Want some expert advice to improve your sleep? Get the free insomnia sleep training course!
- February 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm #26772
What works is just the consistency of going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time. I go to bed at 12:00 and get up at 6:30. I think over time I’m feeling less anxious and more confident, even though last week was rough. So I think that’s helping with me falling asleep more quickly. Also, keeping my sleep window at 6.5 hours is ensuring that I’m tired at midnight. Last night for the first time in in a long time I wasn’t very tired at 11:00. I wondered if I might have to stay up a little later to become sleepy. But by the time 12:00 rolled around I was very ready for bed.
Yes having those bad nights really takes a hit to our confidence. But all we can do is to get up on that horse again (or the bed) and keep going, and over time our optimism and confidence will continue to grow.
Last night Martin showed me some graphs of former clients who had a similar pattern as mine, with a dip around the 5th or 6th week. After that the graphs went up again. Some of them reported their progress later and it still took another month or two to reach their ideal sleep goal. So we gotta keep going!February 5, 2019 at 3:11 pm #26773
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Agreed Deb. Through the bad times we have to find a way to stay strong and keep going. Like I said last week, I’m not going to cure a traumatized overly anxious nervous system of 2+ years in just 2 weeks. It might take 2 months, and likely more than that. If it means not totally healed for 6 months I’ll even take that. But as hard as this process of getting better might be and as many ups and downs as there have been, its just good to know that it’s working for some of us, albeit even slightly.
I think one of the very hard things about recovering from insomnia that we don’t realize is this:
You can never really FORGET about the problem, at least early on, which in turn, halts the healing in certain subtle ways. Allow me to explain:
While one of the #1 things about trying to get better from this horrible condition is trying to relax and to not worry and to even try and forget about insomnia in general, the reality is that even doing ONE routine sleep hygiene thing consistently will remind you of your problem at least in some form. For some, including myself, this will sometimes trigger anxiety some nights, resulting in a bad night here and there which can be very frustrating as we all know. For example in the first few weeks, even putting my laptop away an hour before bed or turning the lights down can get me thinking of my problem. Now I’m past that, though the general in bed anxiety still lingers a bit here and there for sure. Last night it got me. The thing is though, if you stick to the program you’re doing (and it’s the right program), in the LONG term the anxiety will decrease and eventually you should begin having more good nights than bad which will lessen any overall anxiety more and more and more.February 5, 2019 at 3:25 pm #26774
By the way, I read the book, Desperately Seeking Snoozing, by John Wiedman. He cured his insomnia of 10 years with the same method. So this program works.February 5, 2019 at 3:40 pm #26776
delv-x✘ Not a client
Deb, glad to hear you are generally doing better. The past 6 days I’ve been sick with the flu and recovering. There isn’t much they say about how one should sleep. I tried to rest/sleep when I feel like I needed to and some nights were horrible, others I slept in because I felt really tired and my body was allowing me to sleep a bit longer.
Now I have to readjust myself back to my original sleep window. I feel run down today. I went to bed 30 minutes earlier than I should and woke up at 4AM and couldn’t fall back asleep.February 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm #26777
Glad you’re recovering from your illness. So far I’ve been spared from the flu this year (knock on wood.) Hope you get back on track with your sleep and things will improve for you.February 5, 2019 at 4:52 pm #26778
Have been reading this thread. Thanks for it. It’s quite helpful/hopeful. I’m finding it difficult to fall asleep initially. I can do it in front of the tv but when I hit the bed seems like I feel the anxiety creep in. How many times should one leave the bed in a night? Should I keep leaving it every 30 minutes if sleep doesn’t happen? Or at a certain point should I just stay there?February 5, 2019 at 4:56 pm #26779
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Hey Dragon. First of all there shouldn’t be a SET limit of time as far as when you should get up IMO. If you’ve been laying there for 30 minutes but still feel shot and confident that you will sleep soon, I would stay in bed. Its when you’re super anxious and know “I’m not falling asleep at all” is when you should absolutely get up. As far as how many times, well, it depends on just how bad of a case you are. If you’re new to this and its anxiety city in your head, then you must be strict to establish a connection between the brain and the bed that means sleep and only sleep. Therefore as long as you cannot fall asleep, yes, you should continue to get out of bed and stay out until you feel legitimately sleepy again. As always, do not enter the bedroom in general until you feel eye droopy sleepy. Not just “tired”. Good luck and stick around. There’s a lot of helpful advice on here.February 5, 2019 at 5:09 pm #26780
When I was in my worst phase of insomnia and didn’t know anything about sleep restriction (SR) I continued to get up all night, sometimes finally falling asleep at 5 or 6 in the morning. If I was lucky and didn’t have be somewhere or do something in the morning, I could sleep until 9 or 10. Actually, I should say unlucky, because this created bad habits of sleeping all different hours. I actually felt like I was training myself to be up all night! After I went on sleep restriction and had to get up at 6:00 it was really hard knowing I had to get up in just a couple hours or so. But on the other hand, something interesting happened. After getting up maybe 2 or 3 times and it was now 3:00 a.m. or so, I would go back to bed and just give up the fight and decide to stay in bed. Then I would eventually fall asleep. So there was something psychological about knowing I had to get up at a certain time. So make sure you do the sleep restriction along with the SC (stimulus control – getting up out of bed.) And make your sleep window the bare minimum amount of sleep that you need. That will ensure that you’re really tired when you go to bed. Once your sleep starts to stabilize, then you can increase it gradually. I was on 6 hours for the first 3 weeks and now am up to 6.5 hours.February 5, 2019 at 5:26 pm #26781
During those first few weeks of 6 hours, I was tired most of the time, because 6 hours really isn’t enough sleep for me. As I said, it was the bare minimum. But I was ok with it because I could see that my sleep was beginning to stabilize which was more important. So just warning you that you will be tired. But keep your eyes on the long term goal of being completely cured of this.February 5, 2019 at 6:46 pm #26782
Thanks for the info Mac and Deb. I’ve been suffering from this since summer last year. Have been going up and down and now in a particularly rough patch. Don’t really have confidence in my ability to sleep anymore. When I do, I can string together some good nights. I feel like I am tired/sleepy in bed, but that the anxiety of sleep is keeping me awake. I have left the bed, but only seem to when I hit a level of frustration. Then I read for a bit and try returning, but often hit the same frustration again. My current window for sleep is 11-7:15. Guess I can try lowering it to maybe 12-6 and see how that goes.February 5, 2019 at 7:20 pm #26775
Daf✘ Not a client
Mac, I think that is a very astute set of observations there… Also, I think the trick is to also always keep in mind that even good sleepers occasionally have the odd bad night, and so when one comes (which might be after weeks of good ones), to just accept it and somehow try to be cool with it….Not to let it ruffle you…And move onFebruary 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm #26785
Just warning you again, Dragon, that this will not be easy. I hired Martin because I read that this method was difficult to implement and that it was a good idea to get the support of a therapist/coach who has experience in this area. Martin helps to keep me accountable and also is there whenever I have questions, am frustrated, need to vent, etc. Also, it helped me a lot to know that there was someone who’s got my back (those on the forum do too.)
Going from your present sleep window to 6 hours will not be easy and you will find yourself fighting the urge to sleep in the last hour or more before 12:00. But in the early stages, the utter exhaustion is what it takes to override the anxiety. Every night my husband’s bedtime is 10:30 to 11:00 and I always watch with envy his going to bed while I’m sitting in the living room, fighting to keep myself awake. Fortunately, over time I got used to this schedule. My goal is to eventually go to sleep at the same time as him.
Anyway, the point is that it’s going to be hard, especially in the beginning, so you have to keep your eye on your goal. Watch for any improvement because this will give you hope to keep going. But it may not happen immediately. Sometimes things may even get worse before they get better. To do this work takes commitment and determination. As you may have read, Mac struggled with this for 2 years and finally got so sick and tired of the insomnia that she finally got to the point of total commitment and no return. That’s what it takes to do this because it’s so hard. It will get easier though, especially when you realize that you’re sleep is getting more consistent and you’re feeling less anxious and more confident. You’ll realize that hard work was worth it.February 5, 2019 at 8:44 pm #26786
Thanks Deb, yep I know it’s certainly not going to be easy. But sounds like it’s the correct path to try at this point. I guess I always am concerned about the anxiety overriding things for me even if exhausted.February 5, 2019 at 8:46 pm #26787
delv-x✘ Not a client
Reducing your sleep window will give you less time to worry about not sleeping. 11-7:15 is a bit too much I would say. The best way is to set the rise time to the time you need to get up usually So it could be 7:15 as it is but then your to bed time needs to be adjusted to say 12:30 or maybe even later.
It will suck but after a few days the sleep debt will accumulate and your sleep drive will help push you to sleep. What you want to achieve is consistency and sleep efficiency of 85% or higher.February 5, 2019 at 9:06 pm #26791
K thanks, guess I’ll try that out. Yeah my anxiety is like at a 10 right now. But hope with some consistency I can lessen it.