- March 3, 2019 at 4:36 pm #27486
I had a bad night, so I’m certainly no expert at ACT. I lay in bed until 3:30 and finally gave up and got up. Slept just a few hours so am tired today. I’m feeling discouraged. I have no idea how to really practice ACT. But I just can’t stomach the thought of going back to SR and staying up until midnight when I’m totally exhausted.
Was this last 6 days just a good phase? And now it’s back to the same old struggle again? So discouraging.March 3, 2019 at 8:06 pm #27487
I hear ya. For me it seems to come in waves. Ill get 5-10 days that are stable, not amazing but stable and my overall function through the day is satisfactory. I am tired but generally ok. Then I get a bad day and then it seems to come for a few days in a row and then start to get better. It is discouraging when I manage to muster up just a few little hours and either stay in bed or get out of bed don’t seem like good options.
It is discouraging because the days I do have little sleep I am more anxious, worried, tired, frustrated. I start to catastrophise and go from thought to thought. The days feel so long and just more difficult. What is the irony and paradox is when I have a good sleep or better yet a streak of good sleep I think about it way less and focus more on life and other matters. Then rebound and then back to it. When I read Guy Meadows it really sounds like a lot of his clients are like me or much worse and was able to help. Now I say to myself “Hello thought” or “Hello anxiety feeling”, “Hello sleep thought”. Who knows if it helps but it seems to push it away sooner when I am thinking about something and acknowledge it.March 4, 2019 at 1:57 am #27492
I catastrophise also. Hoping to use mindfulness to settle myself down during the day as well as during the night.March 4, 2019 at 5:22 am #27493
Delv X – I totally recognize what you say. That is me all over!
I may go fine for two weeks, think I’m cured, then bang, out of nowhere, a nil-sleep night. Then it may be two weeks where four or five nights are nil sleep nights. And the anxiety at night and day about sleep rushes in. It’s what I call “All or Nothing”March 4, 2019 at 2:31 pm #27500
It is very frustrating. The days/weeks that I consider good are 5-7 hours (average low 6’s) but generally I feel decent and stable. The bang out of nowhere just happens. I can’t pinpoint a reason nor should there be a big enough reason to throw things off. Those days Ill get 2-4 hours. Last night was 2 hours until 2AM and then from there I managed to nod off a bunch of times only to wake up moments later. Time ticking so slowly. It’s depressing. Anxiety also carries on through the day like you. Muscles tenser, feeling more on edge, head band feeling around my head, pupils very small, hard to relax, thinking about sleep too much and worrying. It’s all or nothing.March 4, 2019 at 3:36 pm #27503
Practiced ACT during the day as well as last night. Started by trying to let go of the frustration and worry during the day because of the previous night’s lack of sleep and because my string of 6 good nights in a row was over. Used mindfulness to “observe” myself in a bad state of mind and then let it go.
Last night was interesting. Practiced ACT in earnest. Observed myself “struggling” with sleep and then let go of the struggling. Stayed in bed. As a result, I was in and out of sleep all night. I remember dreaming 3 times. Woke up tired this morning, but not too bad. The night was not easy, but much better than the previous night of fretting, frustration, being wide awake and not being able to sleep at all until I finally got up and settled myself down.
The goal is to give up the struggle, both during the day and the night. It takes a leap of faith to jump into the night, no knowing how it’s going to be and giving up all control. And accepting the fact that one could be up all night. The hope is that over time one learns to relax both in bed at night and during the day (regarding sleep worries) and then sleep comes more and more naturally. Makes sense to me. Definitely worth a try.March 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm #27504
Glad to hear there seems to be some mild progress in the right direction. Last night for me was like so:
– Went to bed at midnight, fell asleep probably within 20 minutes
– Woke up with drool and definitely feeling like I slept. I tossed and turned for a bit and gave in and looked at the time and it was 2:30. So I probably woke up around 2am.
– Stayed in bed and tried to observe, relax and let things happen. I tried paradoxical intention to try to stay awake but after a few minutes of keeping my eyes open I felt more comfortable with my eyes closed.
– After awhile longer, around 3:30 I gave in and left bed to go downstairs and take an l-theanine (pills and prop) hoping it may ease my mind and help me relax
– Went back to bed and tossed and turned and went to the futon for 30-45 minutes, I am sure I fell asleep but it was one of those in and out “hey you are asleep wake up!”
– I returned to my regular bed and laid there for another 1:30 hours or so and no sleep other than the in and out sleep.
It’s hard to let go and trust sleep will happen especially since we’ve been scarred with poor sleep longer than what is short/acute that resolves itself on its own after a day or a few days. For me it seems like I did let sleep happen but my arousal checking was on last night. Some nights, I wake up, pee and go back to bed and no issues. Like relapses, I don’t understand why some nights I just lay down and sleep and other nights it’s a struggle (it shouldn’t be a struggle but rather accepting).March 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm #27507
Yes, it’s hard to let go. But then again, think about how much you struggled last night, trying so many different things and still not getting a good rest! That was a lot of hard work! I guess what helps me is that I’ve taken so many leaps of faith in my life that for me, this is just another one. When I went to bed I imagined myself jumping off a cliff, not knowing what would happen, but then the wind picks me up and carries me. For me this is God, my Higher Power, or whatever you want to call it that is carrying me. It has been there for me so many times, that I just have to try again to put my trust in that.
You say that eventually the insomnia resolves itself after a few days. But you know that it will strike back again in the near future, so it’s never completely healed doing what you’re doing. I need a permanent solution. So that’s why I’m going to go all out to do this. But you’re not ready to make that commitment right now, and that’s ok. It’s where you’re at right now. Remember Carlos in the book? It took him six months before he was ready.
I’m already feeling hopeful. Last night was completely different than what usually happens. Usually when I can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes or so then I’m up half the night. But not last night. I was in and out of sleep all night, albeit not deep sleep. But still, I was sleeping a good part of the night.March 4, 2019 at 7:01 pm #27506
“…….Like relapses, I don’t understand why some nights I just lay down and sleep and other nights it’s a struggle (it shouldn’t be a struggle but rather accepting….”
Think you have hit the nail on the head there.
Like you, there is no rhyme or reason why insomnia starts….. its not linked to stress levels at all.
And like you I find it hard to let go and accept, be in the moment, not strive (for sleep), have patience when it does not happen right away, trust (in my ability to sleep)…all the good mindfulness stuff.
Hard to do, sounds simple, but there is no other way really…. Pills and potions don’t work, so what’s left when you’ve done and you do all the CBT-I stuff and the right sleep hygiene, what is left…..?
…but I think sometimes its worth getting out of bed and doing something else, like watching a good TV programme and forgetting all about sleeping…..March 4, 2019 at 7:02 pm #27510
Martin Reed★ Admin
It’s also worth bearing in mind that good sleepers have bad nights every now and again. So, aiming for flawless sleep is not really an achievable goal!March 4, 2019 at 7:04 pm #27502
Yes, I feel same, except I get a lot of nil sleep nights….See also the blog post “4 years of insomnia”March 4, 2019 at 7:53 pm #27518
You’re right I was trying different techniques and hoping one would work. I was going from one to the next hoping sleep would come which may be futile. As for staying in bed with in and out sleep. That’s kind of what it was for me. It was deep at the beginning and then in and out, relaxation and sleep. The issue is that it leads to frustration which ACT method addresses with practice and patience. Which is better? light in and out sleep or SC where it’s all or nothing. The concern I had last night is when I did drift off, it was not only light but really short lasting before I was up again. I assume it’s my arousal level being high.
One thing Ill mention is that SC has a lot more years of backing/research behind it vs ACT. Guy Meadows is the pioneer for ACT-I and a lot of what he says in his book regarding his clients do resonate with me. It does make sense to stay in bed, observe the thoughts and feelings as they lose their strength and hold on you. Focus on the senses, the fabric, warm etc. SC pushes away by strengthening the associate with bed and sleep. ACT welcomes anxious thoughts and feelings when in bed. Either approach won’t be a 100% fix but one may work better than the other to allow better and sounder sleep.March 5, 2019 at 3:08 am #27535
Celtic Barb✘ Not a client
Thank you for this. I think you helped me. The points on ACT I believe are valid in what they say on their web site.
I think now everyone has their path to the goal. Itis not one size fits all.
I healing my damage by staying in bed after the stuff started and I was told to do SRT t ype stuff that I did not do well on.
Thank you. I got some thinking to do. Right now I am going to relax a bit and take the stress off of me.March 5, 2019 at 3:12 am #27537
Hi Barb – check out the book, The Sleep Book, by Dr. Guy Meadows. He tells you exactly and in detail how to practice ACT to overcome insomnia.March 5, 2019 at 3:24 am #27538
Barb – FYI, ACT is no piece of cake. Doing either ACT or CBT-I requires commitment, perseverance, patience and the willingness to endure discomfort over time for the greater purpose of getting well.