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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by North Star, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been reading the posts on insomnia and put "Say Good Night to Insomnia" on my Amazon list to read next.

    I'm trying to figure out how to address this huge TMS area. My sleep has been lousy for over 20 years and I've taken sleep aids for most of the time. A sleep study showed mild apnea but nothing serious (other than the fact my sleep was 59% what it should be).

    I've been weaning myself off the benadryl but it's getting scary. The night time pain is resurfacing. (I always attributed my poor sleep to pain.) I'm weary of taking stuff to sleep and while my doc (who is NOT a TMS doc btw,) agrees it's best to not take anything, he doesn't seem too concerned.

    I'm a week away from finishing the SEP and thought addressing sleep would be the wise next step.
    I feel like I'm facing so many battles...pain (which is definitely much better), skin issues and insomnia.

    I'm probably more anxious over this issue than anything because I feel like I'm at the mercy of my sub-c and I know how devastating the effects of insomnia.

    OR. I could just keep taking Benadryl (placebo?) and getting a fairly decent night's sleep.

    Anyone have any experience in this area?
  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I'm struggling with the very same issue, MontanaMom. I haven't slept well in many years. It's a tricky issue because while I can scold my subC during the daytime, it's dominant at night during sleep--when I DO manage to sleep!
    This week I had a night when I didn't sleep at all. I tried at 10:30, then again at 12:30, and at 3:00, then just gave up. The following day was a 14 hour work day. Ugh!

    I've been told that I could take Tylenol PM every night with no ill effects, but I never take it 2 nights in a row. I don't like having to rely on pills. I've tried meditation and many other things. I do sleep better when the stress levels are lower, and when the weather cools off (I'm in TX).

    I'll have to look into Say Good Night to Insomnia. Hope you find something that works!! Blessings.
  3. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for chiming in, Gigi. The ingredient in Tylenol PM is benadryl and yes, it is pretty benign stuff. But I usually up the dosage because it doesn't work as well..and then I step it back down for a while down to nothing....and then back up... What a cycle!

    I'm really hoping that book will help me kick that habit in the head for good!

    I have books on my iPod so often, I will play something soothing. Last night, Allan Watts' soothing voice and wonderful content helped greatly. :)

    Blessings back to you, Gigi!
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Insomnia is most definitely another manifestation of TMS. There are a couple of success stories on our Insomnia page you may want to check out. One technique you could try is to journal for a few minutes right before you go to bed. It may help to release the repressed emotions you have had throughout the day. I have also read good things about Say Good Night to Insomnia, and I recommend checking it out. It seems like it has been helpful to a lot of people, and may be exactly what you need.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have had good success with all my TMS symptoms except insomnia. I will definitely check out both books. Insomnia is clearly TMS, in that my worry about not being able to sleep ensures that I won't--that TMS loop of fear. I stopped regulating my sleeping aid intake as I knew it had gotten out of control when I found myself cutting pills into eighths to try to titrate the dose gradually. Now I just give myself until a certain time to fall asleep, and if I'm not asleep by then, I just take something and don't beat myself up over it. But I know I have much more work to do on my TMS healing and keep at it.
    Lily Rose and MontanaMom like this.
  7. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Why not try a herbal remedy? They are potent and nourishing and most important of all, they are natural. Personally I favour Valerian which promotes sleep and soothes anxiety. There are others such as passionflower and hops. Herbs really can make a vital difference especially when you are titrating. I'd also recommend essential oils, which can be added to an aromatherapy burner, dropped on your pillow or added to a relaxing bath. I use herbs and oils every day and swear by them. I'm more than happy to post more if anyone is interested.
    Birdie likes this.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Plum....that book's now on my list too. And yeah...I've tried herbal things to no avail... And I keep lavender oil handy too.

    Ellen, Ha! I cut my pills...but only down to 1/2 or 1/4 depending on what I'm taking. (Benadryl or Amytriptaline...however you spell that!) My problem isn't falling asleep; I'm out within 10 minutes. And awake again in a few hours. Doze. Wake up. Doze. Toss and turn tell monkey mind to turn off. And so on until I rise and shine at 6. (I've always been an early riser.)

    Forest, that's a great idea about journaling before bed. I love journaling (I'm a writer too) and the exercises in the SEP have been so helpful. I will try that tonight.
  9. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had problems for 20 years, very little sleep, non- restorative sleep and feeling like a zombie. I have started a fire, crashed my car and flooded the house by being so tired I couldn't function properly. In the end I couldn't cook until my husband was home - just in case...! I used pills occasionally - but I refused to do them every night.
    I think anxiety is at the root of it. My mother hasn't slept much since she was 10. I thought it might of been genetic. But - as usual its TMS! Several years ago I started to try and control my mind at night and this helped a lot. Instead of lying there worrying/churning about all the pain and problems in my life, I would force myself to make as many words out of another word that I could - I was methodical and started with the first letter - and so on ( ie; Party - par, pat, part, pay - you get the idea!) The last thing I would say to my hubby at night was 'Give me a word! If I ever felt my attention try to wander (only a thousand times a night!) I would force it back, after word games I would count in Spanish, or French. It worked somewhat and the more sleep I got - helped to make me feel better in the day and cope better with the pain.
    Since discovering TMS - I added in deep breathing - I take 2 deep breaths and think of 3 things that have been good about the day, then another and think how well I will feel tomorrow, then I do some mindfulness. Usually I am asleep by then, but if not, I carry on with a word game. It is so much easier now most of the pain is gone - it was SO bloomin hard to sleep with chronic pain! The important thing I have found is to NOT, under any circumstance allow my mind to wander. If it does I will be in worry/stress/panic/ mode - just like my Mother!
    I feel so much more alert and grounded and able to deal with life. I think sleep is really important to us. But insomnia is one of the hardest things to deal with...
    Ellen likes this.
  10. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I just read a book called Goodnight Mind, written by two sleep experts. They advise taking down data for 2 weeks, and determining on average how long you spend in bed each night and how long you spend sleeping. The authors contend that if you only sleep an average of 5 hours a night, why spend 8 hours in bed. So for the last 4 nights I've forced myself to stay up later, and I have to admit that my quality of sleep is much improved. The hardest part is staying up when I feel sleepy!
    Ellen likes this.
  11. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Every single one of these responses are helpful to know, wow! My sleep switch has not functioned normally since I was 12. It hasn't functioned at all since my early 20's and since then I've always had aid in one form or another. I will 'wishlist' the recommended books to obtain after I get the Dr. Sarno and Steve O books.

    Montana .. keep believing in yourself ^_^

    Plum ... very interested to hear more, please.

    Grace and Gratitude,
  12. Islandsno

    Islandsno New Member

    I'm on night 2 of my TMS journey to heal my insomnia. I began having issues with sleep after surgically induced menopause. BHRT did help some but I've found that natural sleep aides (melatonin based ) would be an added bonus. It's been about 2 years since my surgery and my sleep has progressively gotten worse. I can go days with just a few hours of sleep. Dr. Sarno's book "The Mindbody prescription " healed my chronic neck pain and headache several years ago. I have been pain free ever since. I've recently discontinued using any sleep aides or crutches so as to not fight the symptoms but work on my unconscious. My Anxiety about not sleeping day after day can be very difficult and exhausting. I fear driving. I began journaling today and was surprised at my emotional breakdown following my entry. It came out of nowhere, probably because I'm so sleep deprived. After reading the above posts it seems insomnia doesn't heal very easily, if at all. I will try to stick to the game plan and be hopeful for a positive outcome. Presently Anxiety, heart palpitations, and sporadic pains in assorted areas seem to be flaring up as well. TMS at its finest.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Islandsno, you can see from the replies that you are not alone in having sleep problems.
    It seems to be a common symptom of TMS.
    Since you healed from chronic back pain and headache, you will lick the sleep problem, too.
    Keep deep breathing and thinking calming thoughts.

    Keep driving but be extra careful. If you need to, pull over to a side street, stop the car,
    and do deep breathing or take a walk.

    Journaling looks like it's bringing some repressed emotions closer to the surface.
    When you truly recognize them, you will start to lose the anxiety, etc.
  14. Islandsno

    Islandsno New Member

    Thank you Walt!
    Day 3

    3 hours of sleep ( maybe 4) without a sleep aide yahoo! Instead of freaking out that my heart was pounding and racing in my ears I turned it around and used it as a calming force. I visualized what a baby hears in the safety of the mothers womb and when a baby is held in a loving embrace against the chest...the sound of a beating heart is a beautiful, peaceful, and loving organ. Let it calm and relax me.
    I'm feeling hopeful.
  15. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Love this! Way to turn a negative into a calming, benevolent mantra. What a clever response, Islandsno.
    Islandsno likes this.
  16. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent advice Walt. Islandsno - you have cracked the essence of TMS I reckon! The taking control instead of being controlled, turning the unpleasant or scary into a positive action and recognising that by dealing with our repressed emotions we sort of cut it off at the root. We create it all and we are darned well capable of uncreating it - once we realise what 'it' is!! Well done - I think you are dealing with your symptoms really well.
    jameseyswife1 likes this.
  17. Islandsno

    Islandsno New Member

    Thank you Gigi and hectate 105.
    I really need the encouragement. It's day 5 and I thought I was making some progress but last night felt like I was right back at square 1. No sleep at all for me with a heavy dose of anxiety accompanied with some acid reflux. I'm feeling very discouraged and questioning my attempt. I wish there were more success stories on this forum re: insomnia. Is TMS the culprit? How long can a person last with very little or no sleep before serious health issues come into play? This is a HUGE fear of mine. That it will break me first. I've been so tempted to take a sleep aide. Although, taking a pill gaurentees me nothing. Yesterday was a decent one so I will try to cling to that small victory. Days are easier than the night....how I dread the darkness.
  18. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I struggle with insomnia too, and I know how difficult it is to address. I have no doubt that it is a TMS equivalent. One of the characteristics insomnia shares with TMS is the fear-symptom-fear-symptom cycle. The fear of not sleeping and the dread of going to bed will ensure that insomnia persists. I recommend the book Say Goodnight to Insomnia, as it is helpful in reducing the fear of insomnia due to its comprehensive coverage of current research on sleep--how much we actually need before our functioning suffers, etc. I think that losing the fear of not sleeping is critical in overcoming insomnia. I'm still working on this, but am slowly making some progress. Deep belly breathing is also helpful in calming the autonomic nervous system, so I do this before sleeping every night.

    I think that it can be very tempting to get into lots of sleep hygiene practices. Others may disagree with me on this, but I think these things can be like all the equipment people with back pain think they need to get through the day (special pillows, etc). For most people sleep is no big deal--one just goes to sleep when tired. That is my goal--for it to be simple and natural. But to get there I need to lose the fear and address the underlying psychological issues, which for me is about a fear of letting go and losing control.

    Wishing you well with this....
    Islandsno likes this.
  19. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Islandsno, I agree with Ellen. Try not to worry about not getting sleep.
    Your mind is probably just too active in the hour or two before bedtime.
    Don't watch tv news or any show that is exciting or violent.
    I like to watch nature and animals, or an old movie that is funny or relaxing.
    Or I just listen to calming music and meditate.

    If my mind is still real active when I'm in bed, I do deep breathing and
    say a calming, positive mantra that all is well. I tell myself that whatever is
    worrying me can wait until morning.

    I'm going to look on the web now for any suggestions on sleep.
    Islandsno likes this.
  20. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Islandsno likes this.

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