I need my hope back

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by kho4874 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #58615

    ✘ Not a client

    I am a 48 years old woman and my insomnia started 5-6 months ago. I got some really bad pain which sent med into a pain-fear cycle and my sleep disappeared as part of this. To handle the pain I needed to sleep so I started taking sleeping aids like antihistamines and melatonin. Those helped a little bit for a while. I have also tried some other sleeping aids that did not help much. At the moment I’m not taking sleeping pills. Now the pain is under control, but I can’t sleep. I’ve not had a good nights of sleep for months. I sleep from 0-2 hours every night and if I am lucky I can have 3-4 hours of fragmented sleep once in a while. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I am so exhausted and I feel my life has been stolen from me because it effect my life so much included how I am able to manage my job.

    I have done a lot of research how to solve my insomnia-problem and I found out that CBT-i is my best option. I am now four weeks into using CBT-I-technics and have not had progress so far. I have a 5 hours sleep window from 1am to 6am and I have been strict to it even in the weekends, and I also practice stimulus control the best I can. I try not to go to bed before I am sleepy, but I don’t feel much sleepiness. In week two of CBT-I I felt some more sleepiness, but it did not make me sleep and now the sleepiness seemed to have vanished. It can sometimes feel sleepy at 4-5pm, but not much in the evenings. In Martins videos/podcast there is much talk about building sleep drive. I sleep so little that my sleep drive should be sky high and make me sleep, but it doesn’t at least not over a survival mode. After starting with CBT-i my anxiety level got lower because I decided to trust the process. Because of this I have been quite calm in bed in the beginning of the program, but after 4 weeks of no improvement I have started to get really anxious again. I’ve started wondering if there is something wrong with my sleep drive, if I am doing things correctly, if my insomnia is so severe that it can not be helped and so on. I know being patient is a keyword, but that is not enough to calm med down at the moment.

    If anyone can help me having my hope back I would be very thankful.

    Thank you!


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, kho4874, it sounds like you are really going through the grinder right now.

    It is so hard to think straight when exhausted, and I totally get the idea of losing hope. All I can say is I try to focus on the present moment and maybe even find something good in it, even if there is pain, too. As in okay, I did not sleep well last night, but I am sitting in a warm house and this coffee really tastes good. Without focusing on a to-do list, or how am I going to get through the day, much less my life, etc. And when the coffee is gone and it’s time to get up, what does the next moment bring.

    And maybe hope becomes not much solving a problem, but a sense of coping with what’s going on right now, again maybe even finding something enjoyable. I find when I can do this—and I know it’s easy to fall off the rails for a while–that my panic starts to fade away. And I can even start to give myself credit for resilience–like what you have, still battling to stay on the job.

    Unfortunately it can take a while to make progress, and it’s not like a steady improvement every day until you achieve perfection. So it can be hard to be patient.

    I get the feeling that you are more resilient than you are giving yourself credit for. And I am hoping you can trust that can get through this moment, even if it is a tough one.

    I always think it sounds so simplistic when people say, ” just relax, let sleep just happen” when they haven’t been through the hell of insomnia. But it does come down to letting go, and it isn’t really hell because it doesn’t last forever, even though it can seem that way.

    Take care, you are not alone in this.


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you so much hiker, for your kind and reflected response! It made my day a little better. I will try to focus more on the present moment. I wish the best for you too.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi kho

    Type in google: Nick Robinson sleeplikethedead
    On his website there is a tab/topic there which says insomnia.
    Click that and you will see how this man beat insomnia 14 years ago.
    I have read a few sleep books and searched extensively on the internet and I can find no better explanation as to why it is so important to combat negative sleep thoughts than how this man explains it.

    Also type in goole how to train the subconcious mind. That way you will be able to properly install positive sleep thoughts into your subconsious.

    Get these 4 books: The Effortless Sleep Method, The Effortless Sleep Method Companion, Guy Meadows Sleep Book, Set it and Forget it by Daniel.

    Read all 4 books. Read a second time and highlight any key information. Read a 3rd time and write your highlighted sections into an A4 notebook. Re-read your written up notes from time to time. Then also after more time, re read the books a 4th time to see if you missed any information. For me, I read them many times over 6 months and each time I better understood where the author was coming from

    The Guy Meadows book is very important because it teaches you methods how to calm anxiety and deal with thoughts. Keep going on the cbti since you have already gone 4 weeks, you may still see results. I can understand that anxiety arises after going 4 weeks and not seeing results but what you have done is incredible even if your mind and body does not say so. Keep going and know that even if you fail, then it is because you have not been working on the mental aspect of insomnia enough.

    Get some index cards. With the 4 books and the website I have recommended, you will see that each book has techniques/exercises to do which can combat insomnia. For example one is called The magic belief changer, where you challenge your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. Write up all of the techniques from all of the books onto index cards, so that they are easy to find and read.

    You could also, if you feel like it. Stay up all night and day for 3 nights consecutively and see if that will work. The world record is 11 days by Randy Gardtner and the research done from the study was that his health was not affected, only that his mood was not good and that he had blurry vision and trouble remembering things. If you try 3 nights and that doesn’t do it, then do 4 nights the next time you try it. Then 5, 6 until whichever amount of time will do it.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello kho4874 and welcome to the forum! You aren’t alone and I don’t think there is anything wrong with your sleep drive — what’s likely happening is all your understandable efforts to make sleep happen are making sleep more elusive (it’s probably going to be hard to sleep when we are engaged in effort, right?).

    When you are awake in bed and finding it hard to fall asleep or wake during the night and find it hard to fall back to sleep, why do you think that is? What is going through your mind? How do you respond to that wakefulness? How helpful is that response proving to be?

    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.

    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you Martin, for your response. And thanks to Jeremy5 for the book recommendations.

    After five weeks of CBT-i, and still no improvement I needed to take a step back to find out if this was the right approach for my insomnia. I found out that a five hour sleep window did not do it for me since this increased my worries of not sleeping to a high level. Now I am usually going to bed between 11 and 11.30.pm. and get out of bed around 6-6.30 am. The good thing about changing bedtime is that I’m now feeling sleepy in the evenings again and less anxious. But I’m am still not sleeping any better. Some days I fell asleep quite quickly, but my brain wakes me up 1-2 hour later and there is no chance of more sleep. If I don’t fall asleep right away I usually won’t have any sleep that night. The sleepless nights happens 2-3 times a week. When I wake up after a couple of hours I believe my subconscious brain is trying to tell me something. Concerning the nights when I can’t sleep at all, I think those are the nights I put most pressure on my self to sleep or hoping to get some sleep, usually because I’ve had so many bad days in a row that I think that I really need some more sleep tonight or I had one one my 4 hour nights the night before and I am hoping for one more night with some more sleep.

    Even if I’m trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if I sleep or not, my brain doesn’t really believe it because what I often feel when I can’t sleep or if I wake up during the night is disappointment and sadness of not being able to sleep. I know that I can’t control sleep, but it’s difficult to have a positive view of wakefulness during the night when I am very fatigued and exhausted and this really impact my days. I think that is one of my biggest struggles, to not care.

    And when it comes to sleep-efforts, I think it’s difficult to identify what these are and eliminate them. I am not taking any medication, and I do not have any sleep-rituals except brushing my teeth. But I guess my desire for sleep is a sleep effort in it selves? And my research of finding out what to do? Maybe even being on this forum? And I know that I am thinking to much about sleep during the days. Especially when I can’t focus at work.

    And one other issue. What is improvement? What to look for in early stages?


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Kho,

    Read the books that I recommended and make notes on them as best you can.

    Here also are two links to two of the most inspirational people I have found who had insomnia and overcame it…

    “An eleven-fold self”: A Micro-Interview with Sasha Steensen – curated by Lisa Olstein


    As like you, I have been sleeping 0-2 hours every day. This has been for 11 months now. This week I will be attempting 4 all nighters, no bed, no rest or microsleeps for 4 entire nights and then hopefully sleep. I will follow this immediately with cbti 5 hour window. If I make it staying up that long, I will inform you of the results.


    ✘ Not a client

    Kho how are you getting on now. Im the same dont sleep for several nights (when i do its only for about an hour then i wake up and cant get back to sleep although i do feel calm) dont go to bed before 1am (sometimes 2am) up at between 7 and 7:30 never feel sleepiness, feel physically calm. Sleep drive should be through the roof but come sleep window time no sleepiness


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Grangers
    I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with sleep too!

    There are no big changes in my situation since my last post, but I am feeling that I have a little bit more energy during the day, even if I am not sleeping more. I have decided to stay in bed if I can’t sleep, if that feel most comfortable so maybe that gives me some more energy than sitting up all night. I am now working on how I respond to wakefulness at night, but that is not easy. I am trying out some of the exercises from Guy Meadows sleep book to see if that can help me. I used a similar approach to get rid of my pain. Perhaps this exercises can be something to try out for you too Grangers? I also often feel calm and sleepy going to bed, but I still can’t sleep. I think that is because the sleep anxiety also exist on a sub conscious level. In my case it seems like sleep drive will not be stronger than my anxiety (except on a survival mode) so I need to work more with my fear to get out this awful situation. And being patient of course, which is difficult too when all you want is to sleep NOW.

    And to you Jeremy5. The program you are trying to follow with 4 all nighters followed by a 5 hours sleep window sound like torture so I am hoping it will work out for you. And I have read the books you recommended.

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