Better Sleep

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There seems to be a lot of discussion around here lately about sleep.  I have wanted to start a thread for some time about what has helped me to sleep better in the later stages of my recovery.   I do not take sleep aids, but in the past I have used 5-HTP, benadryl, and ativan, but I have not taken anything regularly since quitting adderall.  I really do not like taking pills to sleep. For the last several months, I have had really good sleep so I would like to share some of my observations with you.


Things that interfere with my sleep:

* drinking alcohol after dinner

* full moons

* multi-vitamins with iron and minerals.  I took GNC brand multi's and I confirmed that it affected my sleep for two nights after taking only only one pill.  It gave my muscle pain in my back in the middle of the night.

* too much calcium, especially late in the day, gave me night sweats

* having unresolved life issues on my mind

* eating dinner too late

* eating snacks containing flour, sugar, or drinking milk within an hour of bedtime.

* consuming caffeine in the evening (duh)

* keeping the house too warm, or too much bedding

* nightlights

* my dog's snoring or flatulance <_<

* windstorms


Things that help me sleep better:

* eating dinner at a consistent time each day

* going to bed at a consistent time, even if it means forcing myself to stay up until at least 11 PM

* knowing my body requires 7-7.5 hours of sleep daily.

* getting out of bed when I wake up, even if it is too early

* a snack before bed time

* not drinking too much water later in the evening

* smoking weed, but not too much and not daily


How has your recovery affected your sleep patterns?

What interferes with your sleep?

What have you found to help you sleep better?

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Great topic QO! Thanks so much for sharing and your input. I definitely need help with my sleeping patterns. I loved the part about your pups "snoring or flatulance" haha I can relate with mine. They always wake me up every morning.

Since I'm co-owner of my Etsy shop, I get to make my own hours (which used to be 24/7) and it's been hard lately (getting up early) without - ya know. I've never been much of a sleeper even before ever taking speed.

- In HS, I slept only 4-6hrs a night.
- In college, I feel like I never slept, with the help of a lot of Adderall, of course. Not only was I in school full time, I also worked as a waitress/bartender and on the weekends, I had to work until 4-6 in the morning. I did that for 5 years while in school. I don't know what I was thinking or how I did it really, looking back.
- Since the summer, I believe I've been taking stuff to help me sleep (like melatonin) but that was when my depression came back really bad. In fall, while I was still on Vyvanse, I couldn't fall asleep for the life of me. If I didn't take anything to help me sleep, I was up until sunrise and then I was able to fall asleep for a few hours. So I started taking benadryl every night to fall asleep and it gave me the worst depression and panic attacks shortly after taking them so I stopped. Now it's just been 1/4 a melatonin pill but I would like to be able to fall asleep naturally. I'm just a night owl at heart. I've never been a morning person and I don't think I ever will be.

Sorry I took a 1/4 a melatonin about a hour ago so I should probably go to bed right now and not post this because I think I'm rambling.


To help with sleep:

  • I don't know if this is appropriate or not but "sexy time" definitely helps me fall asleep - unfortunately my boyfriend is in FL right now so I've been shit out of luck with that one.
  • Also, I like to light a relaxing candle for a little before I hit the hay (that smells like the beach) or spray some aromatherapy sleep spray. I love this one: http://www.amazon.com/Bath-Body-Works-Aromatherapy-Lavender/dp/B0025N1AYU <-- you can spray your sheets, pillows or headboard with it.
  • Having a hot glass of relaxing decaf tea is always nice, as well, like chamomile. Chamomile is known as having "smoothing properties and calming" and helps with relaxation and insomnia.
  • Also turning my phone to silent helps me get some peace and quiet.

- I think I need to start making myself wake up at a certain time, early everyday to start a new, healthier sleeping patter.

- I also need to stop using my bed for other things beside sleep, like writting on my labtop, sewing, etc. I heard you shouldn't do that somewhere.

I definitely can't fall asleep after eating a heavy meal or I think, exercising too late in the day/evening.
Drinking (if I drink a lot) effects my quality of sleep and mood the next day. I'm taking it easy on the drinking lately.

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Interferes with my sleep:

A stressful day ahead of me

Caffeine after 4pm

Fear of relapse


Helps with sleep:

I must eat a semi large meal within 30 minutes of bed or no chance of even falling asleep.

White noise

Something to look forward to the next day

.5mg Klonopin{well aware it's not wise over a period of time}

1.5mg melatonin

Rubbing one out at some point within a few hours of bed


My mind is still is still too active since I'm early on in recovery and my personal issues are real again instead of being numbed and pushed to the side so sleep isn't golden yet, but eventually when I get my shit together it will be good again. I never had nights where I stayed up from Adderall abuse since it was very early in the day when I did it. 

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What a great topic!   Well I'm definitely no master of sleep, but in general:



Things that help (sleep aides aside, because I definitely use them):


Having a full day-- Feeling like I've accomplished something, however small

Working out during the day

Eating healthy

Being in bed before midnight (I'm trying to have a "bedtime")

Watching boring movies in bed.  Or reading in bed

OR listening to books on tape (via Youtube -- with eyes closed)


Taking a hot bath before bed

Making time to relax before bed

Wearing a blindfold and earplugs every night



Things that don't help:



Sugary/carby foods too close to bedtime

Trying to fall asleep while hungry (my body can't relax)

Exercising too close to bedtime


Stressing out about the next day 

Stressing out about falling asleep

Having to wake up early the next day (Knowing I have to wake up early makes it hard to fall asleep no matter how early I go to bed, because I lay there stressing about it)

My cats waking me up in the middle of the night

Taking multivitamins too close to bedtime (agreed, QO)

Full moon

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I have read elsewhere that people who get 9 hours of sleep live longer and I know that lack of sleep is a huge trigger for me.  When I'm tired I start thinking dark thoughts.

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Since I work rotating shifts, I'm not going to be the best source of information on the topic of sleep. I've always known that routine is critically important to establishing a good sleeping habit and that may be the best foundation for getting a good night's sleep.


How has your recovery affected your sleep patterns? Sleeping way too much at first, then bouts of insomnia followed by nights spent sleeping and nights spent awake. Now, I am back to hyper-sleeping (sleeping too much). I feel like a real slug and it take me hours to wake-up!

What interferes with your sleep? Work stress interferes with sleep as does people stress and sometimes worry about when will I get better so I can retire and have the energy to ehjoy it. I'm ready now, but I'm delaying it for a year, if my endurance can hold out concerning the overtime.

What have you found to help you sleep better? I used Ambien on Adderall and until recently. It cut sleep short in the end allowing me to sleep for only about 5 hours before waking me up. I was unable to go back to sleep after that.


Last month, I've discovered 5-HTP and it knocks me out and keeps me out for a long time. I'm only using 1/3rd of the powder in the capsule, using the short end of the capsule to measure. I'm going to cut that in half tonight. When you know that 5-HTP has no affect on some people at all, it's feels pretty creepy to have it knock me out so hard and for so long.

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Thanks to this thread, I've spent the past couple weeks really working on my sleep.  Getting into a good sleep schedule and sticking with it.  I think it's helping!


Some new changes that are working:


  • No technology after 11 pm.  The blue light messes with your melatonin, and so does the addictive nature of the internet/smartphone.  I tried this last night, I just read in bed, and I fell asleep really nicely before midnight.
  • No internet before starting work in the morning.   This helps get my mind moving in the right direction, which affects my whole day!
  • Sleeping (or at least actively trying, i.e. laying down in the dark with earplugs and blindfold, NO NETFLIX ALLOWED), by midnight
  • Start working by 9:30 am.  (I don't always meet this goal, but it's getting easier and easier!)
  • NEVER GOING BACK TO SLEEP after I'm awake, even if it's too early (Special thanks to QO for that piece of advice!!)
  • NO melatonin!!!  It makes me wake up (I mean wide awake) after 4 hours, even the XR formula.  With nightmares.  
  • Which brings me to my new sleep aid: Trazodone 50mg.

 I talked to my dr the other day about my bad insomnia.  We talked about lifestyle factors, supplements, etc. and he ended up prescribing Trazodone 50mg.  Has anyone else used this?  It's an SSRI that's sometimes prescribed in lower doses for insomnia, because sleepiness is one of the side effects.  (Antidepressant dosage is up to 300 mg.)  Seems to have mixed reviews, people either love or hate it.  But I've used it for the past 3 nights and it really does help me fall asleep and stay asleep; my only side effect is a little bit of lingering tiredness in the morning before I really get going.  It doesn't leave me hungover the way Benadryl does.  I'm not feeling any antidepressant effects yet, and I'm not sure to what extent I will.   Anyway, I just wanted to pass this on because it's a sleep aid, for those who choose to use them, but it's not a benzo or hypnotic (like Ambien).  So, supposedly, it's a safer and less addictive alternative.  But who knows, maybe it's yet another pharmaceutical trap.

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I thought I was the only that got the shaft from Melatonin. Seems like once it wears of you're shit out of lucky trying to get back to sleep unless you have something else up your sleeve{or in your system}.

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Oyvey I thought I was the only one too!!!  :)


I did a bunch of reading online about this.  It seems pretty rare for people to lose sleep from it the way we do.  I think it works best if you're actually melatonin deficient.  Which is a different kind of insomnia than anxiety-related or other types of insomnia.

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I am curious about the "no internet before starting work in the morning" and how that affects your sleep?  I seem to fall into this trap of web surfing for a couple of hours each morning just to wake up my brain, but it is not very productive for getting work done.  I used to read the newspaper before the internet came along.


Also, the blue light thing later in the evening is a good reminder for me to turn off the "daylight" lights I sometimes use for a better mood and more energy in the evenings.


I used to like having the TV in my bedroom on as I was going to sleep, just for the sound effects.  Haven't done that for a few months now.

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Quit-Once, that's a good question.  It's pretty indirect, but if I can resist the urge to go on the internet before work, it prevents me from getting derailed from what I have to accomplish that day.   Which means I'm more productive overall, and I tend to waste less time for the rest of the day.  So that helps me feel better at the end of the day.  The feeling having accomplished things helps me sleep.   Less guilt, less anxiety, less stress.  Also, sort of like exercise, doing a bunch of work during the day helps me harness and burn off energy, so I'm more tired at night.   


I'm realizing that, for me, lazy/unproductive days (not my healthy/designated days off, but the unproductive days I spend mostly watching movies and going on the internet, when I can't get myself going and need to) lead to bad sleep!   So, by making myself be more productive during the day, I can get into a better sleep/wakefulness rhythm.  It kind of goes along with getting up when you wake up and not going back to sleep, if that makes sense.

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Have you tried completely nixing the supplements for several days in a row?  Specifically the vitamins and minerals.  I took a multivitamin, (without iron), the day before yesterday, and here I am at 5 AM unable to get back to sleep so I just got up and started my day.  Other than a windstorm with snow in the middle of the night, I can't attribute anything else to my poor sleep last night.  I believe there is something in my GNC multivitamin that causes sleep disruption, for several days after taking only one pill.  And I also believe that multi's with iron cause me to wake up with back muscle pain, which I have not experienced for over a month. and oddly enough about the last time I took a multivitamin.  I just found some of the non-iron pills and thought I would give it a try.  I threw all of the multi's with iron away already,

I just wanted to suggest this to you before you got too far into your new sleep drug therapy experiment with the Trazodone.  

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You're not alone with the multivitamin/sleep problem{non-Gnc}. I gave it 3 tries and never again. Got a total of zero hours of sleep. 

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