stimulus control

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by xbi 1 week, 1 day ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
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  • #37729

    jaylogan
    ✘ Not a client

      Hello,
      I started cbti recently. I apologize for the long rambling first post – i am desperate.

      I have few questions regarding stimulus control.
      My problem is that i feel very sleepy when my sleep window approaches (2am). i am nodding off to some science documentary in TV.

      I wait for my sleep window to begin (say 2 am), and i go to bed. Meanwhile i am “very much aware that i should not struggle in bed and plan to come back to living room should i not be able to sleep in 10-20 mins”. (emphasis intended)

      Moment my head hits the pillow, however, my mind becomes alert and after 20 minutes of “allowing sleep to happen” i give up. and head back to living room. In 20-30 minutes i feel again very sleepy and come back and try this again. Yesterday i started at 2am and did this until 6am after which i managed to sleep for couple of hours and woke up for my set time (9 am). I am able to somehow function (thankfully no driving due to covid – working full time from home).

      What is it i am doing wrong? I am worried i am overthinking things and thereby just end up waiting to come back to living room. Is it not right to watch tv? Am i trying too hard? I googled and learnt that this is called “sleep arousal” and i need to unlearn the bad association with bed. But it appears my method itself is causing more problem.

      In days i do get to sleep i am able to do this in first or second try and get a good 5-6 hours of refreshing sleep.

      Please let me know what i am doing wrong. I am desperate, i want to commit to cbti and not rely on any sleeping pills (antihistamine) that make me very drowsy.

      thanks,
      -jay

      #37735

      TodaysEscape
      ✘ Not a client

        I agree with you that you were probably “waiting to go back to the living room”. To get a good sleep, according to Martin, you need to not worry of having bad sleep.
        What Martin said and i also found true is, I am able to function mostly normal after a bad night with 2-3 hours of sleep, so we shouldn’t worry too much about not able to sleep, which then help us to relax and not worry too much.
        Think of insomnia as a bully, it feeds on your attention. If you can stop caring about it, it will go away by itself, but if you worry about it, it will stay.
        If you haven’t tried the free training, i highly recommend it: https://insomniacoach.com/sleep-training

        Good luck,

        Ken

        #37750

        jaylogan
        ✘ Not a client

          Ken,
          Thanks. Just an update :

          I went through one more day of little sleep. but yesterday things were different. I could not wait until my sleep window since i was very sleepy and went to bed 1 hour earlier. I did feel an initial bit of anxiety, but i think 3 days of sleep pressure must have built up, slept in matter of minutes. (1am – 9am). There were moments of wakefulness but quickly drifted back to sleep.

          Few things i did 1) i didnt ‘anticipate or actively plan’ to be back in the living room. 2) i skipped tv and used an audiobook until sleep arrived. 3) i did my usual workouts through all three days of poor sleep just so i could maintain a semblance of normalcy – one of suggestions from martin’s videos.

          Whether this day repeats or not, i keep telling myself that i haven’t lost touch with ability to sleep…

          -jay

          #37804

          Scott
          Mentor

            Jay – that is fantastic news! Anticipatory anxiety and altering (or canceling) our social events are common traits of those who have disrupted sleep but you made some adjustments and had success – that’s great!

            Thanks for sharing!
            Scott

            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.
            #37845

            jaylogan
            ✘ Not a client

              It has been 16 days since i started cbt-i and i wanted to share some update and follow up with some questions.

              i have completely kept off any sleeping pill (antihistamine) and melatonin that i used to take.

              I am having a pattern repeat, few good days (> 6 hours of deep sleep) followed by a day of poor sleep.

              My belief that i can sleep without any pills is getting stronger. I am perisisting through days of poor sleep (as low as 3 hours) by keeping up with workouts and trying to carry a normal day.

              BTW, i started out watching tv until my sleep window. But lately i moved to podcast that i listen in the dark in the living room. This makes me quite sleepy just before the sleep window arrives.

              Questions :
              1) sometimes i feel very sleepy and could not stop dozing off in living room before my sleep window. like yesterday night i went 30 minutes before my sleep window. How do i combat this (or) how strict do i have to be?
              2) In days of poor sleep (< 4 hours), during the day, i have to close my eyes and try for a nap (mostly unsuccessful) to function properly. I know this is a no-no, but i dont see an alternative? Any thoughts?
              3) my biggest problem has been the alertness (arousal) i feel once i get to bed that leads to subsequent poor sleep. like if i dont sleep at the first try, the rest of the night is shot… I am reminding myself that it will be a matter of time….

              thanks,
              -jay

              • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by jaylogan. Reason: edit for more info
              #37921

              Scott
              Mentor

                Jay – It’s important for you to realize that your sleep can return to normal and that’s something you’ve already proven to yourself in those 16 days! You’ve been able to get on with your life, continue working out, eliminating sleep meds and so on – that’s incredible and something you should be proud of! It’s normal for everyone to experience an occasional night of sleep disruption but when we try to fix it the next night, it usually leads to heightened anxiety at bedtime. Although I’ve restored my sleep using the same techniques as you, I still have an occasional night of poor sleep, but I follow those evidence-based tools to ensure my beliefs about insomnia doesn’t cause a relapse.

                You bring up some great questions. Like you, I had some difficult nights staying awake while implementing sleep restriction so I ensured I had pleasant but not arousing activities ready, such as reading a book, coloring (yes, with crayons! ? ), a series queued up in Netflix, etc. If your sleep drive is greater than your arousal, you should sleep well that night.

                Daytime napping reduces your sleep drive, which is vital for a restful night. Are there other fun activities that you could participate in during the day to avoid the desire to nap?

                Hope that helps!

                Scott

                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.
                #37928

                Martin Reed
                ★ Admin

                  You are getting results because you have stayed committed, persistent, and consistent, Jay — good on you! All the improvements you are enjoying are down to your own efforts and your own, natural, ability to sleep!

                  To answer your questions, you could try giving yourself a clock-watching cut-off time before the start of your sleep window. So, maybe 30 minutes or an hour before the sleep window begins you no longer check the time and you just go to bed when you feel sleepy enough for sleep.

                  If you don’t usually sleep when you try to nap then this tells us one thing — you aren’t sleepy enough for sleep! So, perhaps you are feeling the effects of fatigue instead? If so, that’s good news since there’s a lot we can do to reduce fatigue — things like movement, physical activity, and the pursuit of things we enjoy.

                  It sounds as though you are still experiencing some conditioned arousal when you get into bed, and that’s normal. Just as it took time for you to learn that the bed is an unpleasant place to be, it will take time (albeit usually less time!) for you to learn that the bed is a pleasant place to be! Ultimately, we can only do that by getting out of bed whenever being in bed feels unpleasant (and only being in bed when being in bed feels pleasant).

                  I hope this helps!

                  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.
                  #38216

                  jaylogan
                  ✘ Not a client

                    Hi,
                    I wanted to update on my progress. I will share what helped for me. I think i do have a bit of undiagnosed ocd that was adding to the problem.

                    1) I was getting hung up counting minutes so i can return to living room away from bed. (“stimulus control”) The advice to stay in bed as long as i dont feel frustrated was spot on. It helped me not get anxious and drift to sleep.
                    2) I stopped looking at clock nearer my window time and just go to bed when i feel sleepy.(as suggested by martin).
                    3) I did have 1 or 2 days of struggle past my sleep window. Again, the confidence about to being able to sleep kicked in and no longer felt anxious.

                    I confess i wasnt updating my CBT diary after a month of rigorously maintaining. i should get back to it.

                    I picked 2-9 as a window, now i am trying to pull it early from 1(or)12 – (8) or 7.

                    I am very happy and greatful for cbt-i. . I hope this helps others who are discouraged to persist with their cbt-i. I too had my very bad days in the initial week or so. Now even when i do have a one off day, i am not too anxious about it and i suppose that helps.

                    -jay

                    #38217

                    jaylogan
                    ✘ Not a client

                      oh i forgot to add
                      4) i have been listening to loads of science podcast and that helps me avoid late time tv completely.
                      5) I am very sensitive to light and wear a blue light filtering glass few hours before bed time – note that this did not help much before i started cbt-i so i wouldnt attribute anything to it other than something that lessens my anxiety about being sensitive to light.

                      #38224

                      Scott
                      Mentor

                        @jaylogan – that’s outstanding news and thanks for sharing what techniques worked best for you! Even during your “bad days”, you remained committed to the process. Congrats again!

                        Scott

                        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.
                        #39034

                        jaylogan
                        ✘ Not a client

                          I wanted to post a 4 month update in hopes it helps someone.

                          1) I average about 7- 7.5 hours of sleep almost everyday now.

                          2) my sleep time is from 1.30-2.00 to 9 am. I tried moving it early, but could not.

                          3) I had one day of almost no sleep. This was marked by returning back to work after a long vacation. So i guess i have anxiety issues that build up. But i was able to sleep well the next day.
                          There were few days of not so great sleep. But this helped hugely :
                          a) going through next day doing usual routine things and maintain as much normalcy i could muster – example keep the workouts the same or even increase it when i was feeling it.
                          b) when mild anxiety of sleep strkes the following day, i reassure myself not to bother trying to sleep, and just listen to some podcast with lights off until sleep comes. It invariably did.

                          I am so so thankful for martin’s youtube videos, every one of those helped reduce my anxiety. The key for me was to realize that one can try too hard at the sleep problem, that everyone has capacity to sleep, not to fixate on few troblesome nights. It was tricky that you have to stop forcing yourself to crack the issue to actually crack the issue.

                          hth, i will be happy to answer any follow up question- if it helps anyone i would be paying it forward.

                          -jlogan

                          #39035

                          Phsu
                          ✘ Not a client

                            Hi Jay,

                            Just wanted to say thanks for all the updates. It is encouraging to see your improvements as time went on.

                            #39046

                            Chee2308
                            ✓ Client

                              Hello Jaylogan,

                              Congratulations buddy! I too am a fellow recoverer of having sleep issues in the past, actually right about the same time as you experienced them.

                              Like you, I too am getting 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep consistently now. My bedtime is now 10-1030 pm to 6-630 am. I purposely put extra time in bed for any bonus sleep that may happen if my body allows it.

                              I also no longer do stimulus control if I can’t sleep or waking up too early, I just stay in bed, not struggling and close my eyes if I feel like sleeping. Often times, I do find myself drifting back to sleep again. The key is not struggle with sleeplessness. Be okay with not sleeping, just be friends with wakefulness.

                              My typical bad night now is just taking longer to fall asleep and that’s okay because if I am sleeping really well and not being sleep deprived, then it’s normal to take longer to drift off into sleep. On good nights, I would fall asleep pretty fast and sleep for 6-6.5 hours, which is my core sleep duration. I would then wake an hour or two before my out of bed time, and I would use the toilet and go back to bed for any bonus sleep, which tends to be light and fragmented.

                              I do get sleep inertia after getting out of bed but I find drinking green tea early in the day helps with this without flooding my body with too much caffeine. I am also not a coffee-lover so I don’t drink coffee.

                              If anyone has any success stories or tips to share, feel free to post in here. Or fellow people who are currently facing sleep issues and need help/guidance, feel free to post too and I’ll try my best to help any way I can, based on what I learnt so far and my understanding about the physiology of sleep.

                              #40207

                              Jaran
                              ✘ Not a client

                                Great thread. One question. What is “sleep inertia”?

                                #40212

                                Chee2308
                                ✓ Client

                                  Hello Jaran!
                                  Sleep inertia is the initial grogginess upon awakening in the morning. Everyone gets it and it usually goes away within a few minutes or shortly after exposure to sunlight or any lights in the house. If you are sleep deprived, it hangs around for longer.

                                  My sleep has improved further since I wrote that post. I am now sleeping straight for at least 7.5 hours per night and can sleep up to 9 hours, if I just refuse to get up from bed and stay in. Hang in there. You will get there as you dismantle your misconcepted beliefs about your sleep one by one, until you are completely doing nothing for sleep, are sleeping great and your confidence to sleep naturally is absolute. To the point that you even laugh yourself silly for actually doing all that stuffs just to sleep! All the tools you need to sleep well are already within you. It is just misplaced in the midst of all that “falsehoods” spinned by your brain telling you something which is absolutely false but which you amazingly chose to believe. All you need to do is put an end to all that noise and unleash the natural ability within you again. Good luck!

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