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- April 23, 2021 at 9:23 am #40896
I have held off on writing this post maybe out of superstition or some belief that when I said it out loud that I am better, that it would somehow jinx me. However, I am confident that the worst of 8 months of insomnia are now behind me. I graduated Martin’s course about one month ago and wanted to share my thoughts on this ordeal. These posts helped me tremendously through a bad time in my life and I would like to return the favor. I’ll start off with a little bit of my story.
I’m not sure what initially caused my sleeping issues. I have always been a little high strung and I’ve had minor anxiety issues over the years. I was also dealing with a few medical issues that turned out to be nothing but whatever the reason in the late part of August 2020 I started to wake up at night for no apparent reason. At first it would be an hour before my alarm went off and I’d go back to sleep. Then I would awaken and could not go back to sleep. I would start to wake up earlier and earlier until one night I went to bed at 10 and woke up at 12. I started to panic! Of course I began doing everything that I now know you’re not supposed to do. I napped during the day, I stayed in bed longer, I researched everything. I became OBSESSED with my sleep. This of course only made the problem worse and soon I started having nights of no sleep. Emotionally I was a wreck. I started trying to find medical solutions to my sleep problems all of which failed. It was probably around November when I found some conversations on sleep restriction and I thought I would give it a shot. I had some success early on. So what did I do when I started to sleep better? I thought “Awesome I’m cured, I can start napping again, I can go to sleep when my wife sleeps even if I’m not tired and then shockingly…..I began to sleep poorly again. I went through this cycle a couple of times until I got so fed up early in 2021 that I said “I’m just going to implement a sleep restriction program and never give it up”. It was at this time that I found Martin’s free email course. Those two weeks my sleep improved greatly but was still bad many nights of the week. So I decided to sign up for Martin’s course. I’m going to be totally honest about my experience. A lot of the information I received were things I had known through my own exhaustive googling however I believe my money was well spent. It was invaluable having a calm presence and someone giving me reassurance that my case was not unique or different. Slowly but surely my sleep improved and when I had a poor night, I knew I would sleep better the next night if I followed the program. I could always rely on that. Last night I had my first ever 7 hour sleep since this ordeal began. I didn’t even hear my wife’s alarm go off. On average I sleep about 5-6.5 hours a night but am still seeing improvement.
So what I would like to give a few tips that helped me above and beyond what I learned from Martin:
1. This is not a linear process. I always assumed my sleep issues were a zero sum game. Either I was an insomniac or I was cured. I now believe this is totally bunk. I have nights where I sleep really well and other nights that I sleep not as well. I used to start making progress and would have a bad night and completely resort to thinking that all my progress was lost. Once I changed my way of thinking, it helped a lot.
2. Get a hobby. I think picking up a new hobby can help on the days where you’ve slept poorly the night prior. I always enjoyed making things and had some old woodworking tools. When this all started, I told myself I’m going to start concentrating on being a better woodworker and when I come out of this mess, I’ll have something to show for it. I really focused on my new hobby when I was feeling poorly in the day. I’d watch youtube videos or think about my next project. This helped me a lot to keep my mind off my worries.
3. Positive affirmations. There was a success story posted here recently that disccussed positive affirmations and so I thought I would give it a try. Everytime my mind would focus in on my sleep issues, I would redirect it and tell myself “I’m such a good sleeper” or “I cant wait to go to bed tonight” and I would follow this up with a mental image of myself curling up in bed and drifting peacefully off to sleep. Again its hard to know what role this played in my recovery but I think this was beneficial.
4. Relaxation techniques. Martin covers this pretty extensivley in the course but try relaxation techniques everyday. At first you might not see a difference but relaxation is a skill. It takes time and effort to work. I started meditating daily which I think really grounds me and just so you know I am a pretty skeptical person but there is countless scientific evidence to show that mediation is beneficial.
My sleep is not perfect. I still think about sleep way more than the average person but the one thing that I’ve learned through all of this is that this is a long journey, there are no quick fixes but over time your sleep will improve. Anyway I hope this helps some of you out there who are really struggling right now. I know you’ve probably heard it before but if I can get better than so can you. Your sleep issues are not unique or different and over time they will respond to these techniques if you are diligent. Best of luck!April 23, 2021 at 11:03 am #40897
Hbhigg✘ Not a client
Wonderful that you are now sleeping better and thank you for taking the time to post this. Such a great post it shows that insomnia can be overcome but that it takes time and dedication with some setbacks. This is really encouraging to people who are suffering setbacks and relapses and are wondering if they should give up.April 24, 2021 at 3:53 am #40907
Boylston✘ Not a client
Thank you for this post! I am just now signing up for Martin’s online course and am heartened to read that you have had success with it. You have joyfully shared your self-care story and I very much appreciate it.