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How can I best cope with my insomnia? Is it that my kindle addictive?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 June 2014) 9 Answers - (Newest, 1 July 2014)
A male United States age 18-21, *orge writes:

Basic problem.

Im staying up late, until about 1:00 am on my kindle. It's ruining my sleep schedule. Why can't I get off of this device and go to sleep?

Help? Such a small issue, and I'm too tired to figure it out on my own.

I know it's just "put it down and go to bed" but I can't put it down. I'm writing this at 12:50 am. I seriously need to stop, but I can't. Im getting mad at myself for it too.

Thank you all for helping me with something so small. This has been going in for almost a month.

Although I do have insomnia, which I've had for almost 2 years.

Maybe this is entertainment? Or am I legitimately having am issue?

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (1 July 2014):

Fatherly Advice agony auntForge thanks for the follow up.

Without social media this will be easier to conquer. Social pressure is tremendous at your age.

Yes do try the relaxation technique. It is not challenging and rather nice.

You said that everyday is a weekend. That is something that is also in your power to change. If you can't find employment, make your self a schedule. Include Chores, social interaction, volunteer work, recreation, exercise, and learning (including skills training). Plan out things that you want to do, or need to do in the morning. Plan out a good 6 hours each weekday. This will help in 2 ways: It will give you motivation to keep to your goals, And it will wear you out some. If you don't have chores already, consider laundering your sheets and making your bed twice a week a good place to start. Since it is summer, spend some time outside.

FA

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (30 June 2014):

So_Very_Confused agony auntthere is a study that shows that electronic equipment... computers, smart phones, tablets even tvs can really mess with your sleep.

keep them out of the bedroom.

I love my kindle and it goes everywhere with me. I use it so much that sometimes it gets charged twice a day...

I have a charger in my room and I can put it down when I'm ready to sleep.

IF you can't do that, then it would be better to go to bed at a set time and get up at a set time (even on weekends)

here's a link to help you get started on fixing your sleep schedule:

http://lifehacker.com/5907104/force-quit-yourself-to-get-your-sleep-schedule-back-on-track-and-avoid-another-day-of-fatigue

it takes work and willpower. but you can do it.

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A male reader, Forge United States +, writes (30 June 2014):

Forge is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Forge agony auntThank you all so far. Abella, that's an extensive thing to try, so it's on my personal list of "challenging things that aren't actually very challenging."

I forgot to say this, but I'm on a kindle fire. I also don't have any social media, ie Facebook, Twitter, instagram, et cetera. I'm also not in school. It ended almost a month ago, so for me, pretty much everyday is the weekend :)

I have had some experiences in the past that are actually traumatising to this day, and I think because of that and the emotional impact it's had on me, that perhaps my sleep pattern could have gone all wierd. But this sleep thing is a new thing, although my dreams (as of staying up late) are either non-existent, or a replay of the events. But only since now.

Thank you all for your help so far-

"I don't need a weapon. My words fight for me."

-Forge-

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 June 2014):

To be honest, I've had insomnia since I was 7 and I'm now nearly 19. I've never taken medication because I strongly dislike medication unless it's a life or death situation.

I can't give any better advice than what you have been given already because I haven't "cured" my insomnia yet, even after all of this time, but I'd like to share my experience with you so that you don't come up with excuses for yourself not to put the Kindle down and such when actually putting these suggestions from others into practice.

Like I said, nearly 12 years of insomnia. I'm awake for normally 20 - 35 hours with no sleep, then only get about an hour of solid sleep because I basically pass out and any other attempts at sleep are broken up into 10 - 20 minute sections and it often takes me 40 - 90 minutes to fall asleep again. I average about 3 hours sleep over 4 days. If I'm in bed at say 11pm, I will be lying in the dark, doing nothing, until about 4am before I fall asleep - the same applies if I go to bed at 8pm, I'm still awake until about 3am because my mind doesn't shut down during the night and I've tried meditation, tensing and releasing every muscle, exercise, hot drinks, water, etc. it just doesn't work at this stage. The longest my body has kept me awake is just over 3 days solid. My mind will only shut down when it is too exhausted to keep running my body properly. I get headaches every other week where it's built up and I've only had say 5 or 6 hours of sleep during the entire week. I feel very low once or twice a week because I don't have the energy to be really cheerful. I even lose track of days sometimes because I'm awake for the day and the night, so it merges.

Admittedly, mine was not self-made, but it's been getting progressively worse since I was about 12 and became this bad about 4 years ago. You HAVE to keep trying to change it until it works (even asking a family member to hide electronics from you after 9pm to give your mind time to wind down).

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (30 June 2014):

Fatherly Advice agony auntoops clicked the wrong button.

As I was saying when a person suffers insomnia or tries to change sleep patterns a doctor often prescribes a sleeping pill. Now in general I don't like sleep pills. There is a gentle natural alternative. You might try melatonin as a temporary help in changing your pattern. Talk to your parents first.

FA

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (30 June 2014):

Fatherly Advice agony auntHey Forge,

This is the second of your questions I have read. I feel that my experience may be useful to you this time. First I need to make an assumption or two. I may be wrong and you may freely correct me.

First the Kindle you are referring to is a Kindle Fire, which is much more than an e reader. Plays movies, TV and allows you to interact on Social media. Second This is not the first addictive behavior in your life.

Abella has given you some wonderful advice. I've used that relaxation technique myself. It works pretty good if you don't have serious worries troubling your mind. When I was your age I was learning basic programing. Social media didn't exist. Well truth be told, I had a long distance relationship we carried it on with the assistance of the postal service.

My evening entertainment consisted of science fiction and fantasy novels. I soon found that I could easily read in bed until 1 am. As long as I stayed horizontal and let my muscles rest. Reading involved enough imagination to satisfy at least some of my dream requirement. A tablet computer is a whole different thing, and while I agree that sleep needs vary and there are substitutions. There are some things you should be cautious of.

First netflix or Hulu TV series. Television shows are written specifically to get you to watch the next episode. This is important to the show's survival and it's ability to sell advertising time. By the time it gets to netflix all those needs have vanished, but the structure is still there. Not only that Netflix will helpfully start the next episode for you. So between the cliff hanger episode endings and automatic next episode you could end up watching the whole season in one setting. Be careful about that. In my experience movies and television do not replace dream time.

Next Social media, texting, instant messages, meme viewing. It seems that there is always just one more thing to say. Because, unlike letters, the conversation doesn't come to any closure. The reply's are instant or at least instant enough. My Son who is close to your age can make a T V episode last until 1 AM by messaging between scenes or more often. He says it is because his friends have insomnia, but really it is just the feedback that is keeping them all awake.

Games, Now this is my sin. I will play all night until my wrists hurt, My performance drops but, I still want to try just one more time to beat the level. The games are designed to capture your attention and hold it.

Now you are a smart kid. You have already decided that this isn't working for you. You need to do What I do and design your own rules that get you to your goal. If you want to put away the tablet at 9 just let your friends know that that is when you won't be available. You can send them a catch up email the next morning. Plan more face to face time. Long term crushes die a healthy death when you interact regularly with lots of people. (yep I referred to your other post) This is a thing that my generation worries about your generation. You seem so detached from the world around you.

I want to add one suggestion to what you already have. But I have to be cautious. You need to talk to your parents first kind of thing. When you try to change your sleep patterns

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (30 June 2014):

Abella agony auntPS: before you get shocked over the ''change your sheets'' comment - I meant change your sheets twice a week, not every day!

I definitely did not mean change the sheets every day.

Sorry about that slip up.

Fresh newly laundered sheets are lovely and you'll sleep better in them.

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (30 June 2014):

Abella agony auntYou would not be the first person to be besotted with a kindle or other useful portable media device. The fascination will pass.

But staying up that late is definitely not good for you. In fact I suspect that you are so tired from cumulatively staying up too late that it's got to the point where you are literally too tired to go to sleep.

First you need to get some catch up sleep. At first you will wake up too early in the morning. When this happens just allow your self to meditate or day dream about a beautiful place.

To meditate you need to dump all that is racing around in your mind.

So close your eyes and murmur under your breath, slowly and very quietly: ''Calm''.

But do not get up until a time that is enough for you to shower, dress, make your bed, get things ready for school and have breakfast. Then enough time to get to school.

Make it a rule that no kindle use, no phone use, no answering and no social media use

after 9.00PM. Weekdays and weekends

After 9.pm and before 9.30pm drink a hot chocolate drink made with milk.

Then get ready for bed. Follow a routine.

Such as clean your teerh, check you have all you need for the next day etc.

Change your pillow covers and the sheets in your bed.

Fresh new sheets will help you sleep better.

And make sure that your room is quiet with no lights on, once you have climbed into bed.

Follow a routine that best suits you but one important aspect is breathing in a way to relax you.

Lay on your bed, pull up the covers. Start with your feet. Point your toes down towards the mattress and hold them in that tense mode for ten seconds. At the same time take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds too. At the end of 10 seconds exhale that breath and relax you feet.

Now repeat the above, but this time pull just your toes towards you. Do the tense for ten seconds. At the same time take that big breath and hold that for ten seconds too. Then release the tension and exhale the breath.

Now tense you calves and press your heels in to the bed. Do the breath thing again and after ten seconds release the tension and the breath.

Continue with one part of your body at a time. Your stomach. Your buttocks. Your hands. Your shoulders. Your forehead.

When you've finished allow yourself to breath normally and empty your mind of all thoughts.

If you can't empty your mind of distractions then make use of that meditating routine and the word ''calm'' again, as explained earlier.

Before you give up on the routine ensure that you try the routine for six weeks. If you need to vary the routine occasionally listen to a dvd of ocean waves. No words.

On Friday nights and weekends it is essential that you keep to this routine during the first six weeks to ensure that you re-set your body clock.

If you stay up late at weekends you undo your good work and delay resetting your body clock.

The world and you will manage just fine while you set about re-setting your body clock.

Once you are sleeping more soundly you can occasionally stay up until 10pm or 10.20pm.

But please remember that your good health is far more important than any game, any conversation, any social media site.

A regular good night's sleep will allow you greater calm and a sense of peace.

It refreshes you. Many teens need extra sleep, not less sleep.

Be kind to yourself.

Cut out stimulants like coffee or caffeine loaded drinks, energy drinks or cola drinks. They play havoc with your insides and keep you awake, and that's not helpful.

Treasure your good health. And please focus on good ways to relax during the day. Don't spend extended times during the day time on social media nor on online games. Instead at weekends offer to do some yard work. If you have a nearby park do some running in the park. Keep physically active.

Good luck with your new routine. The first week will be the hardest. You can rise to this challenge.

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A male reader, Mark1978 United Kingdom +, writes (30 June 2014):

Mark1978 agony auntThis is an issue. You need your beauty sleep to allow you to concentrate on all those things 13-15 year olds should be doing: chasing girls, doing homework, concentrating in class, cheeking the teachers...Okay maybe not the last one but you know what I mean. You cannot function properly or think straight without enough sleep.

I used to be up half the night doing things (non that would dim my eyesight before you ask folks!) and I was in the same situation. I would read, or watch tv or use my computer till 2am onwards.

Looking back it was because I felt my days were being wasted. I wouldn't do much all day, only going to work, which meant that come bed time I felt compelled to actually do something like watch a film or play a game to make my day feel less wasted and unfulfilled. Plus it was a way of putting off tomorrow, putting off having to get up and go to work. Maybe it is a similar situation for you?

Mark

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