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Readers Respond: Top Reasons You Can't Sleep

Responses: 24


Updated August 28, 2009

From the article: What Is Acute Insomnia?
There are plenty of reasons to not get a good night's sleep. When these lead to problems falling or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. What causes you to have insomnia? Are there certain things that are especially disruptive? How does stress change your sleep?

insomnia chronic

Even as a kid, I was an insomniac. I'm on I'll sleep 3-5 minutes, then awake for hours, but falling asleep for a few minutes now & again. This goes on for seveal weeks, then some nights I'll sleep for a whole hour, wake up for a couple of hours etc. If I take an antihistamine, I may sleep all of 4 hours then awaken but fall asleep again quickly. I get a "hangover", sleeping for 2 days, off on. Whi h isn't condusive. I'm also disabled in great pain(former firefighter who fell down a cliff while rapelling @ 2am on a wildland fire) which causes a lot of
—Guest tiredeyes


I can NEVER SLEEP in fact, I should be asleep now, it is like 4:30 in the morning, and i am really tired, but i feel like i had 100billion drinks with caffene in it, but i didn't even have part of 1. Im really confused, i don't know how i make it through school every day i barely stay aawake and forget almost EVERYTHING i should remember that day, i don't bother my parents with not sleeping every night, maybe once or twich a week, even though it happens EVERY NIGHT *(screams)* does it sound as if i have inssomnia or apnea? Or am i just crazy stupid wierd (not to mention the terrible dreams ive been having) and my homework has been stressing me out *(and 4 my pokemon peoplez i wish i had a hypnos or jiggly puff 2 get me to s . L . E . E . P . :(
—Guest pokemon 4:30 in morning!Aaaahhh

It's our culture that's a disorder

There must be a natural or survival reason that our natural circadian cycle is NOT exactly 24 hours. It did us just fine before we started to use clocks to organize our lives. (For awhile clocks were luxuries and navigation aids.) The 'slightly off' circadian cycle had a reason to evolve in our species. However, as we moved toward an industrialized society, we were also forced to succumb to a draconian, regimented work cycle, run by artificial mechanisms, and not our intrinsic body rhythms. So the culture today ignores our true individual natures. If you are a night-owl, you have a 'disorder', because the work world values early risers. Those of us in touch with our 'non-entrained' personal rhythms are cruelly patronized and told we have a 'disorder'. Only a century ago, being left-handed was a 'disorder'. Hopefully the greed-driven, industrial society someday recognizes its own unnatural obsessions, and let's us work and rest as we were meant to.
—Guest Diana

Why call it a disorder?

I am sick to death of people calling something that doesn't fit the mould as a 'disorder'. It wasn't so long ago that being left-handed was considered a 'disorder'. About 30% of the population are 'owls' = their circadian cycle tends toward being up late, and being productive later in the day, regardless of 'entraining' by daylight and other means. You early-morning 'larks' out there are doing everything in your power to make us all 'early to bed, early to rise' zombies. Including calling a normal sleep cycle a 'disorder'. Stop it already.
—Guest navguild

Misc. Thoughts

To Jennifer: Try earplugs or earphones. If you are near a place that sells guns, they probably have them. To Mihal: Buspar is a common treatment for anxiety. There are also various relaxation exercises. To PLMS: Sleep Apena usually does not involve punching, etc. To Kookykathy: Nuvigal or caffeine pills might help. I take ambein to get to sleep. It works very well but can have strange side effects. In my case, numerous people have told me about phone conversations they have had with me which I have absolutely no recollection of. This can be important. Once I apparently made a Drs. appointment but then missed it because I had no recollection of having made it. I've turned the ringer on the phone off when I go to sleep. The worst case I read about was someone driving to work in the middle of the night and then being woken up by someone once he got there.
—Guest Bill

what is normal sleep?

i have mostly racing thoughts. cant get to sleep till 4 am many nights.. 1-3 hrs normal for me. stress? probably, possible depression..? what do you suggest? i would like to sleep at 11-12 pm so i can wake up refreshed at 7 am? how can i achieve this? also i have headaches if i cant sleep well..

sleep disorders

This may address a few of the previous concerns. I am a sleep technologist working primarily with sleep apnea patients in a sleep lab. If you have any concerns about your sleep please advocate to have a sleep test. It is painless and non-invasive. Apnea can affect old, young, heavy, thin, men, woman and children. You should be monitored by both video and audio if possible. The recording will also pick up other sleep disorders that may be present such as periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome, REM behavior disorder (acting out your dreams. Most people experience semi-paralysis during dream sleep as a safety measure to protect you and those around you from acting out dreams. REM behavior patients do not and can cause harm to themselves and others), nocturnal seizures, abnormal heart rate and/or rhythm, and many more. Please do not ignore or dismiss your sleep concerns....it could end up contributing to poor health, poor quality of life and even DEATH!
—Guest upallnight1


For the past 3 weeks, I have been awake until silly hours in the morning, not being able to sleep. However, when I do eventually nod off and get up early for Uni, I feel wide awake as if I have had 12 hours rest. I never feel tired. If during the point that I am asleep, I wake up, I won't be able to get back to sleep. I'm not feeling stressed, I'm just really confused. Any suggestions? Thanks.
—Guest Dave

Noisy neighbours

I have 24 hour carers looking after the lady in the flat below mine. They bang the door all through the night as they go in and out to smoke . I have complained to the housing asoc who accuse me of exagerating. I have Fibromyalgia and feel really ill through no sleep. Please can tou help me with some advice as to how I can deal with this. during the night. Also shout on mobile phones at 6 am sun. I am violently woken up all through the night . I have complained to the housing assoc but they just say that I am moaning. What can i do
—Guest Jennifer

I can"t sleep

I think that my insomnia is caused by my high level of anxiety and lack of good medication for this ilness. I expect proposals for a correct treatment. PLEASE !
—Guest Mihai Moldovan


Me and my boyfriend have discussed this many times, and we think that I have several different sleep disorders. We have been looking up symptoms non-top for two months, wondering why I am always kicking him or shaking violently during sleep. He also tells me of accounts where I try to get up out of bed while unconscious, and talking and attempting to type words (it doesn't work out) in my sleep. My boyfriend has sleep apnea, and he tells me that my symptoms are exactly like his, only mine can get more violent, sometimes including punches and screams. I haven't read anything so far that describes such behavior, and I'm kind of concerned, for both my health and my boyfriend's, since he's almost always the one to wake me up and get me out of my trances/spasms (sometimes the spasms wake me up by themselves). I don't understand what's going on. Someone, please help me as to what I might have.
—Guest cn1531

Idiopathic Hypersomnia

I noticed you didn't address idiopathic hypersomhia. I've had idiopathic hypersomnia for years, but it was never diagnosed until a few years ago. I can go to sleep any time of the day or night, but never feel rested. That's one of the things that separates it from narcolepsy.


do i have insomnia or am i just a worrier i always do the same things before bed but i always end up falling asleep at at least 4am i am 14 and have just been given my options i am always worrying as i am being bullied for weight issues though my mates dont see it i am always tired and hide it behind it by being extremely hyperactive
—Guest chrissie

Is it insomnia?

I don't know if i have insomnia or if i just don't need that much sleep. I know it takes me a VERY long to time to fall asleep no matter how tiered, full, hungry, ect; i am when i lay down at night. Then, when i do fall asleep it only last ten-fifteen minuets then i must start the hole prosses over again. However, i am unsure if it is insomnia for two reasons: 1. I am only 15 and im not sure if it is even possible for me to have it. 2. On some days my lack of sleep dosen't bother me too much if i get a sup of coffee to wake me uo in the morning, other days however, no matter the amount of caffine i consume, i will have headaches, fatigue, mood swings, ect. My question is; do I have insomnia, or am i just over reacting to drowsiness?
—Guest Connie

More stressed? Less sleep.

I find that stress is a huge factor in both the quality and quantity of my sleep. It affects the time it takes me to fall asleep, the number of times I wake up during the night, as well as the duration of time that it takes me to fall back to sleep (not to mention the content of my dreams). Often times, the stressor is not even something that I'm consciously concerned with, or perhaps it's something more overarching but it may not be on my mind that day. Either way, it's the difference between sleeping for 8 hours and waking up to my alarm, or sleeping unfitfully for only a few hours and feeling run-down before the next day even begins. Bottom line: good sleep is important!

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