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Old 11-18-2013, 10:56 AM   #1
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Angry Need help for serious insomnia / sleep deprivation

Hey everyone.

So for the past month I've been suffering from SERIOUS sleep deprivation/insomnia. It takes, on average, 1.5 to 2 hours for me to get to sleep every night and its driving me to breaking point. As I write this its 2.15am, went to bed at 12.

I can't understand why this is happening to me. I'm feeling okay in the gym but progression is slower than usual and I'm becoming more prone to nagging injuries and pains. Before I go to bed I do not feel tired like I used to despite a heavy deadlift day which leaves me wrecked afterward!

I feel fatigued and tired after my workouts yet before I go to bed I'm wide awake regardless of what I'm doing. Tried reading before bed, watching t.v, doesn't make a difference, it feels like my body has completely forgotten how to go to sleep. Even when this is achieved, I sometimes wake up 2 hours later and cannot fall asleep again. Thinking I might need to go to a doctor yet unsure how they may help as I don't want them to just prescribe me sleeping pills because it won't be effective in the long-term and is not the way to go.

Someone please help me in any way possible, I'm very desperate and frustrated. This is torture, no exaggeration.

I'm 18 years old, just finished school a week and a half a go. Easy going guy, I don't get stressed easily. I eat around 3500 calories a day and train on a push/pull/legs/split with an about twice a week frequency. No problems since about a month ago. Seemed to just appear out of the blue, from no apparent reason. Diet consists of eggs, oats, chicken, rice, almonds, peanut butter, steak/chops, greek yoghurt, tuna, fruit. I don't consume caffeine.

Please help, any suggestions or advice welcome.

Last edited by Spunkrat; 11-18-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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There is a cheap supplement thats called ZMA that might help, its basically minerals and vitamins. I would not mess around with anything stronger than that at your age.

Try some heated milk before bedtime, or a long walk or light exercise.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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Was there any life change that triggered this issue? Perhaps stress related? I would see a doc. You are eating enough and not taking stimulants.

You aren't taking a pre-workout supplement or fat burner I assume?
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #4
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I had problems like this, everyone is different but this is what i did and it worked for me.

I got blackout curtains, got a top end memory foam mattress, removed all artificial lights from bedroom, ate nothing spicey after 8pm, only drank milk or water after 8pm, the only light i used from 1 hour before bed was a candle light and used that just to read a book.

The candle light idea come from an article about built in primal instinct,for thousands of years we were awake in the day, it got dark so we lit a fire then we went to sleep. The candle mimics this.

Anyways this worked for me, hope you can take something from this.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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If your doctor is clued up, he/she may be able to help you more than you think, or might even refer you on to someone who can help more (e.g. a sleep clinic).

Here are some ideas.

Your physiological arousal levels are too high

Too much activity in the brain and/or sympathetic nervous system are keeping you awake. If you're training later in the day, you might conceivably be still hyped from training. Use of social networking or computers later on can raise arousal, as can TV, depending on what you're watching.

Ironically, the thing that raises arousal levels most can be worrying about not going to sleep! Clock-watching and worrying about how much sleep you get puts you into a vicious cycle. Try to stop worrying about not going to sleep - I know it's easier said than done. Turn the clock round so you can't see it.

You don't associate bed with sleep

If possible, you need to learn an association between bed and sleep. Sleep researcher Rachel Manber (Manver?) says something along the lines of 'use bed for sex and sleeping -nothing else.' so don't use your bed for working on or any other sort of activity. When you get into bed, it's for sleep. The idea is to condition yourself to associate a certain place just with sleep.

Certain compounds interfere with sleep

We can rule out caffeine. But alcohol can cause very fragmented sleep in many people. There is also some weak evidence that B vitamin supplements can reduce quality of sleep. But overall this ne is probably a long shot.

There's too much light in the room

The trigger for sleep is partly controlled by falling levels of light. This triggers the pineal gland to release melatonin, the 'sleep hormone'. Sometimes the light pollution in rooms is incredible, from streetlights, standby lights, digital clocks etc. Too much light may prevent you producing melatonin.

Phase delay/clock dependent alerting

This is what my money is on as a primary cause, because of your age. Many, many teenagers suffer from phase delay (I think I have the name right, but I'm going from memory). The body clock is out of synchronisation with day and night, such that you're alert late at night and drowsy in the morning. William Dement at Stanford got them to stop 8 am lectures for a while when he showed how many Stanford students struggled with early mornings due to phase delay.

There are light therapies you can do to deal with phase delay. For example, you can get light boxes that expose you to very bright light. They aren't massively expensive. If you do this early in the morning (say 7 am), you get a very strong signal to stop producing melatonin - one that you might need because normal levels of light are not shutting down melatonin. Once you've reset the start of the waking phase, the end of it should move as well, so you start getting sleepy earlier. That's the theory anyway. This is the sort of thing that a doctor might be able to advise with.

Overall...

You're right to try to do something about it, but I urge you not to worry too much if you can. It won't help. Often worry is the 'perpetuating factor' that keeps insomnia going long past when it should have stopped naturally.

I doubt that your injuries are related to your sleep loss, unless you're so tired that form breaks down. You may be surprised to learn that the evidence that we need sleep to repair muscle tissue is actually a bit weak. Indeed sleep researcher Jim Horne proposes that we can recover from physical activity by relaxed wakefulness just as much as from sleeping.

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #6
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Was there any life change that triggered this issue? Perhaps stress related? I would see a doc. You are eating enough and not taking stimulants.

You aren't taking a pre-workout supplement or fat burner I assume?

Mmm that's right, no pre-workouts or stimulants or fat burners. I just consume whey protein as my only supplement, drink it 3 times a day. I've even switched supplement brands and flavours to see if its the issue, but still same problem.

As far as life changes, everything has remained the same. School's over now so if anything stress has decreased significantly as I have lots of time off to relax. I feel very awake when I got to bed, I feel physically fatigued yet mentally I'm still alert and wide awake.

Last edited by Spunkrat; 11-19-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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I agree with all of the above posters...

Something that altered, may be the trigger.
Blackout curtains, not letting a single shred of light in do work brilliantly.
Supplements can cause issues.



You never mentioned what time you train, how long before you hit the hay; also the timing of your last meal prior to bed etc.

TV which is considered a relaxant, by many, is in fact a stimulant to the system as are computers, cell-phones, etc.


Lots for you to consider in the above posts.



Minimal noise wakes me up, so I bung some cotton wool in my ears, just enough to take the edge off noise going on around me and outside, even though we live in a generally quiet area, but with high-end range hearing such as I have, the cotton wool gives me a better night's sleep; plus the blackout sheet in the Summer, in particular.
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5kgLifter View Post
Blackout curtains, not letting a single shred of light in do work brilliantly.
Lots of good stuff in this post, but I just had to add that I've done that, and ever since then, sleep has improved quite a lot.

Yeah, I've been there (more or less). It sucks. Hope you can figure it out Spunkrat, and change whatever needs changing.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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gonna take a few tips from this tread.
haven't been sleeping very well the last month
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