Want some expert advice to improve your sleep? Get the free insomnia sleep training course!
- June 5, 2019 at 4:17 pm #29954
Hi Karen. I hate to give you a standard answer of everyone is different but unfortunately that’s how it is. I am in my 4th week of SR and I have a 5.5 hour SW. My first week of SW I had about 2.5 hours of sleep each night average. The second week I had about a 3.5 hour average and the third week I got it up to about 4.7. But then I had a setback and the last three nights it’s been no sleep at all, 3.5 and last night 2.5. It’s just the way it is as your mind and body need time to rebuild it’s broken system. I know it will probably take me a couple months to get where I want to be. I wish it was sooner but that’s the nature of the beast. I know how tiring this SR can be but stay with it as change will come. I just can’t tell you when.
As for you falling asleep in the hour before your SW, that happens to me a lot as well. I find it helpful to move to the hard floor at the start of my wind down time as I keep falling asleep when I sit in a comfortable chair. The naps I end up taking really do a number on my sleep drive which is why you need to try to avoid them. Light cleaning is okay to do while you are waiting for your SW to start but I wouldn’t do it in the last 30 to 45 minutes of your wind down time. As for the meditation, that isn’t a problem.June 5, 2019 at 10:27 pm #29958
Karen✘ Not a client
Thank you! What are some activities that you all do in that last hour before bed or after waking up to stay awake?
June 5, 2019 at 10:43 pm #29961
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Karen.
Karen – Here is a list that Martin, this site’s creator, put up awhile back to help us think of things to do while we are waiting for our SW to open. Some of them could even be used if we awake and have to get up.
* Choose clothes that you can wear the next day
* Make your lunch
* Marinate or start to prepare food for dinner the following day and store it in the refrigerator
* Gather old bills and statements and shred them
* Organize collections: photos, old letters, wine, books, or other items
* Catch up on laundry or folding clothes
* Polish your shoes
* Iron or mend clothing
* Do some stretches
* Go for a walk
* Give yourself a pedicure, manicure, or facial
* Sweep or mop the kitchen floor while no one else is there to walk on it!
* Sort out junk mail
* Play solitaire (with cards)
* Call friends who live in other time zones
* Clean out the refrigerator
* Make a grocery shopping list for the week
* Create a detailed menu for dinners
* De-clutter your coffee table, dining room table, kitchen countertops or desk
* Create a list of activities that you’d enjoy doing on weekends and vacations
* Work on photo albums or scrapbooks
* Choose one or two drawers to clean out (in your desk, kitchen, bathroom)
* Organize collections of CDs or DVDs and choose some to donate or sell if you no longer enjoy themJune 5, 2019 at 10:55 pm #29960
Karen, I read, color in my coloring books, pay bills, do crossword puzzles, write in my journal, work on my genealogy project on Ancestry.com…….anything kind of quiet and relaxing.June 8, 2019 at 3:31 pm #29987
How’s everyone doing? Mac? Steve? Slarus? Delv? I saw on the thread “Encouragement” that Borgesbi is getting better. Borgesbi – maybe you can share your progress here as well to encourage others. You’ve had insomnia for a couple years like Mac, so it’s great that you’re finally getting better.
I’m doing better. Had a couple rough nights the beginning of the week but now I’ve had 4 good nights in a row with the last two nights of 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep. I only had to do SC once this week. I’m also getting to the point where I don’t have to worry so much about my wake up and get up time although in general, it’s pretty consistent. As long as I’m tired enough when I go to sleep, I do fine even if I sleep in a bit or lie in bed for awhile before getting up. So things are getting more relaxed which is great.June 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm #29990
delv-x✘ Not a client
Things are okay. As you know I had such a good stretch of consistent nights with little complaints. Then this bout of poor nights stringed together for 2+ weeks. 2 nights ago I had my first night without resorting to getting out of bed. SE was 90%. Last night I had 4 hours in one block and then another 2.5 hours of I really don’t know if I slept.
I am not that worried because I can’t really control sleep (amount of it). So i’ve stopped trying but allow enough rest if needed. I am worried that before this began I was getting 6-7 hours and now in the 3-4 range but I can’t really do much about it.
What I believe works best even more than stimulus control (also important) is sleep restriction. It’s like putting out a dish of food for a cat for 10 minutes a day. It may not be hungry or want to eat much but after a few days it’s less fussy.
The big shock to me has been that I used to be able to just lay down even if bored and either just dose off or lay there quietly. Now if I can’t sleep, I get anxious and then just feel the need to get out of bed. Damn anxiety!
Long story short is things are ok. Onset isn’t really a problem for the most part. It’s maintenance. I get 3-4 hours and feel like it was deep sleep, I feel too awake to dose back to bed for another 2-3 hours. I still try and I may be getting more sleep and having sleep state misperception/paradoxical insomnia to some extent.June 8, 2019 at 7:16 pm #29992
Hope things start getting better for you soon, Delv. Yes it’s that darn anxiety that always gets in the way.June 8, 2019 at 7:35 pm #29993
Hi Deb. Thanks for asking. I was doing pretty good on my SR and staying with my SW and then things went crazy and I stopped sleeping. i got so exhausted that I fell asleep for 4 hours one afternoon. I’m sure you can about imagine how that messed me up for a couple of nights. NEVER lean the recliner all the way back when totally exhausted. I paid the price for that little nap! I’m back on target now and extended my SW a little. I think trying to be so rigid with it caused too much anxiety which was probably why I fell off the SR wagon.June 8, 2019 at 8:11 pm #29998
Glad you’re back on track, Slarus. Yes, no point in having a sleep window that just causes more anxiety! When I got back on track 7 weeks ago, technically my sleep window should have been 6 hours but I set it to 6.5 because less than that just caused me anxiety. It’s worked out fine.June 8, 2019 at 10:34 pm #30001
Hey everyone! Deb mentioned copying and pasting my post from another thread over here to help the ones who might be having a tough time. I think it’s possible I might have had the roughest and longest start with CBTI we’ve seen around here, so maybe for the ones who don’t see improvements for a long time, my story can offer some hope (nd if not, please introduce yourself, would love to know of someone else who had a rough start too, ha!).
I’m nowhere near healed from insomnia but I can tell there’s been some improvements that I’ve been excited about and I’ll say this: a good attitude about setbacks seems to be playing a fundamental role in getting better, and Deb, thank you again for making a strong point on this before.
Here it goes:
It does help knowing that the improvements we’re supposed to see are gradual, slow, and not perfect. The way I was introduced to CBTI gave me the idea that in just 6-8 weeks my sleep would go back to normal completely, to its original version. Now I understand that it’s more about creating a new sleeping pattern that is (way) better than insomnia and not so much about going back to sleeping the way I used to (which was awesome). Maybe one day I’ll get there, but for now I’m happy with the improvements I’m seeing and I’ll take that over insomnia any day!
It’s also good to understand that for a lot of us this is quite a process – it’s like the brain is learning how to sleep all over again, and any major learning process takes a lot of time and does involves setbacks. When I first started SR and SC I was also zig-zagging between the bed and the couch several times through the night ( I think it went on for 4 whole weeks every single night!), and that no longer happens! These days I’ll either just wake up for a few mins and go back to sleep really fast or I’ll get out of bed only once for not even 30 minutes as I’ll get sleepy soon enough. It’s really cool to see these small changes and they make me hopeful that changes will continue to happen even if I have setbacks. One thing that still bothers me is when I stay in light sleep for several hours (that state between awake and asleep) – this usually happens in the 2nd half of the night and I hope with time this will go away as well.
My experience with CBTI:
First 5 weeks: Really rough! Averaged 3-4 hours of sleep every night
6th week: First good week. Averaged 5-6 hours of sleep
7th week: Rough again. Averaged not even 4 hours of sleep
8th week: Good again – Averaged of 5 to 6 hours of sleep
9th: We’ll see and I’m ready to deal with rough nights with a positive and calm attitude (as much as possible)
One thing I’ve loved experiencing since I started CBTI is the sensation of being sleepy! I love that feeling of being sleepy and I hadn’t felt it at all for the 2.5 years of having insomnia. I would feel severely tired and extreme mental fatigue, but never sleepy. This in particular helped me stick with CBTI through those first 5 rough weeks – I could tell something really new and different was going on with my body (feeling sleepy for the first time in 2.5 years is no small thing!). I think especially if you’re not seeing great improvements right away, it’s helpful to try to find just one or two things about CBTI that show you something new is going on in your body; a small clue that something is changing.
Stay strong everyone! Even if it takes you several weeks to see improvement, keep following to protocol, you’ll start seeing improvements at some point!June 9, 2019 at 1:03 am #30002
Hi everyone. Still working with Martin and he had a suggestion. It seems I was falling asleep a lot before my SW began so Martin said that if I feel sleepy during my wind down time (up to an hour before my SW) then go to bed and see what happens. While I was following my SW religiously, I think I was maybe following it too religiously. Last night was a good night for me. The first 4 and a half hours was in one block followed by two 15 minute blocks so I had my first 5 hour sleep in a long time. But as we all know, every night is a new night. Anxiety is still a problem for me also but I am learning to deal with it. My problem is that due to lack of sleep, I tire easily and when I tire, anxiety comes on. And when anxiety comes on, I can’t sit still. I have to be moving or I get more nervous. I was able to take my motorcycle out for a long ride today as well as do some other things like mow the lawn so I am super tired tonight. Whatever gets me to sleep so my body can retrain itself to sleep in my bed.June 9, 2019 at 1:24 am #30003
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Really enjoyed reading Borgesbi’s story and seeing how he has had success. Not too many on here that have 2.5+ years behind them in dealing with sleep issues. Still hoping to hear an in depth tale of success that meant completely being healed from Insomnia.
I’ve been doing ok the last couple of weeks since my awful breakdown. I’ve been waiting for my sleep drive to come on whether that means 11pm or even 12am on a few select nights. Typically though I try and avoid going to sleep before 11. I think I’ve realized through trial and error one thing… As long as I have that brutal sleep feeling before bed, and it’s at least 11pm, I have around what I’d say is a 90% chance of having a decent night. Those are pretty nice odds and I’m ok living with them right now.
The sleep drive is so important, but as noted in my breakdown rant a couple of weeks ago, I just wonder if I will ever get to a day where I can go on without it. Where I can just hop into bed slightly tired and eventually drift off to a regular 7 hour night of sleep. Until then, this is going to have to do for now. But overall, I’m doing quite well at the moment.June 9, 2019 at 3:40 am #30004
Steve, I had to loosen up on my SW too. I was being way too strict and anxious about it and it started showing up in my inability to fall asleep or get sleepy at all.June 9, 2019 at 4:13 am #30005
Pam1129✘ Not a client
This forum is so wonderful…. I’ve so appreciated those of you sharing your stories … My insomnia started about 18 years ago , and this SR; although very difficult at times , I think it was Borgesbi that said he would get very tired and fatigued but not sleepy….( same here ,I’m very sleepy by 8 pm , YES, but too early for bed) I could never differentiate between those three ! Because im staying up ; and trying to stay awake ,I have for the first time in a very long time gotten to that sleepy feeling and for the most part I fall asleep quickly…. still waking after about 1-2 hrs ( which is/was my normal pattern )
martin mentioned a book in one of his emails; The Effortless Sleep by Sasha Stephens, I ordered it as soon as he mentioned it , when I got it , I read it that night !
Im excited for all this great information , I feel for the first time in a LONNNG time , this WILL be OVER soon!
Sasha points out and feels this is the most powerful aspect of the program : the need to ‘Replace negative sleep talk with positive statements’
I’m not gonna lie , it’s a bit of a struggle and what I say about my sleep isn’t the whole truth YET , that’s now my goal, being positive and only talking of the ‘great night of sleep i had’ So TONIGHT is going to be EVEN BETTER!!!😃
Lets ALL HAVE A GREAT NIGHT OF SLEEP!!!! Amen !!!June 9, 2019 at 6:58 pm #30011
I’ve not posted much, even though I’ve been doing Martin’s program for the past seven weeks. First couple of weeks I didn’t even want to post. I was so miserable, not so much because of the sleep window (which at 5.5 hours was twice as long as I was averaging over the last nine months, with totally sleepless nights, occasionally four to five hours, and usually just a couple) but because I was sure I wouldn’t make any progress. I never felt sleepy, so staying up until 12:30 wasn’t too much of an issue. Even stimulus control wasn’t bad—anything beats lying in bed for hours. But I didn’t see how the program could work for me if I was incapable of feeling sleepy. And it seemed like so many of you had problems which were different from mine—getting more sleep than me but still feeling lousy, able to fall asleep but then not stay asleep. Or having poor quality sleep.
But I persevered with Martin’s help (couldn’t have done it without him—also Daniel Erichsen). Stopped all pills and supplements (which never worked anyway). And in the third week I had reason to feel optimistic because I experienced my head nodding and book dropping when reading while waiting for my sleep window—a true sign of sleepiness that I haven’t experienced for 9 months! And I fell asleep in 5 minutes (faster than pre-insomnia days!).
This is continuing. Had one or two low sleep nights of 1.5 hours and 4 hours, but no totally sleepless nights since. Getting anywhere from 5 to 7 hours. Averaging 6 may not sound a lot to some of you, but it’s double of what I am getting. I don’t want/need to strive for me. I do fine on 6 hours.
I may have a sleepless night in the future, but I think I will handle it better since I now know I can get back on track—and will be more aware of when anxiety is overtaking me. I honestly didn’t realize I had all this hyperarousal since I appear to be an outwardly calm person who does lots of meditation and yoga, but somehow the mindfulness and equanimity weren’t carrying over into the bedroom at bedtime. I had some short-lived panic attacks before the CBTI—first time in 65 years—crazy that the prospect of sleep (or even no sleep) caused it.
I’ve held off writing this because I still have a few irrational beliefs and almost felt I could jinx myself by doing so—but at least I am recognizing it as irrational and don’t want to give in to it, so I am instead embracing the new-found calm and strength I am enjoying and trying to show you that even a hard-core case like me can improve and liver her life again, feeling happy and healthy…