Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sleepless in Amsterdam

...that doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "Sleepless in Seattle" does.

Anyways. I have a problem.

In the past week, I have been waking up around 3am every single night and then not being able to get back to bed until between 6 - 7am (when it starts to get light).

It's not so much a problem today since... well, tomorrow is Saturday. It's just starting to become an issue on weekdays, as you can imagine. (Which has also been explaining the evening yoga practices, since I can't wake up early in the morning... because I've pretty much been up most of the night!)

The Bach flowers homeopathic remedy, Rescue Sleep, used to do wonders whenever I ran into insomniac bouts. Recently, not so much.

I'm not a fan of medicating with anything non-natural. So... I'm open to suggestions of WHAT THE EFF DO I DO NOW?!????

At the moment I've decided to just roll with it and get outta bed... which is why I'm writing this post now. But it's been about a week with broken sleep so far and I'm getting kinda fed up. Maybe I should change my yoga practice to the middle of the night. That would be really practicing Mysore-style in India. Haha.

Maybe I'll try some Pranayama. Sometimes that works. I'm just too tired to bother now.



  1. oh no... sleep deprivation is the worst.

    Sorry if this is so obvious and you've tried it- what about melatonin? I rarely have sleep issues, but if I'm anxious about something and worry that I'll toss and turn, I pop one and it's lights out for 8 hours.

    good luck- sorry this is happening to you!

  2. Good point. I actually do have a bottle of Melatonin on my dresser... but I thought this was for jetlag/ to iron out your body clock? Duh, I suppose it doesn't hurt to try it huh. (It's a yucky cherry-cough-syrup flavour that dissolves under your tongue, which is probably why I didn't think to try it in the first place! Blech!)

  3. Tell your subconscious to stop watching so carefully:

  4. Nice article!
    "Insomnia is triggered, at least in part, by anxiety about insomnia, the worst thing we can do is think about not being able to sleep; the diagnosis exacerbates the disease. And that's why this frustrating condition will never have a perfect medical cure. Insomnia is ultimately a side-effect of our consciousness, the price we pay for being so incessantly self-aware."

    Dammit. So yogis with insomnia are screwed!!

    4.47am and counting (actually, I'm reading some pretty interesting articles. See, taking the mind off sleep.) ;p

  5. hi Skippetty
    in his classic, how to stop worrying and start living, Dale Carnegie had a chapter dedicated to worrying about insomnia. worrying about it does more harm than the actual insomnia. you can chose to stay in bed even if you're awake. the body is getting rest even if the mind is alert and working. Dale Carnegie wrote in the 60s, which were a properous times for the US, and the world in general. but he was making references to how people coped during the great depression in America. times today are not so different, so who knows what is bugging people.

    there may be some asanas that encite or stimulate the energy channels rather than soothe you down, such as the chest opening ones.


  6. Paschimottanasana in bed, with relaxed legs and body propped on two pillows.

    Also long closing sequence and savasana, especially if you're practising at night. Did you say you just added 2nd series back in...?

  7. ironically i'm throwing pearls of wisdom as i am unable to go to sleep while visiting a friend's house. my reason is jet lag. there were times during the day i wanted to konk out and now it's bed time an i'm all ablaze. tickety, tickety at the keyboard. maybe i'll take ole DC's advice me-self.
    word verif "samente" - as in "precisamente" - or yes, that's right.

  8. I've been waking up around 3am for a couple of months now, podcasts seem to do the trick, though I seem to wake up around 4am to fish the headphones out of my ears. Keep meaning to try a 10 minute headstand but it's been too cold.

  9. Hi S, I can totally understand the request for help, sleepless nights can be intense, I usually do all sorts of rituals before bed, like camomile tea, ayurveda herbs (mine are for stomach but there are some wonderful ones for sleep), no computer etc.

    I tend to align with Susan on her long savasana and closing portion, lately I have done savasanas of 20 minutes and long closings and that works wonders...

    Also, the fact that so much has changed in your life must be a factor, you have been through a lot with the South Africa situation, a death in the family (or very close to the family), new job, new city, it is a lot to take in. It will subside, just one day at the time for now...

  10. Good advice from everyone!

    Arturo - on weekdays, I've ended up laying in bed like you said. I figured the same thing too... my mind is all over the place, thinking all kinds of different things but I figure my body is resting. Kind of. Sometimes, I end up drifting back to sleep again, so this works for me too. I've read other theories where if you can't sleep, you just get outta bed and do other things (so as not to think about "I can't sleep!") Since it was a Friday night, I figured it was OK to get back on the internet like I did! :)

    Susan - yes, I do take longer Savasanas especially if practising at night. Even though it feels like with evening practices, it's MUCH HARDER to get the mind to stay still finally in Savasana. I wonder if laying there for 15-20min still helps even if the monkey mind is busy in Savasana? Yeah, I started again with Intermediate, maybe this is a factor too (even though some nights I have skipped practice and still wake up in the middle of the night, bug-eyed). I'll try paschimotannasana in bed next time, thanks!

    Grim - I reckon shoulderstands would probably be better than headstands if trying to get to bed. What kind of podcasts do you listen to that help you nod off?

    Claudia - thank you! Part of my winding down ritual is Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime tea and burning lavender oil. Getting to sleep is not a problem, it's just that I tend to wake up after a few hours of sleep then lay awake till day-break. And yes, you're absolutely right that I'm still adjusting and this insomnia is part of it... I miss Kelly, I miss my friends, I'm thinking about work, I'm anxious about what happens after I wrap this job up in August... but you're absolutely right in taking this one day at a time for now. THANKS! x

    And today, I went out and bought a few books. I figure if this keeps happening, I might as well get some reading done in the middle of the night! (Karen - one of the books is by Jonah Lehrer, the dude who wrote that article you posted. Thanks!)

  11. Anything seems to work, I have what, some philosophy courses from Berkley, Zencast, some Kino. Just have my itouch set up on the bedside table, make sure you have the brightness turned down though before you turn your light off or you'll burn your eyes. Or how about downloading some audio books, the Wake should do the job.

  12. Hehe, thanks Grimm. I bought physical books instead this weekend. ;) Hope that helps. Interestingly, no insomnia over the weekend. hmm... maybe it's work-related stress.


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