Not afraid of insomnia anymore

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Jonathan618 5 days, 5 hours ago.

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  • #32526

    ✘ Not a client

    About 2 years ago, I have experienced anxiety and insomnia for the first time all on the same night. It came out of nowhere, I just could not sleep. It then continued for a few more days until I sought my naturopathic doctor. She then did a bunch of tests and the results revealed I was in “peri-menopause” and what I was experiencing with sleep and anxiety was due to hormonal imbalances. I started taking natural supplements- progesterone cream, magnesium vitamin D, cortisol manager, 5HTP, lavender oil and CBD oil. It helped raise my progesterone levels and reduce the anxiety but nothing touched the insomnia especially have 2 months of dealing with it. I then resorted to a pharmaceutical drug Xanax (prescribed by an MD not my naturopath!)- it knocked me out, thus I finally started to sleep again but I knew the drug was short term and I hated taking it but didn’t know what else to do- I was desperate for sleep. I worked with my doctor to slowly wean me off of the drug while researching about CBT-i. I knew this was the path to take, I started a self guided app called night owl and did very well, competed a sleep diary, maintained a sleep window, and especially important got out of bed at the same time no matter how much sleep I got. It was tough and still is because I can go weeks, months with great sleep, then all of a sudden insomnia strikes again! Recently a 3- day streak leaving me asking what I did wrong? I understand building sleep drive through wakefulness, and the importance of stimulus control and sleep hygiene but 3 nights of fragmented sleep brought my sleep confidence way down and feeling at a loss. I feel hyper- aroused before bed time now, how do I address this? All I want is deep sleep rather than fragmented sleep, it doesn’t matter how many hours, I just want to feel refreshed when I wake up. Thank you for listening.


    ✓ Client

    Hi Tina – You may want to check out the thread here called “ACT for Insomnia.” It’s a different type of therapy that focuses on reducing anxiety. To get a complete understanding of it, order “The Sleep Book” by Guy Meadows who developed this therapy.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hello Tina I’m kind of in the same predicament as you with anxiety and insomnia and was wondering about specifically the medication that helped you sleep such as if using maybe once or twice to get sleep has made you become addicted or not because I have Ativan and Trazadone which I’m debating on taking to get some sleep but am afraid of depending on a drug to get sleep and usually I would never even think twice about going the route of using an anxiety medication to get sleep but like you I am very desperate now so I might have no choice but was wondering how the drug affected you afterwards because you mentioned that it did work at getting you to sleep but were there any trouble weaning off of the it or side effects.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Jess84.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Jess84.

    ✘ Not a client

    i bet it’s just hormonal – i’m also going through perimenopause and i’ll often have 3 tough nights in a row right around my period (i just get too hot – estrogen messes with your body’s internal thermostat). i know you’re tracking your sleep, but do you also track your menstrual cycle?


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Tina and welcome to the forum.

    It’s unlikely that you did anything “wrong” — we all experience bad nights of sleep from time to time. Even the best sleepers in the world will experience a bad night of sleep from time to time.

    What can happen is that when we have experienced chronic insomnia in the past, as soon as a bad night occurs (which is normal, and to be expected) we can start to immediately worry that our insomnia has returned.

    This worry then kicks our arousal system into high gear and makes it much harder for our sleep to recover — and this is why one bad night can turn into a string of bad nights.

    When these bad nights occur, it can be helpful to spend a minute or two to see if there is an identifiable external cause for the sleep disruption (for example, work stress, an argument with your spouse, a life change, etc). This can help you recognize that the sleep disruption was quite normal and to be expected.

    If there is no recognizable external cause, then that’s OK, too — sometimes we can have a bad night without any apparent reason or cause. In this case, try not to dwell on the bad night. Don’t start researching sleep and insomnia, or trying to adjust your life or compensate for a bad night. Behave as though the bad night didn’t happen, and it’s far more likely than not that your sleep will get back on track by itself.

    I think you will find Episode 7 of the Insomnia Coach podcast very helpful. In that episode, I talk to clinical psychologist Nick Wignall about sleep-related anxiety, how automatic thoughts disrupt sleep, and the pros and cons of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for insomnia.

    I hope this helps!


    ✘ Not a client

    Perimenopaus idea sound interesting. I wonder if that’s my issue as well. I wake up suddenly from sleep with high anxiety,and can’t go back to sleep. I just wish I could resolve this


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you Deb, will check out that book!


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you so much Martin! I have listened to your podcast with Nick Wignall and found it to be very very helpful! I too believe the worry of the insomnia coming back was a concern and caused me to be hyper-aroused. I have since been sleeping again, still maintaining my sleep window. I realized that even though I was getting that fragmented sleep, I still could totally function the next day, I basically went on with my schedule at work, later working out, and really staying active and not dwelling on my horrible nights…. eventually my sleep fell back into place.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Jess84:
    Honestly, I don’t advise using a rx drug. I used xanax (.5mg) but had to safely wean off of it with CBD oil (under the care of my dr). When I did use it, it was maybe 2-3 times per week only for sleep only but that dose was still enough for me to have to taper slowly and not stop cold turkey.
    I didn’t feel addicted at all but knew I wanted to fall asleep naturally without any meds or supplements (such as cbd oil, lavender oil, melatonin (even though this didn’t work for me).
    I also got my hormones in check, no longer estrogen dominant by using progesterone cream (again from my naturopath).
    I found CBT-i to be extremely helpful in my case. Understanding sleep & how hyper-aroused affects it, maintaining a good sleep schedule, and not freak out when I have a sleepless night.
    It feels so good to have that amazing deep sleep and if I just focus on those nights, I’m sure one day soon insomnia will be far behind me:)


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    How are you getting on, Tina? Any updates for us?


    ✘ Not a client

    Fear is always the enemy here. It creates a fear of fear vicious circle. We have to develop the art of not giving a fuck and just sleep. we all over think way to much. with practice, you can tell your mind to shut up and be still. we have to get back to the art of truly doing and thinking of nothing.

    I too have gotten a copy of that book and started to read it. It will be interesting and helpful, I hope.

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