I feel for you. I have been having sleeping issues for months. I usually fall asleep about 1-2 am and wake up every 2-3 hrs and get up at 645 am and up all day. I do better when I take my xanax versus ambien. I am not a huge fan of ambien, but thats just me. My problem is I can never shut off my head. The xanax or ativan too (benzodiazapines) are anti-anxiety, help with nausea, but also help with sleep. I was put on it for sleep nearly four years ago. They are less prescribed becuase of addiction, but I have never been addicted to them and do not have an addictive personality. They gave this to me in the hospital as well. Maybe if your doctor will let you you can try .5-1mg of either one. Hope you get some rest....
I have the perfect drugless solution to difficulty of sleep and it's called exercise. If you could find an aerobic exercise that you like, and perform it for one hour every day you will sleep. I take cardio strength training 3X per week and there is nothing that fatigues my muscles more. I can be under an enormous amount of stress from work but this class will allow me to sleep at night. The trick is you have to exercise to complete exhaustion. There are other great benefits to exercise too which you probably already know.
I thought of a couple of more things.... time released drugs don't work for most of us because of transit time.
I also read a really good article in one of those airplane magazines in Feb. Here are a couple of suggestions, some of which you already know: No caffeine after morning, watch sugar intake late afternoon/evening; get exercise and 2 of the ones that I have now adopted:
turn all clocks where you cannot see the time when you wake up (I like this one). Then you are not counting down the hours until you are supposed to be getting up. This one really hit the mark for me. If your alarm hasn't gone off, and you would know that, then you are supposed to be asleep, right?
use a sleep mask to keep out all light, even if you have curtains pulled and it is dark in your room .... I have done this as well. I really have adjusted to mine and love it. $3 at Walmart!
Now all I need to do is get EAR PLUGS!!! Wish I could tolerate wearing them, but I just can't. Besides, personally I just don't think it is safe doing that at night.