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- December 2, 2019 at 4:05 pm #34224
Hi Mac – I’ve become very relaxed about my sleep, going to bed usually between 10:30 and 11:00 and waking up between 7:00 and 7:30. I don’t worry whether I’m sleepy enough or not. If I’m not, it may take a little longer to fall asleep but it’s no big deal. It’s just like it was before the insomnia – no worries. I traveled the last few days and had no sleeping problems then either. Feeling back to normal finally. You’ll get there too.December 2, 2019 at 4:11 pm #34225
Didn’t mention that I don’t worry about sleeping in either. During our trip we were very relaxed and slept in a couple times until around 8:00. Had no problem sleeping those nights.December 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm #34228
Thanks Deb. You really have inspired quite a few of us on here with regards to ACT. If you ever have a few minutes today perhaps you could summarize how you exactly got to where you are today. Perhaps even write a small success story over in that thread. Glad you are doing so well.
MacDecember 2, 2019 at 4:55 pm #34229
Hi all, I’m still “here.” I had about 5 straight weeks of near-continuous improvement before making some unhelpful decisions and falling into some old habits, like sleeping in and eating the wrong things before bed. I was getting probably 6.5-7 hours a sleep for about a week and was feeling close to normal, then the other night I ate some sugary food too close to bedtime, took longer than I had been to fall asleep, freaked out slightly, then slept in a bit to make up for it. The next night was fine so I thought it was just a blip, but last night was straight-up rough. So now I am wondering if I am experiencing a relapse. Upsetting, but not surprising and not hard to see what choices I’ve made to get to this place. It is helpful to think about what Daniel Erichsen said about relapse, that the “first cut is the deepest” and “things are different now” because I know what getting better looks and feels like. Sleep restriction worked surprisingly well for me, so if I need to tighten my window back up I know it’s likely to help.
I was also lucky enough to meet up with Bianca a couple weeks ago for coffee since we live in the same area. We had a great conversation and I felt reassured afterward that I can always continue to move towards acceptance, no matter how crummy I may feel today or tomorrow or the next day.
Good to hear from you all. Much solidarity.December 2, 2019 at 5:15 pm #34230
Glad you are doing better Jamie. Yes eating sugary foods before bed is never a good thing. Of course for a normal sleeper not falling asleep right away isn’t a big deal but for us it can be a trigger to freaking out and the potential for bad nights, thoughts of relapsing, etc.
Just keep on doing what you’re doing. It seems like you are way ahead of the game in general.December 2, 2019 at 5:20 pm #34231
gsdmom✘ Not a client
Hi Everyone –
Hope those of us in the USA have recovered from Thanksgiving, and those of you in the other parts of the world I hope you are sleeping better. Deb, glad things are getting back to normal for you and you are able to make small trips and journeys without any setbacks.
I had a relapse 12 days ago, and had 5 bad nights out of the last 12. One of those was related to working very late, just could not unwind. It was the same thing for many of my co-workers, many only got 3-4 hours sleep on Thanksgiving and the next day at the start of our shift, one woman said she’s been awake for 29 hours already. So I did not feel so alone. I’m assuming my brain still needs more time to heal. I had so much anxiety one night thinking about relapsing – racing, pounding heart, panic. I told myself I can change my thoughts and tried to go back to the memory of beginning to practice ACT. Eventually, my heart slowed, I relaxed and fell asleep for 3 hours. Since that time I am falling asleep a bit better, but STILL in light sleep. I swear I am awake the first 2 hours of going to bed, but then realize that I did not notice my husband getting in and out of bed at night so then I know I was asleep, plus been having very realistic dreams which make me feel awake. Going for another acupuncture session today hoping it will help with relapse recovery.December 2, 2019 at 5:29 pm #34232
Thanks, Mac. It sounds like you have made headway since changing your approach. I hope it continues to help!
Amazing how the ACT tools have successfully taught us how to manage our thoughts and feelings differently. At the start of CBT-I, I was still using props and applying sleep effort and fighting anxiety because I didn’t know any better. Now when the anxiety hits hard, it comes in waves and I am able to work through it each time. I also find that often (though not always) focusing the natural rhythm of my breath helps make me calm enough to to sleep, like it did before the insomnia.December 2, 2019 at 5:35 pm #34233
I hear that. I was a lunatic with regards to props and fighting. Did everything from buying new sheets and pillows to white noise machines to “sleepy tea” to rearranging my bedroom to other things I won’t even go into. I’ve come a long, long, long way. But I still have a long ways to go..December 2, 2019 at 6:16 pm #34234
Jamie – so glad that SR has worked well for you and you’re getting better! Just curious is Bianca on this forum?
Gdsmom – hope things get better for you soon and you can enjoy the holidays.
Mac – Here’s a brief summary:
I had sleep onset insomnia and started my therapy with 8 weeks of CBT-I with Martin coaching me. SRT worked well for me, averaging 5 good nights a week. I did a little of SC, but not much. Mostly I just struggled the 2 nights that SRT didn’t work. I heard about ACT about my 7th week in and decided to try it out on my own after the CBT with Martin was finished. Amazingly I started falling asleep within a short time after about the first or second night. I used the “welcoming tools” to calm down any anxiety and then practiced “acceptance” of whatever sleep I got (or didn’t) each night. My sleep was very shallow with lots of dreams and the in and out type of sleep, and I woke up tired. I started worrying about the shallow sleep and tried to implement SR, thinking that shortening my sleep might help deepen my sleep. It didn’t help and soon my sleep went to hell. I went back on SRT and my sleep got back to way it was before, with 5 good nights per week. After about 7 weeks I got frustrated again with the 2 bad nights, realizing that the anxiety was still there beneath the surface. I decided to give ACT one more try and this time I hired Dr. Kat from Dr. Meadow’s group for a few sessions. She helped me understand that shallow sleep in the beginning was normal and that it would take time for my brain to calm down after being traumatized from so many months of insomnia. When I started again I had a bad night or two but then soon I was falling asleep relatively quickly and having the shallow sleep. I practiced “acceptance” which helped me fall asleep. Within two weeks my sleep deepened and I was sleeping pretty normally.
Two months later I had my first relapse. I got back on ACT and within a few nights I was sleeping normally again. The relapse and quick recovery from it helped me gain a lot more confidence in my ability to sleep. In comparison to others who have been practicing ACT, my recovery was very short. For most others it seems to take at least a few months.
Any other questions, Mac?December 2, 2019 at 6:24 pm #34235
Bianca = Borgesbi. Didn’t make that clear hahaDecember 2, 2019 at 7:02 pm #34236
That’s really nice that the two of you could get together! Talking to her must have been very helpful and hopeful since she’s doing well.
I doubt anyone lives nearby me, here in Huntsville, AL. My rocket scientist husband dragged me here kicking and screaming many years ago. Now I’m used to it, but family and long time friends live far away.December 2, 2019 at 10:50 pm #34246
Da1265✘ Not a client
Really digging this thread. As someone who has suffered from Insomnia for over 4 years now this gives me hope. Deb I actually also live in Alabama for the time-being. I live in Gulf Shores! For anybody who may have some insight please let me know. I really miss going out and drinking and having fun with my friends but I don’t do that anymore since I know I will get little to no sleep that night and I have to start my progress all over again. I just wanna know once you consider yourself cured from insomnia can you go back to just living a regular every day person life? I mean can I stay up late with my girl if I want? Go to late-night concerts? Can I go out drinking with my friends? Can I take naps in the middle of the day like I did when I was younger and actually feel good after I wake up from one and not feel like oh great now I won’t be able to get any sleep tonight? I see a lot of people saying they are recovering now but it’s really fragile and they can’t just live however cause it will still effect their sleep. And they keep saying they get 5-6.5 hours but I remember when I was younger before insomnia I could sleep for 7 hours, wake up, go to the bathroom, and then fall asleep for another 3 hours. Are those care free days forever behind me or?December 3, 2019 at 12:01 am #34247
That’s a nice place to live, right there on the beach! There is hope for your sleep. I sleep like I used to before the insomnia, averaging over 8 hours. You can get back to the point where you can do things that you used to like take naps or go out late, but better to keep good sleep hygiene and don’t sleep 10 hours! Also, keep a consistent schedule as much as possible. My go to bed and wake up time varies by plus or minus 30 minutes. I don’t think going out occasionally should hurt though.December 3, 2019 at 12:29 am #34248
Thanks for joining, Da. Always “nice” to hear from other long, several year term sufferers like myself that are on this journey. Just curious what’s your story like? How did it begin? Did you ever recover even temporarily?
As far as getting back to normal one day, first you should know that the older we get the less sleep we need and the less sleep we can function on in general. When I was in my teens in High school and in my early 20’s, damn, I used to live in my bed and sleep for well longer than 8 hours many nights especially on weekends. I worked nights and never had an alarm. It was paradise. That being said, many years later and waking up at 6am everyday for the last 8 years and those days are gone. Even if I do crash super late on a weekend the latest my body is conditioned to sleeping is probably 8:30ish. I don’t think I’ve slept longer than 9 hours on any night since maybe 2008.
BUT… you can get back to sleeping normal, for sure. Absolutely. Problem right now is depending on your sleep anxiety level which I’m assuming is rather high, there is no way it’s happening anytime soon. You, like me, have traumatized nervous/arousal systems that we have conditioned ourselves over these years. While Deb may have only needed a few months to heal, we may need much longer. But you’ve come to the right place if you want to start and get your life back. One step at a time though. It’s not easy.December 3, 2019 at 1:35 pm #34256
Da1265✘ Not a client
Yeah Gulf Shores isn’t too bad! I’ve lived here since June even though it’s just a little cold now but it can be nice to be out of how humid it would get sometimes when I first got here. Do you personally ever take naps Deb? Or go out late? Or do you just try your best every night to stick to your schedule and hygiene? What does ACT all entail? Is it a part of CBT or is it separate? Thank you for the insight