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I can't sleep

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  • I can't sleep

    Morning guys,

    I'm at a bit of a loss at this point.

    I have been struggling with sleep for a while now, since returning to the office after lockdown it has been especial bad (I assume as I can't spend the extra hour in bed).

    I went to my doctors, who after the usual questions, booked me in for a at home sleep study. results came back as mild sleep apnoea, which wouldn't explain the difficulty I've been having. After an in person meeting with the sleep doctor, she noticed my deviated septum (which I have been trying to get fixed for a while now..), and my overbite, and told me its pointless for her to do any further checks before I get these fixed as they will be making it uncomfortable for me to sleep. This was about a month ago, and I have another appointment scheduled in 6 month... (NHS in the UK is ran very poorly, so I have no idea what's happening with my deviated septum and overbite)

    In the meantime though, I am going weeks without sleep. I feel like absolute death, and I'm not sure what to do?

    Last week I tried diphenhydramine (Benadryl in the US?) for the first time, I took it back to back 2 nights in a row and that's the best sleep I've had all year... but I know I shouldn't take it loads, so I stopped and after another 4 sleepless nights, I tried it again, but didn't sleep..

    My sleep hygiene is very good:
    I go to bed at 9.30 and wake up at 6. Consistent meal times. Keep the room cool. stop using screens before bed. get exercise in the day (I finish up 3h before bed time.. but this is the only time I can get in the gym, and I don't sleep on non gym days to). The only places I fall short are, working a desk job, which limits moving in the day... but I try to walk around as much as possible. and the fact I live in a shared house, so I live in my bedroom, so I cant use my bed only for sleeping.

    I'm not massive at 182cm 90kg, still young at 22, I eat health, don't drink alcohol or smoke, and I stop drinking caffeine after 2pm (usually only have 3 cups, which I don't think is excessive?), I don't struggle with depression or stress... but after long periods without sleep, I do get a bit of anxiety, but I can't pin this on anything other than sleep deprivation.

    I wake up feeling like I've been hit with a sack of bricks, have to power through work to then fall asleep on the train home, and if I don't immediately go to the gym after getting home, Ill just end up asleep at 6pm..

    Sorry for the rambling, but I don't know what else to try.

    Thanks guys

  • #2

    Sorry to hear about the difficulties you've been having. Unfortunately, there's not really a stock recommendation that I can make from here without more information and assuming a professional relationship with you as a physician.

    I agree that your deviated septum and mild sleep apnea are unlikely to explain your difficulties with sleep, though fixing both would likely increase your sleep quality. Rather, it seems like you're having issues falling asleep and, possibly, staying asleep. These things need to be addressed by a professional whom you can have regular follow-up with.

    In the interim -and this absolutely should not be used as a replacement for medical evaluation- you may try sleep restriction to promote actually going to sleep. Try putting your bed-time at 1200a rather than 930p. If this is successful, try backing up the bed time in 30-min increments every 4-7 days until finding a sweet spot.

    A few additional points here:
    - Sleep hygiene's data isn't terribly great for addressing your issues, though worrying about sleep hygiene can have significant negative effects
    - working a desk job doesn't really play a role here

    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3
      Thank you Jordan, I appreciate your help, i have booked another appointment with my doctor.. but will try the sleep restriction.


      • #4
        Going to try and carry on posting updates on this in case it helps anyone else.

        Picked up a new pillow and memory foam mattress topper - and pushed my bed time to as close to 12 as I could manage (think I got to 11.30ish)

        Might be a combination of the two, but I slept all the way through to my alarm at 6, felt a bit tired until my morning coffee, but currently 10am and I feel fantastic!

        Also have a doctors appointment scheduled in 2 weeks time, but I'm going to carry on with the sleep restriction and see where I end up.