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 - 16 through 30 (of 35 total)
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  • #40215

    ✘ Not a client

      Great post! 3 days trying CBT-i
      Your posts help me build my sleep confidence which is shaken at the moment.
      I had 2 good nights of 5 to 6 hours of sleep and one with lke 2.
      I had wake up arousal on he night of 2 hours when going to bed so implementing the yo-yo technique, couch – bed. Reading your posts help me see this too shall pass and not controlling it. Letting go of thinking how can I stop the wake up arousal when I go to bed? Just knowing that sleep will come despite and going to the couch until I am sleepy again.


      ✘ Not a client

        Thank you Chee. I know the feeling well, but I didn’t have that name for it. I usually referred to it as “dragging my butt out of bed…” 🙂 And I totally agree, dismantling misconceptions has been essential for me to address insomnia.

        Anmareta, great you’re building sleep confidence! That is something I don’t think we usually put words to, but it’s so true! I found it really helpful to know I have a “plan” for when I can’t sleep, rather than laying there getting frustrated while I try all kinds of tricks to “make” myself sleep. And yes, it does feel kindof like a yo-yo, especially the first week, but my experience is that I am having fewer times when I need to get out of bed as time goes on. You’re so right, letting go of the belief that I should be able to control going to sleep makes a big difference.


        ✘ Not a client

          Thanks for sharing and the support. Indeed, having a plan is awesome. I like that too! And just letting go.


          ✓ Client

            Hello everyone
            Thank you for your kind posts and I am flattered. I am just sharing the universal truths about sleep. If yo have the time, do please check out the video “Cure chronic insomnia with the effortless sleep method” by Yousquared in Youtube, based on the book “The effortless sleep method” by Sasha Stephens. Short 10 min video but full of very useful info on how to get over your current dilemma. In that video, the 5 key mistakes most “insomniacs” do are:
            1. Asking your doctor for sleeping pills or being given some by doctors who absolutely don’t understand sleep.
            2. Trying really hard to sleep.
            3. Calling yourself an “insomniac”, which reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with you.
            4. Endlessly researching for a cure and trying one tip after another.
            5. Believing in false statements.


            ✘ Not a client

              Thanks for sharing!


              ✘ Not a client

                I wanted to post an update.
                I am sleeping an average of 7.30 – 8 hours.

                There have been 3 or 4 days in the past 5 months that i could not get a good enough sleep, Most of those days correlate to having slept beyond my wakeup time the previous day.

                So for me these are working best :
                1) consistent wakeup time – i set an alarm to force a consistent wakeup time, no matter what kind of sleep i had previous day. Everytime i slip on this, i see that next day it takes longer than usual to fall asleep.
                2) I get the occasional sleepless night and a nagging worry whether i am slipping back. But i remember/reinforce that i have slept so many other days without putting effort. That keeps the anxiety down and soon enough, i sleep off.
                3) I am extremely sensitive to light, so i do need to block lights off in my sleep area.
                4) I am prone to obsessive thinking, so i listen to (mostly science) podcasts as i drift off.

                Everything else in life you have to try harder when you dont get it. However sleep becomes more elusive the harder you try. I think this is the gist behind martin’s videos emphasiszing carrying a normal next day.

                I am so thankful for martin’s youtube videos (i am not even a client).

                I had insomnia for about 20 years now.
                To all those in the early stage of CBTi dont lose hope.
                It takes few weeks, but you will see a positive change.



                ✓ Client

                  Hi Jaylogan!
                  I experienced similar too. If I consistently slept in and delay getting out of bed, my sleep would progressively get worse over time. Looking back, this was why I developed insomnia in the first place! The frequent oversleeping. My ideal spot is usually between 6-7 hours. So now I don’t follow any tight bed time schedule anymore. I go to bed when feeling very sleepy (head nodding off and difficulty focusing) and get out at my first awakening which is usually about 6.5 hours later. I don’t care what time it is when I go or get out of bed. Ironically, I feel more alert and energetic during the day sleeping less like this than sleeping in and doing 8-8.5 hours. I think it must be because I am getting more deep restorative sleep by restricting and consolidating my time in bed than spending 8-9 hours and getting only more light sleep out of that.

                  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Chee2308.

                  ✘ Not a client

                    Wow! That was most helpful. I am stuck in my belief that sleep is necessary to stay normal.


                    ✘ Not a client

                      I love this series! Thank you all who post success stories like these, especially the updates and the challenges and the little victories along the way! I am in the “rocky” stage of some good nights and some bad nights, but I am mostly relaxed about it and accepting the anxiety when it does come. Seeing this story helped me today!


                      ✘ Not a client

                        Thanks for your informative and helpful posts.


                        ✘ Not a client

                          I have read this series about 3 times, trying to pick out what I am doing wrong and it seems like a lot. Had another bad night and it’s been a few in a row, stayed in bed when it looks like I should have gotten up, mind racing getting me all worked up so there was no way , I was going to get any sleep looking back on it. I am trying too hard to find that elusive sleep that came so naturally before but looking at these stories, there is hope that one day, I can be telling my story


                          ✘ Not a client

                            Hey Robb !

                            I haven’t been here in ages, but got the notification on this thread. I hope that provides some solace that there can be light at the end of the tunnel; Moreover, while generally people like to avoid using the term “being cured”, and I think there is good reasoning behind that, depending on how you define it, I think you can be “cured” 🙂

                            So here’s where it becomes difficult, I think everyone’s journey is going to be different and tools that work for some won’t necessarily work well for others. Let me draw on my own personal experience. For a bit of quick background in case it helps, I had what I’d call acute onset insomnia; What I mean by this it started very quickly and it was very bad, many nights of no sleep. How it started was the very typical story, a medical scare (completely unrelated to sleep) leading to a few nights of little sleep, then it morphed to “sleep” being the issue, so on and so forth. It got to a point that I thought I just couldn’t sleep normally or at all again, and of course as such impacted every facet of my life …

                            Personally, a mixture of CBT and ACT techniques were the key, more heavily relying on ACT as time went on. Additionally, I would add it was not a quick fix, and accepting this was key, while the worst period was about a 3-4 month ordeal for me, it probably took me the better part of a year to be completely over it. By completely over it what I mean sleep is 100% a natural thing again, I look forward to it and enjoy it;

                            I’m very happy to answer any questions you have !


                            ✘ Not a client

                              Hi Turtlestamp,
                              Thank you so much for your reply, like you, mine came on as well very quickly. Lost 3 people very dear to me in a very short time frame and sleep went out the window for a few days , this continued to the point that I was just in a daze. I did everything wrong, trying to force my self to sleep, which made it worse. Anxiety kicked in, spending every minute trying to find out what was wrong and how to fix it!

                              As you can tell, has not worked out very well. Everything revolves around how to sleep, don’t go anywhere, because if I can sleep at home, how can I sleep somewhere else? I used to be able to sleep and the drop of a hat but that is not the case currently. I am not familiar with ACT? The CBT, I am still trying to figure out, like stopping the racing mind and being so tired but also wide
                              awake. I want to be like you again but currently seems so far away.


                              ✘ Not a client

                                I had replied earlier but I think because I included links it was moderated, I stripped them out here (I’ll see if I can include them later):

                                Hey Robb,

                                Really sorry to hear about your loss ! You description of events in regards to the impact on sleep brought back many memories as it’s uncannily a familiar story.

                                You will get a lot of advice like; Just try to ignore it, sleep will come, don’t worry about it, you’re just going to be a little bit tired, go on with life … generally from people that mean well (be it online or from friends and family) but when you’re in the thick of it none of this is really useful (at least it wasn’t for me) so I’m not going to tell you any of that …

                                Rather, I’m going to describe the steps on the path of “getting over” insomnia, at least for me (though I’ve seen similar patterns in others). One caveat here, I feel these steps are most applicable to people who are going through sudden onset insomnia (there are others where this develops slowly over a very long time, and in such cases there are some differences).

                                Another thing, you’ll need to go through all / most of these steps, there is no magical pill (or mindset) that will solve this, but of course there are things you can do to expedite the process. Just to touch on why briefly, the mind is a powerful thing, you have so much anxiety generated around the mere thought of sleep, you likely think of sleep in some form 24×7 and very little else (I know I did), it is going to take time to change this.

                                Step 1) The initial non “sleep” event;
                                – Something happens in life that causes you to have difficulty sleeping (either initially sleeping or staying asleep), this has nothing to do with sleep it self, this typically lasts a few days.
                                – Note that I can say with some level of confidence this has or will happen to everyone in life (and multiple times) but for most people, they never associate this with a sleep problem, but some other unrelated issue that makes it difficult to sleep as their mind is racing, but it never progresses to step 2) below

                                Step 2) Slowly morphs into a potential “sleep” issue
                                – Generally at this point the initial event in step 1) has completely subsided or you’re thinking less about it, but you notice you’re still having difficulty with sleeping and starting to think about sleep it self directly
                                – Usually you’ll convince yourself it’s still related to step 1) and may try sleep aids (whatever this may be e.g. sleep hygiene {sleeping only when tired} and/or over the counter medication)
                                – For many this subsides at this point and they move on but for others this can keep progressing

                                Step 3) I cannot sleep event occurs
                                – This is where things go down hill, after trying whatever you tried to sleep for a little while (maybe a few days or a week) some event will occur where your mindset will shift from “I’m having trouble sleeping lately” to somethin along the lines of “I cannot sleep anymore”.
                                – I’m sure this differs for everyone but for me this was 2 or so consecutive nights of 0 “nil” sleep whatsoever.

                                These first 3 steps happen pretty quickly (a few weeks to month or so)

                                Step 4) Doom spiral
                                – At this point you have likely convinced yourself you cannot sleep or have a serious issue related to sleep
                                – You probably spend most of the night reading about why you cannot sleep and conditions associated with this
                                – Additionally, when this first happens people are generally not familiar with “insomnia” and are not aware of any “good” resources online (like this form), and rather any searches they do likely point to how “important sleep is” and sleep hygiene tips (e.g. keep your room dark), all of which compound the situation further
                                – For some, through their searching, they stumble on extremally rare medical sleep conditions, leading to a feeling hopelessness and impending doom

                                Step 5) I can sleep (just terribly)
                                – This may not apply to everyone, but for some, step 4) can get so bad they convince themselves they just cannot physically sleep, but at some point in time (e.g. a few weeks later) they come to a realization that they can sleep it’s just terrible, merely due to the fact enough time has transpired …

                                Step 6) Finding the “right” education
                                – At this point, usually you start to stumble on better resources online in regards to sleep (and you realize it’s a common problem people go through)
                                – Generally here I’m referring to the likes of CBTi (cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia) and ACTi (accept and commit therapy for insomnia … note this isn’t a common term).

                                Step 7) Everything in life revolves around sleep
                                – You have good resources, be it ACT or CBT or whatever you find (e.g. the plethora of books about sleep and insomnia), but you’re spending 24×7 either researching techniques or thinking about sleep (including trying to sleep)
                                – Usually at this point you’ll find some things that work, but they only work from time to time, and you’ll start looking for patterns (e.g. if I did this, I slept 4 hours, but I tried it again two days later and it didn’t work)
                                – For some, all the anxiety about sleep and to a lesser degree the physical lack of sleep can manifest physically as well (e.g. burning eyes, headaches, general soreness and pain, …), this happened to me

                                Note these two steps can last a very long time (e.g. months+). So I suspect you’re somewhere between step 6 and 7. What happens after this is where it’s more of a personal journey, only in the sense that I think there isn’t a one size fits all solution here, so I’ll describe what worked for me (i.e. step 8+).

                                First I think it’ll be helpful to describe what step 6/7 were like for me;

                                I found many books (and purchased them) but the most useful resources at the end of the day were the following (I can share others as well if you like):

                                – This form + Martin’s exceptional youtube videos

                                – Daniel Erichsen and company’s exceptional content on youtube

                                I read everything I could about “CBTi” initially and attempted many of the techniques (e.g. I had a sleep log, I would get out of bed if I couldn’t go to sleep, I wouldn’t keep a phone in the bedroom, so on and so forth). At this point my life revolved around sleep, I was working, but given this was during the pandemic I was able to work from home and that made it bearable to a degree.

                                I tried this for a good 30-60 days but I wasn’t finding a lot of success, I’d have some good nights, but then some terrible nights, and I didn’t feel things were “getting better”.

                                At some point I reached a conclusion that leaving the bed when I couldn’t sleep was in of it self causing me a ton of anxiety (i.e. I would get out of bed 4+ times a night), I’d so something like read a book (something I typically don’t do) then go back to bed.

                                I remember one night quite distinctly I just gave up on that element of CBT. I told my self, I’m staying in bed, and I’m going to watch youtube, I don’t care anymore. Ironically enough, what did I watch on youtube ? One of the many “success” stories on Martin’s youtube channel, so it was still about sleep of course 🙂 … but I actually fell asleep during it and slept the rest of the night. This was a bit of an aha moment for me, don’t get me wrong, I was far from over sleep, but I felt some comfort in not having to leave the bed. This is when I started to read about ACT, most of Daniel Erichsen’s content revolves around this.

                                There are many similar properties between CBT and ACT, but in my mind (and I’m sure others can give a much more thorough answer) the difference is in the mindset; CBT is more about changing the train of thought from a negative to a positive whereas ACT is more about just accepting the thought as is. In the context of sleep, CBT uses many techniques to try to make sure you have the right mindset in the bedroom, and when you don’t, you leave, in ACT, there’s less of a “fight” element and more of an accepting the fact you’re not going to sleep.

                                I don’t believe one of these is better then another, it’s very personal, for some the more regimented CBT approach works very well, or at least initially, and for others ACT has more value. Personally I found doing both was the key i.e. I started with a CBT approach, and I think in the process changed my mindset to a degree and then shifted to ACT.

                                So after the night I had described above, I stopped leaving the bed when I couldn’t sleep. Rather I did whatever I felt like doing, and this is where it’s controversial to a degree as this probably goes against most advice, but if my mind was racing because I couldn’t sleep, I watched youtube, initially it was still about sleep but then I started watching youtube travel vlogs 🙂 I did this until I felt too tired to keep my eyes open and then turned it off, some nights I repeated this multiple times. I also stopped maintaining the sleep log I had. The key was less and less of my time was spent thinking about sleep (even if I wasn’t sleeping). Eventually I found these free podcasts (sleepwithmepodcast), I hated them at first but they grew on me (essentially they are non-sense stories told in a very monotone and calm voice). I shifted to these from youtube (keeping these only when things were bad) as it was easier to just have on in the background.

                                In some ways if I think about this, it’s a combination of ACT and CBT. In pure ACT, they may argue, you should attempt just to sit with your thoughts (about not sleeping) in the bed and accept them; I did try this but I found it was too hard, at least initially (later I could), hence the podcasts and youtube; It’s no different then the “leave the bedroom and do something else”, but for me I just stay in the bedroom.

                                All of the above slowly started to work for me after a few months.

                                I’m going to stop here for now, sorry for the very long post !

                                This isn’t the end of the story though (i.e. I had more “steps”), I’ll touch on them later.

                                Because while I mentioned above those “steps” started to work, it wasn’t really the end, small set backs could bring back bouts of anxiety and re-lapses, the tools I had picked up helped. Just to give another quick example of how this could manifest for me, I would have a few nights of great sleep, yet I wouldn’t feel that good for whatever reason, now I’d start thinking “even though I slept something still feels off, maybe there is still something wrong with sleep” … even though I’m sure you can think back to earlier days when you just felt off regardless of sleep.

                                More soon.

                                • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by turtlestamp.

                                ✘ Not a client

                                  Thank you !! I can see myself all over this and the way I currently look at sleep or the lack there of. I could really see myself in step 4 still to this day or night, should I say. I try to build sleep by not going to bed too early but I can feel myself getting worked up as it gets closer and then it seems my night is already planned. I am going to go back over what you posted and see if I can find some of those videos. I really do appreciate you taking time out of your day to help!

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