Sleep restriction questions

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 2 days, 11 hours ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #53406

    GnarlyArmor
    ✘ Not a client

    Hey all- I have a couple questions. I’m really at a loss for what to do to keep myself awake other than watch or listen to TV. I am so sleep deprived that my motivation to do anything else is really weak. What have others done to stay awake until their sleep window? I don’t have much space outside of my bedroom to use but do have a couch in my room that is separate from my bed to sit/lay on.

    Also, while doing the sleep restriction therapy, should I still be doing stimulus control on top of this? So for instance if my window arrives and I lay in bed and can’t fall asleep should I then get out of bed? I’m a bit confused as I read you’re supposed to stay in bed for at least 4-5 hours even if not sleeping when applying the sleep restriction technique.

    I am the most sleep deprived I’ve ever been (averaging about 1 hour a night) and am feeling very desperate. Any advice is welcome.

    Tyler

    #53410

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    I am sorry to hear about your struggle. May I ask what your current sleep window is like?

    #53412

    GnarlyArmor
    ✘ Not a client

    I’m out of bed no matter bed no matter what by 8. I unwind with TV starting around 10 and start nodding off usually within an hour or two. I no longer watch TV in bed but rather on the couch.

    So to answer your question I don’t have a defined window yet in terms of when I go to bed but I am consistent in the morning time.

    #53414

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    Getting up at the same time is a great start. So what time do you go to bed? If you feel sleepy by 10 or 11 and go to bed around this time,
    this actually seems like a good starting sleep window.

    I think the problem you should ponder is why you think your sleep is broken. What happened that made you conclude this? Did you experience one night of no sleep or a couple of sleepless nights that changed everything?

    Having bad nights is actually much more common than you think. You would have had it plenty of times in the past, like when you stayed up late to study for an exam, finish a project write-up, watch a movie or important match, take a long haul flight or whatever. Your sleep then recovers after that because you never thought anything was broken or tried to fix anything.

    If you worry about sleep, then isn’t your body proving to you every night this is erroneous? Because you said you feel sleepy and fight to stay awake until your sleep window. This is a sure sign your body is telling you your sleep is never broken and can never be broken. You were just confused and misled by your own mind because you experienced some bad nights. You can think of bad nights as if you banged your toe or had a stomach upset. Bad nights means absolutely nothing except you had a bad night. It doesn’t mean your future sleep is compromised in any way. When you start taking your thoughts and fears way too seriously, you will only worry needlessly.

    I know it seems hard now when things look pretty bad. But I am telling you as a recovered insomniac, insomnia is mainly a problem of overthinking and too much unhealthy obsession on sleep. Your sleep will regulate itself as long as you keep to a regular sleep schedule. But sleep won’t be your cure until you address your thoughts and fears about poor sleep because sleep is something everyone does every night and as long as you are scared of poor sleep, those fears will keep reliving themselves every day. Ultimately, once you get over this, you realize insomnia is really just a set of thoughts inside your mind and how you relate to them. The key is being disciplined to stick to a sleep schedule, keeping your fears under control and being okay with wakefulness when you wake up during the night. Best wishes to you!

    #53424

    GnarlyArmor
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for your response. The problem is that although I nod off I don’t actually fall asleep. If I try to get into bed then I just lie awake. I then move to the couch and am in a sort of half asleep half awake lull. And to be clear, I haven’t gotten more than 2 hours of sleep in a night in a long time.

    My sleep problems started when I was a tour manager for touring bands. I was on high alert all the time and keeping a crazy schedule. I was also using alcohol to fall asleep which sedated me but didn’t produce good sleep. Then I quit drinking but got another new stressful job and that’s when my sleep really fell apart. I was put on sleep medication for the next six years and just quit it 2 weeks ago and have barely slept since stopping the meds.

    Thanks for your input. I don’t know how to get over being afraid of not sleeping. Insomnia makes my life so difficult during the day to the point I have taken a leave of absence from work. So I am afraid unfortunately. I will keep trying to practice the right behaviors though.

    #53443

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    I wonder if acknowledging that fear might be more helpful to trying to get rid of it? Fear is generated by the brain in an attempt to protect us and look out for us — if we try to fight it, the brain might think we’re ignoring it. So, it generates even more intense fear in an attempt to get us to listen!

    It’s OK to spend time awake in bed — you might want to let yourself stay in bed at night for as long as you feel comfortable in bed! Who knows, sleep might happen!

    If that wakefulness starts to feel really unpleasant, then you can simply give yourself the opportunity to do something that will help make being awake a bit more pleasant. This might not even involve getting out of bed!

    I hope there’s something helpful here.

    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.
    #53450

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    So you slept well for six years while on medication? This proves your sleep is not broken, because medications can never generate sleep, it’s your own body that did it all along. You were just misled to believe you were dependent on it. The likely reason you slept is because you felt safer after you have ‘delegated’ the task of sleep to something else and can now heave a sigh of relief. You tried less and taking pills stopped your mind from the pondering and overthinking.

    Two weeks is just a breeze, continue sticking to your sleep schedule and your sleep should improve. Sleep is a constant state of charge and discharge, to feel sleepy, you have to accumulate sleep debt first which means being awake long enough. Your emotions will settle down after some time or you get exposed to poor sleep and realise nothing really bad is happening anyways then you start becoming desensitized and immune. Good luck!

    #53474

    GnarlyArmor
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks Martin- I appreciate the advice. I guess I feel confused…I thought one of the primary pieces of advice was to get out of bed if you can’t sleep?

    #53540

    GnarlyArmor
    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you. My out of bed time has been about 7am. My bed time has been variable. I start dosing off on the coach between 10:30pm and 12:00am. Last night I made it until 12:30am. Started dosing off and then got in bed and couldn’t fall asleep. Got out and repeated the process. Slept maybe 1.5 hours. I feel like I’m losing my mind….thanks for any suggestions.

    #53653

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Nothing unusual here — it all comes down to the reason why insomnia exists; a strong desire to avoid nighttime wakefulness that can, in turn, train the brain to think that wakefulness is a danger/threat it needs to be alert to protect you from.

    Ultimately, we need to train the brain that it’s OK to be awake. We can do this in a few different ways, such as:

    1. Not chasing sleep (a sleep window helps here)
    2. Making unpleasant nighttime wakefulness more pleasant
    3. Doing things during the day that help us move toward the kind of life we want to live, independently of sleep

    I hope there’s something helpful here!

    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.
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

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