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- October 3, 2019 at 4:24 pm #32621
Featherly – That is so true. A couple good nights of sleep and I am in such a good mood. After a couple of bad nights it is really hard to keep the unwanted thoughts away. I pray for all of us to keep on progressing in a positive direction.October 3, 2019 at 4:36 pm #32622
Thank you Steve! It’s getting to me today and I’m grateful for support. At least we can always count on things changing.October 3, 2019 at 8:21 pm #32617
Thank you, Deb 🙂
Steve, my sleep is still very much flawed, trust me! It’s more me not minding sleep in general that has made a big difference. I’ve noticed I don’t pay much attention to how or how much I sleep anymore, counting hours, monitoring being awake or being asleep. I know that it is still flawed because I don’t have that experience of being out for the whole night until my alarm goes off in the morning but also I’m paying so little attention to my sleep that I can’t really tell how much I’m sleeping, or when I’m awake, or for how long, etc. I just know I feel great each day, never fatigued, sleepy, etc. I feel like letting go of all that has been incredibly helpful. I just turn everything off when I’m sleepy and let my body and mind rest in bed until alarm goes off each day (between 6-8am) – without paying attention to any details. I find it a helpful approach to adopt..to do your part (just the common sense stuff) and then just let go 🙂October 4, 2019 at 4:27 am #32650
gsdmom✘ Not a client
Featherly – sorry to read about your 4 bad nights in a row. Once ACT starts working and you get a few good nights of sleep, the bad nights seem doubly disappointing! A couple nights ago I felt the welcomings were constant too. I had to take a polygraph test as part of a job interview process – I had a bad childhood, a neglectful mother and my behavior was not angelic. The questions asked brought up a lot of unpleasant stuff. However, even though I had to do so many welcomings, using ACT I changed my perspective and gave my childhood shadow self a lot of compassion worked on becoming friends with the memories instead of burying them, so from now on I don’t think they will bother me that much. So I’m hoping for you, the work you put in now will have a positive effect in the near future, even though we are all hoping for immediate relief!October 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm #32654
Borgesbi – More and more I am trying to live my life as if I don’t have the insomnia (even though I know it’s still there) but I am not at that point yet where I can totally not think about how much sleep I got the previous night. How I feel the next day always lets me know approximately how much sleep I got.
I think the biggest unwelcome thought I get at night is frustration. In the early evening, I am mostly calm and relaxed but as bedtime gets nearer, I do start to get stressed about how much sleep I will get that night as well as the thought of sleep expectation. However, these thoughts and anxiety usually go away by the time I actually get into bed. But after falling asleep, I more often than not wake up about an hour after I got into bed and that’s when frustration first hits. I usually go to the bathroom and come back and fall asleep relatively quickly again but then I am up at 2:30 or 3:30 and that’s when the real frustration hits. I welcome it but there is no question that the feelings of frustration is the hardest unwelcome thought for me. I am pretty accepting the next day as to how much sleep I ended up getting but that “Not Again!” feeling upon the early awakening is very difficult for me during the night.October 4, 2019 at 3:36 pm #32655
Gsdmom-, I also find that the I’m using the tools for non sleep thoughts/feelings. It has helped to more quickly/clearly discriminate between what I can change, with what I can’t change,– and then use the tools for the later. Often the thoughts at night are more unimportant noise than anything else. It’s my mind doing what it’s suppose to do–create thoughts. I try to thank my mind for it and release it as noise. But lately it’s more challenging to get back to sleep. Perhaps I’m thinking to much about evaluating thoughts as noise and releasing (?). I hope that job interview had a positive outcome!
Borgesbi –As I read your previous post about not caring or paying attention to your sleep, that is more of what I was doing during my good week of sleep. This week, after having a few poor nights- I’m thinking about sleep more, which is unhelpful. When you are in bed, but awake, do thoughts come? The goal is feeling great and it sounds like you are. 🙂
Steve – I have a similar sleep pattern. Frustration is a hard one to accept, especially during or after a poor night’s sleep. It helps me to look at the bigger picture. Looking back, you too have experienced some really good nights of 7 hours sleep. Maybe we should both try taking a ‘Borgesbi approach’. Not giving it attention. Letting it be what it is without care or thought. We know it’s there. But don’t give it anymore than that. The attention is negative anyway-and unhelpful.October 4, 2019 at 4:50 pm #32657
I have been trying to do that Featherly. But as you know, it’s easier done on better nights of sleep than it is after poor nights of sleep. Still, I will continue to try to live my life as if I didn’t have insomnia. Constantly thinking about it only feeds it.October 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm #32663
Steve, what you described sounded a lot like my experience with CBTI actually – anxiety creeping in and out in the evening. I remember feeling fear of my anxiety, anxiety from the anxiety, it was horrible. Frustration was big back then too and still strikes for me more lightly these days. ACT is more abstract than CBTI, so for me, I know sometimes I’ll catch myself actually trying to NOT feel frustrated or anxious instead of accepting that I AM. Do you think it’s possible you might be doing something similar? For example, I told myself in the past a few times in the middle of feeling frustrated or anxious “It’s ok, I’m ok”. When in reality it wasn’t ok and I wasn’t ok, after all, there were negative thoughts and feelings going on. I was deceiving myself by using positive affirmation to make them go go away instead of really just sitting there with them. It can be tricky sometimes! For me, accepting means that my ONE and ONLY goal for the evening is to sit with what I’m experiencing and forget about sleep completely. I know if anxiety strikes, it’s not going to be that great a night of sleep anyway. The amygdala will most likely be activated through the night, so I might as well just have it as a goal for the evening to really really go into the fear I’m experiencing. It’s a good opportunity for practice, since the more we do it, the more the fear dissolves for good!
Featherly, I too experience frustration sometimes if an awakening happens to longer. It actually happened last night – I was too tired from work so I went to bed and fell asleep around 9:30ish pm and then was alert at some point. I haven’t looked at the clock for a while now in the middle of the night but decided to do it to see what techniques I might be using that are helpful. I saw it was 3:30 am – good solid 6 hours of sleep but awake at 3am, ugh. After being alert for a while, a little frustration kicked in and I noticed that doing 2 things helped:
1) Recognizing that I’m feeling frustrated in the first place and then reminding myself that as long as I’m restfully lying there, it will be enough to feel refreshed in the morning. Doing this shifted my mindset to being completely ok with being awake.
2) In order to restfully lie in bed I started paying attention to my breathing, sounds, sensations of the bed. Eventually after doing this a few times (mind interrupted with some annoying irrelevant thoughts), I started drifting off, and that feeling of I don’t care and don’t mind what happens, came over me. Consciousness stayed kind of far although I was still there to some degree, so I think I entered light sleep for the remaining hours (until 5:45am). Woke up feeling refreshed and energized.
I’m not sure if describing this is helpful to you guys, I hope so. Let me know if I can explain anything else in any other way that may be more helpful. Like I said, my sleep is still flawed like I just described, but it’s the fighting and struggling that have gotten much much better, and as consequence, feeling completely refreshed during the day.October 5, 2019 at 2:44 pm #32664
Hi Borgesbi – I usually only feel the frustration when I wake up and then I am also usually quick to accept it. The only time I try to stay up with my insomnia is when I am wide awake and just lying there. Then I will use the tools and accept everything that comes in the night. Mostly though, when I wake up, I am not fully awake but rather half asleep or in a very quiet restful state. When I am like that, I do not try to force myself to fully awake. I just stay in that state and accept what comes. Sometime I fall back to sleep and sometimes I don’t. I also presume that I go into a Stage sleep a lot. I have been better at just going about my life even with the insomnia. It’s just tough when I get a really bad sleep night as it’s tough to concentrate the next day. Thanks for all of the advice.October 5, 2019 at 5:12 pm #32665
Just wondering how some of you we haven’t heard from in awhile are doing – Mac, Delv, Pardon, TiredDad, Nik Burn, Karen.
I’m doing well. Still a little fear there sometimes at night, but it’s not keeping me from sleeping.
Read an interesting transcript from an interview Martin did a few days ago with a psychologist who specializes in insomnia, Nick Wignall. They talked about how CBT-I is usually the first route to go and then ACT can be the next level and how it takes more advanced skill to practice ACT. They said that CBT-I was like getting a Bachelor’s degree and ACT was on the Masters level. I like that! I would agree that CBT-I was a good foundation for me. It gave the confidence that I could sleep. Then I just had to fine tune it through ACT. I thought this point he made was interesting too, “In my experience, there are some clients for whom that’s a better strategy. Especially people who are really more on the rigid side. They’re very hard-working, they’re very intense. A lot of times the structure of CBT-I just feeds into that and ends up being in that negative.” So if you tend to be this way, try ACT instead. (Thought about you, Mac.)October 5, 2019 at 5:54 pm #32666
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Hi Deb long time no speak. So just to verify, you are pretty much falling asleep and staying asleep no problem these days? If so, congrats, and I appreciate you continuing to post on here.
I personally am doing ok. After my second relapse of 2019 (a little over a month ago) that you may remember me posting about I have since returned to SRT in an even stronger way. After about a week I was doing well again, like I knew I would, but as you know very well, that doesn’t mean much in my world or any insomniac’s world. It’s about maintaining this good sleep and not falling into a downward spiral again. My last one was caused by having a special event the next day if you may recall. I had a bad night as I was anxious about said event, and then this spiraled.
These days now, a month later after this last relapse, I am at a point where I am taking no chances. While I have already began to wean off of the strict 11:30p-6a window, if I have even one bad night then the following night I will revert back to going to bed close to 11:30p again. The problem with beforehand was that instead of doing this, I just assumed things would clear up after a bad night or two, when they would actually just slowly get worse. Last night, ironically enough, I had a flat out bad night. My first in quite some time. I feel awful today but I know that tonight will be a sleep window night, as will tomorrow more than likely, in order to make sure I don’t spiral.
As far as ACT goes, I’ll admit I haven’t implemented it full time or very strongly, but I have done some exercises here and there. If you have any key ACT exercises that you feel definitely helped you that I may not have heard of before, by all means please share.October 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm #32667
Borgesbi- Wow! That was VERY helpful. Thank you for sharing the details and the experience you have. Yes! It helps greatly! I see myself in some of the information for Steve. -finding myself frustrated and then telling myself I’m ok to push back, rather than accepting and being with it. It’s uncomfortable being with it. But I find if I am, and can do so without reacting, it fades. It’s similar to a kind of meditation I’m exploring, Vispassana. I’m writing this down so I can revisit it “For me, accepting means that my ONE and ONLY goal for the evening is to sit with what I’m experiencing and forget about sleep completely. It will sooth the frustration to acknowledge, (as you said) “as long as I’m restfully lying there, it will be enough to feel refreshed in the morning.” That actually seems to be true. I didn’t realize before ACT, how much more tired I was having to get out of bed. I need to pull myself back at times to put my focus back on breathing and bed sensations.
Deb- interesting interview. I put myself in the category as one of those people where CBT-i was a negative.October 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm #32668
Sorry you had a bad night, Mac. The exercises I did you already heard of – welcoming and acceptance. Welcoming anxiety neutralized it and then acceptance of whatever was going to happen each night put me to sleep.
I’m sleeping very well these days. Just a short relapse of 1 day a couple weeks ago when I started to worry about relapsing. Let that thought go and soon I was back to normal.October 6, 2019 at 5:36 pm #32689
TiredTwinDad✘ Not a client
Thanks for asking, Deb. I’m going to say I’ve been doing much better the past 7-10 days.
I had an unexplainable really bad night a week from Thursday (unusual Onset, took meds, still woke early), but since then it seems things have been improving. I’ve remained drowsy at times where the insomnia mind would’ve kept me up (like bad storms), I’ve fallen back asleep once or twice. I even had a night where I had to break the rules because of a late gig (I occasionally play in wedding bands) where I had to have caffeine in the evening to get through the gig, then eat after midnight and drive home 1+hour. I fell asleep fine around 1:30a, still woke 5ish maybe due to kid, but still rested after that. Though the day was still challenging, it wasn’t the pain I felt during normal insomnia/SR.
I met with my sleep doc, first time in a month. Since I’m no longer doing CBT-i, we’re kind of twiddling our thumbs trying to fill the 45 min. It’s a little frustrating, as we can discuss the 2 sides of topics I can’t decide on, she’ll agree with me on the pro/cons of both sides but I won’t get a recommendation (like if I should log sleep, or abstain from alcohol).
I have stopped ‘light’ logging this past week. I added a second cup of coffee (even though it’s usually consumed while standing/tending to kids not relaxing).
“….They’re very hard-working, they’re very intense. A lot of times the structure of CBT-I just feeds into that and ends up being in that negative.”(from Nick Wignall)
Yeah, that speaks to me. I can certainly see the value of CBT-i, but I think it’s those rules that contributed to my insomnia. I had no problem following the rules, but maybe the nightly ritual of doing something when I woke early taught my brain to be a little anxious in the early morning. And since I did CBT-i by myself years ago, I’ve almost always applied SC and I think it’s applying that SC last January is what started this 2nd major bout in the first place.October 6, 2019 at 6:23 pm #32693
gsdmom✘ Not a client
Borgesbi – your writing about your insomnia is very informative, you express everything so well and make ACT easier to visualize. I’m trying to have your attitude and mostly forgetting about insomnia during the day and lately trying to drop a couple of props at night.
Deb – I saw about 3/4 of the interview Martin did with Nick., it was very nice. I do agree that ACT is like the master’s level of sleep education. I wish SC and CBT-I would have been effective for me, it was a good foundation and maybe if my insomnia was not so ingrained and I sought help earlier that would have been enough, but as many have posted, the routines and structures of CBT-I end up contributing to the anxiety you are trying to relieve. And studies show it does not work everyone, we must be the 20-30% that need additional help.
TiredTwinDad – Great you are able to continue to do things you enjoy like playing in the band, even if you aren’t feeling well. Glad you’ve had some good nights in a row! I have twin girls, 30 years old now. I remember those days, well kind of, I was so sleep deprived it all seems like a daze or blur. After reading some posts here, I didn’t realize how the stress of newborns and the unpredictable sleep schedules can cause chronic insomnia vs just sleep deprivation.
I am happy to write that I’ve had 4 nights of normal sleep and normal sleep onset, even after one night where my husband had a little temper tantrum. Once I had insomnia, the tantrum would get my mind going so much I couldn’t sleep until 3am. About 2 weeks ago I had a strange pattern of feeling sleepy during the day. Not fatigued or wired tired, but almost like that sweet sleepiness I used to feel when just normally tired. I wonder if anyone else felt that recently, and wondering if that comes before you start to recover? I have not felt it the last couple days, maybe because my sleep has started to improve a bit.