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How do I use CBT-I techniques when this happens?

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Help How do I use CBT-I techniques when this happens?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Gdou 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #47016

    ✘ Not a client

    Hey Everyone, so I’ve been on here for since august and working on my CBT-I techniques. I believe my insomnia is anxiety related due to I have anxiety and some recent major life changes. Anyways over the past couple months, CBT-I has helped besides the occasional bad night (one night a week usually around 2-4 hours). Anyways something new has developed and I fear its getting worse again.

    Okay so I have a routine and right when I’m ready for bed I watch some YouTube videos on my TV ( yes, I know this is bad sleep hygiene because blue light, but this is what has worked recently). So usually within the first 10 minutes I get to the point where I can barely keep my eyes open, once this happens a couple times I hit the bed and boom, I’m out and everything goes perfectly! But recently that hasn’t been the case, I get so sleepy I cant keep my eyes open and then I hit the bed and I just lay there awake, but my anxiety isn’t really that bad and I’m super tired, I just cant fall asleep. Now I’m starting to getting worried as to why I cant just fall asleep. Twice I haven’t even done this and then once in bed after a couple hours, watch something in bed (I also know this is bad but I was desperate). THE SAME THING happens, within 10 minutes I cant keep my eyes open, but as soon as I turn it off or roll over, I’m awake for hours. This happened last night, i got so sleepy around 10:30 and ended up in this loop until 4 a.m where I finally turned to medication.

    I guess my question is, CBT-I says when you cant sleep get up and go do something else, but how can I do that when every time I do it, I cant keep my eyes open and then when I hit the bed I still cant sleep. I even tried getting up and taking a relaxing bath last night, was closing my eyes in the tub, got out in bed and awake for another 2 hours. It makes me feel like there has got to be a medical condition, I’m been dealing with my anxiety well recently and I get sleepy but nothing seems to happen. I just don’t know what to do and I dont understand why this happens.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi there, I was in that vicious cycle boat a few weeks ago until I came across this site and forum. Not sure if you’re using the sleep window/ restriction technique, but it sounds like the fear of not falling asleep entering your thoughts has increased your ‘arousal system’ which feeds the insomnia. It’s like the insomnia wants to test you, one night and then two nights and then bam you really start to believe there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re starting to give insomnia attention , like the ‘bully’ analogy Martin uses, with thinking and starting to believe there is something wrong now. Insomnia loves those thoughts! Which is exactly how I used to think. I read about the arousal system that Martin distinguishes and all those thoughts that feed insomnia and then of course you don’t sleep. When I started the sleep restriction / window the first week I had a couple of relapses where I couldn’t fall asleep but focused on staying calm and rested and not being concerned with falling asleep . As that week I demonstrated on at least three occasions that I could fall and stay asleep!. I started focusing on that I actually demonstrated my capacity to fall asleep and my confidence started to grow. I focus on being productive and doing fun things during day and look forward to my ‘me’ time at night after kids being in bed and I watch my fav Netflix shows. Previously I refrained from watching tv and was focused on doing meditation and yoga and anything I can to induce sleep. I discovered that all those ‘sleep efforts’ I was doing to induce sleep increased my arousal system and insomnia grew. I stopped doing that and just started to chill and watch tv cause I like doing that. Not sure if watching you tube now has become your ‘thing’ that’s going to help you fall asleep. Make sure you’re watching whatever you’re watching cause you enjoy it and it’s relaxing for you and not a tool to use to go sleep. You actually have demonstrated you can sleep! That’s all the evidence you need! A few relapses may happen but try not to focus on those but keep moving forward with process. It’s all a process and it sounds like you have made progress! Well done. Not sure if you’re keeping a sleep diary, but review the arousal system and what perpetuates that and your sleep window. On my 5th night of trying the sleep restriction window I had still been taking melatonin and realised I am still using melatonin as my crutch as somewhere deep I believed I could not sleep without it. I went cold turkey and stopped using it and sure enough I could feel my anxiety about whether I was going to sleep and should I or shouldn’t I take it and next two nights I couldn’t sleep- bam- fed the arousal system- but I did not dwell on that long- just acknowledged I fed my arousal system and no surprise I did not sleep. Subsequent nights after it took me up to an hour to fall asleep but kept at it to increase my sleep drive. My sleep window was 1.00am till 6.30am as previously I averaged less than 3-4 hours sleep a night – and sometimes zero hours. I have a way to go, but I am now sleeping around 5 hours sometimes 5.5 hours a night in last few days and I am so happy. Put your attention on all the positives and progress you’ve made. Enjoy your time at night before you turn in. I believe you can because you’ve already demonstrated it! Keep at it!

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