- March 15, 2019 at 1:29 am #27733
Hi everyone. Deb i’m sorry but not much time to read this entire thread.. what exactly have you changed with regards to going from SRT to ACT? Seems like ACT is more Guy Meadows’ approach, no?
Just an interesting tidbit from me. Was on vacation recently. A whole bunch of things going on in the 5 days I was away. Naturally, i forgot about any sleep issues, much like Sasha Stephens explained in her book when she went on holiday. This is the brain not being able to keep up with insomnia worry because there is so much else going on to worry about instead (i.e. the fun of vacation).
Upon returning home something even more interesting happened. Bc of jetlag, I found myself absolutely exhausted by 9pm some nights. Could NOT stay away. The tiredness completely overrode any anxiety and I was out like a light by 9:30 a couple of nights before I readjusted. On those nights I slept a good 7 hours. The first time I got a good 7 hours sleep in MONTHS. Those who have been following me may know I simply cannot get more than 6-6.5. Point of the story is the more tired you are at bedtime, the better the sleep tends to me, at least in my opinion.
In general, I have since been sleeping ok since readjusting to regular EST. It seems as if the “forgetting” of my insomnia from vacation has carried over well. Still, I have reverted back to my old ways on a night or two, going to bed at 1030pm, crashing at 11 and waking too early at 5a. This past Tuesday was a zombie day for example.
I think i’ve realized once and for all that as long as I go to bed before 11pm, I’m in trouble and my brain, body, mind, whatever you want to call it , just doesn’t allow me to sleep to my 6am alarm in this case. Going to try and religiously go to sleep around 11:15ish starting tonight and will see what happens.March 15, 2019 at 2:12 am #27734
Glad you had a nice vacation and have had some good 7-hour nights of sleep! Yes, I’ve switched from CBT with SR and SC to Guy Meadow’s ACT. When I started reading his book a month ago it just made so much more intuitive sense to me than CBT, so I made the switch after finishing my 8 weeks of CBT.
I’ve done it now for 10 nights and have numbered most of them here, so you don’t have to read through the whole thread to see how it’s going. Start on page 2 of this thread. It was scary to start because you have to stay in bed and face all your fears and whatever shows up in the night. Also you have to accept the fact that may not even sleep at all the first few nights or so. So it takes a big leap of faith to jump into this process. But I believe that just like CBT, if you don’t do it whole-heartedly, you won’t get the results you want.
I decided to chronicle how it’s going here because some of you seemed to have plateaued with CBT, not making progress toward your goal of regularly getting full nights of sleep like you did before the insomnia. Maybe if it works for me, it might work for you, too. Of course if it doesn’t, then you can disregard all my mumbo jumbo!March 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm #27740
Sounds like the vacation was good. Usually that seems to temporarily help us sleep a little better and longer after getting adjusted. Having fun and being too busy to worry about sleep does help. That’s nice you got 7 hours of sleep. I know you’ve mentioned it many times that you aim for 7 and 7 is what allows you to function. If you can reliably get 6-6.5 hours you are not far from 7 hours. In my case I am getting 5-6 and hope to push it further but I can’t. Sometimes I wake up and go back to bed without issues and sometimes like last night I was up at 5-5:30 am and was too alert to fall back asleep. The waking up and staying up early is annoying but I try to relax and go about my day and try to tire myself out for the next night.March 15, 2019 at 1:44 pm #27741
I know I reached broken record status quite a while ago now, but again, just so very frustrated over here. Bad night last night. As I said before, its amazing just how better I was sleeping on vacation and then even after returning home from vacation. I “forgot” about insomnia. Now all of a sudden it seems to have crept back. Maybe I started keeping more of an eye on the clock at night. Maybe I started thinking more about what a bad night would be like. Maybe me turning the lights off and winding down in the living room started giving me anxious thoughts, etc. And wouldn’t you know it, the last couple of nights have been suspect, most especially last night. The usual. Crashed around 11:15p. Woke at 5am. Tried to fall back asleep but it was just in and out light sleep until my 6am alarm. Zombie today. 2.5 months of really trying to get better. Am I better than I was the 2 years prior? ABSOLUTELY. But I don’t just want to be semi better. I want these awful nights completely gone at this point.March 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm #27747
Day 12 of ACT Yesterday was a hard day and the night was hard too. I was tired all day but worst was my mood. Was feeling some depression about the insomnia and fear of the next bad night, like I had last Sunday. Would it overwhelm me again like it did last time, with me finally having to get up to calm myself down? Was this going to go on FOREVER? You know how the mind goes when our mood is not the best!
Anyway, I did a 45 minute long recorded meditation from my mindfulness class and got into a much better space. Then the night came. Couldn’t fall asleep for a long time. Then I realized it and the panicking began. But this time my mindfulness tools came to the rescue. Tried breathing and a few different things to calm myself down and finally did something that worked. I “noticed” what was going on with my body – the tingling, burning, sensation around the edges of my arms caused by the tension buildup, as well as some other things. Then miraculously, my whole body and mind settled down and I was calm again. I felt that this was a big victory for me. I still wasn’t able to sleep much the rest of the night, but at least I was calm.
Today I am tired again, but feeling more positive and hopeful than I was yesterday. I am reminded of Carlos in the book (page 114) who after two weeks said that his sleep had not dramatically improved but he felt more relaxed than he had ever been about his sleeplessness. Within two months he was sleeping normally. This is my goal – to not fear the night anymore and know that I can handle whatever happens – any fears, any sleeplessness and anything else that shows up in the night.March 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm #27748
It’s good to review his book from time to time when you get discouraged. His approach isn’t easy and takes time and patience. I find that if I can at least be calm, I am relaxed and might sleep or I might not. Either way it’s comfy.March 16, 2019 at 3:42 pm #27759
Day 13 of ACT Slept all night – got 8.5 hours of sleep. Yay! Yesterday was really exhausted so maybe that overrode everything last night. Hit the sack and was out like a light. Feel good today (finally) after 3 days of tiredness.March 17, 2019 at 2:27 pm #27762
Day 14 of ACT This is really more like the 10th day, since last week when I was sick I slept well all 4 nights. The body just took over.
Yesterday evening started to have that feeling of heaviness and dread about going to bed. Could feel my stomach tensing up too. Decided to re-read the section from the book on “Welcoming.” Was able to create some distance between myself and the emotions and sensations using that method. The bad feelings went away and I was back in a good space again. Went to bed and fell asleep within 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, the sleep was shallow again with dreams and waking up in the middle of the and falling back asleep again. Even though overall I got 8 hours, did not wake up feeling well rested. Am tired again today. Oh well. Just keep going and hope it gets better. At least there were no negative thoughts, feelings or struggles during the night.March 17, 2019 at 5:49 pm #27765
Sorry to hear it was light sleep. 8 hours is good though. The last few days have been decent for me. Friday night got 6 hours and was solid 6 with no interruptions. I was really exhausted on Saturday and napped for 1:30 hours which is way too long. It was early enough though. Last night I got 7 hours and woke up after 8am which is rare but nice. Hopefully it won’t derail me.March 18, 2019 at 2:14 pm #27769
dragon✘ Not a client
Thanks for charting your progress Deb. I’ve had good spells, but now back in a bad one. Feel like the anxiety creeps back in even if I’m exhausted. So I’m beginning to think that long term might have to try ACT. I own the book, but Deb can you give a quick overview of the technique you’ve been employing.March 18, 2019 at 3:03 pm #27771
You’re welcome, Dragon. The first, most important thing is to give up the struggle. We got into this mess because instead of just accepting one night of sleeplessness, we started to worry about it and then started doing different things to try to fix it – taking pills, whatever. Worry feeds insomnia. So the first thing is to stop struggling with the insomnia (read pg. 72.) The first technique is mindfulness. It is through mindfulness that you’ll first begin to “observe” yourself struggling, which creates some space between yourself and the struggle. Then it will be easier to let it go.
Next is Acceptance. Re-read chapter 2. It’s very important. It’s on acceptance, which first of all means to accept your insomnia and stop struggling with it. It doesn’t mean resignation, just acceptance that you have this temporary condition of insomnia, just like you might have a temporary condition like the flu. You also accept whatever shows up in the night – anxiety, fear, panic, whatever, and don’t try to escape it by getting up. Instead you practice mindfulness which creates some space between yourself and your thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Then it is easier to let them go, or they will drift away by themselves. Guy Meadows emphasizes the importance of practicing mindfulness during the day as well as night for a couple reasons. One is that then it will be easier to practice at night when you’re tired and there’s no distractions and thus easier to become overwhelmed by our negative thoughts, emotions and sensations. Also, we have negative thoughts and emotions associated with insomnia that come to us during the day. We need to practice mindfulness to let these go during the day. Otherwise, they can feed and worsen the insomnia at night.
The third technique is called “welcoming” which has some similarities to acceptance but it goes even further than accepting. As you welcome everything that shows up, you “befriend” them. As you do, they become less frightening.
So these are the basic techniques. I encourage you to re-read the chapters to really understand them more deeply so that you can start practicing them.
Day 15 of ACT Yesterday was tired all day. Went to bed at 10:45. Fell asleep within 15 minutes. No anxiety at all showed up. Felt like the good old days of going to bed and expecting to fall asleep soon. But then the same thing happened during the night – in and out of dreams all night. Woke up at least 3 times and then would fall back asleep again. Finally woke up at 6:15 and had to get up to go to the bathroom. Felt very tired still. Went back to bed and laid there for a long time but eventually fell back asleep again until 8:00. Woke up and felt decent. Yay! Not well rested, but decent. I’ll take that.March 18, 2019 at 3:09 pm #27772
I gotta say Deb you have a great attitude towards all of this. Most would still be feeling very frustrated and broken. I feel like in due time you will be just fine! Acceptance is a huge part of fixing this problem.March 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm #27773
I continually have to work on my attitude because my emotions are still like a yo yo. For instance, even though two days ago I had slept well and felt really good all day, during the evening the old fears crept back in and I felt the dread of going to bed along with my stomach tensing up. So I re-read the chapter on Welcoming and used some of the techniques for reducing those feelings/sensations. I decided to give that feeling a name – Mr. Dreadlocks, and imagined my stomach as a poor, round, red-faced, tensed up creature, that was so scared and pitiful. This made me laugh and then the feelings disappeared.
So I do a lot of re-reading of the chapters to help me with my attitude and remind of things to do and practice. And then I practice, which is very important.March 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm #27775
dragon✘ Not a client
Thanks Deb. Fantastic summary. Really appreciate it. I’ll re-read some of the chapters then and take some notes. I know for sure it will take practice. As with all things in life.March 18, 2019 at 9:04 pm #27782
Dragon – Should have mentioned this previously because it’s on how to begin to give up the struggle with insomnia using mindfulness. Check out page 85, second paragraph:
“The first step to accepting your insomnia is to be able to notice yourself struggling in the first place. What you don’t see you can’t begin to let go of.” This whole section is very good.