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- June 10, 2019 at 9:21 am #30023
I’ve been suffering from bouts of chronic insomnia for the last 15 years. Often there will be a trigger – such as getting into a new relationship – but some times (like currently) there is no apparent trigger. I get stuck in a ‘loop’ where I sleep for about 2 hours a night (currently between about 7-9am) which in turn causes horrific generalised anxiety during the day, that them causes more insomnia. I’m currently really struggling with hypnic jerks… every single time I start to fall asleep my body jerks me back awake with a jolt. This happens for hours on end. At the moment I’ve been in the cycle for nearly 2 weeks and most of this time I’m unable to work, as after so much consistent sleep deprivation you really do feel very, very ill. My work are as supportive as they can be but I’m acutely aware that I’m letting people down by not being there. I’ve tried every solution you can possibly think of – sleeping pills years ago (became addicted, bad times), CBT, hypnotherapy, counselling, different sleep courses, Acupuncture, reiki, meditation… you name it, I’ve tried it. Nothing has ever made a difference so I’ve reached a point where I’m trying just to accept that this is part of me and try not to fight it and hate it. It’s hard though. Would love to hear from others who have similar experiences…June 10, 2019 at 9:43 pm #30040
Martin Reed★ Admin
Hello GILL999 and welcome to the forum. I am sorry to hear about your struggles with sleep. The hypnic jerks you describe are likely associated with hyperarousal/self-monitoring and/or conditioned arousal.
In other words, when you get into bed you might be self-monitoring for sleep and when you do sleep (or are about to fall asleep) the brain sends an alerting signal to tell you that sleep was successful! Of course, self-monitoring isn’t really helpful because you need to be awake to recognize that you were asleep!
You may also be more alert to the normal changes that happen in the body as we drift off to sleep — and this may be jerking you awake.
You mentioned that you tried CBT in the past. Was this CBT for insomnia (CBT-I), specifically? I know many people who have gone through CBT for anxiety thinking that it would also help improve their sleep (sometimes it can) — but unless you go through CBT-I, you are missing out on the interventions that are specifically aimed at improving sleep.
You do not need to accept insomnia. You are capable of sleeping better.June 11, 2019 at 9:10 am #30055
Thanks so much for your reply Martin – the hypnic jerks do feel exactly as though my mind is “on edge/ on alert” and waiting to fall asleep the whole time, so when it registers that I do it seems to jump me awake. I’ve had it before but never as bad/prolonged as it is at the moment.
I tried CBT about a decade ago – it wasn’t CBT-I though and it was more geared towards coming off the sleeping pills that I was addicted to at the time via the GP. It would be great to know where I can find out a bit more about CBT-I?June 11, 2019 at 9:06 pm #30067
Martin Reed★ AdminJune 12, 2019 at 4:01 am #30070
goldenbayboy✘ Not a client
hypno-jerks were my problem too. If I jerked awake then I was giving myself the self-fulfilling message that i was in for bout of insomnia. I am slowly beating it. Last night I had two on way down but was still asleep in 30 min and got close to 8hours. I’d stick with Martin and work through CBT-IJune 12, 2019 at 9:14 am #30074
Thanks goldenbayboy – it’s comforting to hear that I’m not the only one. How long are you into the CBT-I and how long before you started to notice positive changes? I’ve been only sleeping for 2-3 hours a night for two weeks now and am feeling very, very sick from it – mentally and physically.June 12, 2019 at 9:15 am #30075
PS. I have signed up to the course with Martin 🙂 I figure if there really is a way I can overcome my insomnia which has plagued my entire adult life, then it is worth the cost a million times over!June 12, 2019 at 10:08 am #30077
Gill, yes, absolutely. It’s the best money I ever spent! After three weeks of working with Martin I started to experience some changes and then started to sleep better and longer and anxiety diminished. Am now sleeping six to seven hours a night! Be prepared for some rough times first couple of weeks, but Martin will be there for you every step of the way.June 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm #30078
Thank you, it helps so much to hear from others who are on thr course. I’m very frightened of the next couple of weeks – the thought of not being able to go to bed till 3am when by evening time I’m already feeling so very ill from lack of sleep is a bit overwhelming right now. Ditto having to get out of bed when I’m not sleeping! I’m worried this is going to mean I’ll end up getting no sleep at all…June 12, 2019 at 1:56 pm #30079
To be honest the first week I had two nights of zero sleep—but I did get through the day and was rewarded with 6 hours of sleep the following night each time. It’s not fun, but doable. And getting out of bed when not sleeping became actually enjoyable for me—much better than lying in bed awake.