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- October 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm #32624
aquarius740✘ Not a client
a year ago, i started experiencing moderate insomnia where i’d be awake for 2-3 nights at a time; this went on for two months (mid-october to december of 2018) and made me very anxious because i couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so i developed a healthy case of sleep anxiety (which is, unfortunately, a little tough to get rid of). in january or february of this year, my husband suggested that maybe i was just getting too hot at night because in october of 2018 we had bought a new mattress and comforter – the mattress is intrinsically heat trapping (just from the way it’s designed) and the comforter was the equivalent of a winter-weight sleeping bag, so i was basically roasting every night without realizing it. so we swapped out the comforter for a couple of lightweight blankets, and that helped immensely until the weather started warming up. in the meantime, i had started using the CBT-I technique of getting out of bed when you don’t feel sleepy, and that helped a lot because i’d go downstairs, cool off, get back in bed and be able to fall back asleep. (thanks to that technique, i haven’t had a zero-sleep night since 12/23/18!)
when the weather got warmer in may, we bought a portable A/C for our bedroom and it made all the difference over the summer. however, we’ve had some recent nights that start out warm and end up cool (so the A/C will cool the room very well for the first 4-5 hours, but then just maintain temperature after that) so i’ve been waking up an hour or two too early and getting anxious about it, but this morning i realized that it’s the same issue – i’m waking up because i’m too hot. this has happened to me for years without my understanding why; i just thought it was alarm-clock anxiety (i.e. worrying about sleeping through my alarm). but when the bedroom is cold i sleep right up until my alarm goes off, so it’s probably not alarm anxiety. and now i know how it feels to be too hot in bed – my ears and feet get warm (they’re usually cold) and i can’t get a song out of my head at 3 in the morning – and that’s exactly how i’ve felt these past few mornings. if this happens again tonight i will try cooling off first before i get anxious.
also, for the past year or two, i’ve had trouble sleeping right around my period (i think i’m starting perimenopause – i’m 42). i used to be up all night until i figured out recently that my body’s thermostat is getting messed up by fluctuating estrogen. so now, if i feel too hot and kicking off the blankets doesn’t help, i just go downstairs and do something relaxing until i cool off and get sleepy again. it really works!
sorry that this post is so long; i’ve been hesitant about sharing my story since the insomnia i’ve experienced has been pretty minor, but there is a very simple underlying cause and maybe it will help other people to look at the basic stuff first.October 4, 2019 at 2:00 am #32645
Martin Reed★ Admin
Thanks for the update!
When it comes to temperature, sleep definitely prefers cooler temperatures over warmer temperatures. With that being said, many people can usually recognize when high temperatures are disrupting their sleep — for example, feeling hot or waking in a sweat are indicators that temperature might be an issue (as can experiencing “seasonal/summer” insomnia).
You mentioned that, at the same time as you swapped out your comforter for lightweight blankets, you were implementing CBT-I techniques — specifically, you were getting out of bed when you were finding it hard to fall asleep/back to sleep. I wonder if this may have had a bigger influence on your improvements than changing the bedding or your attempts to cool off when finding sleep difficult.
Finally, the hormonal changes associated with menopause can definitely have a short-term impact on sleep — but these changes don’t mean you have to resign yourself to a life of insomnia over the long term! I think that leaving the bed when you are having a hard night and doing something relaxing until you feel sleepy is likely the key technique that has helped you improve your sleep — and if getting out of bed helps you feel more comfortable, temperature-wise, then more power to you!
Thanks for sharing your improvements with us — and do keep in touch!October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm #32715
aquarius740✘ Not a client
thanks so much for the thoughtful response. i’ve also enjoyed your podcasts!October 8, 2019 at 4:36 am #32786
Martin Reed★ Admin