I'm deciding if I should take a sleeping pill.

I know tons of people who take them. I never understood the need, to be honest. I remember when I was in a mental ward. My group therapy was a bunch of eating disorder girls (which I was part of, but a little old for) and a bunch of grown-ups who were depressed and maybe receiving electroshock therapy. (Does this still happen? I don't know.)

Anyway, the girls' biggest problem was that they hated their family and wanted to live in the mental ward instead. (I definitely fell into that camp.) The adults' problem was that they could not sleep.

At first, I thought, “If this is your biggest problem, do you need to be in a mental ward?”

And this is why I loved the mental ward, by the way. You learn so much about life from people who are unable to live it.

The facilitator, whose job was to get people to talk but often had to quell my penchant for talking over people, explained to me that when people cannot sleep, they cannot deal with the rest of their problems. And it snowballs: some problems lead to no sleep and no sleep leads to worse problems. You go on and on until you get to electroshock therapy.

She didn't say that last part. I did. For effect. But also so you know where I'm coming from when I tell you that I think I am going to be a regular for using pills to sleep.

I just can't find the right ones.

It's clear to me that I sleep better on the porch. Alone. But it's freezing at night. And also, no shitty relationship ever got better without people trying to make it better, and the farmer thinks that me sleeping on the porch is me giving up.

Then I started drinking wine. Sort of to have a better evening with the farmer. So I am less upset that everything is sucking between me and the farmer. And anyway, for sure the farmer likes me better if I'm drinking a little (but not a lot). So I was drinking wine at night, which is not easy in Darlington because the only wine here that costs more than $11 is Kendall Jackson. And there's just so much of that you can drink. And, by the way, I am becoming an expert on cheap wine, and I want to tell you that Crane Lake is the best cheap wine. You will need to know that if you are driving through the Midwest, buying alcohol at desolate gas stations.

The wine scares me, though. I would be a good alcoholic. People who are bulimic have all the trappings of someone who could be an alcoholic. It's the same: Food or alcohol. So the wine scares me for that reason, but also this: I knew a guy who was cheating on his wife who told me how she was drinking wine every night but he didn't even know it and now she goes to AA and she's scared that she ruined her life.

If she only knew the guy was cheating on her.

But anyway, that scared me.

So I can't do wine. I have Xanax. I have it left over from when I had a panic attack over not having any money and having two small kids at home all day while I had to get Brazen Careerist off the ground. The nurse felt bad for me that I didn't have time to wait for triage to see a psychiatrist because I had to get back to my kids, so she convinced some doctor to give me ten Xanax to get through my life.

I used a couple. To sleep. But I love getting up at 4am to write. And I can't do that if I take Xanax.

Then I tried taking one at 6pm. So it wore off in time. And that was fun. Mixing it with wine was fun. And also, suddenly, the farmer and I were getting along again.

The complete unnaturalness of that really scared me. So I stopped everything, and went back to sleeping on the porch. And then, to prove to myself that I was not falling apart in every aspect of my life, I forced myself to sleep in the same bed as the farmer and read until I fell asleep.

Then I remembered how you can't know what an author is like until you try two different books. So maybe that is true of sleeping pills, too. Because I tried Vicodin. I saved them in case I ever got a urinary tract infection again. And sleep was nice. And I had ideas of having wine and Vicodin. After all, I have decided that I'm trying to have in interesting life rather than a happy life. And wine and Vicodin might be interesting.

But only until I am addicted. And then my posts would get really stupid. Among other problems.

Don't ask me, “What about the kids?” When I'm my regular self, everything matters and I want to kill them for not clearing their dishes because maybe they will get married and treat their wife like shit and their wife will say, “But look at how his mom let him treat her—she didn't even make them clear their plates.”

But on drugs, whatever I happen to have selected, I am a laid-back, fun parent.

What's scary is that my kids know there's something wrong when I'm laid back and fun.

Okay. Pause. I sent this post to my editor. And he said, “This is not very useful to your reader. Can you say something useful?”

I said, “No.”

So the post sat for two weeks.

Then, on a night when I ran out of new things to read, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to fall asleep, I started reading a magazine about mindfulness that I bought after I started having sleep problems but before I got my hands on prescription meds.

It's the March 2010 issue of Shambhala Sun. Of course I dove right for the article by Michael Carroll about mindfulness at work. He says that he starts out by asking his clients to fill out this sentence: “At work I want to be …”

And the most frequent answers he gets are





Then he says that we think we want this stuff, but really, we probably don’t. Work would be totally boring if there were not both success and failure. And stress-free work is not challenging enough to be fulfilling work. We know this, I think. We just forget.

Also, we don’t know what else to want. Carroll says, “What we really want is, to be confident: confident that no matter what work offers up, we will remain self-assured and at our ease.”

This rings completely true to me. It helps me understand why I feel okay about work even though my company just moved to DC without me. And it helps me understand why I’ve got insomnia.

I don’t have that confidence about my personal life. But depending on sleeping pills isn’t going to give me that confidence. Everything comes together for me here: that I want to believe that I can handle whatever comes my way in work and in life. I’m better at doing this at work, so I can use my work skills to help me with my personal life.

I don’t think I would ever take a sleeping pill to get more done in my professional life. So I set a schedule. I go to bed at 8:30 and wake up at 4am and as soon as I tell myself that will work, it starts working. Not perfectly, but enough so that the pills and the wine and the self-destruction are not necessary. But they are there, just in case.

122 replies
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  1. BBell
    BBell says:

    A good night’s sleep is probably the easiest way to recalibrate your views on life, but I'm not sure it's always enough. When I read this post the first word that sprang to mind was "spiraling".

    I wish you all the best.

  2. Renee
    Renee says:

    I have worked in sleep disorders medicine for 17 years and if you decide to seek help you do not need to see an internist. You need to see a board-certified sleep physician. No one on a blog can give you appropriate sleep advice without knowing your full medical history. Sorry, doctor. :(

    You started with the best observation, chronic insomnia leads to the chicken or the egg syndrome. Did the crazy cause the insomnia or feeling crazy because of the insomnia?

    Trust me, you will feel better having a solution to your insomnia. It may not work perfectly every night at first, but you can learn the techniques and aids for restful sleep (barring any existing sleep disorders).

    We ultimately can have more control over our world if we can see it clearly to make better choices.

  3. DonkeyOfMyWifesEye
    DonkeyOfMyWifesEye says:

    Self-medicating doesn’t fix anything, it only brings temp relief. If you are ready to attempt a fix or are ready to jump off the train, then forget the chemicals. If you are just trying to get by until an inspiration comes, then I recommend Carlo Rossi box wines. The equiv of 7 bottles for about $14. The chard has less acid and is easier on the stomach than other cheap whites. The reds won’t win any awards but are tolerable, and what do you want for $2/bottle?

  4. Emily
    Emily says:

    Hey Penelope. I just wanted to say keep up the good work. I’ve heard that some of the best marriages begin with a hellish first year. I guess it’s part of the process of polishing down each other’s rough edges so that you can fit more closely together.

    I personally believe that that first year can be even rougher when someone with Asperger’s marries a “neurotypical” person, which I’m guessing your farmer is. That’s been my situation, too. But hang in there. I bet it will get much, much better for you, as it has for us. It’s a second marriage for both of us, and we’ll be celebrating our second anniversary in December.

    We still have the occasional knock-down drag-out, but they’re becoming fewer and further between, and each time helps us
    understand each other just a little bit more. Just don’t derail the process, no matter how hard it is in the moment, by numbing out. You’re on the right track. And, by the way, I think you’re AWESOME!!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is really encouraging, Emily. Thanks. It’s hard to tell if things get worse from the first year or better. I can’t really imagine worse. That would not be good. Now that you tell me they get better, I am going to tell myself that’s what will happen.


  5. Carole Dixon
    Carole Dixon says:

    When I was young and still slept like a rock, I heard that insomnia was a need to do spiritual work. I always vowed I would stay up and do the work. Then I got menopausal and sleep began to evade me – dreams too. I have toughed it out for the main part, did try the Xanax, loved it, but discovered it made me mean as hell later. These days I mostly do breath work. I inhale “Sut” (truth). Exhale “Nam” (identity). And when things go really wrong like they did Sunday when my son almost killed himself and we had to call the sheriff and the medics to take him away, then I don’t even try to sleep. I give in to spirit which stays wakeful. I’ve stayed out in my truck bed all night watching shooting stars on a night like that. This Sunday night, I read, listened to an audio book, wrote a letter and did not fight the sleeplessness because I knew shutting my eyes would only make me envision what my son was going through. Only one of us needed to go through that and it was him. And I did a lot of the breath work – inhaling truth and exhaling ego. Good luck. Also I am reading “Nonviolent Communication,a language of life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

  6. Joselle
    Joselle says:

    I have had insomnia for years so I totally understand. You’re not taking sleeping pills, though. As someone already pointed out, you’re taking pills for anxiety and pain. Have you tried actual sleeping pills, like Ambien and Lunesta?

    I’ve tried Valerian and it sometimes helps (usually the natural stuff doesn’t do it for me). I usually just use two Tylenol PMs when I know I’m not going to be able to sleep and that mostly works. I’m afraid to try the prescription stuff because I’m sure it will work well and I’ll never want to get off the stuff.

    I mostly think of my insomnia as an asset now. I’m going to be a midwife and when I worked as a doula in the hospital at 2 am while everyone who wasn’t giving birth or a nurse was sleeping, I was like, I found the job for me. I can be awake and dreamy all at once, which is what my insomnia is like. And I’m such a light sleeper, waking up with my future baby at 3 am won’t be such a big deal to me.

    But it sucks to be tired and have your anxiety keep you up at night. So try real sleeping pills. And no internet before bed.

  7. Rubi
    Rubi says:

    Great post. I recently got laid off and my sleep has been all sorts of crazy. I second the Trazedone recommendation (from having taken it years ago). Also, have you considered Cymbalta? In the right dosage, it does wonders for generalized anxiety disorder. Actions or language that would spur on a vicious fight become pet peeves, minor annoyances or go completely unnoticed. I am glad you have found something that works for you and having the self discipline to wage up at 4 am is admirable. I hope you’ll be less anxious soon and I’m hoping the same for me as I try to figure out my next life adventure.

  8. Vic
    Vic says:

    Hi Penelope,

    At first, while reading the beginning of your post, I also agreed with the editor’s comment about this post. But while I’m reading thru the end, I figure it out that this is not all about the insomnia, the farmer or neither the kids… It is about the confidence that no matter what, a person will feel self assured and at ease. Great post!

    Btw, I admire your truthfulness, to yourself and to others.

    Regards & more power!

  9. dianna
    dianna says:

    Hi Penelope,
    I don’t have a good enough memory to know if you are averse to exercise. I mean really challenging physical exercise. It doesn’t have to be of long duration if it is intense. This has helped me immensely(sp) in my relationships and I have avoided going back on antidepressants. Get a trainer or a crossfit coach. Oh, right, you played volleyball. So maybe you’ve already tried this avenue. Please consider trying again. Pushing my body to the limit can be like meditation or even a tiny jolt of ECT to clear away all the noise my brain generates.

  10. Clara
    Clara says:

    Hi Penelope,

    Maybe you should just try a trip to DC, to have some alone time. And to start feeling more in control of that part of your life, seeing for yourself how things are going over there. Who knows, maybe in the back of your head you still worry about it. Just saying.

  11. Margaret Goerig
    Margaret Goerig says:

    I really doubt she’ll write you off completely, Margaret/Emily. Your last comment & confession was pretty amazing. Thanks for being so completely honest with all of us and good for you, sticking it out with your man. Not a marriage but a relationship of sorts: one of my most painful, self-changing experiences ever was the first year spent in Mexico. Then I started changing myself and how I was viewing where I was, and by the end of the second year, I had reached a point where I loved and respected the place for what it was. I have since moved away but I have very fond memories of it, because it took so much of me but then it gave so much back. Our worst struggles usually lead to our best revelations.

  12. Jeffrey Sumber
    Jeffrey Sumber says:


    Thank-you for sharing the ups and downs. I have had issues sleeping since I was 5 years old which I have proudly offered to doctors for the past thirty five years who want to suggest that I can’t sleep because of Stress. Stress is one of those funny catch all conundrums that seem to be the thing to fix… I suppose I was stressed when I was five but stress seems pervasive in the way that we don’t use the term “dysfunctional family” any longer because it is virtually impossible to find a family that is not dysfunctional….

    On that note, I’m sorry that you and the farmer have been having some trouble. On the other hand, few relationships exist without some trouble. See the trend? Relationships are here to kick our ass and challenge us to be better at ourselves while wanting to make our sadness and anger about others. I have been struggling with that my whole life and I’m just finally getting a handle on it… Of course, I still can’t sleep like a pre-5 year old…

    Lots of love,


  13. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve solved your sleep problems as suggested by the title of this post. However, you’ve improved them measured by what I’ve read here. It’s the trend that’s important and getting more sleep without using prescription drugs (or any drugs for that matter, if possible) is progress in the right direction. It’s the hardest road to hoe but the one that reveals the most to yourself, instills self-confidence, and will most likely work for future challenges down the road. There’s a lot of good suggestions here in the comment section but only a few that will work for you so I think further ‘experimentation’ may be required. I am concerned about the way you have described your use of prescription drugs. I think they’re necessary for some people either in chronic or backup situations but should always be administered carefully. I really liked the mindfulness article linked to in this post – good stuff.

  14. Erica
    Erica says:

    I can’t believe how superficial you all are.

    Can you not see that this isn’t a sleep problem or a marriage problem?

    It’s a Penelope problem.

    You are all enabling her to look for stupid, formulaic, surface answers.

    Melatonin? Please.

    It’s called psychotherapy and Penelope needs it. Now.

    Also, there is a time to blog and a time to not blog.

    Penelope is using the blog to avoid introspection. Not good.

  15. JT
    JT says:

    Try 5-htp. It’s a vitamin that you can get at a health food store, or through the Internet. Look it up…it’s a precursor to serotonin and will help you get some restful sleep, as well as help take the edge off stressful days. I’ve taken it on and off for years. It’s not addictive and it’s not expensive.

  16. David
    David says:

    "This is not very useful to your reader. Can you say something useful?"
    I have not personally found anything useful from what I gather is supposed to be career advice but in short order devolves into somewhat insane rambling (believe me, I know mental illness myself), however it speaks to some people so, Cheers!
    BTW: I happened to see the news about your miscarriage tweet, and then, after being completely mortified, saw an article about a woman in California who drove around for ten months with her dead friend in the seat next to her. I have no ability to wrap my brain around those stories at all whatsoever.

  17. Elin all over again
    Elin all over again says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for this blog post. Your editor was wrong. It was useful to at least this reader before he suggested you add to it. It was specifically this paragraph that made me feel better:

    “…I have Xanax. I have it left over from when I had a panic attack over not having any money and having two small kids at home all day while I had to get Brazen Careerist off the ground. The nurse felt bad for me that I didn't have time to wait for triage to see a psychiatrist because I had to get back to my kids, so she convinced some doctor to give me ten Xanax to get through my life.”

    In my case, I just found out this past week I’m married to Tiger Woods.

    I’m a stay at home mom who just realized I wasted 6 years of my life with a lying chronic cheating sex addict and to add insult to injury, I gave up law school to be in this marriage!

    My husband doesn’t know that I know yet. He’s away on business. I’ve spent the past week digging through credit cards, breaking into email accounts, and compiling assets. the more I dig, the more I find! The only thing that’s keeping me calm for our children and from having a complete nervous breakdown is Xanax!

    I got a job yesterday as a real estate salesperson, but it’s entry level and it’s strictly commission. I just wanted to let you know that it made me feel more confident that you had been in the position of having a failed marriage, no money, and an unsure future and come through it successfully! (and that you’re not hopelessly addicted to Xanax ;))

    The fact that you tried marriage again after the first one is commendable as well. I don’t know that I will ever be able to do that again…

  18. MBS Editor
    MBS Editor says:

    Mindfulness has helped me feel more centered and more creative than anything else I have tried. It’s hard to step away from the computer and the busywork and just pay attention to what’s going on in my head but by practicing mindfulness, I have learned to observe my thoughts, almost like an outsider, rather than getting caught up in them and reacting to them. It has helped me access my intuition because that good stuff – the stuff that helps you see clearly, lies just under all the buzz in your head. What comforts me when I am confused is to remind myself that everything I need to know is right inside of me. That’s what keeps me at the practice.

    I don’t know if mindfulness will be helpful to you, but if you decide to try it, I would suggest that you go to a retreat taught by a respected teacher or get a teacher to help you. It’s too difficult to try from a book or a tape alone.

    I read a LOT–and your blog is one of the most interesting and inspiring reads I’ve ever found. Yet, I know that all the obvious talent you have, and the well deserved respect and love you receive here don’t change the fact that life is often difficult and painful for you.
    Thank you for writing.

  19. TIC
    TIC says:

    As a former bulemic and a current insomniac (of ten years) who has tried each and every natural remedy (except the parsnip one), prescription drug, and anti-depressant medicine that has been mentioned above… I’d like to recommend one which has not been mentioned: Allteril. You can get it at CVS… it is all natural, non-habit forming, and combines three remedies that work well together. Including tryptothan (like the dark meat in a turkey!).
    Other than that, try meditation. Or at least having real quiet within yourself. Exercise (you know this as an athlete) and behavioral patterns before bed will always help (and you’ve already begun this).
    You evaluate yourself and your surroundings because of your commitment to each. That is honorable. Please let me know if you try the Allteril and if it helps.
    My best to you.

  20. Jonnie P. Tew
    Jonnie P. Tew says:

    I think counseling to deal with aborting your child is needed. After you admit, deal with and forgive yourself for this, you will have restful nights.

  21. Jon
    Jon says:

    I realize this post really isn’t about sleeping pill choices, but I’ll play along like the dumb guy I am. I’ve tried a few but the only thing that gets me a full night’s sleep without wrecking my brain the next day is good old Nyquil.

  22. Irina I
    Irina I says:

    Also, if you’re having trouble sleeping, get a memory foam mattress. It solved any sleep issues I had and I pass out in bed within 5 minutes of going to sleep. I can recommend a good one on Overstock.

  23. Mark Kearney
    Mark Kearney says:

    Oh man, I remember when I was on a plane once and I took some sleeping tablets to try and knock myself out….. worse move ever! I was just incredibly tired and no matter what I did I couldn’t actually fall asleep!!

    Great site by the way. I am going through the painful process of trying to get my blog recognised. People keep telling me my content is great but I don’t know how to actually get the word out there! If you have any suggestions it would be most appreciated! If you check out my site my latest post is just for a laugh but the ones before that are more what the site is about.

    Anyway just thought I would add my 2 cents worth from my experience with sleeping pills!

  24. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    The only Crane Lake wine I’ve had in Wisconsin is from California, and your link is discussing a Crane Lake wine from Australia, so I don’t think it’s won any awards. But it is not bad. We had a pumpkin-carving party at our house last night in Madison and I bought two bottles of Crane Lake wine for $3.99 each at Sentry. I would buy them again.

  25. Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey
    Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey says:


    What a great post.

    And I say that as a person who DOES take sleeping pills. There is ton of back story as why I do, and trust me, I wish I didn’t have to – but I love the approach and thoughtfulness and determination that rings through why you are trying to avoid taking them. For now. ;)


  26. Alora
    Alora says:

    My husband used to think that me sleeping alone was also a sign of me giving up on our relationship or not dealing with our issues. It took years for both of us to understand that I needed to have the option of sleeping alone in order to recharge my batteries enough to deal with the challenges in our relationship. Now he has his room, and I have my room. Each room is both bedroom and office. Sometimes I sleep with him; sometimes he sleeps with me; sometimes we sleep apart. No matter what, though, we get along far better this way, deal with far more, enjoy each other far more, and make much more progress on our issues. Don’t get trapped by the stereotypes and cliches of what it means to sleep separately. For those of us who need space and quiet — or who even just want to get up super early to write — sleeping alone is sometimes just what we need to deal with the rest of our life.

  27. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Sorry, I’m late to the party here but would like to weigh in…as a long-time member of the Insomniac Club, I just started reading two sleep related books. 1) Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia by Patricia Morrisroe and 2) Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir by Bill Hayes. I usually don’t recommend a book until I’ve finished reading, but I think both of these are good/interesting and pertinent to this post topic. An early paragraph (first, p. 5) in Bill’s I found so beautifully written I cried.

    Also, should I ever marry or partner-up domestically, romantically, I will need to sleep separately in order to function, period, end of discussion. This is odd-ball I know, but my hunch is this occurs way more often than we know. I think the point in marriage/romantic partnership is that you have healthy, fulfilling Sexy Times, that if you can’t sleep in the same bed together, I just don’t see that as failure or shameful. Practical matters, their effective management/resolution, lead to marriage success. A healthy sleep life is a very practical matter.

    Thank you for a great post.

  28. BrendaH
    BrendaH says:

    Oh Penelope,
    I have been reading you continually or off and on for more than a year. You are completely the real thing in my opinion. Why can’t everyone (me) be so in touch with ourselves? I am worried about you though, I have a deep down gut feeling that you want to be in Washington D C with your company. Is it true? The commitment you thought you wanted from the farmer did not complete you maybe like you hoped it would? Some people (maybe all of us) want what we think is missing so badly and then when we get it we want to smother ourseves in it and often the other person gets smothered too, when if we could just let ourselves we’d get that it isn’t really what we wanted/needed. I hope you understand what I mean to say here. Truly.

  29. carol
    carol says:


    don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do everything the *normal* way. whats normal to one person isn’t normal to another! we all have our quirks. ok, maybe we aspies have more than most, but still… you need to be comfortable in your own house, sleeping wherever you want to sleep. i have a king sized bed, and my husband and i have separate blankets. i dont like being touched while sleeping, and i don’t like sharing the covers. this works fine for us. and if your farmer has an issue with it…not to minimize his feelings, but really? YOU’RE ASLEEP. does it really matter where you are for that? its not like you’re aware of whats going on anyway. i’d rather have a calmer, well rested spouse than a tired, anxious one. relationships are give and take. maybe once or twice a week you can share a bed, and have the other nights to yourself. just some thoughts. disjointed thoughts, but thats because my husband is snoring and its hard to think. :)

  30. BrendaH
    BrendaH says:

    You are the only blogger that I have ever posted a comment to. And that was only once-above. Last night I couldn’t help continuing to think about your difficulty sleeping and your whole situation with the famer. Admittedly, we only know how it is for you by what you share with us, however, you have become a unique favorite of mine and I want to let you know that you are among the few I consider great in your genre, (Gloria Steinam, Helen Gurly Brown, Karen Salmansohn.) I wish you good sleep.

  31. Damson Automotive
    Damson Automotive says:

    I have this EXACT same problem. I cannot sleep either and my doc refuses to give me meds unless I come in and talk to her/get a check-up or whatever and I didn’t want to deal with that so I declined. I cannot drink milk to help me fall asleep because I’m lactose intolerant. I cannot drink because I just don’t drink! I’m always irritable because of lack of sleep. I think my problem is that I’m always angry and pissed off so I brood over things at night; I think people who offended me and what they said to me etc. I just cannot let it go and fall asleep. It sucks bad.

  32. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I really like that you don’t pretend you have it all together.

    As the mother of a 3 1/2 year old who has slept through maybe 10 nights in her life, I value sleep highly. Last year after the sudden death of my father, I had to resort to Ativan (just a few tablets) and sleeping pills (for a few months) just to cope.

    The sleeping pills caused horrendous indigestion, so I had no choice but to go on a “detox” weekend. Thankfully, after 2 nights of sleepless nights, I was exhausted enough to sleep.

    Now, I take a cup of hot non-caffeinated herbal tea before bedtime, along with my Magic Bag across the top of my shoulders, and I am good to go. It’s not this easy for many people, but you have to keep trying things until something works.

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  35. Rocio
    Rocio says:

    Ok, Interesting reading all this! It makes me think and think. I am taking Ambien when needed. My Doctor has also put me on Doxepin. He told me to try Doxepin see if it helps me go to sleep and stay asleep. If not then he suggested me to then, take “ambien”. It did help me (Doxepin) the 1st 3 nights. Then after that, I still needed help trying to fall asleep. So, I take ambien again. I really wish not to take any sort of sleeping pills because on the long run it is not healthy! =( But if I don’t take one then I can’t sleep all night. I am just tossing and turning in my bed. I have noticed everything bothers me when I can’t seem to fall asleep. My partner snores, ugh! The bed squeaks when I turn. The cars driving near my home, etc… Its just hard for me to catch my sleep. I been having sleeping problems for almost 2 yrs. Honestly, I don’t feel I am depressed. But my Dr. insist I take depression pills. I love my life, my kids, my husband even though he never shows appreciation, support or love. I believe my sleep problems all started when I was working on 3rd shift. Then, when I quit 3rds and tried going to bed regularly at night. Now that, is where* It began and I couldn’t fall asleep or stay asleep for long. I want to say and believe it was 3rd shift that made me with this *insomnia* problem but now I don’t know what to think after reading this article. Am, I really not happy?… I know, “I am happy”.. I am a mother of 4 young children. I am 27 now. I have my partner (He is 28) that served the Marines and went out to war in Iraq. He is a wonderful father to our 2 small children and tries to be a good dad to my 2 oldest. He is not a good husband with me. He is an alcoholic. I mean we try to make it work but unfortunately its hard and I noticed we fight over “stupid little things” that become “big things” then after that, I myself forget *why are we mad at each other*. Good thing about me is that when I get mad. I don’t stay mad very long. It will go away after 5-10 minutes or so. My partner in the other hand. Stays mad and wants to argue over who cares whatever happened 5 hrs ago! And wow, just stressful. Yes, I have stress. And when I don’t sleep well at night, then next morning a can be a grouch all day! *NOT GOOD*… We been together about a little over 2 yrs now. It was an on and off relationship since 2004. Unfortunately he never settled until June of 2007. We bought a new home. Have nice trucks. I feel lucky. We are not rich, but not poor. Everyone I love has good health and that’s very important to me. My husband and I tried counseling but hasn’t helped us at all. I don’t know “why”, I can’t catch my sleep and/or stay asleep. My mother blames that I drink too much red bull energy drink! lol… That is not true because I only drink red bull maybe once a week 1 small can (8.4 oz)or when they call me in to work 3rd shift(rarely). Tops 2 cans a week. When she comes over our house and visits is when unfortunately I have a red bull in my hand :-L. Out of a whole month- my mother seen me drinking red bull energy drinks 3 times. So, she thinks that *red bull is my problem* and its why I can’t sleep*… I don’t know… One time, about 4 months ago. Before the Dr suggested the ambien. My sleeping problem became very bad and it was horrible!. I think I was loosing my mind. I couldn’t sleep, I was stressed, problems with husband, and I felt I wasn’t myself. I cried. I told my mother how I felt. I felt I was loosing my mind. Felt i didn’t make any sense. She stayed over my house and monitor me closely. I right away made an appointment to my family Dr. and told him everything. Then that is when he prescribed me ambien. Right now I feel great! Feel bad because like I said, I really wish I can sleep all by myself without any help of a pill. By the way *we*(husband and I) still have stupid fights. lol… There is always “something” wrong.

  36. Harold
    Harold says:

    I’m on rotating shift work. 3 or 6 MG melatonin 30 minutes prior to hitting the bed. With the thirty minutes spent relaxing- not in bed. Doing brainless things like watching an episode of a comefdy show on DVD or wandering your favorite blogs. No serious thinking. With me, a cup of hot chocolate helps a lot. Warm milk, which is what hot chocalate contains, aids in sleep. The chocolate itself contains caffeine- the sleep effects of the warm milk overpower it. Oh, and make the hot chocolate with milk and the powder packets, not water as they say to. tastes much better.

    I used to use tryptophan, before it was taken off the market. It’s back on the market now. It works, too. I’m going to buy some to use in conjunction with the melatonin.

    Oh, you cannot apparently overdose on melatonin. If you take a whole bunch, you will get the hangover feeling someone else in a comment described. And the overdose won’t help you sleep any better.

  37. sarahayars
    sarahayars says:

    I found your blog because I was mistrustful of Tim Ferris. That was my best day on Google – though I didn’t at all find what I was looking for. I found your blog instead, and it was just what I needed. Now I’m reading all of it. Because that’s what I do.

  38. Some Guy
    Some Guy says:

    Try diphenhydramine. It’s the stuff in Nyquil, or Nyquist, I don’t know what you call it in the US.

    It fixed my life.

  39. Calin Coroban
    Calin Coroban says:

    Many insomniacs rely on sleeping tablets and other sedatives to get rest, with research showing that medications are prescribed to over 95% of insomniac cases.Certain classes of sedatives such as benzodiazepines and newer nonbenzodiazepine drugs can also cause physical dependence, which manifests in withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not carefully tapered down. The benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic medications also have a number of side-effects such as day time fatigue, motor vehicle crashes, cognitive impairments and falls and fractures. Elderly people are more sensitive to these side-effects.The non-benzodiazepines zolpidem and zaleplon have not adequately demonstrated effectiveness in sleep maintenance. Some benzodiazepines have demonstrated effectiveness in sleep maintenance in the short term but in the longer term are associated with tolerance and dependence. Drugs that may prove more effective and safer than existing drugs for insomnia are in development.

  40. eunshiru
    eunshiru says:

    Treating insomnia or other kinds of sleep disorder with medicine is not all good. Well i tried before, like anyone else I’m also suffering insomnia. At first I tried medication but the results are not that good for me, like having headache during daytime or become sleepy especially on office hours. After asking some advice from my colleges and friends and made some internet research (http://howtosleeponyourback.com/) I applied the exercise and healthy diet on my daily routines and with God’s blessings I finaly not just made but enjoy an 8-10 hours night sleep. :D

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