SRT + Stimulus Control Review

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • Author
  • #25913

    ✘ Not a client

    i have struggling with making SRT and stimulus control work for the past 3+ weeks.  My sleep window is 12-6 am.  My nights alternate between good and bad.  On bad nights, I take a long time to fall asleep.  I often get in and out but only get light sleep using the 20 minute rule.

    For stimulus control, do we go to bed only if tired even it might be an hour into your short sleep window?  Some say wait 20-30 minutes before getting back in bed after you get out. Others say that you should stay out until feeling sleepy, even if it takes an hour or 10 minutes.

    what is the board concensus?


    ✓ Client

    Maybe ask Martin. You can email him.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Dallascowpokes. Sleep restriction and stimulus control take time to work, and they require ongoing commitment and consistent implementation in order to work. This, along with the fact the techniques are challenging, lead to many people abandoning the techniques prematurely. I admire your persistence — keep this up, and I am sure you will notice improvements in your sleep.

    I can’t offer you specific advice since you are not a client, but I can certainly answer your general questions. When observing a regular sleep window, the start of the sleep window is the earliest you should be going to bed. So, if your sleep window starts and you don’t feel tired, then you shouldn’t go to bed — because you aren’t ready for sleep yet.

    Going to bed before you are sleepy is akin to sitting at the dinner table at 3pm when you know that dinner isn’t served until 6pm. It’s a pointless endeavor that only leads to more time awake, and more time spent in bed feeling worried, frustrated, and anxious about sleep.

    When you are practicing stimulus control and getting out of bed when unable to sleep, you should go back to bed within around half an hour or when you feel tired and ready for sleep. I recommend clients wait around half an hour rather than continuously think about whether they feel ready for sleep because continuous self-monitoring can lead to an increase in sleep-related worry and anxiety.

    The key purpose of stimulus control is simply to get you out of bed when you aren’t sleeping so that you can relearn to associate the bed with sleep rather than wakefulness.

    I hope this helps.

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