- June 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm #30013
Hi jazzcat22. What an optimistic and encouraging post that was. I can relate to so much of it. Especially the not feeling sleepy part and the miserable first week or two on the sleep restriction. I too can do okay on 6 hours a night. I got that last night for the first time in 4 months. Yesterday was my birthday so what a great a gift to get last night.June 9, 2019 at 7:24 pm #30017
Hi Jazzcat – welcome to this group. It sounds like you’re doing really well with averaging 6 hours per night when before you were having lots of sleepless nights. Glad you are enjoying your “sleepiness.”
Pam – so hard to imagine having insomnia for 18 years! Glad that you have hope to finally get better.
Borgesbi – thanks so much for sharing your post. It’s very encouraging to all of us. I think Steve has been going through a similarly rough time as you in the early weeks.
Slarus – Happy Birthday! So glad you got a good night’s rest with 6 hours!
I had another good night of 7.5 hours. Crossing my fingers that this keeps up. By the way, I say that I’m on my 7th week, but really it’s more like my 15th week since I did 8 weeks of CBT-I in January and February. I got off track for several weeks and then got with the program again in April.June 10, 2019 at 10:02 am #30024
Slarus, happy belated birthday. I’m glad you got that birthday gift of 6 hours of sleep. A lot of people would think that isn’t nearly enough, but for those of us who were surviving on much less, it’s a miracle.
Deb, sounds like you got yourself back on track pretty quickly the second time, so that’s got to be pretty reassuring that you now have the knowledge and skills to do so whenever there is a hiccup.June 10, 2019 at 12:42 pm #30026
Yes, this is all excellent advice.
I have not posted for a bit, but thought I would update now, as I seem to be gradually getting better. I only had three nil sleep nights in March to May, though June has kicked off with 2, which is a setback as the month is only ten days old. But it is a big improvement for me as in the past I had some months where I had 8 or 9 nights of nil sleep in a month, sometimes.
Fortunately for me, these nil sleep nights are not consecutive, in other words two nights in a row, which I know some others of you have suffered in the past, which must be awful
I practice SRT and SC, perhaps with a bit of mindfulness/ acceptance thrown in the mix. I also take 3.75mg (a v low dose of mirtazapine), every two nights out of three, but think effect is mainly probably placebo. But I am down from 7.5mg. I’m pretty sure I can come off it totally.
What I wanted to add is that I think though that I accept I will always have some issues with insomnia. I don’t think it is something I can ever expect to go away totally. I have had it for almost 3 years – and there has been past periods when it has loosened its grip, only to come back.
I think I have accepted this fact and that helps a lot, so when it comes back I can deal with it better.
I think this attitude has meant that when I do get the odd night of nil sleep, this has meant they have tended to be more isolated events, than being part of a series of say 9 nights in a month.
I don’t know what you all think.
My father had bad insomnia and his mother too, so I wonder if it is inherited. My Dad is going well at 92, so it does not kill you, though it does bring him down, as it does me, but a positive attitude has helped me.June 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm #30027
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Some very nice posts on here recently. Let’s keep it up.June 10, 2019 at 2:33 pm #30028
Hi Daf – good to hear from you. And good to hear that you are doing much better. I’m sure because you’re now more relaxed about insomnia, when it happens it doesn’t happen in a big way, like the 9 nights in a month.
I’ve still got a ways to go. Had a bad night again last night after 5 good ones in a row. This morning I let myself sleep in an hour so that I got 5 hours of sleep, so fortunately I’m fine today. But it would be nice to get a whole week in a row of good nights. But I’m not worried. I’m on the right track.June 10, 2019 at 2:44 pm #30029
Lovely to hear from you both again.
I always think we can hope for some promised land where we could get at least 5 and half hours sleep each and every night, but I think we, at the same time, may all have to accept that this might not happen. Perhaps being realistic is the best approach.
I think I said before that often for me there is no stressor that causes it to re-start, but re-start it does. One of these days, I think they will isolate some hormone or something that will provide the answer as to whly folks like me and many on here have the same experience – it can re-start with no obvious cause.
In my case, all I can do is celebrate that I’m generally a bit better than I was, and that if I have a night of nil sleep, I always slept OK the following night. Also, I’m grateful that once I’ve got an hour so of sleep, I can always get back to sleep, when I wake up (which I do about 3 times a night to use the toilet).
I realise not all folks on here are like me. For some it is sleep maintenance that’s the issue, for others I know they can experience days of nil sleep. (I really feel bad for them).
But at least we can all help and encourage each other. It is a great resource.
DafJune 10, 2019 at 3:17 pm #30030
Good morning all. It seems I can nod off anywhere except in my bed. After getting up twice for SC last night I fell asleep in the recliner in the family room and woke up when the alarm in my bedroom went off. This is not a good thing but at least I got a couple of hours of sleep. I had such a good night the night before last, I was a little surprised that I couldn’t fall asleep in bed last night. Strange thing, this insomnia thing. It’s been four months now and it seems relentless. Is anyone else concerned about what this lack of decent sleep is doing to our brains, our hearts, and other vital organs and functions? It is starting to get a little scary and opening up a whole new line of anxiety, worry, and stress to deal with for me. It is so nice to have this forum. Just being able to express thoughts and fears to others going through the same issues is helpful in itself.June 10, 2019 at 6:55 pm #30031
I used to worry like that too. I still do a bit.
I often sleep on couch. So what, it’s as good as bed!
But in the scenario you describe I will tell myself this…”Your body has not forgotten how to sleep. It is just not ready to right now. But when you are tired enough it WILL sleep, because your sleep function knows that your body needs the sleep. So, it will trump any anxiety you have….And you will fall asleep. So be patient and in the meantime as Martin says in one post… Just try to relax and see what happens. Say this: If I don’t fall asleep tonight, it’s no big deal, I’ll still get some rest. ”
I hope this helps.June 10, 2019 at 7:29 pm #30037
Daf, looks like you are doing much better. Yes, it would be nice to have a guaranteed 5.5 hours of sleep every night, but as long as we average that and don’t have m/any nights back to back of no sleep, seems like we can manage. Accepting reality relating to sleep as well as anything else in our lives gives more peace and frees up our energy to tackle issues that we can more readily solve.
Slarus, perhaps you would have fallen asleep in bed at the same time you fell asleep in the recliner had you been in bed. That’s one of the negatives of CBT’s stimulus control—while it’s training us to view bed as the place we sleep it can prevent us at first from getting back to the bed to sleep. Eventually you will get to the point where there aren’t as many microsleeps that instantly put you to sleep and you will recognize signs of developing sleepiness.
You ask what this limited sleep may be doing to our brains, hearts, and other vital organs. I worried so much about this—even bought some stupid supplements that were supposed to help ward off dementia! But I’m happy to report that in my nine months of very little sleep, there were no detrimental effects other than some fatigue and dry eyes from keeping my eyes open for 40 hours! Lab tests came back normal. If someone next to me in yoga sniffled I cringed, sure that I would come down with a cold because my immune system must be so out of whack after all those terrible nights. Never even got a cold this winter!
Of course it’s possible that I will experience medical issues in the future, even now that I am sleeping 6+ hours a night. At that point I won’t ever know if it the lack of sleep led up t the medical problem or whether it was unrelated. I’ve never been 65 before so I don’t know what to look for, what to expect—I just know that I can only take it one day at a time. And in some ways I feel better than before all this happened–may be sleeping better than even before the insomnia, now know what’s important, am more grateful than ever for some energy and feeling good.June 10, 2019 at 11:56 pm #30053
Hi Daf and jazzcat22. Thanks for the encouragement. In addition to just turning 77 years “young”, I’m a 24/7 caregiver for my husband who has dementia. It was hard when I was sleeping so it is really tough trying to keep up with it all with little or no sleep. One would think just the sheer exhaustion of my situation would knock me semi-unconscious every night when the opportunity for sleep comes around but it is just the opposite. I think CBT-I will eventually work and I need to just keep working the program and not worry so much.
I agree that the SC can be a problem in getting back to bed in time but I still think it is better to get up and go to another room even if it means less sleep overall for the night. I just need to not get quite so comfortable when in the SC mode.June 11, 2019 at 10:36 am #30056
Wow, Slarus—24/7 caretaking plus insomnia—not an easy combination. But you seem to have a really good attitude. I can see where your caretaking duties would make you tired but wired and place you in a constantly vigilant state. But the SC and SR will help you get more restorative sleep in a compressed frame, so while it may be technically less sleep, it’s better sleep. It’s kind of like eating nuts, which I do daily. Many people avoid them because they are high in calories and fat (albeit good fat). But they are nutrient dense, so it’s easy to watch my portion and be satisfied.
I couldn’t admit this anywhere else because it’s so irrational, but when I posted that I was a bit fearful that I would jinx myself if I posted about my success I wasn’t kidding. But it does seem that this blessed new pattern is here to stay (at least until a challenging night comes along and at that point it will be just one night and not “I can’t take another no/low sleep night again.”
Last night I got 7 hours! I truly can’t tell a difference between 6 and 7. I know some of you can, but I don’t perceive a real advantage. But the 7 hours shows me once and for all that I don’t have a hormonal/neurochemical imbalance. I don’t even have a psychological imbalance where I need to do sleep rituals any more! Freedom and peace of mind is so restorative—for me, that is the true prize and not 8 hours sleep!June 11, 2019 at 11:56 am #30060
It’s been awhile since I posted on this thread although I have been monitoring it. Martin suggested for the time being that I avoid reading some of the threads on the forum as some of the messages wouldn’t help a person trying to beat insomnia. I agreed with him and so just monitor this thread and skip the other threads. Since everybody is checking in though as to how they are doing, I thought I’d write today. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights were relatively good sleep nights for me as I slept 5, 4.5 and 5 hours om those nights. Last night though I regressed and only slept 3.5 hours. At least it was in one chunk. I kept thinking I might fall back to sleep so didn’t practice SC until 4:15 in the morning when I got up and sat in a chair for about 15 minutes. When I went back to bed, I still couldn’t sleep so I was stuck with the 3.5 hours of sleep for the night. Boy, what a difference that hour to an hour and a half make. I am back to being a zombie again this morning. Yesterday morning I felt really good and could concentrate on my work. It’s a lot harder today. I am hoping I can get back on track tonight. I miss those greater than 85% SE numbers. I see that a lot of you are beating insomnia by your recent posts. Congratulations and I hope you continue to do so.June 11, 2019 at 12:16 pm #30061
Mac0908✘ Not a client
Last night something different happened. My sleep drive came on around 10:30p. Lately I’ve been doing what Deb mentioned a few days ago. Going to sleep as long as that strong sleep drive shows up. As long as that exhaustion and head nodding comes. With this, I’ve ended up having a lot of good nights. My sleep anxiety in general is back down to a super low level again so any kind of sleep window has kind of been put on the back burner for now. But anyway, I was adamant last night about staying up to watch something on television. Long story short the sleep drive seemed to slowly disappear as I forced myself to stay up. A half hour later around 11pm I went to bed, not as shot as I was 30 minutes earlier. Long story short, I didn’t have a great night. I woke up a bit too early and while I may have been asleep for approximately 6.5 hours, overall I feel like my sleep was bad quality. I’m very tired, so that tells me something was very off. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.June 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm #30062
I find that happens sometimes to me as well. I am very sleepy but stay up to my SW and when I do, I am no longer that sleepy and I have a poor night. Martin told me from now on, if I feel sleepy anytime during my wind-down time, which starts one hour before my SW, then just go to bed and see what happens.