Help me relax and sleep

I don’t sleep at night, I find it very hard to actually relax. I get anxiety and paranoia if I go to bed before 4 am. Right now it’s 9am and I’ve been up since sometime yesterday. The problem with this is I tend to sleep well into the day and never get any of my studies or work done, plus it means I can’t go out with my lady friend which totally pisses her off.

For the most part I am extremely paranoid that some psyco is going to bust in, steal my things and shoot me in the head as I sleep (or kill my girl and leave me alive… ). I know it’s a stupid thought but I can’t stop thinking it. :roll: Anyway. I’m pretty much bored of the whole issue and need a little help getting over it. If I do happen to go to sleep at night I usually end up having nightmares about it. (I’m guessing my fears are seeping into my dreams). Any noise I hear makes me think that everything in my head is real.

Any adivce? Change of diet maybe? (I drink a fair chunk of caffienated beverages, plus I drink 1.25 litres of Lemon Squash per day), plus I smoke which can’t be good. … Natural Remidies? go to a quack?

I’ll try anything.

You could try to get a medical license for marijuana. I have a friend with a similar problem and that’s what he did in California. It helps him relax, and fall asleep without suffering from his anxiety problems. You can also do this smokelessly, using a vaporizer, which is much better for your lungs (it’s like not smoking at all).

Edit 1:

You may also want to try cutting out a lot of the acids out of your diet for a while, such as lemonade, orange juice, and any others containing citric acid. Coffee contains quite a bit of acidity, so that can be bad for your stomach as well. Try cutting down on caffeine. You may just be having sleeping and relaxation issues from all of the stomach related acidity problems.

Edit 2:

Finally, I’d suggest trying therapy for your paranoia issues.

I’ll try anything.

Change your nickname to something a little less gross?

To be honest, I’d go see a psychotherapist, tell 'em you have an anxiety/paranoia related sleep disorder and start a program of treatment.

If you’re in Australia, your real worries should be with the 20 billion OTHER lethal species that can kill you. Besides, what’s really stopping someone from killing you in your sleep during the day in your apparently Mad Max-esque neighborhood? Not much.

Cut down on caffeine. Maybe try to start a daily exercise regimen at the local gym or track.

Okay. Here’s Bandler’s (not) patented phobia cure which seems like a good fit for what you’re describing here. It sounds crazy, but you said you’re willing to try anything. This works, but you have to actually do it.

First close your eyes. Visualize your paranoid, stupid, scenario, but visualize it all the way through.
Do this in 3rd person (so your seeing yourself from the outside) and in black and white. Take it all the to the end of your scenario.

Now. Jump into yourself (so that you’re in first person, seeing it through your own eyes) and run it backwards, and in color. Feel free to turn up the audio, visual, and feeling qualities of this as you play it through in reverse. Run all the way back until you are sleeping comfortably and happily in your bed.

Do this five or six times, opening your eyes and relaxing between each time you do it, and let me know if it makes you feel better.

That sounds somewhat serious, and I’d try to get outside help–either from a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or maybe start with a sleep clinic (who could probably refer you to someone if you need it). If you have medical insurance, it might cover some or all of whatever you need. But this doesn’t sound like something that’s going to get better by cutting acids out of your diet or something. Totally uninformed layman’s opinion, but there you are.

(I drink a fair chunk of caffienated beverages, plus I drink 1.25 litres of Lemon Squash per day), plus I smoke which can’t be good.

You might want to at least try giving up caffeine for a while; if you’re overstimulating yourself too much, nothing short of sleepign pills will take you out.

There is anxiety-suppressing medication. It works. See a psychologist, get professional advice and some treatment.

First, I would consider professional help for the paranoia, then combine that with a proper diet and exercise. The latter two things can really do wonders for anxiety and stress, but some of what you describe goes well beyond that.

I would try a sleep clinic first. From what I understand most insurance co. will cover this (many clinics will do their best to make sure it is all covered), and the clinic will be able to point you in the right direction.

Maybe move to a different suburb. It seems like your last anxiety-creating experience is still churning in your mind. I know it’s a bitch when you’re a student and you have to live in a dodgy area- I had to put up with winos pissing through my door’s mail-hole etc. If you’re in the inner-city, take a break and try the suburbs.
Also, stay away from illegal drugs. They can really jack up your sense of paranoia.

While I think it’s premature to label with you with formal paranoia, it seems excessive levels of anxiety are interfering with your normal sleep patterns.

You’ve identified both biological (i.e., excessive caffeine & nicotine, both of which are stimulants) and psychological (i.e., excessive worry and rumination about events that have a very low chance of happening in reality) contributions that restrict your ability to sleep.

I support the advice to seek a psychotherapist, especially one who is interested in health psychology – these folks are more likely to suggest ways in which your diet and coping patterns, as well as your thought patterns, are contributing to your condition. Resist the urge to simply take anti-anxiety medication if you happen to hook up with a physician or psychiatrist who can prescribe meds (in the US, psychologists don’t have prescription priviledges, psychiatrists do). Psychotherapy treats symptoms of anxiety really well (see this link for a good non-academic guide), and all the meds I know of still have risks of habituation, so go with a psychologist first. A good one will refer to a psychiatrist if he or she thinks your symptoms warrant this treatment.

I had the same problem. Well, the inability to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking that someone would break into my apartment, etc… And for no good reason.

Seeing someone about it is probably the best approach. Do it as soon as possible and get it over and done with. They had people for this at my university - you could probably even get consideration for your studies and a medical benefit so you have more time for your studies and don’t have to work. My university did this sort of thing - my brother lived on the medical benefit for quite a while. I wish I had taken advantage of it while I was there.

For me, despite the fact the paranoia seems a bit unreasonable, I did not see there was much difference between that paranoid fear and just being unable to sleep because of being preoccupied with something in general.

Heres what I do. I prop stuff against the doors so if someone enters it will hit the floor. I’m absent minded so doing this reminds me to check the doors for the night anyway. And I started light exercise and meditation. Since then I have slept like a baby without even so much as a dream that I remember. Well, thats a lie, I’ve started dreaming recently, but its been interesting stuff I vaguely remember not the annoying subconscious crap I look back on and can correlate to problems and concerns in my life.

I think seeing a doctor is a good idea. If your doctor thinks you need a specialist, he can recommend one.

Wow, not to hijack the thread, but why do you think the winos pissed through your mail hole? That such an obnoxious thing to do. Did they get the mail wet? Why would they want to do such a thing? You would probably have to be pretty coordinated to hold open the flap on the mail slot and, you know, aim and all…

Actually I was going to bring that up as well (pissing in the mail slot) … the amount of ‘Home Alone’ style traps that you could have made.

Also demagogue , I might give exercise a go, but I’ve decided I want to replace my coffee with tea, and cut down on the amount of Soda I drink per day. I’m also going to go see a doctor asap.

Thanks for the pointers guys. :)

Wow, not to hijack the thread, but why do you think the winos pissed through your mail hole? That such an obnoxious thing to do. Did they get the mail wet? Why would they want to do such a thing? You would probably have to be pretty coordinated to hold open the flap on the mail slot and, you know, aim and all…[/quote]
The entrance to our flat was located in a small alleyway in the seedier part of the commercial section of Wagga Wagga- across the road from the bar that the local derelicts used. They went up our alleyway to get to this little bit of public land out the back that was their sleeping area. It was a very dark alley illuminated by a little dim light above our door. It must have been a pavlovian response thing but they would stagger up to the door, use the light to find their fly and take a leak. Sometimes it would be against the wall, sometimes against the door. It was a shared door that lead up a flight of stairs to two apartments. The mail hole was just that, a hole in the door. If we had a flap on it, it might have prevented our mail being regularly damp…
Ah, the joys of being an art student back in the bad-hair days of the '80s. At AU$17.00 a week, that apartment was a genuine bit of bohemia. Just don’t look under the grill. Or in the fridge.

To be honest, I think the meditation helps more than the exercise. Just sitting and not thinking of anything helps get the preoccupations off the mind. Its not religious in any way, or at least if it was, I ignored that crap. The guide I used was a book thats available on the net, Mindfulness in Plain English.

And I drink a lot of caffeine. 2-3 double cups of coffee from the coffee machine at work and at least a litre of TAB a day, which apparently has quite a bit of caffeine in it.

Hey, nut, I have exactly the same issue. Mine seems tobe fear of night in general. I am fine as long as I am not trying to sleep, but once all the world’s distractions get turned off, and I lay down to sleep, all of the crazy shit starts playing in my head. I get very little sleep before the sun comes up. Its wierd, to say the least. I am not scared to be outside doing things at night. I don’t get scared, like I said, until I try to sleep.

Let me know if you find something that works.