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November 9, 2023 at 3:14 pm #74412
Back in may my wife (Tessishere) made a post about me going through Insomima and I wanted to come on here and give a update on how things are going and offer some helpful tips that I learned along the way.
As of today I feel great and am sleeping just as well or better than when my insomnia started. I don’t worry about the time, I don’t worry about when I go to sleep, I don’t think about how many hours or how well I slept. Here are some very important things that I had to understand to overcome my insomnia. I’ve broken them down below with what I think is most important.
The Perfect Sleep
Even if you know everything and implement the perfect circumstances for sleep it will still take time. Once I started implementing Cbti techniques i started sleeping better but for only small increments at a time. Sometimes only a few minutes. It’s almost like my brain was on defense mode and even though I was doing everything right it still took time to almost reprogram my brain. For instance, even if I could go back in time with all the knowledge and experience I have now, I still don’t think I would have been able to sleep for long periods of time in the beginning because it takes time to retrain the mind. I feel like it’s comparable to losing weight, if you knew exactly what you needed to do to lose a certain amount of weight it still wouldn’t happen overnight. It would take months of ups and downs but there would always be a downward trend if you stayed consistent.
Thinking about sleep is inevitable
When this all started, sleep is all I could think about. I mean any normal person Is going to worry about something that affects them right? One of the things I’d do everyday is I’d write down in my notes how long I had slept and compared to the previous days/weeks. I did notice small improvements but with lots of set backs. One day I finally had an ah-ha moment. I thought to myself instead of tracking my sleep hours or how well I slept, what if I started tracking what I got done in the day? For example, I made a list of 10 things to get done for the day and I would see how many I could get done, then give myself a score for the day. That score would be my progress. Once I shifted my attention to that instead of sleep it was like a light switch flipping. I started sleeping more and worrying less! So why did I worry less, you ask? I quickly realized that regardless of my sleep quality or lack of sleep the prior night, that I still was able to do the things I wanted to do. Were things harder on little or no sleep? Yes! BUT I pushed through and did them anyways!! I realized that the fear of not sleeping was all an illusion and regardless of whether I slept or not I was going to do what I wanted and live my life.
Clearing your mind
To this day right before I lay down I think about sleep. Almost like ptsd of all the horrible months i endured. The difference now is I don’t let those Intrusuve thoughts affect me anymore. When I used to get a negative thought like “oh you’re not gonna sleep tonight”, I would dwell on it. I’d argue with it, I’d let it affect me. I practiced during the day closing my eyes and not thinking about anything. Clearing my mind of all thoughts. If a negative thought entered I let it pass by. Never challenging the thought or trying to think further on it. I’d just clear it out. This took time practicing but now I do it every time I lay down and I fall asleep within minutes.
Nothing special is required to sleep!
No certain temperature, no certain routine or shirt or socks or pillow lol. Trying to create perfect circumstances often leads to failure.
Relaxation is key
I believe there are only 2 ways to fall asleep. Being relaxed or staying awake so long that you literally pass out. If certain things relax you, then do them but keep in mind they are to help relax you, not make you fall asleep.
Sleep restriction works!
After months of getting 0-3 hours of sleep I decided to try sleep restriction. I honestly wished I would have started it sooner. The longer you are awake, the stronger your sleep drive becomes. Having a strong sleep drive makes it much easier to not worry about sleep. I’d highly suggest this method for anyone getting less than 4 hours of sleep and night. Try it for at least 2 weeks.
Sleep is the result not the problem
In the beginning, I thought something was wrong with me or I was broken. The truth was my anxiety was directly affecting my sleep and I didn’t want to believe it because I had never experienced anxiety before. Open your mind to the possibility that YOU are preventing yourself from sleeping by keeping yourself hyper aroused or on edge battling with negative thoughts. I didn’t want to believe this.
I’m extremely fortunate that I have such a caring and supportive wife that was there for me during everything. There were multiple times where I contemplated suicide due to the extreme depression, pain and symptoms I was experiencing but she was there for me even when I thought all was lost. I’m the type of person that tends to overthink. When I drive i typically don’t listen to music just think haha. My point being if someone like me can overcome insomnia then hopefully it gives someone out there reading this the hope to keep pushing and know everything will be ok.
If anyone has any questions or would like me to expand upon any of the topics of please feel free to reach out.
I also want to say a huge thank you to Martin for everything and providing us answers when things were at the worst.
November 10, 2023 at 3:23 am #74421
- This topic was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Mr.Sandman.
Hi. I was wondering how long it took from when you started the program eith Martin to when you started to notice a difference in your sleep. As in getting more than 3 hours a night which is my average unmedicated.November 10, 2023 at 10:34 am #74428
I actually didn’t find out about Martin’s program or this forum until I had been doing Cbti for an about 3 months. I did zoom calls with someone local who taught me the basic principles of Cbti . As for starting Cbti, my sleep seemed to improve slowly after the first month of being consistent. Instead of 0-3 i started getting around 2-4 hours. The following month slightly better. There were tons of set backs though where I wouldn’t sleep at all but my overall trend was improving. It took a good 4 months of implementing Cbti to get to 6 hours of sleep.
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!November 10, 2023 at 3:14 pm #74430
Thank you for your reply. My insomnia is anxiety based and even the meds I am now taking for sleep don’t work if I’m anxious. They work fine when everything is going smoothly. Which shows that cortisol and adrenaline have a big impact.
I am currently recovering from knee surgery so won’t be starting cbti for a while until I am able to get out and about. I live alone and was wondering if you have any tips for getting through thr sleep deprivation.November 11, 2023 at 1:57 am #74436lynnbet✓ Client
Hi Mr. Sandman, thank you so much to you and your wife for these posts! Your wife’s post has helped me immensely through the last 6 months. I have had three fairly difficult nights this week, ( after a 6 months of slow but steady ‘recovery’ ). Just as I am starting to doubt myself again, your post has arrived!! Thank you!!!! When convenient, could you just elaborate on the methods you use to observe/acknowledge your difficult thoughts every night when you first start your sleep? I have come through most of the journey already and I understand the theory. I have been sleeping around 6 hours every night for over five months, The last three days has been difficult, as I am suddenly finding it a little hard to accept the difficult thoughts after not be able to fall asleep after 30min or so. Thank you for your help! Best, lynnbetNovember 11, 2023 at 2:45 am #74438
I would love to also hear how you accept the thoughts. Up until now I have just been getting up and doing things or sitting staring into space. I haven’t started the process but I’m trying to arm myself with everything prior. I am so doubtful this will go away or me. I feel like everyone else on here, that I am broken.November 11, 2023 at 6:56 am #74444
I highly suggest starting Cbti asap. Even if you just implement a couple things for the time being it will definitely help. Like getting out of bed at the same time every morning regardless if you’ve slept well or not. Also going outside in the morning and get 15-30 of sunset. As far as sleep deprivation goes, it was beyond difficult for me mentally and physically. I took lots of warm baths since I constantly was in pain.I also played games on my phone and that caught my attention enough to take my mind off how horrible I felt. You just have to stay strong and know that even if you don’t sleep, everything is going to be ok. Have confidence in knowing the longer you go without sleep the stronger your sleep drive becomes. I suggest tonight trying to go to bed later. Wait until you can’t hold your eyes open any longer. You’ll find that it’s much harder to have anxiety or intrusive thoughts when you’re barely able to keep yourself awake.November 11, 2023 at 9:01 am #74449
Thanks for your reply. I’m currently medicated but have been going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time. I spend time outside in the morning and afternoon. I just cannot seem to fall asleep. No matter how relaxed I am. That is where the problem lies. There are some nights I’m gully relaxed and still just lie here. I got 1.5 hr very good sleep tonight but now wide awake. So have taken more medication. I have to take parts of the dose at a time. I really don’t know what else to do atm. I have to taper off this med and until I cam get a taper schedule and other supplements in place I need to try and just struggle through on the few hours I am getting. Thanks for your advice. I know it’s going to be hard. I’m thinking of just quitting my job and moving back to my parents which is a big deal as they live 1500km away. Just so I can get some help to go through it.November 11, 2023 at 9:17 am #74451
I replied to you but it’s says it’s awaiting moderator approval? I’ll wait a few and see if it shows up.November 11, 2023 at 9:42 am #74453
Going to bed at the same time isn’t necessary. Only go to bed when you are extremely sleepy. For me it ranges, sometimes I fall asleep at 8pm other times midnight. I don’t care either way, I just look for my sleepy cues.
Being relaxed definitely helps you fall asleep but only if you’re are actually sleepy. I could be completely relaxed and probably still not fall asleep unless my body was ready to sleep. You just need to wait until your sleep drive is strong enough to actually fall asleep. As for quitting your job and moving back to your parents, I personally don’t think that’s a good idea. Changing your life around to revolve around your sleep issues just gives more power to the sleep bully and adds to the anxiety/fear.
One thing that helped me a lot in the beginning was having a plan. For example, when I laid down to sleep I would already have it in my head that if for whatever reason I woke up early or couldn’t fall asleep after awhile I’d get up and play my steam deck (video game) or watch a certain movie. Most times just having that plan in place helped me fall and stay asleep because I wasn’t nervous or anxious about what would happen, I already knew what I was going to do. I tried not to see the night as scary but just a time I could do something I enjoyed that was already planned.
I can only give you my best advice from my experiences but the choices are up to you. I suggest trusting in your own ability to sleep and have confidence in your body. Let me ask you something, prior to experiencing sleep problems did you ever worry about sleep? Or meds, supplements, time etc? Most likely the answer is no. You just slept because it didn’t matter. You are the same person now as you were then. You can sleep!November 11, 2023 at 10:53 am #74464
Thank you for this advice. It’s invaluable. I understand the concepts behind CBT I, as I did an online course where I read through how to do it. So I understand how it works. The meds worked for 1.5 hr tonight. So after 3 weeks they just stopped working. Unfortunately as they are an anti depressant used off label I can’t just stop taking them as I will have to taper but I see that as they aren’t working I may as well start doing some of the CBT I practises.
My biggest fear is the sleep deprivation as prior to the meds, I have taken a fee as they just stop working, I was a mess on no sleep. A friend’s daughter ended in the mental health ward from it and that heightens my anxiety.
I guess I just have to start to do small things as you suggested and see how I go.
Thank youNovember 11, 2023 at 12:30 pm #74466
Sorry one last thing. Did you ever experience hypnic jerks? They continually woke me up when this all started. If you did. How did you overcome them. Thanks.November 11, 2023 at 12:52 pm #74468
Yes, I did experience hypnic jerks along with variety of extremely weird symptoms. Some so strange even the doctors didn’t have answers to what they were. As for the hypnic jerks, my legs and arms would move by themselves or my shoulders. Sometimes my head would twitch. Super weird feeling almost like some type of scary movie. I looked into it during that time and it seemed to be fairly common so I tried my best to think of it as just a small side effect of the sleep deprivation. Luckily for me , I only experienced the jerks for about a week or so. You just have to let them happen. If it wake ups you up then just relax and go back to sleep. Hypic jerks can be a scary feeling but they won’t hurt you 🙂November 11, 2023 at 1:04 pm #74470
Ok thank you for that invaluable information. I am hoping that eith the support of a behavioural naturopath that there may be supplements I can take to reduce the symptoms of things like jerks and brain zaps.November 11, 2023 at 1:09 pm #74472
Oh one last thing. I’m a school teacher who works with high level behavioural needs young people. I don’t think it’s advisable for me to be working with those kind of kids under extreme sleep deprivation. So for me time off is really the only way to go.
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