Your Sleep Stories and Your Health

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

As WNYC launches its sleep project, the Brian Lehrer Show hosts a two-hour special — a family meeting — on sleep. Your calls about how you slept last night, what keeps you up, and how you're trying to get a better night's rest.

We kick off the family meeting with your calls about your relationship with sleep, then Dr. Carl Bazil, professor of neurology and director of the Division of Epilepsy and Sleep at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons answers your questions and explains how good sleep is crucial for good health and why. If you aren't sleeping well, what's keeping you up? And how are you dealing with it? Does anything help you get back to sleep? Leave your story below.


Dr. Carl Bazil

Comments [91]


Christiane Northrup has written on menopause-related insomnia.
And I think a tiny dose of melatonin hours before bedtime can help.

May. 08 2014 11:18 PM

My husband swears by the night-time relaxation programming on DogTV.

Dear Gregor Samsa lives from Washington Heights ~ consider moving to central Queens!!

Apr. 08 2014 04:42 PM
Laurie Spiegel from Tribeca

The sleep habits of famous writers:

Interesting, although it would have been worth distinguishing between writers working before and after the invention of electric lighting.

Apr. 02 2014 04:23 PM

My wife and I had twins in September 2012 while we were still living in a 1 br apartment. The babies slept in the room with us for most of their first year until we moved into our new home. The first 6 months was one of the levels of hell... The killer about babies is that they don't stay anything for long. If they stayed awake all night, I could just cram caffeine and 5 hr energy and ride with it. If they stayed asleep all beautiful that would have been. Instead they slept in cycles of 1.5-2 hours which just long enough for you get into a nice cozy deep sleep before you are jerked awake again. Repeat that cycle about 4-5 times per night and there you go...nature's perfectly honed approach to sleep deprivation torture.

Apr. 02 2014 03:59 PM

I didn't see much on how sleep starts becoming impossible during menopause. I've been in a five-year battle, and tried dozens of natural or "nonnatural" medications, behavioral techniques, white noise, reading, meditation, resting; Many medications prescribed say: for temporary relief; and they don't even admit to chronic insomnia. I found a kind of answer, but it was a controlled substance medication, and many in the medical profession refuse to prescribe it long-term. (Even though I was on a low dose.) I feel the problem is not enough research on menopause related insomnia, and thereby getting to the real problem. And by the way, I am a wreck on not enough sleep.

Apr. 02 2014 12:05 PM
Oliva from Jackson Heights, NY

When to see a sleep specialist - Epworth Sleepiness Scale

Apr. 02 2014 12:02 PM
kathie young from NYC

I have always worked in live production, and "the show must go on", meaning you stay until the job is done. While this is not a daily issue, when I do have to work very late, I learned years ago, DO NOT look at the clock or time after midnight. People who work with me know to not tell me what the time is. If I go to bed in the dark and wake up in daylight, I do not obsess all day over the fact that I only got 2-3 hours of sleep. If I truly don't know how many hours of sleep I get, I function much better the next day. If I know the number of hours I slept, I obsess relentlessly. I set alarms before midnight if possible, or I cover the hands so I don't know what time it is when I do set the alarm. Clocks are then placed with their backs to me, so I can't see the time. This system works well for me.

Apr. 02 2014 11:49 AM
Liz from Brooklyn

Are you going to discuss Snoring?

Apr. 02 2014 11:45 AM
Liz from Brooklyn, NY

My mother-in-law had a stroke two over a year ago and recovered completely except that she cannot get a good night's sleep! She's tried many different medications, as prescribed by her doctor, but none of them have worked. Any thoughts on what else she could try? She's tried some meditation-type exercises, which also have not worked.

Apr. 02 2014 11:41 AM
Mangus from Manhattan

Can't sleep? Try Ambient Radio on Pandora!

Apr. 02 2014 11:31 AM
oscar from ny

We all will get plenty of sleep when we die

Apr. 02 2014 11:29 AM
patricia from NYC

After a million years of not it felt....discovered visualizing a broom regularly sweeping each thought as it enters my mind puts me to sleep almost immediately...yes, is a regular rhythmic motion, every split second or so...has saved my life. Counting sheep is too unfamiliar whereas the broom is a familiar and easy image to visualize. Technique works whenever I choose to use it.

Apr. 02 2014 11:27 AM
Bob S from Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Does taking a nap in the middle of the day, for say an hour, make up for less sleep at night, say 5 hours?

Apr. 02 2014 11:26 AM
Guest from North Jersey

Please ask your guest to draw a clear distinction between acute insomnia that is cognitively or behaviorally based and circadian disorders, that are unresponsive to CBT because the problem is organic, related to the body's intrinsic period (the internal, circadian "day" length).

Attempting to treat true circadian disorders with CBT is futile and destructive--a great way to help circadian sufferers to lose hope and blame themselves . ..and to continue to suffer needlessly. I speak from experience, both as a professional in the sleep field and from suffering DSPS.


Apr. 02 2014 11:23 AM
larry from upper east side.. 96th / park

Sudden one time only sounds!!!

I have lived just north of Mt. Sinai Hospital - on E 97th st/ Mad and Fifth/and now E 96th st Mad / Park..

Unique but a example of many sites in Manhattan and all the boroughs where....

a Sudden Loud/ Bang/ crash or truck going over Con Ed Metal Slabs.

a Siren.. ambulance / police car
a One Off Event.. happens

Hundreds if not thousands of people are woken up.. but the SOUND IS GONE.. and they do not know or can know what caused them to wake up!

They then attribute this to their own anxieties/ life's issues. Which then build upon themselves..


But I think there is an important NYC specific issue here!!!

Great program.. and this discussion is but one example of your good work!



Apr. 02 2014 11:20 AM
Katherine from Brooklyn

10 mg of melatonin is "not that much"? Who is this guy? He doesn't know what he's talking about.

Apr. 02 2014 11:09 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

I am not sure if the guest’s information is accurate on Ambien. After years of use my wife fell one morning and broke her ankle in 3 places. Her doctors recommended that she not use Ambien. People need to look at side effects on line before taking the guest’s authoritative statement on Ambien as fact.

Apr. 02 2014 11:03 AM
SuzyS from Manhattan

On the other hand of not sleeping: don't we spend too much time worrying about not sleeping that it might be better to when we can't sleep do something that is anything but trying to sleep and that way just move on rather than go on and on about not sleeping. Let sleeping slip away if u can't sleep?

Apr. 02 2014 11:02 AM
Emily from Manhattan

I a very upset by the casual discussion of Ambien without any mention of some of the fatal effects it has had on older users. I consider this segment one of the most irresponsible I have ever heard on the Lehrer show and am disturbed.

Apr. 02 2014 10:58 AM

hi i have narcolepsy. however very often i have problem with fall asleep because of high level stress. during my study progress i found out that warm up bad pillow is helping to lower my stress level and come down my brain. in results it help me to fall asleep much deeper. we have to remember that whatever medicement we are taking it always has results on other body systems.

Apr. 02 2014 10:56 AM

Diminished Pollyanna from Larchmont

Apr. 02 2014 10:56 AM
Guest from NYC

Now you really need Dr Terman on the show--to correct the misinformation this doctor just handed out. He obviously doesn't know a lot about melatonin and how it works (or doesn't work). His statement about melatonin dosage was highly irresponsible and ill-informed. It frustrates me when doctors talk publicly about subjects they are obviously not well-versed in or just guessing.

This is a link to the article by Terman that I referenced in an earlier comment.

Apr. 02 2014 10:54 AM
Scott A. Barton from Harlem

I have never slept well, nor did my father. His mom anxious, SD poke to his doctor. She was told that he didn't need much sleep. I tend to wake at dawn. Or in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Falling asleep is often easy, though not always. Spoken word helps. Chinese medicine indicates that all of our organs cycle in 2 hour increments across the 24 hr cycle. Periodically my middle of the night waking is consistent to a specific hour as though I'd set an alarm. Do some of us need less sleep? Can out organs wake us?

Apr. 02 2014 10:51 AM
Kristin from Brooklyn

I have heard good things about taking capsules of Gaba and L-Theanine to help sleep. Has any scientific research been done on these amino acids?

Apr. 02 2014 10:50 AM
Lin from NJ

I am wondering about a connection between lack of sleep and magnesium deficiency. For me, taking a magnesium supplement has helped tremendously with falling asleep. Also, I'd like to know more about the herbal supplement Ashwaganda - it's been recommended to me as something that helps ease wakefulness (i.e., in the middle of the night when your brain won't shut down). Anyone had any experience with this?

Apr. 02 2014 10:48 AM
guest from NYC

Oh My God! 10 mg is NOT a large dose of melatonin?
I'm sorry, but this guy is not talking about anything rooted in the scientific evidence.

Seriously, where do you find these people?
10 mg is HUGE, and in OTC preparations it doesn't have the same metabolic profile as it does in the body.

Please check your "experts" better. You seriously need to separate the sleep experts from the circadian experts. They're different.

This man just lost all credibility for me.

Apr. 02 2014 10:48 AM
Tracy A. Schneider from Greenwich CT

I sleep really well but I have extremely vivid dreams - almost like a film that seem to go on and on. I wake up in the morning feeling tired. Could I be dreaming too much and not getting enough restful sleep?

Apr. 02 2014 10:48 AM
Debbie from UWS

Please say something about meditation!!!!
It works. It trains your brain to slow down. You do it once a day and your brain knows how to get there again.

Also obviously cut back on caffeine.

Apr. 02 2014 10:47 AM
Katherine from Brooklyn

I suffered from lack of sleep for several years. I rarely had any trouble going to sleep but would wake up around 3 or 4 AM. My brain would start going--on anything and everything--and I would finally fall back to sleep around 6 or 7, only to awake exhausted.

I started experimenting with natural sleep aids from a health food store, since I didn't want to take a drug. An aid called Calms Forte (2-3 little white pills before bed) worked for a couple of years with no hungover feeling in the morning. I switched, however, to a combination of liquid melatonin in water and L-Tryptophan, which works like a charm. I had to experiment a little with how much melatonin because the recommended dose left me feeling groggy in the morning. These take about 30 monites to work and shoild be taken at roughly the same time every night. But for the first time in years I'm sleeping through the night and waking up rested.

In addition, I would recommend not using electronic devices before bed, and no caffeine after 2 PM (at least for me).

Apr. 02 2014 10:47 AM
tom from asioria

Brian Lehrer sometimes is in my dreams because my alarm goes on with the radio and Im asleep but listening to the show -- usually with anxiety because Im trying to get in the conversation and can't. (If its THE TAKEAWAY it's a nightmare)

Apr. 02 2014 10:46 AM
Rita B. from Brooklyn

I have a problem with co-op neighbors who have multiple air-conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers that make enough noise that penetrates the walls of my rented apartment that I can't fall asleep or wake up most nights of the week. As a renter in a co-op, I seem to not be able to do anything about it. I have tried for several years to dialogue with them to no avail. They don't want to spend the money to sound proof their apartments, and I am far too exhausted to take that on myself and my apartment too small, for me to make space for any work like that. In addition, I am chronically sick and as a person who is very interested in various civic and creative activities, the sleep deprivation is pretty much ruining my life.

Apr. 02 2014 10:45 AM
Connie from Morristown, NJ

I've been listening on and off so I don't know if anyone mentioned this before, but I have found fabulous relief from a product called Mid Nite, which I found at the airport. It is a melatonin product, and it lets you fall asleep but allows you to wake up easily, even a little bit after you fall asleep. I have found I can take it if I wake up in the middle of the night, it eases me back to sleep and I can still wake up even if I've only slept an hour.

Apr. 02 2014 10:44 AM
Patty from Brooklyn

I love my noise machine for falling asleep-- waves, summer crickets, rain-- helps drown out the bar patio noise, and I have a very Pavlovian response. The conditioning of the body to the noise stimulus does the trick most of the time, and feels very relaxing.

Apr. 02 2014 10:44 AM
Llayne from CT

I used to travel internationally and have used the Brain Waves app and other similar sound based tools with great effect. I find I am much more alert after spending an evening on an airplane.

Apr. 02 2014 10:43 AM
Nina from Paramus, New Jersey

Hi, I'm a mother of a 2 year old and I've read in some parenting books that it's important that toddlers sleep at a certain time no matter how many hours they actually clock in. So it's actually better that they start their sleep at 7:30 p.m. versus 9:30 p.m. Also I read that teens need to sleep in later and can't sleep until past 10 p.m. or something like that. Is that true?

Apr. 02 2014 10:42 AM

Hi Brian, Does your guest have any advice for people who are ultra sensitive to sound and light? I can't fall asleep without ear plugs and an eye mask. If I'm sleeping away from home without these I do not sleep at all.


Apr. 02 2014 10:42 AM
Nina from Paramus, New Jersey

Hi, I'm a mother of a 2 year old and I've read in some parenting books that it's important that toddlers sleep at a certain time no matter how many hours they actually clock in. So it's actually better that they start their sleep at 7:30 p.m. versus 9:30 p.m. Also I read that teens need to sleep in later and can't sleep until past 10 p.m. or something like that. Is that true?

Apr. 02 2014 10:40 AM
Lori from Manhattan

Does not getting enough sleep affect kids worse than adults? How does it affect them, and what's the minimum # of hrs (like 7 for adults)? (I have a 9 and 11 yr old) Thank you!

Apr. 02 2014 10:40 AM
Arlo from Manhattan

My difficulty sleeping all night started early in the morning of September 12, 2001, when I woke up in the middle of the night and turned on the radio to see if anything else bad had happened. That seems to have started the pattern.

Apr. 02 2014 10:39 AM
Catheriine from Westchester

Is there any truth to the fact that children mostly grow while sleeping? My 7-year old daughter is in the 5-percentile for height and rarely sleeps more than 10 hours/night. As an infant she never slept more than 12 hours per 24 hour period. At 2-years old she told me she didn't want to sleep because she had too much to do. I waging battle every evening to lengthen the night, without much success. Any thought would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Apr. 02 2014 10:38 AM
CK from Bronx, NY

I have no choice but to sleep 5 to 6 hours every night. Do anyone know any supplements that can get rid of brain fog in the morning?

Apr. 02 2014 10:36 AM
theresa from ny

To the woman who feels badly about having to take Ambien: Stop being so hard on yourself--the medical community and the community in general is making us all crazy. We should worry if we're not getting enough sleep--all sorts of health risks--yet we shouldn't take medication because of possible side effects thereby causing more stress, not to mention guilt. Life is hard; do what you have to. Don't let them "should" all over you.

Apr. 02 2014 10:35 AM
Kirsten from North Jersey

My 7 year old already has trouble falling asleep. He is very active and plays sports. What can we do to help our children learn to relax and sleep better?

Apr. 02 2014 10:34 AM
RCT from NYC

Agree with Jen. Had chronic sinus problems and bronchitis when I worked in Big Law. You can't say no to those people, either because they truly don't care if you die. A HORRIBLE, SICK CULTURE. Pay your student loans some other way. My immune system was shot for two years after I quit. Am now working normal hours and am fine.

Apr. 02 2014 10:33 AM
SuzyS from Manhattan

I wake up in the middle of the nite with a small headache then I take yet another Tylenol. The air in the bedroom is stale, the AC is on very low but it's not cold enough cose my husband gets very cold. I do take 5mg of Ambien every day but I can't take 10mg, it will give me a terrible headache. Without ambien I just don't sleep and have even more headaches..... It makes no difference whether I exercise or not during the day and I can't go to bed early either. It's been like that for at good 20 years.

Apr. 02 2014 10:32 AM
Jen from Manhattan

Hey, Quest from North Jersey, do you have a link for Terman's article in the NY Times, or the name of it? There are a bunch of links to Terman on the NY Times website. Thanks.

Apr. 02 2014 10:32 AM
Gregor Samsa lives from Washington Heights

I have not had a good nights sleep since I moved to this city 25 years ago .... I'm a light sleeper, originally from the sleep suburbs of Northern (quiet) Virginia.

I wish I could say excess work was the main cause of my sleep deprivation, however, underemployment has been the cause for the last several years - anxiety as far as how to keep up with basic expenses and bills.

Having upstairs neighbors who like to walk around hard-wood floors (no rugs) in their Riverdance clogs and drop things (they must all have carpal tunnel) at odd hours of the night doesn't help, nor does the below neighbor who likes to watch TV in sensurround until 1 am.

Another recent stressor has been a pest problem in our normally sanitary apartment (I can't even type the critters' name as it causes me great distress if only to say there has been a resurgence and outbreak of these demon pests over the years). After much efforts the past two months, the problem seems resolved, however, one is never entirely sure; what would normally be a routine event -- going to sleep, looking forward to going to bed, will never be the same again as the thought of going to sleep causes me anxiety.

Apr. 02 2014 10:32 AM
Neal from Central NJ

Listening to your callers, many (most?) of whom are kept awake by worries or ideas that cannot be turned off. I'm a bit older, retired, and have fewer worries, but certainly understand the issue. My advice is:
LISTEN TO WNYC ! It puts me right to sleep.
I find the talking to be just distracting enough, but still not interesting enough to keep me awake. For me, it works better than music, which is less distracting. I use small earphones so as not to disturb my wife.

Apr. 02 2014 10:31 AM
Chris from Bay Shore

I have found that doing certain familiar mnemonics help me go to sleep(and go back to sleep if I've woken up). I recite all the US Presidents in order. Then if that hasn't worked I go through all the US states and their capitals. That will usually do it. Worst comes to worst there are the 'times tables'. Two times two is two; two times three is six'... All pretty much works to lull me to sleep.

Apr. 02 2014 10:30 AM
barbara from New York

years ago, I delevolped insomnia. Finally they diagnosed Restless leg syndrome. I moved my legs all night. I have been taking lorazpam nightly - a .5 dose. Impossible to sleep without it. I wonder if it is worst not to sleep or to take something that helps us to sleep.

Apr. 02 2014 10:30 AM
Erika from New Jersey

CARTOONS!!! I'm afraid of the dark,(don't ask LOL), so I fall asleep with the television on. But, I can only fall asleep to cartoons. So, I'm a 40 year old woman well aware of the goings on of Phineas and Ferb, Avatar, Fairly Godparents, Hey Arnold and Rugrats.

Apr. 02 2014 10:29 AM

I knew I had sleep apnea for decades. I knew I had it, two sleep studies showed I didn't, so I suffered for years with terrible depression because of it. Thank God someone told me about their pulmonologist, who I went to. He asked me how many pillows I use and whether I get up at night. I used about 7 pillows at night and got up at least twice every night. That, and my self-reported apnea was all he needed (though he did look at the sleep reports). I got a CPAP and it has changed my life.


Apr. 02 2014 10:29 AM
NER from NJ

I preface my insomnia remedy with an affirmation of my love of and respect for Public Radio, to which I listen all day. As for my insomnia remedy: when my husband and I wake up at 4:00 a.m., we turn on WNYC. It works like a charm and like nothing else! Soothing voices? Distraction from anxious thoughts? Who knows: try it!

Apr. 02 2014 10:27 AM

Sleep is one of the most important behaviors to maintain or improve our mental and physical health. And it is so misunderstood.

It is great that you are doing a large segment on this. So many of my clients present with this issue and there are many effective strategies to decrease worries and improve sleep.

One new strategy is to utilize special "sunglasses" that filter out the light from electronic screens. I have patients stop using these screens, and use a number of behavioral treatments (and some cognitive behavioral ones)- which are very effective, but there is a new tool I want to know if your guest can discuss.

Could you ask your guest about these blue filter sunglasses (usually orange) to see if there is scientific evidence for their efficacy and if there are any side effects?

Thank you,

J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D.
Private Practice

Apr. 02 2014 10:27 AM
Jen from Manhattan

It's the demands of employers that is messing up the sleep of a huge number of exhausted Americans, IMHO.

When I was working 12-hour days (law firm), they told me I wasn't billing enough, so I went to 14-hour days. And the work was so stressful it was almost impossible to wind down enough to sleep at night. I had to take a 20-minute nap (or 2) most days at my desk during the day to cope. And it ended up after 8 years pretty much destroying my health.

In future years, I predict we'll look back at this time and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Our society has created a health-destroying environment.

Apr. 02 2014 10:26 AM
Paul from Long island

Best sleep I ever got including falling back a sleep after waking up to pee or whatever started when I quit caffeine. Added bonus, I wake up with energy and no mid afternoon slump that is of course assuming I've gotten at least 7 hours.

Apr. 02 2014 10:26 AM
RCT from NYC

Valerian, Nighty. Night tea, meditation, listening to an audio book (my husband using sound-blocking headphones) - or mentally designing and building our someday house in the country (me). Also, make sure that the room is completely dark. - lights from the street was keeping me awake.

Apr. 02 2014 10:25 AM
antonio from baySide

What explains when you feel refreshed despite a deficit of sleep. Are you just catching up on another day?

Apr. 02 2014 10:25 AM
jmurphy from Long Island

Can you please talk about sleep during perimenopause? I started having trouble staying asleep, and now I have progressed to having trouble falling asleep in the first place.

Apr. 02 2014 10:24 AM
Brian from Red Bank

Being a surfer helps me sleep. When I wake up at night and can't fall asleep (happens often) my mind racing with worries and thoughts of work and money and money and work, I visualize breaking waves and replay in my mind a particular memorable wave I rode. Push everything out of my mind and just think of the waves, the water, the sound, the ride..zzzzzzz.....

Apr. 02 2014 10:23 AM
zazel loven from NYC

get to sleep by going through the alphabet and listing all the words, letter by letter, that exist in the English language and have one pronunciation, but more than one meaning....i.e. beat and every time.

Apr. 02 2014 10:23 AM
pliny from soho

stay away from alcohol

Apr. 02 2014 10:23 AM

I find if I leave the light off when going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I can go back to sleep. Something about the light tells my brain to wake up, but then again I usually get up w/the sun as well.

Apr. 02 2014 10:22 AM
Katie T from Brooklyn

I sleep about 8.5 to 9.5 hours a night. I know that this is about people not sleeping, but the reactions that people have about my very regular sleep schedule is always bizarre. People often tell me "oh, that's not normal!" or "that's too much sleep." And yet, most people I know do not get enough sleep. I prioritize sleep and have habits (such as reading before bed) that make it easier for me to retain a regular sleep schedule.

I also come from a family where sleep habits were instilled in us when we were kids, and both parents are good sleepers, so genetics might play a role. And yet, people almost always react negatively when I say that I sleep about 8-9 hours a night. It's never a judgement on others, just simply a fact.

Apr. 02 2014 10:22 AM
RB from Brooklyn

Try Rescue Remedy if you can't fall asleep. It helps.

Apr. 02 2014 10:21 AM
Nick from UWS

Meditation. Meditation at night works...for me at least. The effort to detach from all concerns and go into my private headspace where everything and everyone can basically go to hell and I can be in peace.

Apr. 02 2014 10:20 AM
Estelle from Brooklyn

Always had trouble sleeping. The worst was when I was having fertility problems. I was told to take my basil temperature with a special thermometer. This was to pinpoint ovulation. I had to do it first thing in the morning before getting up. Needless to say, I spent the nights up and awake for hours on the important days of the month.

Apr. 02 2014 10:19 AM
Sally from UWS

I usually fall asleep around 11pm for 20 - 30 minutes, and then am jolted awake. It literally feels like a surge of energy going through my body, or like I'm falling off a cliff. Then I often can't get back to sleep for an hour or so - even after I read, take a Klonopin or Lunesta, this still happens. I haven't figured out a way to solve this.

Apr. 02 2014 10:19 AM

Meditation. It is hard to make space for it in your day but it works without fail. 20 minutes a day.

Apr. 02 2014 10:19 AM
Quest from North Jersey

Disappointed to see that Dr Michael Terman isn't one of your guests on this topic. Did you have him on already? Did I miss it (I'll cry if I did).

Any helpful discussion of sleep should also talk about circadian rhythms, and he's an acknowledged expert in the field, who has written a book for the lay-person, as well as the chapter on circadian and shift work disorders in the sleep medicine world's Principles and Practices of Sleep Medicine. He's located in NYC. This is a major oversight.

There are too many "sleep" doctors out there who know next to nothing about how to modulate the circadian system. I sought treatment for decades with supposed experts. . . only finding relief after catching Terman's article in the NY Times and making an appointment. Please, get him on the show! Thanks!

Apr. 02 2014 10:18 AM

1 - great herbal sleep helper is Valerian -- I love a pill form called Sleep Soundly

2 - anyone who wakes up to go to the bathroom every night: you might actually have a sleep disorder like apnea -- if you aren't breathing, your body will make you think that you have to go to the bathroom because your body wants you up and breathing

Apr. 02 2014 10:18 AM
sandrad mann from 93.9

after struggling for 30 years (since having child) with sleep issues, i found the best antidote for night awakenings is listening to npr (bbc in the middle of the night) or audiobooks, to keep my mind from wandering into territory about which i can do nothing until the next day.
it works most of the time.
when it doesn't, i just read for a while and until sleepy enough.
then i listen to the radio again.

Apr. 02 2014 10:16 AM
Beau from new york city

I am listening to others call in. While I have a chronic condition of COPD and wake several times
at night (breathing, digestion, caffeine, restlessness)... my biggest question is what I'd like to
think of as the black-hole effect. When I finally am so exhausted that by 5 am I just pass out
for about three hours and wake feeling as if I have a huge hangover feeling (the only comparison
I can imagine). Guilty of waking later on, then the push to rush about.

Apr. 02 2014 10:16 AM

What my husband and I have found works:
No spicy food after about 8 PM
Warm soy milk (seems better than regular milk). Put some in a thermos by the bed in case needed during night
Reading a psalm or poem just before going to bed
Avoid evening news or in-depth work discussions after about 7-8 PM. Go to WQXR instead...just listen quietly
No caffeine after about 5 PM

(A friend swears by camomile tea.)

Apr. 02 2014 10:15 AM

I'd love to hear about over-the-counter sleep medications. I take them semi-regularly in order to fall asleep (1/4 to 1/2 of a dose) and wonder if there are any long-term consequences.

Apr. 02 2014 10:15 AM

I am a night shift RN, started this job in Nov last year. This completely throws off my health, especially my GI system. My anxiety about work is my number one sleep enemy especially when I try to sleep during the day before going in for work. That's something they don't teach you how to cope with.

Apr. 02 2014 10:14 AM
Van from Manhattan

Is there data trying to understand if there is a positive correlation between job satisfaction and sleep? What I am trying to see is if people who feel the need for stimulation outside of work are also people who feel they are not happy and/or using creativity at work.

Apr. 02 2014 10:14 AM
Bonn from East Village

I average 4-5 hours/night and it's killing my quality of life. It's gotten worse over this last year. My stressor is NOT being able to sleep!! Zzzquil didn't work.I use Valerian w/chamomile, now added to Melatonin. That will give me a few hours in a row. Reading not recommended. I have just gotten a Rx for Ambien and will try it tonight.

Apr. 02 2014 10:12 AM
stephen from Prospect Heights

All about electronics. From the pull of work emails, to prompts of social media to netflix, we are completely being pulled away from stillness.


Apr. 02 2014 10:11 AM
carolita from nyc

I disagree about the "blue light" troubling the sleep. I always read a little bit on my iPhone before I close my eyes and go to sleep. Usually a mystery novel. No problem at all. Also, I almost always take an hour-long nap in the afternoon. I learned this from a Spaniard. Great habit.

Apr. 02 2014 10:11 AM
katie from westchester

I ALWAYS read when I get into bed, no matter how late it is and how tired I am, even if I only read for 5 minutes. And then when drifting off to sleep I think about the book I've been reading and the fictional characters. I think it's helpful for me to be thinking about fictional characters lives - much better than letting my own life/problems creep into my thoughts when I'm trying to fall asleep!

Apr. 02 2014 10:10 AM

When I can't sleep, I smoke weed. Then i sleep nicely.

Apr. 02 2014 10:10 AM
Jim B from Queens

From advice roulette. 'Don't focus on the content of the thoughts, look at the lifestyle.' This helped me. I recognize when I have had caffeine after 3pm go to bed on time anyway and do not entertain any thoughts at bed time when I have had caffeine late in the day.

Apr. 02 2014 10:09 AM

I lay awake worrying about money and kids and work...can I pay the rent this month...will my special needs child pass this grade...will I ever be able to afford a vacation or a house or I doing a good job at's endless. The only thing that helps is reading until my kindle falls down on my forehead.

Apr. 02 2014 10:09 AM
Paul from Sangria-La

Trazadone (Desyryl) Non-addictive anti-depressent taken by trillions for sleep. It takes a TON of it to be like a charm as needed, no hangover

Apr. 02 2014 10:08 AM
Ana from NJ

For some reason about three years ago I starting having difficulties waking up in the mornings. If I wake up early I feel my brain is on fire and with a headache. It's as if my biological clock just changed after I hit 40!

Apr. 02 2014 10:08 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I pray at night ... sleep like a baby. Recommend it.

Apr. 02 2014 10:06 AM
carolita from nyc

If I think about anything with numbers (dates, deadlines, money, debt, computer problems) at night, I will not sleep. So, those subjects are totally forbidden when speaking to me anytime while I'm winding down to go to bed. If I get to bed and find I have a little trouble falling asleep the thing that works EVERY TIME: try to imagine the outfit I"m going to wear in the morning. The most boring thought ever, since I pretty much wear the same thiing to work every day, I guess. But it works. I always fall asleep before I decide on the whole outfit.

Apr. 02 2014 10:05 AM
paulb from Brooklyn

Self-abuse! (Probably can't talk about that on the radio.)

Apr. 02 2014 10:04 AM

Being RAPED by Too-Big-To-Fail Banks that are STILL killing us…?!?!?

Apr. 02 2014 10:03 AM

The ABSURD rent in this city...?!?!?

Apr. 02 2014 10:01 AM

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