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- February 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm #27220
I’ve been reading Guy Meadow’s book and have decided to try his method when I can’t fall asleep right away. So last night that was the case, even after going to bed exhausted. I lay in bed allowing any fearful emotions and thoughts to just come right in! After awhile they just faded away on their own and eventually I fell asleep. Think it may have taken an hour or more. I’m tired today because I slept maybe just 6 hours or less. But I’m good emotionally.
I’ve decided to take this direction because I don’t want to be controlled by this darn insomnia fear anymore. I’ve faced fears in so many other areas of my life: fear of public speaking, fear of starting a nonprofit, fear of going back to school later in life, fear of starting my own business, fear of performing music in front of people. All of these fears I’ve dealt with by letting myself experience the fear and then walking right through it.
If I had known any better at the time when I couldn’t fall asleep that first fateful night in October, the insomnia wouldn’t have become chronic. But instead of just accepting one bad night and not freaking out over it, I panicked and thus the spiral downwards began. I was afraid of getting insomnia, so guess what happened!
So I want to start dealing with this fear instead of constantly running away from it and avoiding it by trying to do everything perfectly in order to avoid a bad night. With Guy’s method, the idea is that if you can start to accept and “befriend” the anxiety with all the associated thoughts and feelings, then eventually it begins to settle down on its own. He says you’ll probably have a few bad nights in the beginning, because you are finally facing your worst fears for the first time. But as you accept them over and over again, they begin to lose their power and over time you relax more and more in bed and sleep more and more easily. It just makes a lot of sense to me. I’m tired of being afraid.February 20, 2019 at 4:25 pm #27221
I purchased Guy Meadows’s book and should arrive in a few days. I found that nights where I am too busy and just not doing anything fancy to sleep, I sleep better. I’ve had evenings where I would come home and it would be late and just head to bed and sleep. The nights where I am winding down for 2 hours in preparation for bed seems to make it worse. When I am in bed and not caring about sleep, I tend to fall asleep faster and fall asleep faster if I do wake up in the middle of the night. I just find that after a few days or weeks I get derailed. But his approach makes sense. I used to fear public speaking and have embraced it and enjoy it actually. Now I am starting to give names to feelings through the day and trying not to get to me or laugh and say “oh hello there again, welcome back”.
I am not giving up CBT-I but rather adjunct with a more acceptance approach. I will still get up and go to bed roughly at the same time. Keep my sleep window 7 hours. Realize my body’s need for sleep is as basic and strong as breathing. I am not crazy. Many people deal with this and I am not alone. What I need is to strengthen my technique for nights where I can’t get back to sleep and my body and mind is just too wired.February 20, 2019 at 7:24 pm #27222
Glad you’re getting the book, Delv. I hate to see you suffering. Guy says that the biggest problem is that we “struggle” with sleep and we use all these fear-based methods trying to avoid having the dreaded sleepless night. His methods help people stop struggling, so that they can finally relax and then naturally fall asleep.
I’m not giving up CBT-I either. I’m sticking with my sleep window and making sure I am really tired when I go to bed. And when I don’t fall asleep right away, if after an hour of “welcoming” any anxiety I’m still lying awake, I will get up. I’m thinking that may not happen often, but if it does, it does. Last night it didn’t take me that long to fall asleep, so I’m guessing that the reconditioning has been working and it’s easier now for me to fall asleep in my bed.
I feel very lucky to have been successful with CBT-I and with Martin’s coaching. My overall anxiety has been tremendously reduced. I would say that overall my anxiety has been reduced maybe 85% at this point. So now I hope to reduce the other lingering 15% through Guy’s method along with continuation of CBT-I.February 21, 2019 at 6:37 pm #27253
Thanks for the support Deb. Last few days were ok. About 5.5-6.0 hours of sleep on average. Through the day I do get waves of I want to sleep but the only place I can and was a habit for many years was the car. I would drive up the road to the dog park and 90% of the time be able to just nod off for 10-15 minutes. Ever since this issue started, the car naps are full of anxiety and I think making it worse. I am avoiding that and pushing sleep until midnight. I am trying not to care as much and just go to bed. The good news is staying asleep is getting better. I would wake up and pee and go back to bed. I am always waking up about an hour too early. Things are better but I know I am not through this. I just need to stop caring about if, how, when, why sleep.February 21, 2019 at 8:13 pm #27257
I does sound like you’re doing better, Delv. 5.5 to 6 hours isn’t too bad. It seems before there were more 3 and 4 hour nights. Also, that’s great that you’re staying asleep too. That will give you more hours of sleep. So it sounds like you’re going in the right direction.
Yes if only we could only stop caring so much about sleep and magically we were sleeping like the old days!February 22, 2019 at 2:23 pm #27274
Amen to that! Just stop caring. Guy Meadows book should arrive in a few days. Will give me something to read. Right now I do have a routine but it’s not a consistent one. Sometimes I take a hot bath, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes Ill have a banana before bed, sometimes I don’t. It’s what I feel like and trying not to make anything a must do or else Ill have a bad night. =
I’ve found weekends to be harder to stay consistent. I am more tempted to stay in bed a little longer, try for a cat nap, feel more bored. With the winter it’s harder to find activities to do. The worst are the dark overcast days. Today is sunnier, got 5.5 hours of sleepish. The sun is out for the most part so that’s good.February 22, 2019 at 2:37 pm #27275
Mac0908✘ Not a client
“Just stop caring!” So simple, right? Lol. Just an fyi, just by reading your line of “I’ve found weekends to be harder to stay consistent. I am more tempted to stay in bed a little longer, try for a catnap” shows that you have anything but the correct mindset for this. If you want to heal yourself of this traumatized nervous system and bad habit you’ve created for yourself you need 100% discipline. No thoughts of naps or lie in’s or anything. Consistency is key. Time to “wake up” so to speak. No offense at all being given here, just tough loving. Seems like you are not very strict about getting out of this. Also, while a banana before bed might seem like a healthy snack, the reality is ANY sugar consumed within hours before bedtime is a bad idea IMHO. If anything, a cup of tea or some crackers is ok. I wish you nothing but the best.
MacFebruary 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm #27276
Just curious, Delv. You say that your sleep window is 7 hours, but you’re averaging 5.5 to 6 hours. So is that 1 to 1.5 hours of wakefulness on the front end? You said earlier that you’re staying asleep better.
I don’t have trouble staying asleep once I fall asleep, but lately have been having trouble falling asleep. Is that the same for you?February 22, 2019 at 4:13 pm #27282
Actually it’s on the back end. Ill wake up between 5:00am and 6:30am (30 to 1.5 hrs earlier than I should). It’s rare that Ill wake up to the alarm clock. I find that if I have say 45-60 minutes I hope to fall back asleep. As a teenager I would be able to hit snooze and fall back asleep in a very short time. Now it feels like cortisol spiking through me. Sometimes I am relaxed but can’t sleep, sometimes I can dose off and sometimes it’s just too intense that Ill get out of bed.
One option is that I push my to bed time a bit later say 30-60 more minutes. I guess the question to myself is if my body just is ok with the status quo or is the early rise due to other factors such as worrying about the day ahead etc.February 22, 2019 at 5:31 pm #27286
“So earlier when you said the good news was that you were staying asleep better, that didn’t mean staying asleep until the alarm clock goes off. Did that mean that you were waking up throughout the night and couldn’t fall back asleep but now are able to?”
Yes, we all wake up throughout the night. When I meant I am staying asleep better is either A) I wake up unconsciously and just fall back asleep as I should B) Waking up and being aware that I am up and perhaps going to pee and coming back and going to bed and falling asleep.
I may reduce my window by 30 minutes for a few weeks and see how that goes. Over Christmas I was naturally doing so with guests and family events keeping me up until 12:45-1:30 am.February 22, 2019 at 7:58 pm #27270
Daf✘ Not a client
“5.5hrs to 6 hrs isn’t too bad….”
Just received Martin Reid’s 4th day email….Quote from it…
“……..Here’s another thing to bear in mind — the amount of sleep we get (and need) naturally changes as we get older. Here’s an excerpt from an article written by Germany’s Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. I have copied what they said, word for word because I couldn’t think of a better way of saying it myself (although the emphasis is mine):
“The average person sleeps about seven hours a night around the age of 40, and about six and a half hours a night between the ages of 55 and 60. A healthy 80-year-old will usually sleep about six hours a night. But these are all only averages: everyone needs a different amount of sleep.”
Taking this even further, a panel of sleep experts gathered by the National Sleep Foundation from organizations including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Geriatrics Society, and the American Physiological Society determined that for adults between 26 and 64 years of age, as little as six hours of sleep may be appropriate — and for adults 65 and over as little as five hours may be appropriate.
So, if you are judging your sleep based upon whether or not you are getting eight hours (or seven hours, or even six hours), you are likely setting yourself up for disappointment and more sleep-related worry — and (you guessed it) this activates the arousal system!
If you have been spending eight hours (or more) in bed because your goal was to get eight hours of sleep, I hope you now realize that this behavior is not only unconstructive but — as you learned yesterday — spending too much time in bed will actually perpetuate your insomnia!
My aim with today’s email was to help take off some of the pressure you might be putting yourself under to sleep for a certain amount of time. In tomorrow’s email, I want to build on this and help you feel even more empowered.”………………….
Perhaps for some of you, you worry about how much sleep you are getting without good reason. Maybe with an average of 4 hours you are a bit of outlier. That is me…sometimes no sleep at all, all night. Yes really! Then 2 nights of 6 hrs, then none at all. Average about 4 hrs, but not far off a norm for an old folk like me!February 22, 2019 at 10:32 pm #27296
Daf – Yes, now that I’m sleeping less, I’m realizing that the 8 to 9 hours I was sleeping before the insomnia was more than I needed. Now that I’ve been going with less sleep I’m thinking that I probably need closer to 7.5 hours.
Just curious, Daf, how many hours were you sleeping before your insomnia started?February 23, 2019 at 12:22 pm #27315
Daf✘ Not a client
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi Deb,</p>
Before insomnia started 2 and a half years ago, I guess I averaged say 6 hrs actual sleep. Even when a teenager, I was never one for loads of sleep.
I regularly used to have the odd night when could not sleep till 2am, 3am 4am even. But it always came in the end.
Then in Sept 2016 I had a health scare which meant a night of nil sleep. Now I have nil sleep nights far too often.February 25, 2019 at 12:51 pm #27331
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Slept well the last few nights. Four to be exact. Of course two of those are weekend nights where the underlying anxiety has always been less. For example Friday night I went to bed around 11:30and Saturday morning I woke up too early around 5am. If that were a work day I’d be all anxious knowing that I have to get up at 6am and what not. Instead I relaxed and fell back asleep within 15-20 minutes or so. Woke at 6:30am well rested. My usual wake up time is 6am even on weekends but lately I’ve implemented an extra half hour on weekends. Hasn’t really been an issue. However last night something strange happened where I began feeling SHOT around 9:30pm. Exhausted and that overall feeling of being unable to stay awake. The anxiety was totally overridden by this exhaustion. I went to bed at 9:30pm, insanely early for me. Had this special feeling that I was going to get a great night of sleep. Maybe a rare 7-7.5 hour night. Ended up crashing out around 10ish. Woke at 4:30 ☹ ((sighs))
One day I’ll get to 7+ hours. One day. Somehow. Someway.
February 25, 2019 at 7:44 pm #27333
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Mac0908.
Glad you had 4 good nights, Mac.