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- August 8, 2019 at 6:29 pm #31338
By engaging, I mean talking to it and accepting it, along with accepting the anxiety and stress that come with it. I have been accepting of the fact that I might not get anymore sleep that night and that doesn’t bother me. But after resting an hour or so I get bored and sore and start to toss and turn. I guess it will take me a little longer. I have read that for some people using ACT, it can take up to 4 months.August 8, 2019 at 6:51 pm #31339
I guess for myself I don’t remember being bored, even though I could have been laying in bed for 4 or 5 hours or even more. I think I was just in this state where my mind was wandering and I was half sleep and half awake. So the time never seemed that long and I didn’t get bored.August 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm #31340
Deb, yes! Anxiety diminished about 95%. I’m definitely going through the light sleep stage right now and last night had a ton of it but I was mostly at peace with it. I just allowed the mind to be playful and go to all the places it wanted to. My attitude was “oh, well, it is what it is and that’s ok!”. I’ll come back to report if the light sleep stage starts getting better!August 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm #31341
Sounds good, Borgesbi!August 8, 2019 at 7:27 pm #31342
Debt – One last question for today. If your mind wandered to unpleasant thoughts or urges what did you do? Practice mindfulness or just continue to let it wander?August 8, 2019 at 8:26 pm #31343
If my mind were to do that I would use the tools to let those go and then relax.August 8, 2019 at 10:51 pm #31349
burn✘ Not a client
Could you describe your experience of acceptance? I don’t think I have achieved it yet. I know I have insomnia at the moment, and I am ready to go through sleepless nights to get better eventually, but worries feelings are coming often. I don’t understand whether I am lacking enough acceptance or welcoming. I am relaxed in bed at night, worrisome feelings only come during the day. At night mind is quite active in the beginning of the night, likely due to daytime worrying.August 9, 2019 at 1:18 am #31350
I have been making the focus of each evening to “befriend” all uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, to the point that sleep is not even a priority anymore. I tell myself that “the goal” for the evening is to allow myself to feel whatever shows up without any expectations of either falling asleep or calming down. So instead of focusing on sleeping, which is what I used to do with CBT-I, my priority has become to just sit with what I’m feeling. That’s all I tell myself to do: tonight, just feel what there is to feel. How I’ve been doing this:
Because I start getting a ton of sleep anxiety in the hour before bed time, I decided to reserve this last hour to lie on the couch and simply be with all my feelings, sometimes using the techniques from the book, sometimes not. I lie down and I place a hand on my stomach, which is where I feel all of the anxiety, and I “make friends” with it by just allowing it to be there – it’s super uncomfortable, but we might as well feel it if it’s there right? . The first night I practiced ACT I spent almost 2 hours doing this – that’s how much anxiety there was in me! But eventually, after just welcoming it, sitting with it, and befriending all these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, they lost their strength and I went to bed very calm and fell asleep (I also think it happened relatively fast for me because I have been practicing mindfulness for the past 6 years, so it came more naturally) . Doing this BEFORE going to bed rather than in bed seems to have played an important part in not bringing the anxiety to bed. I did this for almost 2 hours the first night, then around 30 minutes the next 2 nights, just a couple minutes the 4th night, and didn’t really do it last night and was calm going to bed and fell asleep fine. I’d recommend not making the focus of the practice to make the feelings and thoughts go away, but rather make the focus BEING OK with just having them there with you.
I think it takes a little while to get the hang of it but when you finally “find the button of acceptance” it’s easier to just press it again the next time!August 9, 2019 at 12:27 pm #31351
Okay, I had my first light sleep last night since implementing ACT, which I take it is good news. I am using a 6.5 Sleep Window and I did my usual wind down routine before going to bed but I wonder what was going to happen as I wasn’t nearly as tired as I was the night before when I ended up tossing and turning. As has been happening recently, I fell asleep relatively easily and then woke about 15 to 30 minutes after I initially fell asleep. I grounded myself in the moment and then it took a while (another 15 to 30 minutes?) but I fell back into a deep sleep and then awoke around 3:30. I went to the bathroom and when I came back, I realized this is where my trouble usually starts so I regrounded myself in the moment again and then, because I wasn’t having any thoughts or urges, just let my mind wander. From that point on, I was in and out of sleep for the next hour and 45 minutes. But there was no tossing and turning and I didn’t (and didn’t feel the need to) look at the clock once. However, knowing I was in and out of sleep for awhile, I decided to check the clock and just as I did so, the alarm went off. So, I was in that light sleep for about an hour and 45 minutes. I feel a lot better this morning although nowhere near 100% but that’s obvious since I didn’t have the deep sleep for 7 hours or more. I am not falling to sleep at my desk this morning and can focus my eyes a little better. So not fighting anything by tossing and turning saved me a lot of energy. Normally when I wake up and I am fatigued, I still get up quickly but wish I had more sleep. This morning, I feel I could have laid there longer, even if I didn’t sleep, and I really can’t wait for tonight to see what happens. I am ready to accept little if any sleep tonight but I am hoping I get that light sleep again so I can say I turned the corner to better sleep. I think I have finally accepted things and hope this continues. One more thing. As I said, I am using a 6.5 hour SW and I was thinking of shortening it since I was spending so much time tossing and turning at the end of it. But after last night, I think I might increase it by 15 or 30 minutes soon, as long as I still am having that light sleep. If my sleep improves, I want to make sure I am ready for it by not having a restricted SW. And if I have the light but restful sleep/awakeness, that will improve my energy more than staying up 15 or 30 minutes to make sure I don’t go to bed before my SW. In short, I am really looking forward to tonight, no matter what happens!August 9, 2019 at 12:52 pm #31352
Just curious. Is anyone else here using an SR type Sleep Window while also using ACT?August 9, 2019 at 2:41 pm #31354
gsdmom✘ Not a client
Hi Steve – You sound so optimistic this morning. Since you started using ACT how long have you slept on average per night? Over the last 5 nights, I’m averaging 4 hours of sleep per night. I know that doesn’t sound good, but like you I’m starting the day feeling better and although I sometimes feel tired during the day, I am not feeling sick and tired, I can mostly enjoy where I am. Last night was not so good I only slept about 2 hours – I was uncomfortable, hot and sweaty, lots of thoughts and I didn’t do my wind-down routine, I was a bit impatient and really wanted to do the behavior I did prior to insomnia.
Like you, I am looking forward to going to sleep tonight, having the feeling of curiosity rather than dread, and I will do my quiet time routine. Hope your energy stays good as the day progresses.August 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm #31355
Sounds like everyone is making progress! Steve – for myself my sleep window was very generous because it seemed that with the light sleep, the more I slept the better I felt in the morning. Before the insomnia my usual bedtime was 11. I’d wake up anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30, and then because I’m lazy and had no need to get up early, I would doze until 7:30. When I was having light sleep, I allowed myself to sleep in anywhere from 8:00 to 8:45 when I seemed to wake up naturally. When my sleep started getting better and deepening, then I started waking up earlier. Now I’m back to my regular schedule. I’ve been sleeping well now consistently.
I’ve had some fears like maybe I’m just going through a honeymoon period and the insomnia might come back. But they’re not big enough to keep me awake. Now that I’m sleeping normally I’m realizing how strong the sleep instinct is. It’s so much stronger than this darn insomnia!
Nik – to deal with your worries during the day try doing the mindfulness exercises from the book and welcoming. Mindfulness will help you create some “space” between YOU and your worrisome thoughts. It helps you realize that YOU are not your thoughts and that you don’t have to believe all the fearful stories they tell you. When you can learn to create some space between you and your thoughts, then it’s easier to let them go. Also, when there’s some space, then it’s easier to welcome them and play with them like Steve does.August 9, 2019 at 3:04 pm #31356
Hi gsdmom. Yes, I am optimistic this morning. I have had good sleeps before with CBT-i but this feels different. Maybe because I am doing more mindfulness. And I am looking forward to tonight even if I regress and don’t get much sleep. The first 6 or 7 nights using ACT I only got about 3 hours sleep. Last night though was the first real time I let go and let my mind wander. Sorry you had a poor night last night. Just keep doing what you’ve learned so far and things will get better. I don’t want to get too excited over my sleep as I know I can have bad nights again but I really feel with the mindfulness and all things will get better.August 9, 2019 at 3:18 pm #31357
Hi Deb – Yes, I know it’s only been one night but even the light sleep is welcome. I am learning, slowly but surely, that I can sleep and I am not “broken”. I have the same fears as you that any gains I will make will be short lived but that is one of the unwelcome thoughts that I welcome. I think the thing that turned me around last night was you telling me how you let your mind just wander. My mind started wandering and I started dreaming about that old TV show CHiPS that I watch now in reruns. And as I came in and out of sleep, I knew I was doing it but I just let it happen. I am really hoping this leads to my brain knowing that it can relax and that I can start going into deeper sleep. I also am not worrying about those awakenings I have soon after I initially go to sleep as Martin keeps telling me that awakenings are normal, so I know that by now. So, no matter what happens tonight, I am accepting the fact that I may get poor sleep but it will get better. I just have to keep using the tools I learned so far.August 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm #31358
You’re doing well Steve. You’re learning to relax more and more, which is what it’s all about. You’re learning to do “nothing” instead of trying to “do something” to fall asleep. As our mind gets out of the way, then our body takes over.