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- October 30, 2019 at 10:01 am #33463
I’ve never been a very good sleeper and have been struggling with pretty bad Insomnia for 1,5 years on and off. My issue is sleep onset. After I fall asleep I can usually sleep through the night and fall back to sleep quickly after I wake up. Since the initial bad insomnia episode1,5 years ago I’ve had periods of months at a time of good sleep. I always have some anxiety around going to bed though and sleep feels like a task to be accomplished. After some international travels in late August and changing timezones my insomnia came back big time and stuck around until now.
I decided to give sleep restriction and CBTi a try since I read so many positive things. I am now 9 nights in (sleeping window 6 hours) and it seems like things are getting worse rather than better. I saw some improvement in the first week and even slept through my whole sleeping window twice but the last 3 days have been pretty horrible and I feel very wired before my planned bedtime. I know things don’t always progress in a linear way but I guess I’m hoping for some reassurance that it’s normal and that this strategy can still work for me. Over the past 5 nights my actual asleep time averaged around 5 hours but I’m a bit worried about shortening my sleep window even more. I would really appreciate any insights!November 2, 2019 at 4:42 pm #33559
sleepykieran✘ Not a client
Hi! My situation is very similar to yours (see a post I just made) – I’m 6 days in and also wondering if it’s going to work for me.
If you’re feeling anxious before bedtimes maybe try some new things to wind down. I’m not sure what works for you but I’m doing a fair bit of meditation and it helps. You could also read something relaxing, soothing music, warm milk etc. Basically, the ‘wired’ feeling is something you can control, you just need to work out the environment you need to prepare for yourself to help you. Always try to keep thoughts positive and if you notice any negative ones, just try to watch them and not identify with them. Good luck, hope you get a better sleep tonight.November 4, 2019 at 11:08 am #33600
Hi Kieran, thanks for your response! It’s been 14 days of sleep restriction and while I’m sleeping deeper and slightly longer most nights, I still struggle falling asleep. My sleep efficiency has been at around 85% over the past 5 days but I decided not to extend my sleep window until I find it easier to fall asleep. You are right, I should try to incorporate some new elements into my winding down routine. I try to meditate sometimes but definitely haven’t been doing it consistently. I hope things are going well for you, curious to hear about your progress 1 week is still very early on and from what I’ve read it may take a few weeks to see results so hang in there!November 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm #33661
CBTI can definitely take longer than a couple weeks. Everyone is different. I’m a big fan of not knowing the time all night. I think it reduces performance anxiety that comes with knowing the time. So it might be something to add to your CBTI efforts if applicable. Do you enjoy your time before bed? I also think some people can try to bore themselves to sleep, and this doesn’t work, so would encourage trying a book, craft, TV show, etc that you enjoy.
MikeNovember 5, 2019 at 11:14 pm #33671
I’m on night 11 myself and have been sleeping about 4-5 hours a night with a 6 hour window. Falling asleep is usually easy, but I can’t seem to sleep through my window yet. I’m so tired and I hope I get to 5.5 or 6 soon!
I find that walking a mile 3 hours before bedtime is refreshing and helps me stay awake. I definitely recommend some form of movement in order to stay up.November 13, 2019 at 3:40 am #33856
As others have suggested, it’s important to give yourself time — your eagerness for results is understandable, but they can take time to recognize. If you are consistent with the sleep window, and your sleep window is of an appropriate duration, you will start to fill that sleep window with sleep!
Remember that the start of your sleep window is your earliest possible bedtime — if you aren’t feeling sleepy when the sleep window begins, it can be helpful to delay going to bed until you do feel sleepy.
Feeling wired just before your planned bedtime is quite common and is often a symptom of conditioned arousal. You have experienced so many nights of struggle, your mind is expecting more of the same, sees this as a threat, and activates the arousal system and this leads to symptoms just like those familiar “fight or flight” sensations.
Ultimately, this is addressed by repeated experiences of better sleep — and this will come if you stay committed and consistent. Keep going!November 13, 2019 at 7:56 am #33871
Thanks so much for your comments everyone. I wanted to let you know that I’m now 23 days and it’s definitely working. I’m sleeping through the night pretty much consistently and it takes me around 15 minutes to fall asleep. It really helped to relax my expectations around falling asleep immediately. Before when I wasn’t asleep within 5 minutes I pretty much gave up. With more consistent nights I’m less wired at night because I started to expect that I will actually sleep. I find that being active during the day and exercising definitely helps. I extended my sleep window by 15 minutes and so far so good. Another good night or 2 and I will add another 15 and make it 6.30!November 13, 2019 at 5:29 pm #33880
Glad to hear it, Anna! I’m on day 19 and am having pretty good luck, too. I’ve been sleeping around 5-5.75 hours a night and last night my body finally decided that wasn’t enough and pushed me to 6.25 hours. I’m pretty relieved I got to that point, although getting out of bed was really hard this morning and I am still pretty tired. I’m hoping that means I’ll be really sleepy tonight, too. I also expanded my window to 6.5 last night and am glad I did. You’ll get there soon!November 13, 2019 at 5:34 pm #33881
Way to go Anna and JT!November 13, 2019 at 5:45 pm #33882
And JT, you’re not “having pretty good luck”, you are realizing the positive effects of CBTI techniques on your sleep! It’s all because you are making the appropriate behavioral changes, not luck. Great job!
MikeNovember 13, 2019 at 6:26 pm #33884
Thanks, Mike. I say I’m lucky because I know CBTI doesn’t always work as effectively for some people and I was skeptical about whether this would work for me (of course, that still remains to be seen). Also I consider myself lucky to have found out about CBTI as quickly as I did after developing insomnia.December 2, 2019 at 9:18 pm #34244December 3, 2019 at 4:38 am #34249
Hi, everyone! I’ve generally been doing well, sleeping about 6.5-7 hours on average recently and feeling closer to normal! I’ll admit though that I’ve been loose with my sleep window (aka sleeping in too often) and the other night I ate some sugary food too close to bedtime, which was a bad idea for me even before the insomnia. It took me a long time to fall asleep because of what I ate, and now I seem to be in the midst of a prolonged setback. Kind of a silly mistake I guess but I’m planning on pulling back my sleep window to a strict 7 hours tonight to see if that helps get me back on track again. Just hoping that I am able to keep my cool and the setback ends up being acute.
Anna, how are things going for you?December 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm #34307
@martin thanks for checking in!
I’m currently at 7 hours and pretty much sleeping through my window. I finally feel like a human again. I’ve been sticking to 6.45 to 7 hours and slightly modifying wake up times +-15 mins depending on when I end up feeling sleepy and going to bed.
I had a bit of a setback 2 weeks ago when i went away for a weekend. There was a 3 hour time difference and a bit too much alcohol. I struggled with sleep when I was away and the first night after coming back. Later all went back to normal and I haven’t had a bad night in 10 nights or so.
JT I hope your setback is temporary like mine! For me it just took getting back to my routine and things got even better than they were before so fingers crossed it’s the same for you.January 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm #34851