Thought I was better – I was wrong

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #30810

    ✘ Not a client

    Almost three weeks ago, I started sleep restriction after sleeping well using sleeping pills for a month, My sleep window has been from 11pm-5am. The first 6 nights without pills were tough and I only slept 2-3 hours a night.  Then on the 7th night, I slept 6 hours straight and it was a deep satisfying sleep.  I then slept 7 nights straight getting 5-6 hour each night.  Hallelujah!!!!   I thought I was well on the road to recovery.

    Then it all crashed again.  After 7 great nights, I got only 2 hours sleep once again for the last 3 straight nights.    I am typing this now after giving up on stimulus control for the night.   I feel asleep once my head it the pillow tonight and then promptly woke up two hours later.  I went into the living room to read but never got sleepy again.  That has ben the same pattern the last three nights,

    The funny part is I am not really that tired during the day.  I am taking no naps and functioning pretty well.   I am good until about 10pm where I get so tired I can barely keep my head up.  Then I fall asleep at 11pm and wake up 2 hours later.

    I am extremely frustrated.   I plan on staying the course but any ideas on what I can do to differently?


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, just wanted to say I understand how frustrating this process is. I am not doing sleep restriction but just stimulus control. I’m have the same pattern as you. Last week  5 great nights out of 7, probably sleeping 6-8 hours, no drugs. Then the last 3 nights only 3.5 hrs sleep and this is on 5mg of ambien. I’m trying to look for work so I could have stressed myself out in thinking about interviews.

    My doctor suggested the hour before bed, dim the lights, take a warm shower, try to meditate, read a book that is somewhat boring, listen to audio books or music. He suggested trying 3-5mg of melatonin, tryptophan or valerian. None of the herbal stuff works for me though. And of course getting out of bed if you can’t sleep and no clock watching.

    I’m sure you’ve tried all recommendations posted here. Sometimes I find coloring or trying to sketch something is more relaxing than reading. I can’t really listen to music or audio book as I seem to follow along.  There are a many decent guided meditaions on YouTube, they can be very relaxing but don’t always lead to sleep. Most of the time though, when I get out of bed after lying awake, I’m too tired to read or anything, I just sit in the dark for a short time. Its awful because I am yawning and so sleepy, yet can’t fall asleep many times.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Your experience is quite common and usually occurs because your sleep confidence is still quite fragile. So, when you have a bad night (which is normal and to be expected) you are more likely to worry about that bad night and spend a lot of time thinking about it — this activates the arousal system and can make sleep more difficult on subsequent nights.

    The good news here, Ron, is that your sleep recovered in response to the techniques you implemented before, so there’s no reason why it won’t recover again. If you continue implementing what you know has helped you in the past, it’s quite likely that your sleep will get back on track sooner rather than later.

    You might find these videos helpful:

    What to do if your sleep improved after (or during) CBT-I but you think your insomnia has returned

    What to do if sleep restriction for insomnia stops working

    What to do when you still have some bad nights of sleep during/after a course of CBT for insomnia

    I hope this helps.


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you Martin for the encouragement and video links.  Very helpful.

    Another question.  I see in GSDMoms response that she is taking sleeping pills on an as needed basis while also implementing components of CBT-I.  What are your thoughts on taking a sleeping pill on a one-off basis during streaks of bad sleep.   Would it be helpful to get one night of good rest from a pill to gather strength before returning back to CBT-I and Sleep Restriction?


    ✘ Not a client

    Ok update.  I watched Martin’s videos and one recommendation that I have taken is to try to go to bed a little later.  So I moved my sleep time back from 11pm to 12pm and my new sleep window is 12-5am.  The last two nights, I have been exhausted but managed to stay awake till midnight and I fell asleep immediately.  The good news is I slept both nights till 3am so I got 3 hours of contiguous sleep each night.  The bad news is once I woke up, it has been impossible to fall back asleep.

    I feel pretty calm when I wake up, but I just am unable to drift back to sleep. I try relaxation exercise but they make no difference.  After 20 minutes or so, I get up to read but never feel drowsy again.  I am writing this again at 4:30am waiting for the sun to come up.

    I feel like no matter what time I wake up, I have lost the ability to fall back asleep once i wake up.  Is this just another bad pattern that will sort itself out or do I need to shorten the sleep window even further and stay awake even later to build up more sleep drive?


    ✘ Not a client

    One thing I try to keep in mind is the weekly average.  The first 3 weeks of cbti sucked, and all the different things I hoped would work didn’t.  And that bummed me out, and one night I did get frustrated and took a sleeping pill once I had found out I woke a 1a.  I just needed a break.  But when I look at my average sleep efficiency, week to week it is going up.  I’m falling asleep after waking much better than before, and I’m actually sometimes sleeping to an alarm.  I’m not there yet, but when I zoom out and see my sleep efficiency growing, I’m less bummed about it.


    ✘ Not a client

    TiredTwinDad – That has been my pattern as well (ups and down) but long gradual improvement. Don’t be discourage by 3 bad nights in a row – I had that too. I am in the middle of week 5 of SR. I am now getting up to 7 hours solid sleep and am asleep within 5 mins of my head hitting the pillow. However, I am still fully expecting to have future relapses and will not worry about that if it happens. Here are my stats so far:

    Week      Average Sleep Time (hrs)     Sleep Efficiency (%)

    1                 5.7                                           79

    2                5.4                                           82

    3                5.4                                           76

    4                6.3                                           90

    5                6.7                                           96


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    It looks as though you’re making great progress, wsh! Thank you for sharing — I am sure it will be encouraging for many people reading this!

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