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- September 6, 2019 at 10:17 pm #32296
gsdmom✘ Not a client
ACT so far for me – 5 weeks completed
week 1 – a night of zero sleep, two nights of light 6 hours sleep, and other nights 2-3 hours
week 2 – 2 nts zero sleep, nights after zero sleep slept 8 hours, other nts 2-4 hours
week 3 – more weird lite, fragmented sleep, anywhere 4-6 hours average
week 4 – two 8 hours sleep nights with awakenings, 1 almost no sleep, others 5-6hrs lite sleep
week 5 – still some poor sleep nights, mostly due to other physical things like neck pain and hormone issues. My insomnia/sleep problem is mostly onset and this week two nights fell asleep in about 15-20min, another night in 1 hour, so that is improving. Last night was normal 10pm-6am sleep with a quick awakening at 4am, I was so happy I had slept at least 6hours, there was no anxiety and fell back asleep for 2hours. The biggest thing I noticed about week 5 was that in general I was feeling OK during the day, even on 3hours sleep and seldom thought about sleep or insomnia.
There were a few nights when I did take Ambien, but just wanted everyone to know this is a long process, but be patient, you will slowly see improvement and will slowly start to feel better. Don’t get discouraged!September 6, 2019 at 11:12 pm #32298
burn✘ Not a client
Way to go gsdmom. Looks like you are having some improvements.
My results are mixed so far. I am trying to implement no sleep expectation at night and that really allows to be more relaxed in bed and overthink less. This resulted in one light sleep night and then two full good sleep nights. But the last night was no or just some light sleep (hard to say) night. Still can’t adapt to daytime thoughts/worries about sleep, especially after a night like last one.September 7, 2019 at 12:03 am #32299
Tuesday night was the completion of my fourth week on ACT. It has been a strange week. Monday night I slept between 1 and 2 hours. Tuesday night I slept between 6 and 7 hours. Wednesday I slept for only an hour and last night I again slept between 6 and 7 hours. The nights after the short sleeps were rough but I was functional the next day. I also took to heart what Dr. Kat told Burn when she said he was programming when he told himself he would survive the next day when he was having a bad sleep. I don’t tell myself those things anymore. When something like that pops into my mind, I acknowledge the thought but don’t try to challenge it. Just like “Noticing the thought” exercise where you notice the thought and then go back to what you were doing. Today I really practiced Noticing Your Feelings and Urges as I am now starting to recognize the value and reasons for these tools. That exercise will get me comfortable with the symptoms that insomnia gives me so I don’t worry about them and blow them up out of proportion the next day when I am awake. I think that’s the key for me as I really suffer with some of these symptoms.September 7, 2019 at 3:54 am #32300
gsdmom✘ Not a client
hi burn, I think I will still have mixed results for a while too. I’m glad you had 2 good nights, just think of the healing that your body got for those nights. Once I started having more frequent good nights, the bad nights did hit me harder, I noticed I struggled more because the memory of feeling so good was so recent. One night I noticed I was really struggling hard, so I decided to just start over. It was about 11:30pm, tried just winding down again. Got up and went to a different room, did a few minutes of breathing, read for about 15 minutes, then took a warm shower as I felt muscle aches coming on. After the shower, I fell asleep about 30 minutes later.
Steve, after reading so many of your posts, for you to say you can sleep 6-7 hours is amazing even though it is probably due to extra sleep drive of not sleeping the night before. I seem to go through these periods too. I’m glad you are feeling better during the day even after the nights of little to no sleep. Our brains are slowly healing.September 7, 2019 at 11:33 am #32302
gsdmom – Yes, I suspect the high sleep drive is some of it. Last night I also slept 6+ hours but there were about 4 or 5 wake-ups in there. Also, I usually get a better sleep on a Friday night because I am tired from the work week. My problem is that although I feel “okay” in the morning, I don’t feel refreshed. I also notice that my oral appliance I have been wearing to treat my sleep apnea doesn’t work as well so I can only sleep in two positions without sleep apnea affecting me. The result is I am getting sore from constantly sleeping in those two positions and that might be affecting my sleep. My doctor is prescribing me a CPAP machine and I will try that out soon. Hopefully that will lead to less awakenings.September 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm #32303
So good to see we’re all improving a bit! By the way, I’m far from healed – I still have nights of little sleep (although they only happen when I work out or if I have a more concerning personal issue), and awakenings still happen on good nights of sleep, but they don’t last long. I noticed what really changed for me with ACT is my attitude towards insomnia, both during the night and day. I think I just don’t see insomnia as a problem anymore. With ACT, I also started feeling great during the day: energized, good mood, less anxious, appetite went way down which was out of balance when I was doing strict SR. Maybe a full healing of sleep system will follow, but if not, I can live fine with how things have been! I think I got to the point that I’m tired of fighting or feeling frustrated with insomnia and prefer to just let it be.
Deb, as always, I’m forever grateful to you for bringing up ACT and recommending The Sleep Book, what a life changing experience. Also, so thankful to Martin for allowing us to discuss ACT here!September 7, 2019 at 5:10 pm #32304
I’m forever grateful to Daf, who first mentioned ACT. I never would have known about it otherwise. And of course to Martin, for letting us discuss this here.
Glad you’re doing well, Borgesbi. I also have awakenings in the early morning but then fall back asleep. I think it’s the remnants of the insomnia, but I have no fear or anxiety about it and I always seem to get enough sleep.
I feel a little sorry that it’s taking longer for all you to heal than it did for me. I really don’t know why it was so quick for me, except maybe because my life is so anxiety/stress free for the most part these days. It wasn’t always like this for sure. It’s one of the benefits of getting older and life getting simpler.September 7, 2019 at 5:52 pm #32305
I could be totally wrong, but I wonder if sleep onset is a little simpler to fix and perhaps the reason why it was so quick for you, Deb. I remember you said with CBTI things were going quite well, it was only when anxiety hit that you’d have bad night, is that right? At least from my own experience, sleep onset really comes down to sleep drive and anxiety. If I have just enough sleep drive and I feel calm (no anxiety, no monitoring) I’m out like a light. Sleep maintenance seems a little more difficult – perhaps because the brain has made a stronger association between wakefulness and evening? The brain created a pattern of waking up in the middle of the night? And if that association has been made, it probably involves more anxiety, more activation of the amygdala while we’re sleeping, more conscious/unconscious monitoring?
By no means am I saying that sleep onset is not a struggle – it is, I have had it and know how incredibly hard it is, but also from my experience with CBTI and ACT I noticed it’s an easier/simpler fix than sleep maintenance since it seems to come down to enough sleep drive and total relaxation only. So for the ones of us with sleep maintenance issues, it may take longer for these associations to go away as the mind relaxes and the body takes over. As always, my own theory! 🙂September 7, 2019 at 5:58 pm #32306
Glad to have helped Deb.
And remember folks the best thing I have heard about mindfulness / ACT is the Jon Kabat Zinn video online… Just google:
“Kabat Zinn + seven attitudes of mindfulness”.
It encapsulates everything about itSeptember 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm #32307
Oh, and Daf – very grateful to you as well for bringing ACT to all of us 🙂
I love Jon Kabat Zinn’s body scan meditation on youtube – it’s 45 minutes and you feel your entire body just “melting away”. I like him a lot!September 7, 2019 at 9:17 pm #32308
Daf – I did a whole 8-week mindfulness course based on Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program back in the spring, hoping it would help with the insomnia. Yes, his stuff is very good!
Borgesbi – I also wondered if sleep onset was easier to heal. That would be a good question for the sleep doctor. Sleep onset involves your conscious control of what you’re doing with your mind – accepting or struggling, etc. But when you wake up in the middle of the night – that’s completely unconscious – you can’t control when you wake up. So maybe it’s more deeply ingrained. (Also just my theory.) I always thought that SC was also probably a lot harder for those with sleep maintenance. The thought of getting up after already having slept a few hours sounded really difficult.September 8, 2019 at 7:50 am #32311
I did a whole 8 week course on mindfulness too (which is really the basis for Acceptance Commitment Therapy), but the 28 minute Kabat Zinn video really nails what it is, without having to go on an 8 week course.
Also, me realising that under my happy go lucky funny veneer I am a bit of an obsessive person and a tad controlling – and that this has manifested itself at a few other times in my life.
Once I realised that, I could see insomnia as 80% a part of that desire for control. And once I saw that too, I was also on the way to healing.
I’m sure others on here with really bad sleep problems (by which I mean they get “nil sleep nights”), but possibly also a few others who, IMHO sleep OK (5 hours or more but who obsessively fret about it a little too much), are the same and could benefit by that self-realisation.
13 weeks today since my last sleep night.September 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm #32312
I meant to write: “It has been 13 weeks since my last NIL SLEEP night…. “September 8, 2019 at 1:03 pm #32313
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Wow Daf. That’s amazing. Can you share this 28 minute video?
September 8, 2019 at 1:26 pm #32315
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Mac0908.
Daf, did your healing happen through ACT as well?