ACT for Insomnia

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Help ACT for Insomnia

Want some expert advice to improve your sleep? Get the free insomnia sleep training course!

This topic contains 844 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by Mac0908 3 hours, 2 minutes ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 796 through 810 (of 845 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #33641

    Daf
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Jazzcat,

    Yes I think you are right.
    And I’ve read elsewhere that people’s circadian rhythms get a bit weaker as they get older, a factor in why people need less sleep as they age, until over 75 when v Old people seem to start sleeping longer again.

    To help counter this I always try to be outside in open air for at least a half hour, ideally doing exercise at the same time.

    Well done everyone. In particular I thought the Nick Wignalll article on accepting anxiety was great. Like sleep, or lack of it, anxiety feelings should be accepted because you actually have no control over this. So best welcome and accept it, hence forcing the fear and anxiety to lose its power.

    #33651

    Mac0908
    ✘ Not a client

    My first night after what I’m hoping and praying is my final round of SRT. As I mentioned in the past few days, this time I’m going to finally stick to SRT as in this won’t be a 3-4 week thing. It might be a 3-4 month thing. Whatever it takes to increase my sleep confidence so much that any sleep anxiety is buried way way beneath the surface.

    So as my start time of 11:30p was approaching, i began nodding. I could have crashed even at 11:05pm. It was bad around 11:15 too. But I was determined. Then wouldn’t you know it, after continuing to force myself to stay awake, by the time 1130 came I actually felt a little wired. Went into bed and instead of passing right out it took me a solid half an hour to fall asleep. I wonder if I should have just gone to bed at 11:15 when I had to chance to pass right out. What’s 15 minutes, really?

    Anyway I woke up at 4:45am. Not good, but this is always what happens in the beginning of SRT. Nerves are a little all over the place. I then went back into light sleep a little while later before waking at my 6am alarm. I anticipate the usual of getting consistent 11:30p-6a/6.5 nights of sleep probably even by the time the weekend gets here.

    Deb to get back to you again from yesterday with regards to the whole ACT vs SRT kind of topic, I truly believe that while ACT can absolutely be a strong tool and can help many, for long term sufferers like myself, people who have been having problems for years, SRT really is a must. We need more strict and dare I call it harsh type of “treatment”. Because at the end of the day ACT really is just “Words”, whereas SRT is a legitimate action. For example going to a person who’s had Insomnia for let’s say 10 years and telling them to just “let go” and practice a few of these acceptance techniques in their head, well, I can probably bet you a good amount of money they aren’t going to come close to being cured just from that. Give SRT to the chronic insomniac and forcing their sleep drive/pressure to build, thus getting them to sleep no matter what and build confidence, well that’s just more likely to help them IMO

    #33652

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    I understand what you’re saying Mac. But the fact is, you’re still struggling after all these months of SRT. The anxiety just keeps coming back.

    It’s been a week now since I got back into ACT and I’ve fully recovered. The first night my thoughts were, “This is probably going to be a long night. Oh well.” The second night it was more like, “Well last night wasn’t too bad. We’ll see what happens tonight.” The third night was, “Oh yeah, just lay down and do nothing. This is easy.” Then I was well on my way to recovery.

    #33655

    Daf
    ✘ Not a client

    Mac,

    5 and a quarter hours ain’t bad. Average real amount of sleep for general adult population thought to be somewhere between 6 and 7 hours. It is NOT 8 hours. Maybe you are maybe being hard on yourself saying that was “not good” and maybe expecting what’s not really feasible in terms of sleep amounts.

    As Deb has said, ACT takes practice, it is not easy. Trouble is its easy to stop doing meditation practice and mindfulness when things are going well sleep-wise. I try to limit sleep amounts so I sleep at least some hours each night, but I’m happy even if I get 3 hours – as are many people on here. (Sure they’d prefer more most of the time they get more, but for many they are just glad to not have a nil sleep night). But if I cannot sleep, ACT techniques come into play for me.

    #Why 8 hours is not right is because when researchers ask non insomnia sufferers how much sleep they get, the non insomniacs have a habit of just taking away get out of bed time from going to bed time, usually ignoring the time spent in bed before sleep and in morning reading, listening to radio or anything else they do in bed, also the time it took them to go to sleep initially away and at mid night awakenings when they needed the the loo or other reasons.

    #33656

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    Last night I wasn’t even very tired when I went to bed because I had slept really well the night before, getting a solid 8 hours minus one trip to the bathroom. But it was “bedtime” (10:45) so I went to bed. Fell asleep soon and am well rested again today. I’m back to sleeping again like a normal person, not worrying about being sleepy enough or anything. Through ACT I’ve re-learned and “remembered” how to let go and fall asleep like I did before the insomnia.

    #33657

    Steve
    ✓ Client

    Mac – You’re missing what ACT is all about. You say “For example going to a person who’s had Insomnia for let’s say 10 years and telling them to just “let go” and practice a few of these acceptance techniques in their head”. It doesn’t work like that and ACT isn’t as simple as you make it out to be. Frankly, that’s probably why you failed at it. It takes a lot of hard work to do those exercises and while Deb may have been helped almost immediately, it has taken gsdmom, Featherly and myself months to reach the point we are at and will probably take more months. But we are better off than when we were under SRT. I can’t imagine cutting two hours off of my SW just to stay up, which means I have to actively do things and waste energy in order not to fall asleep. I am conserving that energy to make it through the next day. I see you ask several people doing ACT, such as gsdmom and Deb, if they have any more techniques that they can give you as the ones they already mentioned apparently didn’t work for you. How long did you practice the techniques they did give you? A week or two? Again, ACT doesn’t work like that. You have to practice and use these techniques for possibly months before you will see some improvement. You need to read Meadows book again. And then read it again! And again! We who practice ACT constantly are referring back to it. In this case, once definitely isn’t enough.

    One more thing. You also say “Whatever it takes to increase my sleep confidence so much that any sleep anxiety is buried way way beneath the surface.” I think that’s another point Deb is making that you aren’t understanding. With SRT, you may bury that anxiety for awhile, but it will always be there to rear it’s ugly head. With ACT, you are actually lessening that anxiety, if not making it disappear altogether. I don’t mean for this message to be harsh so forgive me if it comes across that way. But you are totally misunderstanding ACT and therefore not giving it a real chance.

    #33658

    Mac0908
    ✘ Not a client

    Deb, in reality I haven’t been doing SRT for months. At all. The truth is the longest I’ve gone in my SRT phases is probably 1 month until I began wean off it. For someone who’s struggled as long as me that’s taking a cheap way out hoping everything was going to be fine. Not going to happen I’ve realized. I need serious time with SRT. So I didn’t fail at SRT imo, I simply never implemented in correctly practice wise. That’s why this time I’m going be more serious than ever.

    #33660

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    Hope you works better for you this time, Mac. Good luck!

    #33662

    Mac0908
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks Deb. I appreciate that. Also to you, Steve, Daf,etc, don’t think for one second that I don’t believe ACT is helpful. I know it’s huge and I know it’s almost a MUST for most chronic sufferers in order to get better. I have been and still am practicing more and more positive thoughts these days than ever before and will continue to do so through SRT. I’m optimistic .

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Mac0908.
    #33664

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    I think some people here are not understanding something very fundamental about ACT, which is what the big “A” and the big “C” in ACT really mean. The big A refers primarily to “Complete Acceptance of each sleepless night” on a night to night basis. It’s not talking primarily about acceptance of our anxious thoughts and feelings. That’s secondary. Of course you may need to accept and “welcome” them in order to finally let them go and calm yourself down. But the GOAL of these techniques is to help you get to the place of the big A, the Acceptance of your insomnia on a nightly basis instead of struggling with it in any way. Guy makes this very clear in practically the first page of the 2nd chapter. In my case I really “got this” and was pretty much able to get to this state without having to use much mindfulness or acceptance and welcoming of negative thoughts and feelings. Once I knew what the big A “felt like” I could return to it nightly.

    The big C means Complete Commitment to the big A. Without committing to acceptance of whatever happens from the very beginning of every night and then committing to do this for a substantial period of time you will not see results. When I first started practicing ACT in March I was amazed that I was finally falling asleep regularly. But then when I got confused by the light sleep and thought maybe I needed to practice SR as well, then things got worse. But once I completely committed, I recovered.

    Just one other point. I’ve said this before but I think it’s important. ACT is about learning to relax completely about sleep. Therefore SRT is not compatible with ACT (in my opinion and also Dr. Kat’s) because it’s so strict and you’re always pushing yourself hard to do it. Also there’s a lot of worry involved about messing up your sleep when you don’t practice it strictly. This strictness, hard work and worry are the opposite of relaxing about sleep. In SRT you control. In ACT you let go. So if you say you’re doing both ACT and SRT together you’re not practicing ACT in the full sense of what it really means. You may be practicing the little “a” but not the big “A” and are missing the main purpose of the therapy.

    #33672

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    ACT is retraining of the mind to “let go.” Counselors and other people I talked to about my insomnia told me that I just needed to “let go.” This really annoyed me. I thought to myself “Well that’s great advice. Easier said than done.” I knew that this is what normal sleepers do but I just couldn’t seem to do it. ACT gave me a method to relearn how to let go. That’s why my recovery from my relapse was so quick. The first night I let go of any expectations, fears, frustrations – everything – and just laid there in bed doing nothing. By the second night I was falling asleep because through this process I was remembering how to let go and not worry or think about anything.

    #33673

    JTthemillenial
    ✘ Not a client

    Deb, I do get what you mean about SRT and ACT not being 100% compatible. I guess a more accurate description for me is that I now use components of ACT to supplement SRT, without fully committing to the intended purpose of either therapy. I agree with that. It would be nice if CBT-I incorporated more ACT tools in its approach, particularly the welcoming and acceptance tools for thoughts and feelings (though I do think that accepting sleeplessness is inherent in CBT-I too). The components can mesh while the overall approaches don’t.

    I still find myself in the “can’t let go” stage, even though it’s really the only answer. I really hope I phase out of it in due course. ACT by itself helped me a lot a lot first and I probably wouldn’t have gotten past sleep aids so quickly if it wasn’t for ACT. I’m really good at pressing that “acceptance button” in the short term if I give myself an excuse to have a bad night (which often turns into a good night), but after a while I just end up grasping for an alternate reality without insomnia and just can’t bring myself to do it.

    #33674

    Deb
    ✓ Client

    Jamie – what do you think keeps you from letting go? The need to have control? Like I said before, throwing myself completely into ACT required me to take a big leap of faith. I felt like I was jumping off a cliff into the darkness. I had no idea if there was anything out there that would catch me as I fell and it was scary. But the alternative of continuing to struggle with insomnia was worse. Also I’ve taken other leaps of faith in my life and always survived and many times thrived afterwards. So that made it easier to take another leap.

    #33675

    JTthemillenial
    ✘ Not a client

    I know I can’t control my insomnia, only influence my chances of sleep each night. This is mostly what I focus on in the hopes that I’ll start sleeping better and my fear will dwindle, but it hasn’t yet. I’ve made some improvements, but don’t know if I’m actually making progress because mentally I feel stuck. I started SRT to perceive concrete, measurable changes, but I don’t know if that will convince me of anything.

    What’s frustrating is when I think “what would post-insomnia Jamie do,” I know she would not worry about a bad night because it means a good night is coming and that there isn’t anything to worry about. The worst threat is the existential one.

    #33676

    JTthemillenial
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for letting me vent here, y’all. I know you’re all going through stuff too and it’s not much easier for you. I hope everything continues to look up.

Viewing 15 posts - 796 through 810 (of 845 total)

Get involved in this discussion! Log in or register now to have your say!


Want help from an insomnia expert?

My name is Martin Reed and I am the founder of Insomnia Coach®. Enroll in my free sleep training course and get better sleep.

  • * Get one email every day for two weeks.
  • * Follow my advice and your sleep will improve.
  • * Learn the mistakes you’re making that are ruining your sleep.
  • * 97% of subscribers say they would recommend the course to a friend.
  • * Your email address will not be shared or sold. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Learn more about my free sleep training for insomnia or get started right now:

Certified Health Education Specialist logo Certification in Clinical Sleep Health logo ACE-certified Health Coach logo American Academy Sleep Medicine membership badge