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Old 01-09-2009, 01:20 PM   #1
Frank Dennis
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Unorthodox Sleep Aid

I've been having trouble sleeping, for quite a long time actually, however I never really considered it a problem, because until I started CrossFit I suppose I wasn't taxing my body enough to notice the difference in the lack of rest.

I've searched the forums for many permuations of "sleep aids," "sleep trouble," etc., and haven't found a thread which addresses my specific issue and intended solution, so please bear with me while I explain the situation, then I'll get to my query.

My specific trouble isn't staying asleep, it's falling asleep. Once asleep, I sleep quite soundly and, on days when I don't have to get up at 6:00am for work, I wake feeling pretty rested, even if I've had a brutal WOD the night before. However, by Thursday or Friday, I'm feeling very run down because I seldom get more than 6.5, sometimes 7, hours of sleep per night. With my schedule, need to be asleep by 10:00pm on weeknights to get 8 hours in.

My room is quite dark when I go to bed; there are no artificial sources of light in my room once I turn out my lamp, my computer isn't in there, and I use my cell as my alarm, so its screen goes dark a couple of seconds after it's closed up. My blinds and curtain are heavy enough that there's no noticable light pollution; there are no artificial lights outside which cast direct light on my window. There are also no artificial sources of sound, apart from the whoosh of air from the central air register.

I've been taking a multivitamin, glucosamin, 4g of fish oil, and a vitamin C supplement (in the form of Emergen-C) since about a month before starting CrossFit. On researching sleep aids, I started taking ZMA a few weeks ago, hasn't really made a difference.

The only time I have in my schedule during which I'm free and my affiliate is open is 7:30pm, so my workout is pretty late. I eat my last meal at about 8:45pm or 9:00pm, which is a 4-block meal usually consisting of 2 cups of milk, a bit of chicken or tuna (sometimes protein powder), EVOO, and a couple blocks worth of raspberries or blueberries.

OK, so here's the thing; years ago I worked as a roadie on lots of different tours, and would spend months at a time on the road, sleeping either on a tour bus or in a hotel room. In that time, I seem to have developed a conditioning for getting to sleep quickly; either the motion of the bus (I can still fall asleep easily in a moving vehicle, but can hardly replicate that at home), or falling asleep watching TV. Which, I do all the time on weekends if I happen to be lounging on the couch watching TV around 10:00pm; nothing gets me to sleep faster. Unfortunately, while I fall asleep quickly this way, I of course don't stay asleep because it's too bright, the couch is uncomfortable, etc.

Now you're probably thinking "well, just put a TV in your bedroom, doofus, what's this post for?" Well, this is where I get all OCD because I want to explore all the options I haven't considered.

I was indeed thinking of buying a TV for my bedroom and getting a timer I could put it and my lamp on, so my room would go dark about half an hour after going to bed. However, before I do this, especially since alot of the sleep-related threads say to cut out TV a couple of hours before bed, has anyone else on here who best fell asleep watching TV found an alternative solution which works well?

I've tried reading myself to sleep, laying quietly in the dark, hot baths before bed, cups of warm milk, moving my last meal up so that I don't eat at least 2 hours before bed (which sacrifices my PWO meal), and of course eliminating TV and PC activity from 7:30pm onward... none of that has worked. I'd prefer not buying a TV just to watch it for ten minutes every night and have it turn itself off (use as a sleep aid would be its only function, when I'm hanging out in my bedroom I'm usually entertaining company ), nor would I like to start on a chemical sleep aid like Ambien, or melatonin, or something, if I can avoid it.

So, does anyone have a solution I haven't considered, or should I just go buy a TV for the budoir?
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:25 PM   #2
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

Try eating something with carbs (peanut butter sandwich) about 20 minutes before going to bed. THe carbs will make you sleepy.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:46 PM   #3
Frank Dennis
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

I'll try that; I'm upping my food intake anyway (per the last new thread I posted)...

I am trying to cut out breads and go as paleo as possible; things which are carb dense seem to be, by definition, not paleo friendly, but does there happen to be something carb-dense and paleo friendly?

If not, a tall glass of milk and a peanut butter sandwich before bed it is.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:52 PM   #4
Donald Lee
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

Is there any electronic device near your head when you sleep? Try moving every electronic device as far away as possible.

You could also try dimming the lights beginning about half an hour or an hour before you go to sleep. This might help trigger your melatonin.

I'm guessing you do try to relax before you go to bed. If you don't, try to do something relaxing or at least don't try to get a lot in during the late hours.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
Gittit Shwartz
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

I sleep better on buses than in my own bed. I have a two hr ride twice a week and I actually look forward to the refreshing nap. I believe it's the soothing rocking motion and white noise.

You could try some white noise in your room - like TV minus the bright lights. Play a soothing CD or download a white noise track and put it on repeat.

Getting lots of sun exposure on bare skin during the day is one of the best sleep aids I know. That's probably what was going on when you were working as a roadie. If that's not practical for you at present, try supplementing with large doses of vitamin D (several thousand IU's a day of D3, no risk of toxicity there since the body can easily produce 20,000 IU's on its own on a sunny day).
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:07 PM   #6
Tom Gentleman
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

1, 4-Butanediol, IMO.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
Ben Kaminski
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

Stretching before bed is a great habit to get into - you get more flexible and it is very relaxing. Just 5-7 minutes worth is enough to fall asleep more easily for me.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:34 PM   #8
Karin Jonczak
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

How about a white-noise machine?
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:35 PM   #9
Frank Dennis
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
Is there any electronic device near your head when you sleep? Try moving every electronic device as far away as possible.

You could also try dimming the lights beginning about half an hour or an hour before you go to sleep. This might help trigger your melatonin.

I'm guessing you do try to relax before you go to bed. If you don't, try to do something relaxing or at least don't try to get a lot in during the late hours.
I do try to relax before bed, I'll try dimming the lights as you suggest. There are no electronic devices, nor indeed electric devices, which are active after I turn off my lamp, apart from my cell phone, which is across the room (so that I have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. ).

Thanks for the good advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gittit Shwartz View Post
I sleep better on buses than in my own bed. I have a two hr ride twice a week and I actually look forward to the refreshing nap. I believe it's the soothing rocking motion and white noise.

You could try some white noise in your room - like TV minus the bright lights. Play a soothing CD or download a white noise track and put it on repeat.

Getting lots of sun exposure on bare skin during the day is one of the best sleep aids I know. That's probably what was going on when you were working as a roadie. If that's not practical for you at present, try supplementing with large doses of vitamin D (several thousand IU's a day of D3, no risk of toxicity there since the body can easily produce 20,000 IU's on its own on a sunny day).
I wish I could hire a tour bus to drive me around every night, so I could sleep in a bunk. That's one of few things I miss about life on the road.

I've tried various things as white noise; a fan, NPR, old-time radio shows... never an actual "white noise" file, though. I'll try that, thank you. I'll also try the vitamin-D, I get plenty of sun in the summer but not much now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Gentleman View Post
1, 4-Butanediol, IMO.
I'm not sure if you're joking, but if you're not, please see the bit in my OP about not wanting to medicate the problem. For the record, I don't think boosting a vitamin supplement is in the same league as what you're suggesting.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:41 PM   #10
Jeff Hendrix
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Re: Unorthodox Sleep Aid

Barring problems with anxiety (which are no fun), I've had decent success with "Fatigued to Fantastic! Revitalizing Sleep Formula." Two or three of them will get me quite drowsy and relaxed.

If problems persist, you may want to see a doctor, but--per personal experience--do everything you can to stay away from benzodiazapenes. They'll get you to sleep, but there is a high probability that you will pay for taking them in the long run. I'm dealing with withdrawal symptoms after a month of using them: I'd rather not sleep than have ever started them.
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