Anxiety about sleep

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #32703

    ✘ Not a client

    I had my first real battle with insomnia and anxiety in 2014, I ended up on sleeping pills, and it took me over a year to get to place where I could sleep well again, and without pills. In that year, I struggled with crippling anxiety about the lack of sleep and the difficulty trying to get even the small bits I was getting.

    My life was going great for the last 4 years, and when we had our second child, and other changes and stressors occurred, I ended up with insomnia once again. Almost immediately, I got scared and was filled with anxiety about why I was not sleeping. I believe this put me into a vicious cycle where I wasn’t sleeping much, and I spent my days and nights ruminating about it. I would often miss a full night of sleep, and sometimes even a couple in a row. Sometimes I’d even get to a third night of struggle, and I’d turn to alcohol, cannabis, or some over the counted sleeping pill.

    No of these options were consistent or provided good quality sleep, so it really just became another source of anxiety. I have been in this battle for 7 months now, and this past July and August seemed like I was starting to get some relief. I did not miss a night of sleep in those two months, and also, did not have to take melatonin or anything else more than a handful of times.

    I was sleeping in our spare bedroom, and maybe I was doing well because there were no negative associations with that bed. Now, I’ve gone back to my usual room (where I’m able to sleep alone) and I have a lot of anxiety about sleeping there, because there have been a lot of bad nights there over the last few months.

    I currently try to fall asleep on the couch, and then I wake up, and go to that room to continue sleeping. It usually works, but I’d be much happier being able to just go to bed and sleep.

    Has anyone else been here?

    I look forward to meeting many of you on this site, and I am most likely going to sign up for the course in the next little bit.

    Thanks 🙂


    ✘ Not a client

    you’re definitely not alone – i hate worrying about sleep. when i’ve had a string of tough nights it’s hard to break any negative associations that i might have with my bed but i can usually do so by limiting the time spent lying there and worrying by getting up and doing something else after 15-20 minutes, and then going back to bed only when i feel relaxed again. have you tried that?


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Damien, and welcome to the forum.

    I think you would find it really helpful to implement cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) techniques because they specifically target the perpetuating factors behind insomnia that make it hard to get sleep back on track.

    I see many examples of thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate insomnia in your post — these include worry about the effects of insufficient sleep, ruminating about sleep, experimenting with various sleep crutches (such as alcohol or supplements), sleeping somewhere other than your own bed, and sleep effort (in other words, “trying” to sleep).

    It sounds as though your experience with insomnia has led to conditioned arousal/anxiety, too. In other words, you have learned to associate your own bed with wakefulness and worry rather than sleep and relaxation. CBT-I techniques are also helpful at addressing this conditioned arousal (just as you learned to see your bed as a place for wakefulness and worry, you can “unlearn” this, too).

    You have managed to get your sleep back on track in the past, so I have little doubt that you will be able to do so again — and following a structured plan (or road map) such as the implementation of CBT-I techniques can be very helpful when it comes to improving your sleep for the long term.

    I hope this helps.

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