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- June 11, 2019 at 1:19 pm #30063
flima✘ Not a client
I am just starting my second week of SR and this what I have experienced so far.
1. Simplify, simplify, simplify my bed time routine. The more I prepare, the more anxious I become and the harder it is for me to fall and stay asleep.
2. I know you are not supposed to use the clock to set your bed time. You should instead go to bed when you feel sleepy. This probably will become true once I have a well set sleeping routine. For now, it works better for me to wait until 12:00 am. I may wake up once, but can quickly go back to sleep and stay down until near my regular wake up time of 5:30 am. Whenever I have tried to go to bed because I felt sleepy (say, at 11:30), I woke up within half an hour and had a hard time going back to sleep. My sleep cycles are so out of wack at the moment that I have little room for error, I suppose.
3. Staying active during the day beats sitting down at home worrying about my insomnia. Staying awake during the day when I slept 4-5 hours is tough, but having no sleeping routine is way tougher and it has got me nowhere. CBT – I is a bitter medicine, but it works. Good luck to you all and stay strong. Better days lie ahead.June 11, 2019 at 3:42 pm #30064
Slarus✘ Not a client
Hi jazzcat22. I totally agree. The SR and SC are helping and creating a new sleep paradigm for me and that has to be more healthy in a lot of ways. While my insomnia was triggered by a thyroid crisis in February, I think there are many circumstances which I may not even be aware of that are keeping it going. I’m sticking with CBT-I and so glad I found this forum. I got six hours last night and feel really good today. It was quality, uninterrupted sleep as well. I did have to stay up past my SW bedtime before I felt sleepy but I’ve also learned to be a little more flexible, listen to my body instead of the clock, and work with it instead of letting it cause additional anxiety. (P.S. I also eat nuts every day—best way to get healthy fats and a load of nutrients in a small serving.)June 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm #30091
Good night. Bad night. Good night. Bad night. Always something it seems to cause another bad night. Amazing how on and off and hot and cold this is even all this time later.
So Tuesday night for example I had a very good night. A solid 7 hours, maybe even a touch more. Coming off of many good nights in the last week plus I was staying more optimistic than ever before, especially since I can just sense myself coming out of this more and more. Meaning that ok, I still have bad nights here and there, but overall I know for a fact I’m having more good nights than ever before. But as many of you know on here, my tolerance for these flat out awful nights is getting less and less as all this time passes.
Last night after a great well rested day, I ended up having a glass of orange juice and a piece of chocolate around 10:15pm. Sugar city I know, but I thought to myself, could this little bit of sugar really destroy my sleep? Let’s see. I was doing better after all. Anyway, 10:30 became 10:45, 10:45became 11pm, and before I knew it I felt something was happening. There was no strong sleep drive. Finally around 11:20 I started feeling sleepy, but not completely exhausted. STILL, I thought to myself maybe this is the night. Maybe this is the night where I just go to my bed and have a good night regardless.
Well, today is a zombie day. Tossing and turning last night, light awakenings at lord knows what times, waking a bit too early in general, etc.
As Deb, Steve and others who have been following my story know, my frustration doesn’t lie in being upset with never getting better. Because I have gotten better. My frustration lies in basically having to monitor myself and do what feels like a second job in order to make sure I sleep ok. Is this really what my life is going to be like forever is the question. ALWAYS worrying about how late I use my laptop, or how late I have a little bit of sugar, or making SURE I don’t go to sleep unless absolutely head nodding exhausted? Only time will tell, but it continues to not look good, and it continues to get me more and more fed up.June 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm #30092
Sorry to hear it Mac. But at least you are having many more good nights than bad nights. But I know how disappointing it is to have to deal with the bad nights. Just keep going as you are and hopefully the bad nights will get even less.June 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm #30093
Thanks Steve. I hate to get all overly negative because I know that’s bad for you and bad for the forums in general, but when I’ve been telling myself “hopefully they’ll get less and less” every week of these last 5+ months and they still happen what seems like SO very easily, not to mention my 2.5+ years of on and off insomnia in general, well it’s all just sickening to me after a while. I’m an absolute zombie today. It’s tough to feel so amazing one day and maybe even get to a point of progress where I have even a week straight of good/decent nights, and then boom, not just an “off” night, but a flat out bad night, like I had last night. I know I might sound spoiled and that’s fine to think, but this isn’t my first week of SRT or trying to get better, you know? I can only say “keep going” for so long until I feel like I’m conditioned to get at least one horrible night a week no matter what.June 13, 2019 at 1:28 pm #30094
I guess it’s time for everyone to check in and tell how they are doing. I myself am doing a little better. In the last 6 nights, I have gotten three 5.0 hour nights, two 4.5 hour nights and a very bad night of 3.5 where I was a zombie the next day. The problem for me is that I am still getting less sleep than before I started SR. And the lack of sleep is starting to hurt me as I am getting more migraines and unable to focus my eyes. I have been unintentionally nodding off before my SW as well. I am so tired I sit in a chair in the evening and next thing you know, I am out for 15 or 20 minutes. Martin told me if I feel sleepy during my wind down time, I can go to bed to see what happens. But I can’t tell when I am sleepy. I guess I must be if I am nodding off. Last night I finished up watching the hockey game on TV and sat in the chair. This was during my wind down time and I unexpectedly fell asleep for a half hour. I woke up at the start of my SW. I am going to do two things starting tonight. The first is that I am going to try to see if I feel sleepy during my wind down time and then go to bed. But I am also going to increase my SW by 15 minutes starting tonight. Over the last 6 days, I have an SE of 85%. If you take the bad night of sleep out, I have an SE of 89%. While I am not sleeping through to my alarm, I hope the slightly longer SW will give me a little more sleep at the beginning of the night. So, overall, I am slowly improving, but very slowly. At least I got a couple of 5 hour nights in. I should mention that tonight is the end of my 5th week of SR. It is the end of the third week of working with Martin , so five weeks of SR in total. This is just going so slow for me. I really thought by the end of my 5th week, I would have an SW of 6.0 hours.
How is everybody else doing?June 13, 2019 at 1:35 pm #30095
Steve, if you are at a point where you legitimately cannot keep your eyes open and are craving sleep like crazy, THAT is when you know you are tired and it’s ok to hit the hay. Right now it still seems like you’re in a bit of an “all over the place” kind of phase with your SRT. I was there too. That being said, I think you are making SOME progress which is good. It will take time, maybe longer than you would have hoped, but I do believe you will improve.June 13, 2019 at 1:37 pm #30096
Don’t worry about being negative Mac. It’s okay to vent here. I already know it’s going to take a long time to kick this. Besides, I also know you have a lot of good nights. What I wouldn’t give for a 7.0 hour sleep! Right now though, I’m just battling the dry eye syndrome that this insomnia has left me with.June 13, 2019 at 1:39 pm #30097
Thanks Mac. the trouble is, I NEVER feel that tired. So I believe you may be right. I am all over the place. Maybe once I stop these naps I will feel like that because I believe the naps are cutting into my sleep drive.June 13, 2019 at 1:42 pm #30098
Daf✘ Not a client
You are very similar to me. I’ve had it for 2 years and 9 months, on and off. Slowly getting better. In March, April and May I had just one nil sleep night in each of those three months. Yipee!
But in June I have had 2 nil sleep nights so far.
Still, it is all better than last October when I had 9 nil sleep nights… which was v frustrating because that came after my longest good spell of going 7 weeks with no nil sleep night at all.
If I get 4 hrs I feel fine, just great.
But normally my pattern is either nil sleep at all (now rarer than before) or somewhere between 5 and 6 hours.
It is tough but you just have to accept it and do the right things – the relaxing down time, not eating late and all that good stuff for the rest of your life.
But even doing that you may, like me, still get the odd night of no sleep at all for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON AT ALL.
Some research I posted on another thread said it is in our neurochemical make up.
Like you, I feel awful after a nil sleep night. But then I’m lucky enough to always follow that with a night where I get at least 5 hours and I feel great again.
Fact is you (all of us) have to just live with it and do the SC stuff and SRT to minimise the frequency of the duff nights. For me, that is my reality.
But there are worse things one could have and suffer from. That is what I tell myself.
Some friends with cancer, they have to face feeling lousy every day and with the uncertainty of it not being cured. Whereas I have good days that far outnumber the bad. I wouldn’t swap with them, so I am grateful.June 13, 2019 at 1:55 pm #30099
Thanks Daf. Appreciate all that. What did you do to begin to really turn things around? Just SRT?
Maybe it all is just in my mechanical makeup. I’m a pretty anxious person to begin with and always worried about good sleep even before this all began. Maybe this is just the way it is for me sadly.
Steve if you are never feeling flat out tired/head nodding/eyes drooping then you MUST wait until you do. Only then will you really begin this process the right way in my opinion. Believe me I went without feeling that way for a long time too. I think it was just my nervous system going haywire around bedtime and never allowing me to get that feeling again. That all changed when I came back from a Euro trip late last year and was jet lagged my first night back. I’ll never forget it. It was 9pm and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I thought to myself oh hey, I remember this feeling. After that my brain was trained to remember what that felt like and I began slowly but surely beginning the REAL journey to getting better. Obviously I still had many struggles until I finally caved and began SRT in January, but point is, its crucial to wait for that truly sleepy feeling. On nights when I have it, as I said the other day, it’s around a 90% chance I get a decent night of sleep. If I go to bed not completely shot, those odds seem to go way down. Add on some sugar before bed like last night, and well, here I am today, zombie city.June 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm #30100
Well, I can tell you Mac that my eyes do burn in the evening and I do have to keep re-reading some passages in the book I’m reading. But I don’t know if the burning is due to the dry eye syndrome or sleepiness and the re-reading of the passages is due to sleepiness or just failure to comprehend things because of the insomnia. I do know that I usually fall asleep within 15 minutes after getting into bed. I never really did that even before I had insomnia.June 13, 2019 at 2:14 pm #30101
Like you guys, I have had my frustrations too. After 7 weeks I was still averaging 5 good nights and 2 bad nights a week. Also, I was staying up until until 11:30 to 12:00 depending on how sleepy I was. But even if I was really tired when I went to bed, there was still no guarantee that I would sleep because in general, if I didn’t fall asleep right away I could be up half the night.
So my frustrations have been with having to stay up so late every night to the point of exhaustion in order to fall asleep. And even with this, I was still having 2 bad nights a week. It seemed like it was going take quite awhile for things to change.
So I decided to do an experiment and try ACT again for a few days and see what happened. I reasoned that I could always go back to SR & SC if it didn’t work or I just couldn’t stand it. Also, my level of anxiety if so much lower than the first time I did it, so it might work this time.
So I started 3 nights ago, going to bed with my husband between 10:30 and 11:00 and not waiting until I got to the point of exhaustion. The first night I was awake all night except maybe 1-1.5 hours in the wee hours of the morning. I figured that would probably happen because of my first time trying this. Fortunately that day I wasn’t a zombie because I had slept well the 5 days before that. The second night I fell asleep within an hour and was in and out of sleep all night. I got up around 7:30 and felt pretty good even though my sleep had not been concentrated. Last night it took 10-20 minutes to fall sleep and I slept solid all night, waking around 7:00. Feeling well rested today. So far, my experiment is going well. I’m crossing my fingers.June 13, 2019 at 2:24 pm #30102
So Deb, what is the difference between what you did with SR and SC and what ACT is having you do? I did ACT as well but it never did anything for me. What is ACT making you do different in this case than when you tried t before?June 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm #30108
I’m not doing anything differently than what I did before. However, before I had a lot more anxiety and became confused with the symptoms I was experiencing. After the first night of sleeplessness, I had several nights of very light sleep with a lot of dreams. I would wake in the morning completely exhausted. I didn’t know if this was normal or not and had no one to ask. So I just became confused and anxious and as a result my sleep was not getting any better. Also, I had no backup plan, so when things weren’t going well I fell into depression and hopelessness. This time I have a backup plan of going back to SR & SC if this doesn’t go well. So overall this time I’m a lot more calm. My anxiety has gone way down due to my quick response to SR & SC the second time around and my sleeping well at least 5 nights a week, giving me confidence in my ability to sleep. In addition, I’ve been on an antidepressant for two months now which I’m sure is contributing to my emotions being more steady. Also, I did have one session with the ACT people awhile back where I was able to ask my question about the light sleep and dreams and now I know that is normal.