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Thread: How big an issue is sleep?

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    Very Active Member Caped Crusader's Avatar
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    Question How big an issue is sleep?

    I don't mean to be nosy, but I've now read quite a few references to Ambien CR and insomnia. Is it a big problem among posters? How do you combat insomina or sleep deprivation during meets and training and life? I'm not a big sleeper myself in terms of # hours, but I seem to know a lot of folks suffering from insomnia. Some are resigned to their fate; others are unhappy. What gives?

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    Very Active Member FlyQueen's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I love how that was posted (depending on where you live) late at night ... that's great ... I have NEVER been a good sleeper, I don't take anything because I hate any sort of drug except for Advil ... I wish I could sleep better, but I can't ... it only bothers me when I end up draggint through my day, which reminds me ... I need to try and get some sleep ... at best 6 hours right now ...
    "I don't race to see who is the fastest, I race to see who has the most guts."

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    Very Active Member Seagurl51's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Oh l LOVE sleep! I'm very controlling when it comes to my sleep. I'll turn down going out so I can get my 9 hours. I can't function unless I have at least 8 hours.

    I do have insomina though and occasionally take Ambien. Swimming has helped to clear it up a lot, but it's still brought on my large amounts of stress. I usually take Ambien if I know I have something I need to be alert for the next day (i.e. a meet or big test) and know that I won't be able to sleep naturally. Swimming does make me get up early and miss some of my precious hours, but I usually take a nap to help with it.

    Speaking of sleep........time for bed!

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    Very Active Member isobel's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I think sleep is important, and yet if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I have a long-term problem with sleep (check out time; East Coast). At Worlds, I just told myself this is what it is (many races on no sleep), and carried on.

    It would be better to sleep, but I think it's better not to take drugs because they make (for me anyway) my muscles tired. It sucks not to sleep easily, but it's best I think not to obsess about sleep. There are lots of sleep hygiene adjustments you can research (what I am doing right now is about the worst thing you can do; the light from computers and TVs wakes you up). Mostly don't lie in bed for hours. Anyway, there are lots of good books on sleep hygiene and the most painful treatment is to confine your time in bed to when you are sleeping. And always set your alarm for the same time to get up. So if you are awake at 4 a.m., go to bed at 4 as your starting point, and get up at 7 or 7:30. Then in 15-minute increments go to bed earlier, if you fall asleep. I haven't been able to do this. A very painful way to reprogram your sleep cycle.

    But I vote against drugs and sleep if you are wanting to race well. Better to be naturally tired, even exhausted, than drugged, for the muscles.

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    Active Member goggles's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Is it insomnia or is it needing less sleep as we get older.

    I've never been a great sleeper, and usually wake several times at night. My better half says it's because I'm so mean, I'm waking up to make sure I'm not losing any sleep.



    The older I get, the better I used to be!!

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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I don't believe the theory that older people need less sleep. My feeling is that you don't get as tired when you don't train very hard and the older you get the more motivation you MAY need to summon up for the long and tough workouts. That's not a problem in my house.

    My wife (trains over 700 hours per year: swimming, xc skiing, running, weightlifting and biking) and I (trains about 600 hours per year: swimming, xc skiing, walking, weightlifting and biking) need at least 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. One day last week, after particularly hard swimming, we slept 11 hours. This probably happens once every two weeks or so. We are both 65 and don't take sleep-inducing drugs just sometimes ibuprofen if the muscles are really sore or tense.

    That's on a regular basis and we each average less than one cold per year (compared to the national average of 5) largely, I believe, due to good sleep and exercise habits. We also consume 4000-5000 calories per day (even my 120 pound wife!) of all manner of food.

    At a meet, everything goes out the window. We both party hard and swim sleep deprived. Four to five hours a night is pretty good for us but adrenaline carries us through a few days with no problem.

    -- mel
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    Very Fetching Rump SwimStud's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I like my sleep I get about 6-7hours a night. I can have trouble getting off to sleep if I am achey or too excited after working out. Last night was a case in point, very tired but could quite go out.



    .

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Quote Originally Posted by isobel View Post
    I think sleep is important, and yet if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I have a long-term problem with sleep (check out time; East Coast). At Worlds, I just told myself this is what it is (many races on no sleep), and carried on.

    It would be better to sleep, but I think it's better not to take drugs because they make (for me anyway) my muscles tired. It sucks not to sleep easily, but it's best I think not to obsess about sleep. There are lots of sleep hygiene adjustments you can research (what I am doing right now is about the worst thing you can do; the light from computers and TVs wakes you up). Mostly don't lie in bed for hours. Anyway, there are lots of good books on sleep hygiene and the most painful treatment is to confine your time in bed to when you are sleeping. And always set your alarm for the same time to get up. So if you are awake at 4 a.m., go to bed at 4 as your starting point, and get up at 7 or 7:30. Then in 15-minute increments go to bed earlier, if you fall asleep. I haven't been able to do this. A very painful way to reprogram your sleep cycle.

    But I vote against drugs and sleep if you are wanting to race well. Better to be naturally tired, even exhausted, than drugged, for the muscles.
    I'm a crappy sleeper too. Never get enough. I associate it with being in my 40s. This decade apparently does not agree with me. (I can't breathe either.) If I'm too stressed out or whatever, I have a hard time falling asleep. I've also had trouble with light sleep and waking up early (this usually happens in the spring right before the time change -- I'm combating this by making my bedroom a veritable cave).

    I've tried that behavioral therapy Isobel describes when a nasty bout of insomnia hit a couple years ago. (There's a Mayo Clinic book on this topic.) It is a tough program, but it works. I go to bed late because I am naturally a night owl and because I just plain need a couple hours without kids at night. But I have found that Isobel is right. I simply cannot get in bed and expect to fall asleep. So I never ever get into bed until I am very sleepy. Tossing and turning in bed just freaks me out and then I have to get out of bed and start over.

    I never sleep well before meets. Not from nerves, but more from being worried I won't get up in time. I got no sleep during Worlds either. Took a late flight from the east coast that was delayed, arrived about 5:00 am east coast time. That was that. No good sleep the whole meet ...

    I think a lot of exercise helps me sleep too. I don't seem to have much trouble swimming at practice with very little sleep. I sort of shake it off after warm up. But sometimes after a late night practice, I'll be up later.

    I will occasionally take an ambien if desperate. It doesn't seem to have any real next day drag effect on me. But generally, I agree, this won't help in the long term much. There is a funny book on this topic called "Desperately Seeking Snoozing." If you ever think you got it bad, read this book and you'll actually feel better.

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    Back is faster than Fly poolraat's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I envy my wife. She turns out the light and is immediately asleep (or she's snoring just to irritate me). I stare at the clock and watch the numbers change. Did you know that if it's real quiet, you can hear the clock click each time the numbers change? I finally drift off only to wake up 2-3 hours later and then almost hourly through the remainder of the night. I find that after a hard workout I am sometimes too tired, sore, or just too wound up to relax and sleep well. I generally don't take anything but when I do, I take Benadryl.
    I have entered the snapdragon stage of my life (Part of me has snapped and the rest of me is draggin ).

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    Very Active Member islandsox's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I am up and down most all night every night and have been doing this for decades. Hate it, feel terrible by noon the next day. Once about every 3 or 4 months I will sleep 5 hours straight and I am thrilled.

    I am light sensitive and my hubby loves to read in bed so this is a huge problem. Changing rooms is not an option because our bedroom is the only room with a/c. I blew up a month ago and he now only reads in bed about 3 nights a week so I am grateful and told him so. I think he "gets it" now.

    Tylenol PM works for me and I am not groggy the next day. But have any of you noticed that if you don't sleep enough, you are extra hungry the entire next day? Lack of sleep I believe makes weight control a little more difficult.

    Donna

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Quote Originally Posted by islandsox View Post
    I am up and down most all night every night and have been doing this for decades. Hate it, feel terrible by noon the next day. Once about every 3 or 4 months I will sleep 5 hours straight and I am thrilled.

    I am light sensitive and my hubby loves to read in bed so this is a huge problem. Changing rooms is not an option because our bedroom is the only room with a/c. I blew up a month ago and he now only reads in bed about 3 nights a week so I am grateful and told him so. I think he "gets it" now.

    Tylenol PM works for me and I am not groggy the next day. But have any of you noticed that if you don't sleep enough, you are extra hungry the entire next day? Lack of sleep I believe makes weight control a little more difficult.

    Donna
    When I was younger, I could read myself to sleep in bed. Now, forget it. I have a nice loveseat next to the bed and that is where I read.

    Tylenol PM and benadryl do nothing for me. I must need stronger drugs. Benadryl is only good for allergies like a yucky case of hives. It's also associated, I believe, with grumpiness in children ...

    Insomnia is definitely associated with weight gain. Maybe there's some metabolic change? I think it's also because you get the late night munchies though and you are just awake more and thus possibly thinking more about food or . For myself, I cannot be like Oprah and not eat after 7:00 pm. If this were true, I would have missed dinner last night ...

    Alcohol is likewise a no, no if you toss and turn. Oh well.


    Poolraat:

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    Very Active Member aquaFeisty's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I am on and off with being able to sleep. I can fall asleep pretty easily but have trouble staying asleep and then also can't sleep in. No matter when I go to bed, be it 10 pm or 3 am, I can't sleep in past 7, maybe 7:30. There's been times where I've just given up at 4:30, got showered and gone to work. This made freshman year of college absolute hell. It also made the early years of our marriage tough since my husband can sleep in late no problem and likes to type on his laptop at night (I need a dark quiet room... did I mention that freshman year really sucked?)

    Seems like the best thing for me is to not stress about losing the sleep and try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Oh and to not read in bed. In terms of swim meets, I don't think I've ever gotten a good night's sleep before one. Always keyed up.

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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Donna, my experience has been that lack of sleep makes me more hungry, and I think I read somewhere that there is a hormonal basis for this phenomenon.

    I take a half of a Unisom when I need it. It has a different ingredient than Tylenol PM and Benadryl, and I think it works better.

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    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I go through bouts of insommnia myself. Last winter I was lying awake many nights until 5:30 am, when I would finally fall asleep then didn't hear the alarm clock and would wake up at 10:30 feeling like crap. If I tried to just get up at 5:30 and go to work, I was miserable during the day and drowsy on the roads ... then still couldn't get to sleep at night. I am supposed to be at work 8AM - 6PM.

    Then the horrible sleeplessness just kind of stopped after a few months.

    I am by nature a night owl and I really do best on 8+ hours. If left to my own, a schedule of staying up to 1:30 AM and getting up at 10:30 AM is where I end up. But that doesn't line up well at all with my job and when my swim team trains.

    It's pretty unusual for me to sleep straight through the night. Since my teenaged years I've gotten up most nights even though I restrict my fluids after I get home.

    When I get a cold it's the worst. All the OTC stuff with pseudoephedrine really wired me and I would go 4+ days straight without falling asleep. I would get to a twilight stage where I was having hallucinogenic episodes. If I didn't take the OTC meds, then I would just cough or be so stuffed up I couldn't sleep either.

    Right now I have a floodlight pointed at my bed. It is on a timer so it pops on early in the morning. That has been somewhat helpful in getting my internal clock reset. I have tried taking melatonin within an hour of bedtime and sometimes that helps.

    A really hard workout with a bad warmdown makes it very hard to fall asleep. I'll feel dead tired but have the sensation of floating over the bed as my back muscles twitch. Back when I was swimming in meets, I always wanted a 3-hour nap in the afternoon. Those were double whammies since I had to get up early to get to the meet AND I was physically wrecked afterwards when the adrenalin wore off.

    Beer, wine, and my beloved margaritas ... I do find it easier to fall asleep after one or more. But I better have 8 hours to sleep it off as I won't be getting up any earlier.

    A friend of mine was having problems with insomnia and was taking Halcion. He threw it out after he pooped his bed in his sleep one night. Another guy I knew was taking Halcion long-term during college and he had sufficient memory loss that he had to drop out of school.

    Those people who awake feeling fresh and rested on a regular basis ... the ones who can doze off in an instant on planes or hotel rooms ... the people who feel fine on 5 hours of sleep a night ... that's a gift and I hope you folks enjoy it.
    Last edited by nkfrench; February 23rd, 2007 at 07:08 PM.

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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Finally a topic I know about.

    Inducing sleep with any chemical substance is not a good idea at any age. When one chooses to take the hypnotic type drugs of any class they may or may not put them to sleep. The sleep that all of the medications induce is an altered state from the natural sleep cycle of the body. The sleep that you receive is not as regenerative to the body as a deep natural sleep is.

    When one is awaken after a period of chemical sleep the brain is slower to resume normal brain wave activity. Your cognitive ablity also can be impared for a period of time after awakening. Your motor skills also may be impaired.

    All prescriptions sedatives are adictive despite what numerous televsion promotions will tell you. They are controlled substances for a reason. The adictive properties of the sleeping pills are real and occurs every day. In addition sleeping pills can cause people to fall, not realize they are in danger, act inappropiately in an emergency, dry mouth,irrational thoughts,they are expensive, and have been known to associated with death. Please everyone try to avoid any sleep aid for your own health.

    I know that a lot of people have trouble going to sleep and that insomnia is a serious problem for a large population. My best advice is a summation of what others have already said.

    Practice good sleep hygeine. The bedroom is for sleep and S** only. No other activities should be performed in the bedroom.

    Exercise regularly. Expending energy will lead to a need to repliensh the body which will make you tired naturally. Sleep repairs the body.

    Eat balenced meals through out the day. Do not eat with in an hour of bed or over eat late in the day.

    No alcoholic beverage near bedtime.

    Try to relax and leave your worries outside of the bedroom. Worry about matching your youthful swim times during the day not at bedtime.

    Establish a sleep pattern. Go to bed at the same time and get up every day at the same time. Your body will adjust.

    If you can not get to sleep after a reasonable time remove yourself from the bedroom. The bedroom is for sleep only.

    Good Luck everyone.

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    Very Active Member Caped Crusader's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    This has been a very interesting thread. I thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I don't sleep much. I'm usually 5-6 1/2 hours. I try not to let it effect my daily activity, but I'm sure it does. I know some insomnia sufferers, and it seems really dreadful. I had a bout my freshman year of college, and couldn't belive the hell it was. I think one reason I sleep so little now is so that I fall asleep fast when my head hits the pillow.

    I've never heard of anyone taking Halcion, NK French, but that is a terrible story. Isn't that a hallucinogen of sorts? I thought ambien, lunesta and whatever the new thing is were supposed to be somewhat better. But they all appear to be somewhat addictive, so I'm not biting. I guess a lot of people are living with sleep deprivation. We're a threat on the roads.

    I have read that hormonal fluctuations drive insomnia. Guess that's more of a problem for women. But I thought I'd say that in case someone didn't care to. It's just what I've read. There have been a lot of articles in the newspaper lately about insomnia.

    Has anyone been been to a sleep clinic? Or is that more for sleep apnea?


    Islandsox:

    I think you should get another air conditioner. It's pretty tough to fall asleep when someone else is reading. Dark, cold, quiet works for me.

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    Very Active Member ensignada's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I hate insomnia. And I get it every tax season. My brain just will.not.shut.off.
    Have tried sleep meds...got really frustrated...was ready to squash that Lunestra butterfly if I caught him in my room. After several years of this, I just endure it, feel jet-lagged and nauseated all day and wait for April 15th.

    I normally sleep great, and I swim better well-rested. I miss sleep!
    "...it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of the place one lodges in."
    Melville, Moby Dick

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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Caped Crusader

    All of the pills you mention are addictive and controlled substances. Ambien, Ambien CR, and Lunesta, all will alter the sleep cycle. Halcion is very addictive and is a short half life benzodiazepam. The short acting benzos appear to have a larger potential for addiction than the long acting ones. In addtion it is possible for the body to build a tolerance to there effects causing some people to increase the dosage to experience the sedation they are seeking. Some of the drug metabolites and primary compounds can be stored in the body to for a period of time.

    Hormonal flucuations in MEN and women can change or challenge our sleep cycles through out life. Please do not spam me for that comment as all gender's hormonal cycles vary with the stage of life they are in. That is another topic and why I capitalized the word men.

    Sleep clinics can benefit people but they take work. Insomina can be a symptom of other problems and those problems need to be ruled out as the cause of sleep depervation. In the end sleep depervation takes work to over come and there is no easy solution.

    Being accepting of YOUR sleep cycle and becoming informed about good sleep habits will go a long way towards helping ones sleep patterns. Everyone of us is unique and worrying about going to sleep will certainly not help our sleep patterns. Pills are not the answer.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    I usually sleep like a rock and fall asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow. During the week I usually get about 6.5 hours of sleep per night. That isn't enough because on the weekends if I don't have to get up I'll usually sleep 9-10 hours. I like to nap whenever time allows, too.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member Caped Crusader's Avatar
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    Re: How big an issue is sleep?

    Quote Originally Posted by SearayPaul View Post
    Hormonal flucuations in MEN and women can change or challenge our sleep cycles through out life. Please do not spam me for that comment as all gender's hormonal cycles vary with the stage of life they are in. That is another topic and why I capitalized the word men.

    Sleep clinics can benefit people but they take work. Insomina can be a symptom of other problems and those problems need to be ruled out as the cause of sleep depervation. In the end sleep depervation takes work to over come and there is no easy solution.

    Being accepting of YOUR sleep cycle and becoming informed about good sleep habits will go a long way towards helping ones sleep patterns. Everyone of us is unique and worrying about going to sleep will certainly not help our sleep patterns. Pills are not the answer.
    Yes, I agree. I have known people (my mother, unfortunately) take valium to sleep. Ugh. That seems like a bad one and very addictive. It's made me very anti-drug.

    I am generally accepting that I need and will get less sleep. My wife does seem to suffer from some of the hormonal fluctuations issues more than me, that is the only reason I made that comment. And I truly do not mean to offend anyone here.

    The only person I know of that went to a sleep clinic had sleep apnea. Are you sure it would work for insomnia? It seems like a little self-treatment with behavioral therapy and some of the suggestions here would help. What can they do there that you couldn't do yourself?

    I completely agree that the very worst thing for sleep is worrying about whether you will sleep. Then it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And obviously insomnia can be caused by depression and undue stress, as anyone who reads knows.

    I still like cold, dark and quiet best.

    I see we finally had a sleep bragger. Way to go KNelson!

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