- February 16, 2019 at 8:03 pm #27165
Thanks for the post Martin. I never personally felt or thought that we need to rely on these techniques forever to stay a good sleeper, but I guess my point was more along the lines of, well, just what will it take for me to get back to that normal/flexible approach when it comes to sleep? I tried it this past week and I failed pretty miserably. I miss those days of being able to just crash on a Friday or Saturday and just sleep in til whenever and have it NOT affect me in a negative way.February 16, 2019 at 10:44 pm #27169
Martin Reed★ Admin
You tried the techniques for a week — so you haven’t failed! You will only fail when you give up on the techniques and don’t implement any strategies to implement your sleep over the long-term. It took time for your insomnia to develop, it will take time to get rid of it. You’ve got this!February 17, 2019 at 2:15 am #27170
I have been implementing techniques since New Years 2019. What I meant by “trying for a week” was attempting for the first time to kind of ween off the seriousness of the strategies (i.e. Going to bed earlier than usual some nights, not going to bed completely exhausted others) and it failed. I woke up in the middle of the night for the first time in a long time and fell back asleep only to wake too early before my alarm anyway. So no, I haven’t just been trying sleep hygiene techniques for a week to clarify. I do appreciate your optimism for me. It’s try that my insomnia took time to develop and has stayed with me for over 2 years. I’m sure it may take significantly longer than 1.5 months to get rid of it completely.
-MacFebruary 17, 2019 at 7:33 pm #27171
NeuroShock✘ Not a client
Has anyone heard of a guy named Piotr Wozniak and his “formula” called “Free Running Sleep”? I’ve been reading through his article and it has unique information that I have never heard of before from insomnia advice websites:
I think it makes for pretty interesting reading, although it isn’t practical for people that work at set times.
There are a few things he says in the articles in there (all of his sleep “articles” are on one very, very long page) that are absolutely not helpful for sleep anxiety: “If you do not sleep, you die!”, “lack of sleep will kill your brain cells!”
In fact, when I read those articles, my sleep immediately got worse. So when you come across those, just skip them.
It’s best to take everything he says with a grain of salt, especially when it goes against all conventional insomnia advice.
His formula can basically be summed up as follows:
- Don’t use sleeping pills, alcohol, or marijuana to help you sleep.
- Go to bed at the right time, which is the time when you can fall asleep within 5-10 minutes. Any earlier and you either won’t be able to fall asleep (sleep-onset insomnia), or you’ll fall asleep and wake up prematurely without feeling refreshed (sleep-maintenance insomnia). If you don’t know what the right time is, you can find out via trial and error using a sleep diary.
- Don’t use an alarm clock to wake you up. Allow your brain to awaken when it wants to and get out of bed as soon as you wake up.
- Nap at the right time, which is approximately 7 hours after awakening naturally. Don’t nap too late because it will reduce the quality of your night-time sleep.
He claims that the majority of insomnia cases for people who are otherwise healthy are due to their circadian rhythm being delayed and out of sync with societal norms by several hours, and that they either sleep too early and then wake up too early or they can’t get to sleep at all because it isn’t their bedtime yet.
So, for example, Mac0908, when you go to bed at 10.30pm feeling excruciatingly tired, you might have a huge amount of sleep pressure, but your bedtime is still out of sync with your circadian rhythm, so at 5 am you wake up having “paid off” the sleep pressure before you’ve completed your circadian rhythm’s sleep phase, therefore you still feel tired. In order to wake up in the morning feeling great, you need to get the timing right by going to bed 2-5 hours later so that you start reducing your sleep pressure at the same time your circadian rhythm enters the sleep phase. This double whammy will completely knock you out within minutes and you’ll wake up refreshed. If you can’t stay up that late, then forget about stimulus control and do something to help keep you awake (watch an interesting program on TV and keep the lights on. Don’t drink caffeine!)
Allowing yourself to wake up naturally without an alarm clock is very impractical advice if you have to go to work early. However, an alarm clock will disturb the sleep process and you’ll wake up feeling unrefreshed.
If the theory is true then the best strategy (which completely goes against conventional advice) is to take a two week holiday to pay off your sleep debt, work on your anxiety, and gradually push your bedtime later by an hour every day until you come full circle to your desired bedtime, then use stimulus control and an alarm clock to prevent that bedtime from getting later and later.
This may be a load of bull****, but the theory does seem very logical and interesting to me.February 18, 2019 at 2:38 pm #27186
Finished my 8 weeks with Martin this Saturday. Increased my sleep window to 7 hours. So far, so good. Two good nights of solid sleep. Going to bed at 12:00 and getting up at 7:00. Still exhausted by 12:00 so no problem with sleepiness. Will try to shift it to 11:30-6:30 because that’s when my husband gets up. Will probably stick with this for a few weeks and then raise to 7.5 hours. May keep it there after that.February 19, 2019 at 1:45 am #27190
Glad to hear you’re doing well Deb. Even though you’re not fully there yet even after your 8 weeks with Martin, I know you’ve actually come a bit of a ways. And that’s way better than nothing, which is where I was for over two years. I hope you can (and me too of course) get out of this completely eventually. I’m sure you will.February 19, 2019 at 3:00 am #27192
Thanks, Mac. Yes I’m feeling much more confident that I’m on the road to recovery and will eventually be able to put this all behind me. But for now, am taking things slowly and cautiously. In the meantime, I’m certainly appreciating the extra half hour of sleep!February 19, 2019 at 3:25 pm #27197
dragon✘ Not a client
That’s awesome to hear Deb. I’m having difficulty myself with the consistency of things. I’ll have a couple of good nights and then follow it with a bad night. Feel like it’s something you referenced earlier Deb, if I’m not completely exhausted then I feel the anxiety building up more. Perhaps I’m not committing fully enough to the SRT. But yeah getting frustrated with the up and down nature of things currently.February 19, 2019 at 3:37 pm #27198
It’s not easy to do. It helped me to work with Martin because I was accountable to someone. I had to submit my sleep diaries to him regularly, so he would see whether or not I was adhering to the schedule. I also understand the importance of commitment after many years of experience. It’s not enough to “try” to do something. You have to commit or you won’t get results. That’s why I said to commit to 2 weeks. Maybe if you think of it in this way, that you are committing to only 2 weeks (but completely committing – not half way) then it will be easier. Either way, there will be ups and downs. But if you commit to the 2 weeks and keep a diary/record of your sleep, by the end of two weeks you should be able to see whether there was any improvement or not.February 19, 2019 at 5:04 pm #27199
I agree Deb. It goes way beyond just trying something. That was my mistake for two years until I finally had enough. I just wish I hadn’t started slacking the last week and fallen back into a poor sleep phase. I had finally began reaching the promise land and decided to test the waters too early with regards to being flexible with some of the rules. Now I know…February 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm #27201
Yes, unfortunately there’s not much room for error in the early phases. I’m still being very cautious after having 2 bad nights last week. I haven’t yet reached “the promised land” but sure look forward to it!February 19, 2019 at 6:50 pm #27203
dragon✘ Not a client
Ok I’m going to try to be more consistent now. Will do a window of 12 – 6:15 starting tonight and see how that goes for a bit.February 19, 2019 at 6:54 pm #27204
delv-x✘ Not a client
I was out of town (Vermont skiing) for a few days. Just wanted to give an update. I was anxious a few days leading up to the trip. Will I sleep ok in a hotel? How will I be able to drive for 8+ hours? Will I get anxiety? I’ve been trying to continue living my life. Not backing out on plans, working, working out etc. A trip was a bit of a big one for me since my insomnia started.
The night before I left I felt like I slept awfully and I think I logged 3 hours and 10 minutes. I woke up feeling like I really didn’t want to go but got up and figured I would rather ski than sit at home for 5 days. The drive was ok, I was tired but managed. Daytime anxiety was moderate.
First night sleeping in the hotel was rough and usually was prior to insomnia. I logged about 3 hours .
Second night I slept much better with 6 hours and 40 minutes. That afternoon I was just so tired that I laid down for 30-40 minutes just wanting to lay down and didn’t care if I slept or not and actually napped!. I was told I snored so that means I was asleep. I actually fell asleep again around 10PM for a few minutes which is usually a big no no. I was worried my night would be shot because of the late power nap but turns out I slept 6:40 minutes and slept in an extra 30 minutes.
Third night I slept 7 hours and 20 minutes. Amazing
Fourth night I slept 7 hours and 15 minutes. Amazing.
Last night was back at home and was down to 5 hours and 10 minutes with more frustration with falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up early. Wasn’t horrible but a slip in the wrong direction.
The long story short is a vacation can be a good thing. There was anxiety prior but knew I must overcome it and need to live my life. The first night or two were crap but not crappier than at home. The good nights were great. I didn’t have to worry about work, life or alarm clock. The bed was comfy and going back to my bed really is making me consider getting a topper to add a bit more comfort.
I was hoping that these few days would break the cycle. The one take away that I’ve learned before and applied was not to worry. I started to feel like who cares if I go to bed at this time or if I wake up an hour or two early. Because I knew the day was just skiing, I felt like if I could just lay there I would be happy and not only that, fell back asleep.
Not trying seems to work quite well. Just hard to apply even though it sounds super easy.February 19, 2019 at 7:07 pm #27205
I too have experienced better sleep in a different bed / on vacation. But a few days of this means nothing and will not cure you by any means
the underlying anxiety is still three associated mostly with your bedroom. You must deal with that in the correct ways to fix your traumatized nervous systemFebruary 19, 2019 at 8:22 pm #27207
Good for you, Dragon. You can do this!
Delv – Glad you had a nice vacation with some much needed sleep. Here’s an idea for you. Since CBT-I didn’t seem to have helped you much, how about checking out Guy Meadow’s book, “The Sleep Book,” which is radically different? I’m reading it now and am intrigued by his approach. He addresses anxiety very directly, but not in the way most behavioral therapists do – for example, shutting out negative thoughts and emotions through relaxation exercises or replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, etc. In his book he gives case histories of people who greatly reduced their anxiety about sleep and were finally able to relax in bed, which then naturally brought about sleep. Just a thought.