Insomnia Every Other Night

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Help! I've had insomnia off and on for years, but for the past month, I'd developed a pattern where I

will only sleep every-other-night. By this, I mean that will pull and all-nighter, and then sleep 12 hours the next night. This parttern has remain unchanged for about 4 weeks now.

I have never taken sleeping pills because they terrify me, and do not like the side effects of over-the-counter drugs. Does anyone else have this problem.

Sleepless in Boston

1 like, 17 replies

17 Replies

  • Posted

    What natural steps are you looking at to try and overcome this viscious cycle.  This is a fairly common pattern for insomniacs to sleep terribly one night and then compensate the next.  I used to be like this but not to the extent of getting no sleep the first night. 

    In terms of natural alternatives, you could try a very absorbable form of magnesium plus some herbal sleeping pills (ask your natural health practitioner for the most effective ones).

    Also look at meditation or brainwave entrainment to calm your mind and rid your body of any excess adrenalin that may be keeping you awake and not allowing the natural sleep mechanism to kick in.  see www activemindsglobal com and the revitamind product as an option. 

  • Posted

    Hi Marie,

    Have you had any progress? I've been up all night 4 of the last 8 nights. I'm retired so I can sleep in the day for a few hours following a totally sleepless night. I've never had insomnia, it just started for me 6 weeks ago. For the first three weeks I was up 3 nights out of 7. I tried all the stuff that's recommended like having a regular bed time, avoiding naps, relaxing before going to sleep, etc. and had two good weeks of sleep. Then in the last 8 days it returned worse than ever, just like you getting one good night sleep, then none the next night.

    • Posted

      I've found that a lot of times that insomnia can be caused by a build up of energy which never gets released if you stay sedentary. So if you don't already I would suggest taking up an energy consuming hobby!
    • Posted

      Hi Dh1230,

      My insomnia basically resolved itself after I had surgery in April for hematuria. The doctor performed a TURP procedure, removing a good portion of my prostate. I had general anesthesia and needed blood transfusions, and when I returned home after a week in hospital I was basically weak and groggy for a good couple of months. I basically have been sleeping from 1AM to 10AM, about 8 to 9 hours a night. I've just had 3 incidents of insomnia in the last couple of months, on nights when I was agitated about something. ANd on two of those nights was able to fall aspleep from about 8AM to noon, so it wasn't bad. I've come to believe the insomnia was basically psychosomatic. I think the agitation at not going to sleep after a couple of hours kept me awake in sort of a vicious cycle. The last time this happened, a few days ago, I sat up in bed around 6AM and listened to old time radio shows on my headset to calm down and take my mind off of not sleeping.  After an hour I slid down to a more prone psition in the bed and after dozing off a couple of times, took the headset off and slept from about 8AM to noon. Someone said sleep is not something you do, it's something that happens to you when the conditions are right. I guess that's true.

    • Posted

      Comgratulations on a successful surgery and now healthy sleeping habits! Unfortunately mine are psychologically caused and just something you have to live with but I'm glad yours is in a good spot!
    • Posted

      I guess I spoke too soon. I've had 2 nights of being up most or all of the night this past week. Tuesday night, after my urologist visit, I didn't get to sleep until 7:30AM, and slept until noon. Friday night, a swollen painful foot kept me up the whole night. I got up at 9AM, had breakfast, then grabbed 3 hours in my chair while watching TV from 10:30AM to 1:30PM.

      Last night I went to bed with 2 Tylenol for the foot, and around 2AM put my headset on and listened to old time radio crime shows at a low volume the rest of the night. That let me sleep from about 2:20AM until about 10AM.

      I also had two incidents the last two weeks of June, during a vacation house visit by our daughter who lives a couple of thousand miles away. So four incidents in a month is about half of the 8 incidents a month I was experiencing for about 6 months prior to the surgery. How and why these things happen is still a bit of a mystery, although there seems to be a psychological element for sure, but like you I have done my best to take them in stride.

    • Posted

      It sounds like maybe it's a mixture of pain and maybe a little anxiety from the whole situation which sounds pretty difficult! Mine is because I have severe anxiety and just can't sleep sometimes unless medicated but on the flipside I sleep ALL the time. Try some melantonin and maybe talk to a dr and get something prescribed
    • Posted

      My best results come from wearing a head set all night and playing nonstop old time radio crime shows at a volume just loud enough to hear. These are half hour episodes so If I wake up and am on another show, I know I slept for 20 or 30 minutes at a time, cobbling tegether about 5 hours overnight. I tried melotonin and other meds but they all have effects I don't care for, and mostly don't work over time. The melatonin worked once, Tylenol PM worked once, stuff like percoset or vicodin takes the edge off pain but is constipating. I very rarely take stelazine (generic is trifluoperazine) for anxiety. It leaves me quite subdued the next day. I stopped drinking liquor about 3 months ago after my last surgery. I don't take anything now, not even a vitamin or an aspirin. Luckily I'm retired so I have the option of crashing in my easy chair for one or two hours during the day, which I will do if I am tired or groggy during the day.They say naps disrupt night-time sleep, but they seem to help mine. Good luck with your anxiety. I used to get bad panic attacks and sometimes get milder ones now. They can be a roller coaster ride. I think some meds can be a good short term solution if you get the ones that work for you. 
  • Posted

    Good morning Marie

    I am new to all this. I had an allergic reaction to some dental drugs which has left me unable to sleep. The doctor has put me on sleeping tablets. I am doing all of the stuff I should be doing, excercise, meditation, dog walking reading. Still only managed 1 nights natural in 3 weeks. Any other suggestions.

  • Posted

    I have a similar problem. I'm an active 72 year-old grandfather who sleeps well every other night and very poorly the other nights. Tonight is one of my 'other' nights. My housemate told me this evening that sleep is for comfort and rest is for health. I hope that's true! 

    Like Marie, I don't like the side-effects of sleeping aids. I'm trying some brainTek now, but it doesn't seem to help. Some listens to crime shows at low volume. I sometimes listen to an audiobook similarly. For some reason, male voices work better than female voices.

    I try not to worry too much, but I begrudge the loss of enjoyment I find in the days following my sleepless nights.

    Sleepless in Chestertown, Maryland 

    • Posted

      Hi Robin, I'm a 69 year old granfather though not so active. I had prostate surgey last April and never quite got my energy back. It took 8 months for my RBC and Hemoglobin to get up into the normal range. And my iron still is below par despite taking iron supplements for 8 months. Also noticed deterioration of sight in my right eye after the surgery. My eyesight was fairly stable in both eyes for about the pre vious10 years (and my left eye hasn't changed).Seems like many of us are circling the same drain.

      The reason I am responding is I hit upon a solution for my problem. It's been working fairly well for 4 months now.

      What I realized was that the insomnia had a large component of anxiety which made it a vicious cycle. The thought that I wasn't going to sleep almost guaranteed I wouldn't. On the nights I did sleep I was recovering from sleep loss, which dulled my anxiety.

      Since I started my new routine, I haven't had  a fully sleepless night. Probably 28 nights a month I sleep 6 to 6-1/2 hours at night and then have a one hour nap during the day, keeping me at about 7 to 7-1/2 hrs. per day.

      First thing I changed was to alter my sleep hours. I go to bed around 3AM and fall to sleep in an hour or less, and my wife gets me up at 10AM. An advantage is she goes to sleep at Midnight and get's up at 7:30AM to 8 AM. So she is sleeping deeply when I get to bed, and I am sleeping deeply when she gets up.

      The second thing I did was to create a nightly ritual. Around 1 to 1:30 AM I take a hot shower. Then I read a novel in my easy chair for about a half hour. Then I go to bed and listen to my old time radio shows with my headset. When I start to lose the thread of the show, I take off the headset, turn over and go to sleep.

      The third thing I did was go back to drinking liquor. I don't drink during the day, other than during my nightly ritual, after my hot shower. I pour myself a whiskey and seltzer to sip while reading my book. Then I pour a second one which I take to bed to sip while listening to my old time radio shows.

      As I said this works for me. My doctors just shrugged their shoulders as if to say "you're a pretty weird person" but since they couldn't help me they couldn't advise against something that actually has worked.

  • Posted

    Every other day is the key here.

    I've been experiencing the same for 2 years now and can't shake it off. It's also characterised by being tired / fatigued every other day with body aches and slight tension headache. On those bad days, I sleep well at night (because I'm exhausted) and the next day I'm 100%, it's a good day but then at night I'm not tired/sleepy and this cycles in a perfect one ON and one OFF fashion. I tried everything: intermittent fasting, 7 day water only fast. I'm currently on plant based diet for a month and no change unfortunately. 

    • Posted

      This is my life! On and off. Ugh. Once in a great while i get 3 days in a row of 8 hours of sleep and im so excited. But rare. I try everything but like you said when im 100% rested i cant fall asleep at night. Then i wake up at 6.5 hours and cant fall back asleep. Its a vicious cycle. I take melatonin 1.5 mgs every nite. Have u had any luck? I swear its just my adrenals. Thinking about checking out a sleep center just to see what they say. Ive even tried time released melatonin.
  • Posted

    I know this is scary fearing that it’s gonna stay like this. Mine was much worse, I couldn’t sleep until the 3-4 day. One day I just didn’t care anymore if I slept or not. It’s been about 2 months, and I can sleep better then before I got insomnia. I can proudly say I don’t have insomnia anymore. It’s all in the head.
    • Posted

      I posted above a couple of years ago (a couple of posts above yours) and agree it's in your head. But it's a catch 22 because the fear and anxiety keeps you awake because you are afraid and frustrated you won't sleep. You turned the tide when you stopped fighting it and accepted it. I also learned you can't force sleep or make yourself sleep it has to come to you. But I have a routine that makes that happen. I still have my nightly routine I posted two years ago but I have altered it a bit. I no longer drink a whiskey nightcap, and get to bed around midnight instead of 3AM. I take a warm shower around 10PM, watch TV with my wife (don't read) until a little before midnight. We go to bed and I listen to old time 1950's radio detective shows on my internet radio (Dragnet, Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, etc.) with light weigh headphones for about an hour or so. Somewhere between 1AM and 1:30AM I get drowsy and start to lose the thread of the program, take my headphones off and go to sleep. Even though I wake up 3 or 4 times during the night, I just peek at the led clock to see the time and turn over and go back to sleep. I generally get up around 9:30 to 9:45AM. I usually take a half hour to hour nap during the day. I've only had a half dozen sleepless nights in 2 years. Before that I was only sleeping every other night. 

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