Alcohol and sleep

This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Steve 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #29219

    RoyN
    ✘ Not a client

    After two weeks of improving sleep on SRT, I had my best night of sleep in over 2 months on Saturday night.  I slept 6 hours straight during my 6 hour sleep window.  This came after 4 very steady nights where I slept 5 hours each night.

    My insomnia has taken over my life so much that I have canceled going out with friends or doing almost nothing social every day other than obsessing over my sleep and thinking about the upcoming night.  I know this is counter productive, so yesterday to celebrate 5 straight days of improved sleep, I went out with a couple of friends to a local bar for a few drinks.   I had 5 12 ounce beers between 3 and 5 pm and then went home as I did not want to impact last nights sleep.  My time to bed is 11pm and of course, when I went to sleep last night nothing happened.  I could not fall asleep and had my worst night in over a month.  Even worse, my sleep anxiety which had subsided, returned in full force which was the final straw towards killing any chance for sleep last night.

    Those 5 beers were the first drinks I have had in almost 3 months.  Is is possible, that drinking in the afternoon, 5 hours before bedtime impacted my ability to sleep last night at 11pm?  Or did a subconsciously sabotage myself my changing my routine before I have my sleep confidence fully back?

    #29223

    Steve
    ✘ Not a client

    I can’t answer the alcohol part of your question Roy but I am congratulating you on your success with SR. What size Sleep Window did you start out at? How long have you been doing SR? How do you manage to stay awake during the day? And evening for that matter? Don/t worry about the one off night. It happens to everyone. How you react to it is the most important thing.

    #29224

    RoyN
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Steve, this is my second go round with SR.  My first time was almost 10 years ago when I had a bout of insomnia following a trip to India where I slept an average of 2-3 hours for 4 months. I was at my wits end when I went to sleep therapist who introduced me to SR.  After completing my sleep diary, my initial sleep window was 3 hours from 2:30-5:30 am.  It was torture, especially since I went to work everyday!  But I fairly quickly improved and was sleeping normally after about 6 weeks.   It probably took another 3 months for my sleep confidence to fully come bac but I have slept normally for more than 9 years up until my current relapse.

    My insomnia returned about 6 weeks ago after some medical procedure complications and taking muscle relaxants.   I started with a sleep window of 6.5 hours despite initially only getting 0-4 hours of sleep a night.  My sleep window was way too generous resulting in erratic sleep performance during  the first 4 weeks that included a 10 day trip to NY.  When I returned home,  I tightened my window up to 5 hours and saw much improvement up until my major slip last night.

    #29229

    Steve
    ✘ Not a client

    I am just starting SR. I have a 5.5 SAW. One of the toughest things I ever did.

    #29230

    RoyN
    ✘ Not a client

    I personally think a 5.5 hour SAW maybe to generous and should be shorter for many just starting SR.  I think while the longer window is “gentler” it also may lead to the therapy taking longer.  I think this was one of my mistakes the 2nd go round because I was wildly successful with the 3 hour window 10 years ago.

    There was no magic answer for managing to stay up until bedtime.  It is miserable.  I just try and stay on my feet and take lots of walks. I actually fell asleep standing several times.  But in the end it was worth it.

    Keep at it. SR works!!!

    #29266

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    I think it’s entirely possible the alcohol disrupted your sleep, Roy — so it’s important to bear this in mind and recognize this as a potential external cause of last night’s difficulties, rather than assuming your insomnia has returned.

    When you went to bed at 11:00 PM, were you feeling sleepy enough for sleep? When you felt unable to sleep, did you implement stimulus control techniques and get out of bed until you felt sleepy enough for sleep?

    #29270

    RoyN
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks Martin.  I do consider that my sleep is still very fragile and while alcohol has never been a sleep problem for my in the past,  I may need to just avoid it entirely until my sleep confidence returns.

    I was pretty sleepy when I went to bed last night, but not as sleepy as I have been sine I started SR if that makes sense.  I did get out of bed once but this is one part of CBT-I that I do not consistently follow.  I have found that it is often more effective for me to stay in bed and work on relaxation techniques rather than get up until I am sleepy.    I have jumped out of bed in frustration more than once to implement stimulus controls only to find out that I actually was sleeping and just did not realize it.

    #29281

    Steve
    ✘ Not a client

    You arte probably right about the 5.5 window being too long but not a problem right now because with SC, I am constantly out of bed because I can’t sleep. Last night I only slept about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The night before that 3 and a half hours and the night before that 2 and a half hours. Still, I also agree with Martin when he says that 5 hours (+ the 30 minute add-on) is the least amount of sleep a person needs to function so that person should have the opportunity to get it. Also, it may take a bit longer, but I have to work the next day as well so I prefer the 5.5 window just in case I can get it soon. Good luck to you with your future SR.

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