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can't sleep...can't wake up early :(

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by shreypete, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. shreypete

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    I'm in a horrible situation right now. I have my genetics final right after the winter break and for some reason I'm having some serious sleeping problems. I think I have insomnia (although I don't think it's chronic because it doesn't happen every week) because normally when I get into bed at 11 or 12, I actually end up sleeping at 4 or 5 and this disturbs my entire schedule as I end up waking up late in the afternoon and wasting all that time, which could have been better utilized for study.

    I don't know what to do....I've tried putting 2 alarm clocks but for some reason I still can't wake up (most of the time, I just end up snoozing the alarm and going back to bed)....I'm stuck in a horrible situation....and I think this can be quite a serious problem especially for a medical student.......any advice on how to get rid of this problem??
     
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  3. WellWornLad

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    I have a lot of envy/anger towards people who can sleep through their alarms. I'm such a light sleeper that I can't sleep until my upstairs neighbors go to bed. I hate the sound of alarm clocks so much I naturally wake up 1-5 minutes before mine goes off so I can shut it off.

    Anyway, you could try melatonin and/or valerian root to try and get to sleep earlier. Or, you could keep staying up later and later until you're back at your normal sleeping time. Finally, you could try this alarm clock, which has been pretty successful for people like you:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/lights/91f2/

    EDIT: I was browsing the alarm clocks, this one takes the cake (actually, your money): http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/snuznluz.shtml
     
    #2 WellWornLad, Dec 20, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  4. Yakko

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    Try diphendydramine (Benadryl, or Simply Sleep). It takes a little while to kick in, but it should have you asleep till 7-8 AM and keep you to your schedule.
     
  5. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more
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    cut down or quit caffeine. get some exercise during the day.
     
  6. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Your last link made me laugh very hard and I still haven't stopped. I don't recall any comedian doing a better job than that. I'm a democrat and especially that "pending to GOP" thing.. every time I look at it I break out:lol::lol:. OP, if you think all CAM is quack, set up the alarm: donate $500 to the United Chiropractic Fund. The prospect of being broke and jobless will drive the alarm home.

    Now seriously, there are great alarm clocks, like Timex TM80-BR. It has radio, two alarm settings, and a USB input so you can transfer mp3s form your computer to a flash drive and attach it to the alarm - no more annoying alarm sounds. You can choose loud music and raise the volume to max - it's pretty high. Additionally, you can set up two alarms within 20 minutes of each other. Should you snooze the first alarm, the second one will you hit you. When you are trying to sleep, you can make it play soporific music at low volume (it keeps separate volumes for sleep and alarm). The batteries will make sure that it goes off even if the electricity is out (New England). It is portable so you can travel with it. It also has a remote, but make sure that you don't use it when you sleep. Put the alarm far enough so that you have to get up to turn it off. The quality is good enough to use it as radio or just mp3 player. In other words, this addresses every need you may have. It took me a while to do research and finally find this gem. I paid over $80, but you can get it now for under $40. There is nothing like waking up to Mozart's Requiem or Gluck's Dance of the Furies in the morning. If this doesn't help you, I don't know what will (well maybe you can try that fund transfer to "quacks" alarm):laugh::laugh:.

    I agree with the above poster about sleep medicine. Just make sure that you experiment with melatonin on a day when you don't have to wake up early. Some people have hangovers if they take over 2.5mg, and it takes time to assimilate. Besides melatonin and valerian, I'd add tryptophan, especially 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) since it is the direct precursor of serotonin without having to convert the tryptophan. I think in terms of least to most invasive it will be valerian, melatonin, and 5-HTP. I helped one of my friends who had insomnia by starting with 2mg Mel. and working up to 5mg. After the initial assimilation, the dosage is back to 2mg and everything is perfect. But this will help you only if your insomnia is caused by melatonin imbalance, that's why you need to experiment with different dosages and different supplements mentioned above. Going to the gym will help too.
     
  7. PeepshowJohnny

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    The first step in battling insomnia is improving your sleep hygeine. Try to look up some of the things they suggest (bedroom only for sleeping, etc.) before thinking about medications and new alarm clocks.
     
  8. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Look at the post above. There's some good advice there. Avoid drugs for anything in medical school. They won't solve your underlying problems. Last suggestion: Do you have a regular workout schedule? If not, start some moderate aerobic physical exercise (walk flights of steps [at least 8 floors up] if you can't get to the gym) a minimum of four to five times per week to get rid of stress. Don't exercise close to bed time but even doing one or two floors at a time with a goal of minimum 8 up on the days that you can't get to the gym will help organize your life.
     
  9. themudphud

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    I agree with everyone else:
    1) Sleep hygiene
    2) Cut out caffeine
    3) Exercise

    and lastly, RELAX. All you can do is your best. Study hard for your exam and that's all you can do. I think exercise will help you with relaxing. Also, if you have someone who can wake you up over the next couple weeks, use that resource. Have someone shake you until you get out of bed at 8am everyday. At some point (soon), you will be so tired in the evening that you won't be staying up until 4 or 5 am--especially if you have just spent the day studying and exercising.
     
  10. khadija

    khadija Member
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    regular exercise, better sleeping habits, warm baths at night ... these are all good advice. but i have a very similar problem. i can't fall asleep at night and i have a hard time getting up in the morning. but i discovered my problem was due to anxiety. once i took care of that, i could sleep better.
     
  11. bruceleehiiiyaa

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  12. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident
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    im in the same boat.. i hate the sound an alarm clock makes... but I still snooze, i just make sure to hit snooze as soon as humanly possible to not have to listen to the noise for too long..
    and valerian root does sometimes work too.. although for me at least its very inconsistent... if i did a lot of exercise during the day then i tend to fall asleep realllyyy easily.

    well someone is thinking outside the box :laugh:
     
  13. Bartelby

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Another suggestion: get up in the morning. If you keep sleeping until late in the afternoon, of course you can't fall asleep at 11 PM! Force yourself to get up when you want and suffer through the tiredness that day. If you keep forcing yourself to get up at the right time you should eventually be able to fall asleep at the right time.

    If you don't need to be up in the morning and it works for you, though, you could just work till four or five instead of laying in bed and keep your current sleep schedule.
     
  14. Turtle01

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    I have the exact same problem man, i agree with everyone else though about sleep hygiene and exercise. I exercise on a daily basis but my sleep hygiene is terrible, and i'm just to stubborn to change. probably is going to remain a problem until I am required to wake up at a certain time.
     
  15. cardsorbust

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    It sounds like you could be depressed or have anxiety (both reasonable to occur in med school). Think about working on that and should talk to local student help for these things for suggstions rather than taking drugs that can screw you up without addressing the underlying issue(s).
     
  16. personanongrata

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    And I'd be broke. Very broke, very quickly. I'm on leave from medical school now, in part because I've been literally sleeping through six alarms. And I know I'm not just snoozing, because three of the six are on the opposite side of the room, and in extreme cases I've been known to wake up six or seven hours after the time I've set, with all of them still sounding. Four hours today, in fact. :(

    For the last four years, I've been in a strange cycle where I can't sleep at all for three or four days on end, then sleep well over 12 hours a night and fall asleep throughout the day for several days, no matter how many alarms I set. Sleep hygiene is... well, difficult under these circumstances. Have tried medication - melatonin and most of the sleep meds do absolutely nothing for me, while the antipsychotics all seem to knock me out for 12-15 hours and leave me feeling groggy all day when I finally wake up. I'm in decent physical shape (amazing shape considering my sleep problems), and run 3-5 miles at about 6:45/mile pace every other day, so that's not an issue.

    Which mostly goes to show how serious a problem anxiety can be... (And talk about predisposition, I'm pretty sure every single member of my extended family, at least everyone who shares a grandparent with me, suffers from a diagnosable anxiety disorder!) Still working on it......
     
  17. OUBernMD

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    There is a whole field of medicine called Sleep Medicine, both Shreypete and Personanongrata should seriously consider seeing a physican who is a specialist in sleep medicine. We had a resident in our program get asked to leave early into his second year of residency because he had major sleep issues and refused to get the appropriate treatement. He would fall asleep in the call room and they'd have to get security to open the door because he wouldn't answer pages or calls or banging on the door. Bottom line is that this problem can really get out of hand and WILL affect your life as a resident, because being on call will be sure to mess things up.
    You need to nip it in the bud by seeing a professional now before it REALLY affects your life.
     
  18. 177983

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    Not that I'm nearly as experienced as some of the advice givers here, but for Shreypete at least, I would try a few more home-remedies before going to a sleep medicine doctor. If it gets to the point that Personanongrata is describing, then yes, certainly go to a doctor. But I think follow some of the advice online can be useful as well. As for your sleeping in, maybe try this clock:

    http://www.gadgetshack.com/sun-alarm-clock-radio-light-therapy.html

    It basically a lamp/alarm that slowly lights up as the alarm-time nears. I think it stays on even when snoozed and thus helps your body continue to wake up. I definitely like the other alarms that people posted, but they don't solve the root problem that your body is still pushing you to go back to sleep. This may not either, but it might help.

    Otherwise, yeah, just try to go to bed at the same time every night (including weekends), and get up at the same time every day also.

    I think the biggest one is managing your stress. It sounds at least partially stress-related. Follow some of the recommendations others gave about exercising. Good luck.
     
  19. confuse

    confuse Senior Member
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    OP: Have you considered meditation? It works.
     
  20. Concordia

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    It was probably already mentioned, but sticking to the same routine (as much as possible) works for me. Yeah, sure, we all have a stressful lifestyle, but if you plan ahead for the week (your classes, all lectures you need to go over, your workouts, etc) you would have more time to relax during the week that could help you sleep better.
     
  21. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster
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    I read a research article about wild sex serving as a sleep aid. It said something about combining excersise with pleasure. Just an idea you could kick around.
     
  22. han14tra

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    I'm in a very old dorm building and the floor creaks very VERY loud at night. The person above me doesn't go to bed until 3:30 am. I'm so tired because he keeps waking me up. Here's the real kicker. The dorm building I live in is suppose to be the "quiet hall" for people who want 24 hr quiet. What should I do? Help me please.
     
  23. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Get a loud fan. I'm a light sleeper, too, and constant noise drowns out anything else that might be going on well enough for me to sleep. I live right by a particularly loud elevator, and I get along just fine.
     
  24. han14tra

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    I have 1 loud fan, but I guess I'll have to go buy another one. I use earplugs + loud fan, and the creaky floor of my upstairs neighbor still wakes me up.
     

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