Getting Sleep Without a Hang Over

by Michelle
(Gaithersburg, MD)

It all started about ten years ago. I was a student in college and my fifty year old father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I was a premed major and had a better grasp of what his diagnosis truly meant. My brother was only ten and my mother was in denial and thought he could beat it. Well one of his side effects was insomnia I knew he probably had less than 3 months to live I wanted to cherish every minute I had. Well this set into motion three months of a few hours of sleep a day. Once he did pass away I could not sleep over grief, worrying about my family etc. That is how this all started. My fathers best friend was our family doctor and handed me a sample box of the sleeping pills Halicon(they are no longer on the market). I only stayed on them for a few weeks and couldn't handle the side effects and became scared. For instance one morning I woke up and found out I made brownies and didn't even remember getting up. I also had phone conversations with no recollection of them. I stopped taking them immediately losing control scared me more than a lack of sleep. I tried every other over the counter drug I could find and nothing worked for me. If the pill would get me to sleep I would wake up with a horrible hang over feeling. A few years later I started dating a chiropractor who's outlook on everything honestly changed my life. Even though our relationship didn't work I am grateful to him for helping me. I never went to a chiropractor before and was very skeptical about any advice he was giving me, but I figured nothing else was working. Well it worked I still only sleep 5-6 hours a night but that is so much better than 2-3 hours I was used to getting. He first made me get rid of my TV from my bedroom and I picked up my old habit of reading before I went to bed. I would lay in bed and my brain wouldn't stop so reading gave my brain something else to do somewhere to escape. I also started taking baths at night to physically help my body relax. I also stopped sleeping in on the weekends I wake up the same time everyday no matter if I have to or not this also keeps me on schedule. Since I am pretty active I also stopping the evening workouts. I was still having a problem relaxing so I started acupuncture. I was lucky since I was able to get treatment in my own bed without going to the office and the treatment was free. I was also dealing with losing the most important person in my life so to deal with my grief I started writing in a journal. The final thing I would do is drink Sleepy Time Tea. I love the tea I do not get the hang over effect and still use it to this day. I do not drink it every night anymore but I still take it a few nights a month. When I am under stress or worried insomnia again takes it's hold again in my life. But usually if I stick to the above plan I am OK. The key for me is following a routine and sticking to it. For the tea I liked it since it would work and I would not have the hang over effect. You can purchase the tea from your local grocery store. I would steep one tea bag in a cup of water for at least two minutes and add a teaspoon of honey. I only used acupuncture for six months and never used it again. It did work at getting me to physically relax so it might work for others at least in the beginning to help you get into a routine. I hope that my experience will help at least one person suffering with insomnia.

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