had to many problems. My daughter on the other hand who sometimes sleeps with me. Her dad is works nights, says that i shake at night. Anyone ever experience that. I don't know that I am doing it, but it actually work her up.
Well I've been focusing more on my breathing for the past few nights. It's actually been working a bit. I turned off the music too. Something I thought worked so well may have been making it worse. I think it depends on my mood really.
Last night was really bad, mostly because of the clunky noisy heat in the building, I got up about 5 times to turn my heat up and down to try and make it stop, but I think it was the neighbors heat doing it haha... so I took a little trip to France in my head. I thought to myself, I have the ability to think whatever I want, why not take advantage of it. So I did... It was... strange. Haha.
I've been journaling during the day, trying to take care some of the big daily issues so I don't have those to worry about at night, maybe that's been helping too.
And I wish my kitties were still cuddly at night, they seem to have grown out of it. Petting them really does calm me down. We used to fall asleep together when they were kittens.
I know what you mean about the breathing thing. My mom is convinced that meditation is the cure for all my ailments, and that I just need to focus on my breathing. Well, when I do that I start feeling like I'm going to suffocate, so it's not very relaxing.
I like the repeating a phrase idea. Kind of like replacing the bad repetitive thought with a positive one. I think I'll try that :)
I agree with the journal part as well. I have the same difficulties, we have brains that work in that cyclic pattern that is part of our anxiety. It is an obcessive part that we try to figure out the answer or solve the problem etc.. Sometime when my mind is racing the breathing helps, but then I focus to much on that and then think something is wrong with it and start hyper ventilating...lol I know it sounds crazy, but I do. So sometimes what I do is repeat a phrase in my head that is comforting. Okay I know this sounds childlike but is works for me, "Jesus loves me"...or even sing the song. Or "I love you Stephen (hubby)". I also play white noise example "thunder storm" "rain" "waves" etc... and that helps me alot. I also pray alot when that happens about what is going through my mind. I hope that helps and dont laught to loud at me.
recently this issue has gotten worse for me. it's comforting to see that other people go through the same things and to see them use the same tools gives assurance that these methods can and do work.
when i get into the mode of obsessive thoughts, it's paralyzing and i can't pull myslef out of bed (or don't want to). so i try to focus on my breathing, when i breath in I expand my belly, when i breath out my belly flattens.
and if that doesn't work, then journaling really is a big help.i have a notebook and pen next to my bed. writing it down is like i'm emptying the thoughts onto paper.
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That's a good point about your dogs/cats. I was a lot more worried about something happening when I slept, an intruder or a fire. I've found that I rely alot on my cat's reactions. She's very talkative, and has very distinct vocal reactions when someone knocks at the door, or if something doesn't seem right to her. And sometimes just snuggling up to the cat, and petting her helps calm some anxiety - it feels therapeutic.
I have trouble getting my mind to be quiet, so I usually stretch for a few minutes before getting into bed, then make sure I'm all sorts of cozy, put on some music for a while, or make up little "day"dreams to get me to lay still enough that eventually I fall asleep. But if that doesn't work, I get out of bed for 10-15 minutes and then give it another shot. I listen to relaxation/meditation tapes or chanting, or I draw something that has to do with the repetitive thought so it's out of my head for a while, or journaling (I try to write as fast as I can and try not to think about what I'm writting or read it until the next day so I can read it with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective to see if there's anything I can do to ease that worry before it gets out of control again). If that doesn't work, I read a book until I can't focus my eyes anymore then I usually fall asleep pretty fast after that. I find that the more routine I make the whole going to bed thing the less anxious I am about it and the easier it is to fall asleep.
You mentioned you get worried about fires and whatnot.... I used to stay up until someone woke up in the morning before I'd feel safe enough to get some sleep. What helped me with that is my little guard dog. She reacts to eeeeeeeeeeeevery noise, so I find that watching her moods and reactions when I'm getting over anxious helps calm me down, because if she's calm and sleeping, then I'm more likely to be like "oh, well, the guard dog is sleeping, it must be safe here". You mentioned cats. Maybe you could try that with them? Annnnnnnnywho, I've rambled enough. Night!!
Edited by: JIVINGMONKIES at: 12/14/2008 (00:45)
I have a hard time with that too. I usually can keep myself distracted, and all my many thoughts diverted with daytime activities. But that little gap when I lay down and am left alone with myself and my own thoughts usually kills chances of getting to sleep.
Sometimes what helps me is to listen to music, or a book on tape or something that's a little droning, but that I won't be so involved in that I won't fall asleep because of that, and sometimes that gives me a way to unwind.
I have the same exact issue! Usually my anxiety peaks around bedtime. I usually talk everything out with my boyfriend, and take some nightquil. By the time it hits me, my boyfriends had enough of my chatter, and I'm sick of thinking about it and pass out. If that doesn't work I turn to a "green" trick I learned in highschool, if you catch my drift. Though, I don't reccomend doing it if you don't already.
I'm sorry that you are having such a rough time. I sometimes have trouble making my mind slow down enough to go to sleep, too! One of the things that I do when that happens is that I journal. You have probably noticed that when we try not to think about something, it usually causes us to think about it more. So, instead of being caught in that cycle, I usually get up and write about whatever that's bothering me or keeping me awake in my journal. Usually, I'm able to fall asleep afterwards. I hope that this helps.
Keep us posted on how you are doing.
Hmm I thought I had put this my post but it seems I left it out, I do take vistaril at night (I believe its a type of antihistamine...) prescribed for my anxiety (ha...) but I take it at night since it does make me sleepy. I used to take benadryl (works a lot better) since it makes me pass out but, well I don't want to take the two together. Unfortunately sometimes, like last night, it was bad enough that I managed to stay awake through the sleepiness which just made me horribly irritable. I'm really weary of regular sleep aids, mostly because I want to be able to wake up at night without any problems (weird fears of fires, people breaking in, cats knocking stuff over, etc), plus I've found if something knocks me out too hard I don't move enough in my sleep and I wake up really really sore.
I'll have to try the breathing more. I was doing well with it for a while, during the day. It's just really hard for me at night for some reason. Maybe I'll have to practice more during the day.
Or maybe I'll just have to get up for a little bit when it happens. I usually don't have anything to do the next day. Or not anything that pushing my sleep off by a half an hour will hurt. Just to distract myself and make myself more tired. I usually go to bed much earlier than I need to when I have things I need to do anyways.
I also have had those problems for many years. I now try to meditate although sometimes I am successful and sometimes not...I also have taken sleep aids when everything else fails.
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My suggestion is to focus on your breath. Start taking slow, deep breaths. When you inhale, think of a word like "Peace." When you exhale, think of a word like, "Calm." It can really work if you give it a chance. Slow, deep breathing forces your body to switch from anxiety mode.
I think we might have brought it up before but I usually read a book. It has to enthralling enough that it distracts me completely. If that fails I take xanax or benedryl to make me sleepy. I am careful with the xanax but if I wake up again and am still bothered I know I can take another benedryl after 4 hours.
I tried to see if there were any topics like this started already and I didn't see any... I was just wondering if this was a problem for anyone else. Well that's kind of a dumb question, I'm sure it is... I'm just wondering how everyone else deals with it?
It was so bad last night I just wanted to scream! I kept telling myself to stop but I couldn't tear myself away from the thoughts that I kept mulling over enough to actually get to sleep. I'd try thinking about something else (usually I'll just think of something completely abstract, monkeys driving cars, elephants blowing bubbles... I don't know) but that usually doesn't work either. How do you all calm your mind down at night?
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