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How I Found Good Sleep After a Decade of Insomnia

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Success Stories How I Found Good Sleep After a Decade of Insomnia

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by whitelori 3 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #44097

    Jim Evans
    ✓ Client

    Hi everybody. I just wanted to let others know about the success that I’ve had with sleep after taking Martin’s 8-week sleep program. I had chronic insomnia for over 10 years (it might have been closer to 15 or 20, but I wasn’t keeping track). I had trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and would often wake up several hours before my alarm. My sleep was really light and I felt like I never had any deep sleep. Right before working with Martin, I was spending upwards of 9-10 hours in bed and only sleeping 5 or 6 hours. I struggled with short term memory loss, light depression, fatigue and tiredness, and I just never felt really good. Thinking back, much of my insomnia was created by poor habits, including drinking alcohol in excess, poor eating, and poor sleep habits. At my worst, I was eating the Standard American Diet (crap), drinking at least a couple of beers or a bottle of wine every night AND taking a sleeping pill. However, even after cleaning up my diet and quitting alcohol my insomnia still remained.

    After being cut off from sleeping pills and not finding success working with multiple sleep doctors, I turned to Youtube for self-help. Martin’s Youtube videos seemed to make the most sense to me, so I enrolled in his 8-week program. I immediately started to see positive results. I struggled a lot with the small sleep window I was given, but this struggle was necessary to create higher sleep efficiency and reteach my body and mind how to sleep. One of the many things I learned during the program was the importance of structure and repeatable, good sleep habits to create successful sleep. Below is the structure that has helped me.

    * Strict wake time. I get up at 5:30 AM everyday no matter how little sleep I get.

    * A sleep buffer is non-negotiable. I’m more successful with sleep when I read vs watch TV an hour before bed, and when I meditate in a dark room 15-30 minutes before bedtime. Even if I go to bed later than my bedtime, I still carve out at least 30 minutes to sit in a dark room to meditate or just stare at the walls if I’m failing at meditation.

    * Stop eating 2-4 hours before bedtime. I try to eat as early as possible and no after-dinner snacks. Due to the high amount of calories I was burning, I was eating nut butter or a banana right before bed. I felt like this was helping me sleep, but it was actually one of many reasons why I wasn’t sleeping well.

    * Stress was out of control, and meditation each evening is a must. I still have a significant amount of work stress, but it’s better controlled by meditation and mindfulness. I’m still a hack with meditation, but even my worst meditation sessions are helpful.

    * Longer sleep buffer when I exercise at night. If I do high intensity cardio training in the evening, I try to give myself a longer sleep buffer to help lower my cortisol and heart rate before bed.

    * No caffeine (I had no choice, ok). Cutting out caffeine helped me in many ways. I’m better hydrated, I’m calmer, I have less digestive issues (GERD), and I have better sleep quality. I didn’t really notice all of these improvements until several months after I quit. Now I just use small amounts of caffeine as a performance enhancing drug with sports.

    It’s been more than 3 months since I graduated from the 8-week program. With these changes I reviewed above, I now sleep an average of 7 hours a night with a sleep efficiency of 93% (I have a sleep tracker). I suffer a few days each month from insomnia, and every single time I have insomnia I can point to one or more of my rules that I did not follow. I hope someone finds this information helpful.

    #44155

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Thank you so much for sharing, Jim — I just know that many people are going to find your post helpful and inspirational!

    The content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.
    #44169

    Batgirl
    ✘ Not a client

    That is so hopeful! Thanks for sharing!

    #44174

    michaelh120504
    ✘ Not a client

    Hello Jim :

    What kind of meditation exactly ?

    Thanks

    #44176

    michaelh120504
    ✘ Not a client

    Also, so your sleep buffer is about 1.5 hours ?

    If you are very sleepy – which would be the case for some of us at the very end of the day, you can still meditate ? I would be tempted to meditate earlier.

    #44209

    Jim Evans
    ✓ Client

    Regarding mediation: I do Transcendental Meditation (aka mantra mediation). I was so bad at meditation and had such a desire to learn that I went to a TM teaching center to learn it. I tried meditation that focuses on breathing, but I find I breathe too much with this focus. When I do mantra meditation, my breathing slows way down and my heart rate drops. When I meditate, I sit in a super comfortable recliner with my feet up with a blanket and pillow behind my head. Yes, meditation is different when I’m tired. During the 8-week course, with a time-restricted sleep schedule, I would often fall asleep during meditation. This didn’t seem to hurt my sleep quality. My TM teacher didn’t recommend meditation close to bedtime, since he said it often energizes people. However, meditation doesn’t energize, but instead relaxes me.

    Regarding sleep buffer: It’s at least 30 minutes, but often a full hour. Within that hour I’ll read or sit in a dark room for a while. I’ll also meditate for between 15 and 30 minutes. Sometimes I can’t make it a full 30 minutes and then I’ll watch my fish in my 110 gallon fish tank. I hope this helps.

    #44255

    whitelori
    ✘ Not a client

    Is there an amount of caffeine that would be considered ok? I love coffee in the morning and look forward to it. How much were you having before you gave it up?

    #44262

    Jim Evans
    ✓ Client

    With caffeine, everyone is different. I have friends who drink coffee all day and sleep fine. Speaking only for me, I went from coffee many years ago, to black tea, then on to green tea, followed by white tea, and now I drink herbal, non-caffeinated tea. Where I’m at today, even 20 to 40 mg of caffeine a day is too much and effects my sleep. I’ve heard that people do well just by cutting out afternoon caffeine. However, I personally would recommend to anyone that they go caffeine free for several months just to see how their life changes. I hope this helps Whitelori. Best of luck to you.

    #44278

    whitelori
    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you for that information! I have gone decaf in the past and don’t recall my insomnia getting better. I don’t have more than 35mg a day, at 8am and I am thinking it is even less with a dark roast. But I may experiment again with removing it and see. I have nothing to lose! I appreciate your reply and your telling about your success. It is encouraging!

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

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