getting to sleep

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 3 months ago.

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  • #29957

    ✘ Not a client

    my greatest challenge is actually falling asleep. Once I am asleep I am generally fine to sleep till in the morning. I have tried all the supplements, complete darkness at night, sleep hygiene, including light therapy, food and movement timing, cool night temperature and no evening artificial light. None of that has helped at all. Now I will be trying CBT-I. So far, I can’t share any tips on what has helped me sleep as nothing I have done has helped. I am hoping to learn from this forum.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, this is also my  challenge. Some nights I stay awake until the morning and I try not to look at the watch not to panic, but if I see the light outside I panic anyways. Specially during the work week, because I like to work and feel stressed about not being able to go to work and give 100% the next day. I have had great sleep in the past 3 years, this winter I would sleep for 10 hours per day and still feel sleepy, it was the opposite. Then, out of the blue, without any great stress or situation, the problem of falling asleep started to happen. I have tried also all that you have mentioned above. I do notice that in the evening, if it is 8-9pm and I am relaxed because it is not yet time to go to sleep, I am watching TV and then I sleep. I wanted to stop that behavior because I wanted to “save” my sleep for the right time. However, this has not been working, so tonight I will have a calm evening and if I get to sleep for some hours watching tv before bed time so be it. The inflexible rules of sleep hygiene are also making me tired, breathing exercises are making me tired. Now the weekend it coming and I will travel, hope to get distracted and sleep by falling out of the routine. Good luck to you, hope to hear you make progress.


    ✘ Not a client

    Dahlia, this is my challenge as well. I just can’t fall asleep. I’m tired all the time and functioning (if you can call it that) on less than five hours sleep a night and many times, no sleep at all. I’m a 24/7 hour caregiver for my husband who has dementia so I have to start getting sleep. I’ve tried all the otc stuff and herbal preparations too. None of them have worked and some made me really sick. I too find the strict sleep hygiene rules not helping much and making me stress about strictly adhering to them. I’m going to relax it a bit and give myself a bigger sleep window. I can do the same wake time every day and that makes sense to me but I’m going to start going to bed when I feel sleepy and not worry about the time. If I force myself to stay up past the time I get sleepy, my brain thinks I want to be awake and guess what??  No sleep!


    ✘ Not a client

    dahlia – welcome to the club. I am finding martin’s free course to be very informative and at business end of it there are strategies to try. I am doing better now that I understand that my particular issue is around triggering the arousal system by panicking about not getting to sleep. I am working on changing responses and building some positive attitudes to going to bed. I still spent hours last night in odd zone between awake and asleep which wasnt restful but I didnt bring myself into worried wakefulness either and slept soundly after a bathroom stop at 2am.

    Hopefully Martin’s resources will help you understand what your issues are and then you can look for strategies to help.

    A word on CBT. As scientist, I am predisposed to skepticism and CBT sounded pretty suspect on first hearing. However, I had close colleague on point of medical resignation with reactive arthiritis who did 3 day intensive CBT-based therapy in desperation. Came back a changed man and has been free of issues for years now. I dug more deeply into it after that. My daughter unfortunately developed RA and needed some help with chronic pain. She also did intensive CBT with my wife going along as a support person. It helps her manage pain but as side effect she got rid of irritable bowel ( a problem she had for years) practically overnight. Got to be worth trying. Thanks to my wife’s participation, I have a bit of a head start in knowing what to do. If I cant beat insomnia by myself, I will certainly get some proper CBT therapy.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Glad to hear you’re going to give CBT-I techniques a try, dahlia. When you go to bed at night, what do you think is stopping you from falling asleep relatively quickly?

    When do you normally go to bed at night, when do you get out of bed to start your day in the morning, and roughly how many hours of sleep do you get on a typical night?


    ✘ Not a client

    I have been going to bed quite early, thinking that if I go to bed earlier that I might get more hours of sleep. I realize now that that does not work because I was simply not tired at 8:30 or 9pm. I think most generally the reason I can’t fall asleep is that I don’t feel drowsy or tired. I get up at 6 every morning. Many nights I get no sleep at all and then I will sleep well for 1 night and then it starts again with no sleep. I have started to go to bed when I feel somewhat tired which could be midnight or later and I have had some success with sleeping through the night.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Going to bed before sufficiently sleepy for sleep is very common among people with chronic insomnia — as is spending too much time in bed. It’s a major step forward to recognize this, and I am not surprised that you have noticed improvements in your sleep since you started spending less time in bed and going to bed only when you feel sleepy enough for sleep.

    Moving forward, try to make sure you always get out of bed by the same time every day to give your body a strong morning anchor — and consider getting out of bed when you can’t sleep.

    Here are a few videos you might find helpful:

    Why you should stay out of bed until you feel sleepy even when following a short sleep window:

    How to get out of bed at the same time every morning when living with chronic insomnia:

    Should you continue with stimulus control for insomnia even when your sleep window is almost over

    I hope this helps!

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