What keeps us up?

September 29, 2016

insomniaIt’s reader participation day — and I have a brief question for you.

On those nights when you can’t sleep, what kinds of thoughts keep you awake?

And what do you do to get back to sleep?

Share in the comments, because there’s a lot of wisdom in this bunch. For reals.

And insomnia can be a real hard thing to shake.

Don’t forget to drop by later to see what advice others have. You might find something helpful. You never know.

22 comments on “What keeps us up?
  1. PatU says:

    I have a PHD in Insomnia, a lifetime affair wth this disorder.I’ve done a lot of things to remedy the problem, with little result. There is an interesting book by Dr Jacob who heads up the sleep disorder clinic at Harvard Medical, “Say Goodnight to Insomnia.” A very worthwhile read. I have no trouble falling asleep and often go out in the middle of a word, but I do use some recorded programs as I drift off, hoping to give me more than just a couple of continuous hours. Benadryl, the drug in things like Tylenol PM, gives me a horrible drug hangover and I still wake up. I’ve used Melatonin and had some of the most horrifying nightmare ever. Basically, between my noisy parents and my OB/GYN husband, i have been trained to wake up after just an hour or two, all night long. I understand that I spend too many hours in bed and often awake, but I’m too drowsy to get up. I’m also still very uncomfortable after having major surgery and a frozen shoulder last year, so that disrupts my sleep, too. And then the ruminating starts. Ugh.

  2. I have had trouble with insomnia. The thoughts that keep me awake are usually the things I didn’t get done during the day.
    Another thought that still keeps me awake is if I have to get up very early for something important like a flight, an important meeting etc…
    When I’m in the middle of a manuscript I sometimes lie awake for hours trying to figure out what to write or how to write it better. I never remember the solution in the morning so I keep a notebook next to me. (for dreams too.)
    My solution for insomnia is exercise during the day and checking as much off the to do list as possible.

  3. Donna says:

    This was a problem for me. Money problems were so horrific that I dreaded nights. I knew I would have to try and sleep and all of those thoughts would be there, waiting for me. After a breakdown and subsequent intensive help I realized thoughts are not real. When I wake up now, or if I cannot sleep I plug in my earphones and listen to talks until I fall asleep.
    Money problems still loom, but my attitude toward them are different. Peace has no counterfeit, once you find that life is so much better, There is still a great deal that tries to take my peace, and often it allow the world to interrupt…I am a “naturalman” so I default to ridiculous behavior that I must recognize and then change, But that is part of my path…

  4. When I have sleep problems it’s almost always because someone I love is struggling. It works for me to make a couple of notes of anything I can do, and be ok with knowing there’s a limit. I make sure I’m hydrated, adjust temp, and focus on making all parts of me feel comfort one at a time.

  5. Lately I have been so tired that I sleep fine. Nothing like mental and physical exhaustion to help one sleep! I mostly wake up thinking about some random thing I need to do. If there is a big event I need to plan, or something is eating at me, once I wake up to pee then my brain starts racing! Grrr. Hubby wakes me up EVERY morning to kiss me goodbye (before you say “awwww” he does it at 5:30 am when he leaves, LOL!), and then I start waking up. Call me Snow White. Seriously, sleep disorders are horrible, so I really do add a lot of daily exercise into my leisure plan.

  6. Amber Myers says:

    I just keep my eyes shut and my body eventually gets it. My husband has issues with this though and he has to actually get up and do something before coming back to bed.

  7. Barbara says:

    My bouts of insomnia come and go. If I go more than a couple of nights with little sleep I take an OTC sleep aid, but only half the dose. I have a low tolerance for drugs like that. But after a full nights sleep, I am ready to rock and roll again. If I’m in a situation where I have to be ‘high functioning’ and haven’t had a decent nights sleep I’m really a bitch, so I try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  8. Kimberly says:

    It’s always taken me a long time to fall asleep…but after years on erratic work schedules (i.e. airlines, truck driving), if I don’t take half a Unisom, I won’t get more than 1-3 hours sleep. And even then, it generally takes me 1-2 hours to fall asleep. Reading helps quiet my mind, and if I forgot my pill, I usually just start praying…cuz I might as well make good use of the next few hours. ???? And then midlife had introduced the nights knee pain/arthritis/restless leg/headaches keep me up. Those are Hulu marathon or reading nights. *Giggle*

  9. Daytime naps and inactivity…bad, bad, bad! I eat a small portion of peanut butter and drink a glass of milk. If that doesn’t work I just suffer through the night. I am retired so it doesn’t have that much affect on my life. But I can honestly say I hate it!


    Carol, stop by and read me sometime!

  10. Eli ErT says:

    Ough….. not sure you wanna know…. had a past past that keeps hunting me down from time to time. Whenever it happens, I get up, and get a break… A candle, some happy thought in the middle of the night…. And Life gets back on track…. 🙂

  11. Beth Havey says:

    When I was younger and raising a family, it often took me twenty minutes or so to fall asleep. So I created a story and would add to it night after night. I was the heroine and that helped me fall asleep. As a child I had to rock myself to sleep by singing. Very strange, I know. I would literally sit up in bed and sing musical comedy songs, rocking back and forth until I tired myself out. I made myself stop when I knew I would be living at my aunt’s house in D.C.for two weeks. It wasn’t a hard habit to break. Now, with children raised, I am usually the last person to go to bed. I read until I begin to feel groggy and then I go up to bed where my husband is out! If I can’t sleep, I get up and read. But overall I would say I’m a good sleeper. I do wake up early. Seven o’clock and I’m up. If something is on the schedule earlier, I’ll just wake up.

  12. Jill Conyers says:

    Honestly nothing keeps me up and I don’t wake up until it’s time to get out of bed. No alarm clock needed. It hasn’t always been that way. Ode to meditation or yoga in the evening.

  13. Laura says:

    I’m just about to go to bed – no insomnia please! I have random thoughts pop into my head to keep me from sleeping.

  14. Michelle says:

    Great question-post. Some nights, It seems like every negative emotion/thought and hurtful/bad experience surfaces as I’m trying to sleep. I’ll usually take melatonin, but if I can’t shake the thoughts, I’ll read or watch something on Netflix until I fall asleep.

  15. Elizabeth O. says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from insomnia but there will always be night wherein I just really can’t sleep. Normally that only happens when I’m under a lot of stress or pain. It’s like you can’t even stop your thoughts from flowing and they just prevent you from getting enough sleep at night.

  16. Glenda says:

    Thank God I don’t suffer from insomnia. But my heart goes out to those that do. One of my sisters does suffer from it and it is so stressful for her.

  17. Linda Hobden says:

    Insomnia is not a problem I have experienced personally – I drop off to sleep pretty quickly & awake when the alarm clock goes off! But my husband does suffer- usually he worries about work!- and often reads his kindle in the wee hours to entice sleep ????

  18. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have my moments or nights when I just can’t sleep. I usually have a cup of tea with honey or just warm milk, turn on some calming music. That usually helps me to drift off.

  19. Fatima says:

    For me, it’s thinking about the future or a current situation that has me second-guessing myself. Just last week, I found myself in a similar situation and I couldn’t sleep at night. I would just tell myself to think about all the reasons why I should get some rest and eventually I fell asleep.

  20. DT says:

    Any little thought, tiny anxiety, petty fight can keep me up. It’s really annoying how a small thing triggers a spiral of thoughts.

    — DT | Here I Scribble

  21. Myteenguide says:

    There are many things running in our minds if we can’t sleep. Sometimes, healthy things but most of the times horrible things.

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