Insomnia for decades but for the past 20 years a solution

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  • #75610
    ✘ Not a client

      I really want to tell people about my way of dealing with this scourge. For about 30 years (from a teenager) this would be terrible.

      But then I found, not exactly a solution, but a real way of living with it. I hope this might help at least one person. I no longer fear going to bed. And that used to be something I’d face with dread.

      My solution is this: read. But read in a specific way.
      Go to bed as early as possible. 9.30 is great. I rarely manage it. Drink as little (alcohol) as possible. I rarely manage that either.

      Have 2 or 3 books by your bedside. Easy books, not so easy. Fiction or non-fiction. Whatever you want. VERY IMPORTANT: also have a bottle of water, of the “hiking flask” type: so you can open it and close it, and no insects will inadvertently drop into it!

      You also need a good reading light which you can turn on and off from your bed: daylight colour temperature ideally. Ideally dimmable.

      Have no electronic devices available at all: no phones, no TVs, no tablets. Above all, no clocks showing the time.

      Pick up a book, read a page. One page. Then turn out the light. Close your eyes, do NOT expect to sleep.
      Absorb what you’ve just read. When you’re bored, turn on the light again and read another page. Turn the light off and close your eyes. Do NOT expect to sleep: expect to be doing this repetitive activity until dawn.

      If you get a bit thirsty have a bit of water. If you want to read 2 pages of your book, fine. If you want to read 10, fine. Never force yourself: that way misery lies.

      The most important rule: NEVER, EVER EVER try to find out what time it is. Always assume it’s before midnight. And you have hours of insomnia ahead of you.

      That’s it! It probably won’t work the first time you try it. Try it for a week.

      • This topic was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by mrodent.
      Martin Reed
      ★ Admin

        Thanks for sharing! The key insights/tips you shared that really stood out to me were:

        * When you close your eyes, don’t create any expectations for sleep
        * Refocus attention away from trying to make sleep happen or trying to control your mind
        * Engage in an alternative activity if you find yourself struggling during the night
        * Don’t bother checking the time throughout the night

        A common theme among guest discussions in the Insomnia Coach podcast seems to be that:

        * The less effort we put into sleep,
        * The more attention is moved away from sleep and toward engaging in actions that are important and that move us toward the life we want to live…

        … the less power and influence sleep tends to have.

        It sounds as though the theme associated with your experience is quite similar!

        If you are ready to stop struggling with insomnia you can enroll in the online insomnia coaching course right now! If you would prefer ongoing phone or video coaching calls as part of a powerful three month program that will help you reclaim your life from insomnia, consider applying for the Insomnia Clarity program.

        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

          I’m glad you had a think about what I recommended.

          In fact this isn’t quite what I meant. I failed to make myself clear.

          This isn’t about “engaging in an alternate activity”. This is very specifically about reading. A programme for reading, a recommended way of reading. No other activity, just reading.

          Reading, reading as a long-term habit, commitment and lifestyle choice, at once stimulates, calms and tires your mind like no other activity. And I don’t mean with a perspective of one night in isolation. I’m talking about becoming a night-time reader: learning how to be a reader, to help yourself to cultivate the profound cerebral calmness and tiredness that only reading-as-a-way-of-being can procure.

          Again I have to say, though, that I wouldn’t expect instant results. Long-term reading during the night, but (as described) only in bite-sized segments if you don’t feel like reading more than a page or so, interspersed with turning off the light and lying there in the dark, with no expectations (other than that you will be awake until dawn). This “alternating phase”, where you lie there in the dark, **absorbing** what you’ve just read, is an equally valuable part of the alchemy.

          I’d also tend to recommend generally erring on the side of slightly more challenging reading. But all reading is good.

          Anyway, this is what worked for me and I hope it might work for others.

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