Sleep Hygiene

Don’t ask how I got a photo of a sleeping Lawdog. He was at Fencon, okay?

Let me start festivities by pointing out I’m not a doctor and I’m not impersonating one.

This is a schedule I’ve been advised to follow, and which seems to work (though it takes two weeks to a month to ‘establish’ and I keep falling off the wagon. However, when I’m doing it, and not interrupted by say cons, or family stuff, my autoimmune gets better; my ADD goes to manageable levels, and well… I generally perform way better. The trick is staying on it.)

So, it’s all in the approach to going to bed.

Two hours before going to bed, get off glowing screens. You can read, but do so on the kindle with the backlighting turned off, or on a paperbook. If you need minimal backlighting, put it on warm light, not blue.

About an hour before going to bed take 3mcg (I think. could be mg. The bottle is upstairs) of melatonin, unless it’s conterindicated. Half an hour later, take it again.

Try to go to sleep about 8:30 hours before you have to wake. If you wake during the night, stay still and try to go back to sleep.

Make sure your room is dark. There’s dark excluding curtains and shades. You shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between your eyes closed and your eyes open.

Also, you should sleep a little cold. if temperature is a problem, investigate cooling sheets and covers.

Try for eight hours of sleep. It will take you about two weeks for it to happen naturally. Keeping the same time to go to bed helps.

Now, if you are me, and politics makes your heart race, try to avoid looking at politics after about 8 p.m.

You’re allowed to look at them in the morning, because it makes you wake up.

And that’s pretty much it, except for trying to do something relaxing when you’re off screens.

Now I’m working on drinking enough water…. It’s …. difficult.

Anyway, that’s the whole thing. If you have other things that work, let me know. Particularly if I can get in the groove faster.

124 thoughts on “Sleep Hygiene

  1. Heavy blankets. If you sleep hot, that can be an issue. They are available in different sizes and weights. Get a duvet if possible because they are very difficult to wash.

  2. I’m going to poke my head up and put in a plug for a good-quality activity/sleep tracker. They work really well for people who need objective data on how well they’re doing or not doing. You can’t really lie with your resting heart rate and HRV; and seeing the objective data helps people to manage their sleep hygiene better. (Source: sample size of three people, me and the three family members I bought fitbits for, guilted, pressured, and shamed them into wearing daily, and, well, got a statistically significant fraction of those people to work for better sleep and more daily activities. Still working on my mom, sigh…)

    Based off my research (that mainly being: The Quantified Scientist and DCRainmaker), Apple Watches are the best heart rate monitors and overall smartwatches but not great at sleep tracking and have trash battery life; Fitbits are more or less the best for sleep stage tracking and pretty okay at everything else; Garmins are absolute trash at sleep tracking (source: mine) but good at everything else, especially battery life, and don’t require ongoing subscriptions to access data in the app. Galaxy watches are OK at everything but also don’t have great battery life. The Oura ring is also pretty good at sleep tracking, but still has bugs to work out with the new version, and is overpriced IMO. Overall, 100-150$ gets you a worthwhile lower-end model which will monitor your health (but not necessarily also answer texts and sweep the kitchen.)

    1. All watches that sit on my wrist will die. Only cheap dollar-store watches will last more than a week.

      So yeah, pretty sure I’ll never wear any kind of expensive tracker watch… because the tracking would last about two hours per watch.

      I can’t wear rings with my job… but I bet an electronic ring would also die the death.

      1. Sounds like a you problem 🙂 but there’s also the Whoop strap, which is also reputedly pretty good at sleep tracking, and can be worn in multiple ways, including calf, bicep, or waistband/bra. Downsides include price and a mandatory subscription model.

        1. Not so sure. When we first got married, my wife had a wicked “watch” problem. We’d buy a wristwatch and within a couple of days it would simply stop working. Forever. Went through half a dozen of them. Finally resolved the problem with a pendant watch worn on a necklace. After that wristwatches worked. It remains an unsolved mystery.

          1. I’ve heard so many of these “I can’t wear a watch” stories that I cannot dismiss them. But, wow, would I love to be able to take a good compliment(sp?) of instruments to some folks and perhaps find out what is going on. Odd E or B field? Some sort of chemical ‘cloud’ that is Generally Harmless but affects delicate electronics/mechanicals? Something Even Stranger Still? There are those weird (and in a way annoying…) people who ALWAYS seem to be slow, and yet they get everything done…. it’s like they have some weird personal time-bubble. Which makes me wonder…. and also wonder if that any effect (good or bad) on longevity…

            1. 30 or 40 years ago I read a story in Analog where they could identify people with a Murphy Effect, who just made things go wrong. They gathered a lot of them on a lunar colony where they did product testing, under loads of safety precautions.

              Naturally, a sequence of highly improbable events take place and nearly cause a disaster. There was a food synthesizer that turned out a batch of turkey with massively elevated levels of tryptophan, an experimental doorless airlock…

              I can’t help thinking it would have to be some sort of quantum probability effect. Some people influence the outcome of quantum events, some of which cascade up to the macroscopic level.
              Can not run out of time. Time is infinite.
              You are finite. Zathras is finite. This…is wrong tool.
              No, no, no. Very bad. Never use this.

            2. I have an abnormal electro-magnetic field. When I was in college I had a party trick I would do where I could stand in just the right place in the dorm lobby and make the parking lot light turn on and off. It only worked with things triggered by light-level sensors, and the effect was weaker or stronger based on my emotional state, but it was reliable and I have a number of witnesses, though my own father refuses to believe, despite watching it happen. As tech advanced (or perhaps as I got older and calmer) the effect lessened and now it hardly happens at all.

              I have zero problem believing that there are people out there who affect other sorts of mechanisms/electronics.

                1. (In fairness, all the watches were cheap since we knew they might die, and my wife has many other fine qualities that more than make up for the watch thing. Best wife in the world, in fact).

    2. Fitbits can have interesting changes in algorithms. I had to get a new one recently and it changed its means of calculation for over a week as it downloaded updates in sequence.

      It’s a good tool when stable.

  3. I go to sleep as soon as it’s fully dark. Then I’m up by 4 or 5, but I do my computer work before the sun comes up. I seem to do better if I go to sleep early. If I don’t go to sleep with the dark I tend to stay up late (or even early!) and my sleep gets all wonky.

  4. That’s pretty much my nightly regimen. Except I have several red led lights in the room from the clock, the circuit breaker extension cord, and my CPAP machine. (Enough to barely see well enough to walk in the “dark” without tripping over furniture. Also, NOT drinking fluids at least two hours before going to bed, as prostate issues otherwise then force one or more instances of getting up at night to visit the loo. Room temp kept between 50 and 60 degrees, with plenty of blankets. Pets do not sleep in the room with us.

    Note on the CPAP machine; I have to increase the hose heating system temperature during the cooler nights as fall and winter come in, otherwise I get condensation in the air hose, and that drip of water spraying on the face will wake me up in an instant.

    1. Your CPAP machine will report usage hours, and if you really care, you can figure out how much of that is sleep vs trying to sleep. I use the OSCAR program, a free monitor for most modern machines. Versions for the usual operating systems are available.

      Our dog sleeps in a crate in the bedroom, but she is one of the quietest sleepers I’ve encountered. With respect to lights, the red-LED clock is obscured by pillows; if one of us needs to know the time, we can do so, but otherwise it’s out of sight. Both of us tend to hit the bathroom at night. ($SPOUSE more than me; if I’ve had a lot of water during the day, a midnight pee break is inevitable.) An ancient electroluminescent night light sheds just enough light to navigate by. I hate finding the chest of drawers with my toes.

      Other lights are pretty much out of the way. The bathroom has a couple of electric toothbrushes, and the LEDs are bright enough to wake $SPOUSE up if the door’s open. A weather monitor in the kitchen will shine a bit of light to the bedroom, but if it’s on auto, it’s dim at night. (It defaults to bright after a power failure, and I tend to forget it. Oops.)

      I had to kick CPAP humidity to max after the nosebleed from hell (years of dried out sinus/nostril tissue can be an issue). Right now the hose is at 80F; might have to go to max (86F) come winter. Summer bedroom temps were in the high 70s, but will drop to the low to mid 60s come winter.

      This is probably heresy, but I seem to do well at 6 hours of sleep at night. Been doing so after starting CPAP in 1998. If other issues prevent sleeping much, it’ll be 5 hours for a while, then sleeping in for 7 to 8 hours. Various joints and my back object if I try to spend too long in bed.

    2. There are insulated covers that can go over the hose and heated hoses too, though most newer systems have heated hoses. That helps reduce condensation in the hose. My husband, who goes through a full tank of water every night, never has an issue with condensation, probably because he moves larger volumes of air faster than I do.

      1. Mine was manufactured about 9 months ago and I’ve been on it since March. Heated hose, and easily controllable. Takes less than 10 minutes for me to be out from the time my head hits the pillow. Might rouse briefly during once or twice a night during REM sleep, but not to full consciousness.

  5. I work nights (as is Well Known at least in Certain Circles {and assorted other shapes….}) so the bedroom is as close as I can readily make it to “London during the blitz” and one thing that I have done is get a the biggest TERVIS (Dewar-like) mug I could find… so I can fill it with ice before sleep-time. If I wake, I drain it of what liquid water it might have.

    1. THIS. Did some time on night shift in the old days! Hated that neighbor kid who liked dribbling basketball and shooting hoops at 10 in the morning during the summer!

  6. I’m susceptible to insomnia. I take melatonin every night, the sublingual kind from Source Naturals, which includes the good kind of B6. The kind of B6 in most nutritional supplements (pyridoxine hydrochloride) gives me horrid insomnia, so I also have to avoid whole wheat, brown rice, pistachios, etc.

    I also take a Theanine Serene supplement with magnesium, taurine, GABA and theanine, which seems to help a lot. Plus ibuprofen almost every night. I’m sensitive to caffeine and really can’t drink caffeinated coffee and expect to sleep. Even decaf can get problematic. But the theanine helps.

    I should probably cut back on screens before bed too, but so far have not.

  7. I’ll add walking and strength training 3-5 hours before bedtime. And watch your dinner diet for foods that cause heartburn or other issues. At bedtime I read my bible, then quickly browse social media, read a book, turn lights off and pray. Generally snoring 30sec after I’m done praying.

  8. 8 p.m. is our stop time too for anything requiring a brain. NO computer updates after 8. NO starting a project after 8. NO trying to figure something out after 8. But I can still work on Sudoku puzzles, ’cause that’s relaxing.

    As important as all that is, keeping cool turned out to be the key for me. We bumped up the thermostat to save money, and then we bumped it back down to save the world from my bad attitude.

  9. My doctor taught me the importance of ritual. Sounds like you’re starting a good one.

    Bed is for sleep and intimate relations only. It’s not for reading books, email, phone calls, sitting, or any other purpose–that’s what chairs are for. If you stick to this, you are teaching yourself to go to sleep as soon as you lay down.

    A fellow insomniac’s doctor taught them the importance of taking a short walk (15-30 minutes) in the peak sunlight of the day, usually at lunch. Do not wear sunglasses during the walk. Allegedly, that reset your circadian clock to a proper 24hr cycle by stimulating the right glands. It worked remarkably well for him. It’s basically the flipside of getting the bedroom dark at night.

    Me, I am a lifetime occasional insomniac. When it hit, I’d not sleep for three days on average, then collapse in exhaustion for 12 or more hours. Not a good way to live, as the effects lingered for days, to the point where a week or more of misery was normal.

    Good luck on caging the elusive Zzzzs.

  10. Fitbit is good as a [body stats, health, and] sleep tracker.

    And the way I can tell I’m older than y’all is that no one has mentioned “drink as little liquid as possible before going to bed to minimize how many times you need to get up in the middle of the night…”

    1. according to the sleep technician who tested me (I do use a CPAP and probably needed it since my early twenties) you don’t wake if in a deep enough sleep. This seems to track. No, you also don’t pee yourself. Everything slows down.

    2. Clearly You didn’t see Mr. Housts reply :-), but yes I concur… Particularly frustrating for us of the male persuasion as we were used to iron bladders in our youth and as we age our body betrays us.

  11. I recommend the following for better sleep:
    Regular cardio (20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per week)
    Regular strength training routine (at least twice per week)
    Melatonin, valerian root, ashwagandha, lavender, St. John’s Wort
    White noise machine (mine is set to sound like ocean waves crashing on the shore)

  12. White noise is a MUST for me. It’s tough to balance, because my wife has tinnitus. I keep the machine under my side of the bed. A fan on low is the minimum I can get away with, but the machine is a game-changer. Even with the tinnitus, my wife listens to music through her Air-pods, but music keeps me awake; I’ll listen to the words, or rhythm if instrumental. As an EE, I’m channeling Shannon here…my sound can’t have any information content 🙂

    The drinking water thing is tough to balance also. Not enough = exacerbated leg cramps = can’t sleep/wake up. Too much = get up to urinate one or more times. I’m resigned to getting up at least once during the night; I can’t seem to get it below that. I minimize the effect by leaving the lights off and doing my business with alacrity.

    I can echo a lot of the other advice here. I do sleep better on gym days, or days spent with a chainsaw/machete/other yard equipment. Being tired helps! Avoiding reflux helps.

    Finally, I have had a constant post-nasal drip all my life (quitting coffee helps with that; it’s also not realistic for me unless SHTF). On days when it’s really bad, I’ll break a quarter off a Benadryl caplet, half an hour prior to bed. That will cut the drainage enough for me to get to sleep. Because it WILL keep me awake.

    1. Part of the key with hydration is to drink plenty throughout the day. I’m a big caffeine drinker and I find I need to drink plenty of just plain water to offset the dehydration effects of that.

      1. I go through ~1/2 gal every day at work (indoors, desk/lab bench; on outside days, it’s more). That means no long, uninterrupted periods of concentration during the day, either… 🙂

  13. Use a pillow that supports your neck in a fairly straight position. I have two small ones side by side – one for back sleeping (thinner) and one for side sleeping (thicker). I’ve learned to move as needed without waking. And no more cricks in my neck.

    1. I’m a side sleeper. And I sometimes reposition once or twice during the night, sometimes just the same position all night. Rules are made to be broken, even while sleeping. 🙂

  14. For those of us on CPAP devices the versions with humidifiers are important especially if you have forced hot air/ central AC as without it the forced air flow of the CPAP dries things out. I also have a water supply available. It’s in an insulated cup (A YETI in my case) with a top that can be sealed lest certain felines (I’m looking at you my black cat friend) decide that emergency gravity tests with the cold water are needed to wake the human to feed them at 2am. A sip or two of water also helps with the dryness.

    1. I have no trouble sleeping. In fact, sleeping is one of my better talents. I can sleep anywhere, any time no matter what. I think it’s the overall exhaustion from MS and not some sort of blessing from above though, so don’t be too jealous. 🙂

      It’s getting up in the morning that is my trouble. I have to have a set time to get out of bed and stick to it or I really can’t function the entire morning. I also do better if I don’t eat anything until after work. My body has decided it can either digest food or get work done but not both. I have a cup of black coffee to take my medication and supplements with and then eat when I get home from work. I do find that if I eat too close to when I go to bed I dream a lot and don’t feel rested so I never snack in the evening.

      I also wear a sleep mask for darkness and an ear plug in my one working ear because the love of my life snores like a chainsaw.

  15. Hey there Sarah, just want to add a couple of things that work great for me. One is to pray. Clearing my head of all the stuff running around can be a problem without something to displace the “focus” of my attention. So I focus on saying the Lord’s Prayer until I can get through it without being constantly interrupted by random thoughts that keep popping up and distracting me. It may take several goes to “clear the slate” so to speak to where I am not interrupted and can get through the prayer without interruption.

    The other is to know your “sleep position.” I can toss and turn but my sleep switch is when I turn on my stomach. Some people can go to sleep lying on their back, some on their side, for me it is my stomach. That is like my “ok, lights out!” And usually I am out within a minute or so. Amazing if we pay attention to our bodies and learn what it wants. LIsten to it.

  16. Excellent advice on post and comments. For those that imbibe, note that about 4 hours after your ethanol levels drop off you will experience increased stimulation that will encourage awakening and difficulty returning to sleep. A “nightcap” hurts rather than helps long term. If you exercise/do physical labor you will sleep better.

  17. If my thyroid is off, my sleep cycle suffers tremendously. This is also true of my adrenals. Adrenal fatigue stresses out many things… Supplementing with potassium is helpful for healing adrenal fatigue and supporting your endocrine system, as is chelated magnesium.

    There’s this amazing magnesium lotion I’m using now that just really relaxes me. All it takes is a little dot on the insides of my wrists to have the right effect. You might need more, though, as I’m hypersensitized to many things, and so use a lot less even when something is beneficial (many things–like melatonin–I can’t use at all).

    Other things that can prove helpful: higher carbs for supper or a turkey sandwich, or some combination of both carbs and turkey. (Turkey contains tryptophan)

    Small bed-time snacks with carbs/sugar, just not too high calorie, may also occasionally be beneficial.

    1. You can buy L-Triptophan over the counter. I tried it for something else, but a side effect was that it usually managed to make me sleep through the night instead of spending half of it awake. And I woke up ready to go, instead of dragging through the usual lengthy half-awake period most sleep aids inflict.

  18. If you are having leg cramps at night, it’s probably an electrolyte imbalance. So, added Potassium, will often fix it, but you might be off on Magnesium or Calcium instead, so you have to try it out or get something like LMNT. Extra Mg can help you get to sleep, too. And for me 5-HTP has been helping. Hubby uses Alteril to help him without drug effects, as well as Melatonin. Melatonin keeps me awake. I use a lightbox every morning, and on cloudy days. I still will go through weeks of insomnia for 4-5 hours is normal And that is in broken stages.

    Finding out your “Sleep animal” can help, too. Once you find out yours, there is quite a bit of information on the web to find out what to do about it for your particular sleep cycle. (I’m a dolphin, which makes perfect sense with my sleep patterns).

    1. Magnesium helps with a lot of things, but uptake from magnesium supplements is poor, and increasing the dosage usually results in the squirts. Cutting pills in halves or quarters and spacing them though the day can help.

      1. My doctor has me on Slow Mag (time release Mg, OTC but you may have to order it). According to her, if you are short on Mg, you’ll have trouble keeping your potassium up, even on supplements. And I’m on supplements.

  19. Trying to get myself into a better sleep pattern. Melatonin makes me have stupid dreams that wake me.
    Kittens, cat, my bladder (can’t be occasionally drinking a quart of liquid between supper and bed . . . ) and ever so rarely now, a bit of acid reflux, don’t always help. Room is quite dark (cover the phone, block the humidifier if it’s on no critters in the yard setting off the Porch light (it makes it past the blinds,curtains, black blanket by a small bit) and it is a case of can’t tell eye open or not), outside noise not an issue, and as it is getting darker earlier again, that helps me be sleepy at the time for sleep time. I get 7 hours some nights, 6 others, when I slip. Lately, I been waking, wondering if it was a random wake or maybe a bladder call, and this seems to lead to rousing the kittens who turn on the purr, (Cole often then makes biscuits and sucks the blanket LOUDLY) and the alarm goes off. So I wake a minute or so early. Better than when I overdrink, and get woke at 02:25 and alarm is set for 03:00
    Being woke between 23:30 to 01:00 I feel fine if I went to bed early enough. About the same as sleeping the night through.

  20. This book by Michael Breus helped me understand my sleep cycle and energy pattern during the day:

    There’s more junk that I would like, but there’s enough meat there to be helpful. It’s the foundational issue for good health.

  21. Try making an herbal tea with chamomile & valerian. It only takes a tiny bit of valerian (it isn’t tasty) and a teaspoon or so of local honey. Neither chamomile nor valerian have side affects, and both are able to be taken daily.

    1. valerian supposedly has interactions with some medications (blood pressure?), and chamomile is supposedly less than good for pregnant women As always with herbal teas and supplements, check on interactions with other things you may be taking. The internet has made that easier than ever.

      1. Thank you, you are correct. I don’t take those meds and am past menopause, so I forgot to mention that. Thanks again!

          1. Yup, ragweed or anything in the entire family. When I had my “rose fever” period of being allergic to all things containing geraniol, I couldn’t touch chamomile either. (Luckily I grew out of it, which is a weird thing on my maternal side.)

    2. Chamomile makes me queasy and nervous. Chalk another one up to my body being an ass.

      Catnip does almost exactly the same job, for others who may not tolerate chamomile well.

  22. Alas, I have to check e-mail until 2100, then I can go to sleep. I really try to hit the sack at 2100 every night, then be up between 0530-0630. I have white noise on (small fan) when I go to sleep the first time, because of TV and other house sounds. I generally wake up around 0130-0200, and turn off the fan.

  23. Nighttime or nap time. Wear a sleep mask. You won’t believe the difference this makes in quality of sleep.
    Morning, or after getting up. Stretches. Hips, knees, really all joints. Use straps or elastic bands for this until you get comfortable and stronger. Stretch at odd times, like when you are at the sink, hold onto the edge of the counter to help steady yourself.
    Walk, for short distances at first, then longer periods. Better to break up the movement than to push to exhaustion. Borrow a dog, if you need the motivation.
    The more movement, the better sleep.

      1. One of my feet has to be cold. Even as an infant I slept with one foot outside the covers. I assume it’s instinctive temperature modulation.

        1. Unless it’s very cool, I sleep with one arm outside the blankets. It appears my body uses it to regulate my temperature.

      2. I can’t sleep comfortably with cold feet, so I used to keep a heating pad under the covers but now I just wear socks.

    1. Same. But I also can’t sleep if there’s something on my feet, like socks.

      Legwarmers are a very useful way to have warm, bare feet.

    2. Warm feet. Very important. I wear socks to bed if necessary but that can wake me up with feet too hot, so I try to warm them first.

      Remember the usefulness of hats in keeping feet warm.

      1. I run into the same problem with my feet. Wear socks so my feet aren’t freezing, my feet then get hot, and the socks have to come off.

        But wear a hat? Unless we are camping, my feet are still freezing, but the rest of me is sweating. I believe that comes under “can’t win”.

        Only winning situation is to insure feet aren’t freezing before going to bed. Well that, or get super close to the local heater without touching his legs. If I do the response is “Good god women, get your feet off of me!”

        Electric blanket works too. But then the rest of me gets too hot. Anyone know of an electric blanket that has settings that separate the feet and body heating areas, for each side?

          1. Thinking about trying that. Bonus, it would travel with us. Also could try one of those “heat in microwave” for backs/necks, etc. Bonus no additional wires, wouldn’t stay hot.

  24. That sounds a lot like what I try (emphasis on try) to keep to. I need to get better about that. And I agree with those who mentioned morning light. We go for a walk early in the morning, and now, we’re seeing the sunrise. Also I take magnesium which helps with sleep.

  25. My work schedule is all over the place, so… yeah.

    There are sleep masks that are also wireless headphones. They are all weird Chinese brands. But… yeah, Musicozy brand has a very sturdy and well-designed sleep mask, with very well designed wireless headphones also.

    So you can listen to music, an audiobook, etc. without bothering anyone else, and without worrying about rolling over on your tablet or pushing it off the bed.

      1. I couldn’t stand being Darth Vader when they put the CPAP on me during my sleep study, so I got the surgery and now I don’t have sleep apnea at all. Apparently I still wheeze but I no longer snore.

        1. And because I have the full face mask the vibe reads fighter pilot to me 🙂 . Although the hiss/puff of the earlier ones has a more Darth Vader feel especially if you’re at a higher pressure. Told my Black Cat “No I am you father”. He didn’t like it (ears back) though the mask exit valve aerating his face likely didn’t help. Had one cat in the past that was so concerned with the mask and hose that he attacked and bit the hose. Cost me $40 for a new hose.

          1. I can’t use a CPAP. Even without the cats, and the dog. I flip back and forth between sides. rarely sleep on my back. Never on my stomach. I’d be so tangled that likely the hose with throttle me. With cats and the dog, they’d take the moving “snake thing” to be an invite to play and attack. I know that came into play when I did the home sleep study. Cats were attacking the hoses and lines attached to the monitors. The overall results weren’t wrong, not based on the treatment results. But the results were probably worse than actual because of the interference.

              1. Luckily, I don’t have to use the CPAP. Mandible device works (pulls lower jaw forward, preventing tongue from blocking throat). Not cheap, not at $1900 * 2 (because the first type kept breaking) – $1200 * 2 (what the insurance paid). Latter of which not sure the HMO insurance we have now would pay. By definition medical device but would be “out of system”. Oh well. Better to pay, somehow, when replacements are needed down the road, VS not breathing.

                  1. I give my (newer) dentist a bad time (son just joined old dentist, his dad, in practice). When I got the replacement he’d only had his a week or so. Still hadn’t sleep the night without removing it when half asleep. I never have removed it when not intending to. Well the old one when it broke (I definitely grind my teeth). Newer one is a different style and a lot more sturdier. But I was already used to “something”. Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of half conscious dreams where I’m trying to talk but can’t because of too much gum or taffy stuck on my teeth, that no matter how much I pull off my teeth just makes more. Eventually grinding my teeth, well the appliance, gets through that “Oh, yea. It’s that.” Go deeper in to sleep, or it is time for bathroom break. It does take explicit intent, to remove both upper and lower pieces.

            1. I also am a side sleeper and switch and do pretty good. Modern hoses are long (2m+) so usually not to much trouble. As noted cats seem to dislike it. anything shaped like that seems to set of their snake warning.

              1. Bad enough that one of the two 2 year olds has managed to find baby garter-snakes and bring them inside (one still, barely, alive). He isn’t allowed outside unaccompanied. Near as we can figure snakes got in the garage under slight gaps between floor and garage door. The cats are allowed in the shutdown garage. Not only that all 3 of the younger cats, just TJ and Freeway do it most often, is drag the dog’s toys, and strings, around like prey. Right now there is a string on dad’s pillow. A comment on his current “not at home” because on a golf trip. The dog’s toys typically end up getting repossessed by the dog, she isn’t into “sharing”. You’d think we have a household of toddlers … Oh, wait! 😉 😉 😉

    1. Earplugs. I started wearing them because of my wife’s snoring, kept on because of her BIPAP. Now I don’t feel right trying to sleep without them.

      1. I can’t use ear plugs because I have shortened ear canals. before Dan was diagnosed with apnea, I tried A LOT OF THINGS.
        However, truthfully, the modern cpaps only do the Darth Vader sound if something is wrong with them and/or the mask isn’t properly fitted.

      2. Earplugs hurt after a few hours. Even Heros only work for about 7 hours–I only use them for long haul flights.
        Her CPAP is old.
        Mine is newer, but… I’ve tried different masks and tweaking everything I can think of, but I only get a choice of whistling leaks, pushing the jaw back, or drying out my throat.

        And if Darth Vader noises in the night are the price of having her with me, so be it.

  26. As for drinking enough water, I found that snazzy water bottles didn’t really work for me, so I keep a quart mason jar with a straw lid at my workstation. Usually I go through two a day, and I don’t have to keep jumping up to refill it all the time.

  27. If you’ve been told that you snore routinely, have a sleep study done if your doctor can get your insurance company to pay for it. Apnea worsens ADD and problems with memory and focus. It causes a lot more than just fatigue. I went 20 years without ever feeling resting until I was diagnosed – it was a sanity saver.

  28. I had to go with medications because my issues were-
    1-Insomina, usually stress related (smart, anxious, and unable to set things aside, who knew?)
    2-Staying asleep once I got there, I’d have “hiccup” sleep where I’d wake up in the middle of the night, then get back to sleep, wake up, sleep…

    So, what works for me is this-
    1-A CPAP. Humidity is tricky because on one setting, I wake up too early and dry and on another I wake up too early and needing to pee like a race-horse.
    2-Medication, especially shifting away from ADD to a more generalized anxiety medication regime. Fortunately, with the CPAP, I’d been able to reduce it by about 2/3rds, but still.
    3-Biofeedback training. That was interesting, should have done it years ago, I’ve got a lot more control over things than I did before.
    4-Classified. Legal, but classified.

  29. I was not sleeping to the point where I hurt, everywhere, all the time. Even taking OTC combinations was not working. Also turns out I was not dreaming. Sleep study said moderate sleep apnea. So, my sleep process is:

    1) Medications at night: Calcium (1200 mg) + Tylenol PM
    2) Brush teeth
    3) Sleep Apnea mouth piece (don’t use a CPAP). Stops snoring, also silences teeth grinding.
    4) Put in sleep eye drops for Glaucoma
    5) Cold pillow … Two. I end up flipping the pillow, but swapping pillows.
    6) NOT cold feet.

    No matter what, I end up getting up every 3 hours. If I’m lucky the dog needs to be let out during one of the trips.

    I too use a fitbit to track sleep. The one difference from before using the sleep apnea device and after is the dreaming.

      1. I didn’t realize I’d stopped dreaming until I started dreaming again, while under treatment. Don’t think I’d stop for years. But definitely months to a year. A while, because it takes awhile for the other symptoms to have shown up.

  30. No one mentioned:

    Best quality mattress and box spring you can afford, selected for proper preferred firmness,

    Replaced before it wears out.

    That last bit is important. It also is usually less years than people think. Your preference may also change over time.

    If you use some other type of bed, adapt above rule to it. You change over time. So will your needed bed.

    1. I grew up in Alaska. Whether it’s light or dark — outside or inside — makes very little difference to whether I can fall asleep, by necessity.

  31. I could sleep JUST FINE, if not for my husband’s FREIGHT TRAIN SNORING you can hear all over the ENTIRE house, and menopausal hot flashes/night sweats. But between those two things, I am exhausted.

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