Unpredictable Sleep

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Chee2308 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #48643

    dbaldino
    ✘ Not a client

    Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving. I took the two week course from Martin. My sleep was much better. My issue is inconsistency. I will be able to sleep for sometimes a week with no issues except I always wake up after 4 hours. On a good week, I will go right back to sleep and then for no reason I can explain, I start staying awake for either three hours or the rest of the night. The only way I can get back to sleep is to take sleep aids (clonazapam). I can’t stand that I have to take that stuff to go back to sleep. Then the pattern repeats itself for days up to a week. Do any of you have advice on how to get through the sudden unexpected relapses? I am extremely frustrated. Thank you for all you do. Regards, Deb

    #48684

    Angeli
    ✘ Not a client

    Hello Dbaldino!

    I went through that too. I slept well after the course, I suddenly started waking up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. Despair was back! Getting anxious again to fulfill the commitments of the next day, she ended up taking a pill to get at least 2 hours of sleep. I realized with this that it gave gas to insomnia. In other words, she continued to direct my life, my days and nights. Every SOS pill I took she won the game and got stronger. And the cycle repeated itself. Whenever I take a medication, I give power to insomnia, and it starts stalking me again. This is all very subtle. It doesn’t make sense. It seems like a game that the more you lose, that is, you surrender and accept defeat and watch over it, the more at peace you are and sleep finally returns. With sleep everything works in reverse. I await news of how you got over it. (sorry for English)

    #48700

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    The only time you take a pill to sleep is when you think there’s something wrong with your sleep and you need a quick fix. And when you think there’s a problem, your mind automatically goes into troubleshooting or panic mode and this makes it harder to fall asleep. You also want to sleep more because you think more is better and therefore trying to override your body’s own mechanisms. In summary, you are trying to force sleep to happen because you have this fear that little sleep is equal to bad outcomes. And then guess what? Your struggle continues without end….

    #48703

    dbaldino
    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you for your encouragement, Angeli. I love the way you said it works in reverse. I understand that pills are bad. I know that the only way I can sleep is if I relax my mind. I have tapered down to .25 mg (this time) and will wean off. At that point it is just a placebo. I did sleep until 3:30 am today and believe it or not that is an accomplishment for me. I just sometimes panic when 2-3 hours of sleep goes on for up to 5 days in a row and I feel terrible. I don’t know how this can be good for my health and I still don’t understand how my brain or body “thinks” this is okay. Again, thank you for your advice and I will try peaceful acceptance.

    #48710

    Angeli
    ✘ Not a client

    Chee2308 gratitude for your input. Yes, an endless fight, as you put it. When I do CBTi and continue taking medications, I am giving my brain two pieces of information. 1- I can do it and 2- I can’t do it/ And I’m stuck in the process, drying ice. Skating in the same place. I need to drop all efforts to help my sleep, otherwise CBTi won’t work. And knowing the bad nights can return but I don’t need to run off to meds again. Before long, everything falls into place. The sleep train gets back on track. At times when I feel alertness returning at night and adrenaline building, I go back to Martin’s course and reread all the notes and copies I made of the mentors’ posts here on the forum. It reduces the madness of fear, brings me closer to reality and reminds me of what I have to do. Usually when relapses happen, it’s because I’m already doing some things wrong and increasing my sleep effort. In other words: “Does wrong that goes wrong”. (sorry for english)

    #48712

    dbaldino
    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you for all your help and caring, Angeli. I am going to try all your suggestions. I’ll let you know how it goes. By the way, your English is perfect. 🌹

    #48717

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    Hi Deb
    I’d say managing your relationship with poor sleep is key here. The issue isn’t about the actual sleep itself anymore because you’d shown yourself you can sleep.

    Pls try to stop fearing poor sleep, this is how a lot of people recover. Think of it another way, if you sleep a little poorly after a stretch of sleeping well, then the most likely explanation is your sleep drive is getting reduced after those good sleep. Isn’t this a sure sign your sleep system is working perfectly well? There is nothing else to troubleshoot and nothing to solve because nothing is broken. The faster you give up your efforts to improve, the faster your mind will settle down and then you find you fall back asleep faster, that was what happened to me and I believe many others too.

    #48734

    dbaldino
    ✘ Not a client

    Wow! Thank you so much for all your support and for helping me get my confidence back. This forum is excellent. I know I can rely on the clients in this forum to get me back on track when I go astray.

    #49905

    illiniwek9
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Chee:

    I get what you’re saying about accepting the bad nights. But what do I do when I’ve now had four consecutive bad nights?

    I’ve slept seven hours total in four nights. And half of those were on the couch around 3am two nights ago.

    I’ve been implementing CBTi for a few weeks now (12:30-6:30 window) and had really good success (one bad night a week and 80-92% efficiency the other nights).

    Then all of a sudden, things stopped working this week. I’m completely exhausted a good 30 minutes before the start of my sleep window and doze for 15 minutes or so each night. (On the good weeks, this wasn’t a problem.) But when I get into bed now, that sleep drive disappears even though I don’t feel anxious.

    Today, I’m really tempted to take whatever naps I can get just to get some sleep. I worry that lack of sleep is going to give me Alzheimer’s or lead to premature death.

    #49909

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    Hi @illiniwek9!

    “I worry that lack of sleep is going to give me Alzheimer’s or lead to premature death.”

    You already mentioned the root cause of your sleep problem. It’s always the fear of getting poor sleep that keeps it going indefinitely. As a recovered person, I am telling you this fear is completely irrational and way overblown but do you really believe me? Most likely not otherwise you wouldn’t be making such a fuss about it here. Yes, so you haven’t slept well for 4 nights but so what? Just get on with your days regardless. It is pretty common to experience hiccups along the way. Give yourself permission to have bad nights, this isn’t a contest about who’s sleeping the best or the most for the longest because nobody is judging it except yourself. Accept any sleep on any day and just move on. Don’t dwell on the past. Begin each night on a fresh page. By sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, your sleep should get pretty consistent and your emotions will settle down eventually. I get some bad nights too occasionally but it never crosses my mind to come here and ask about it or seek advice. Because I know there’s nothing I can do except accepting and moving on. Like I said, it’s all about your relationship with poor sleep and how you think about it. If you don’t think there’s a problem, then there’s none. Good luck and best wishes!

    #49918

    illiniwek9
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for the direct response, Chee. I get what you’re saying about letting it go. It’s just REALLY hard when you’re implementing CBTi techniques, have some solid results, then proceed to have FOUR CONSECUTIVE bad nights.

    That feels excessive to me. Do others have such long setbacks? Plus after four bad nights, I feel like crap, so it’s hard to not think about it. It’s with you throughout the day.

    I decided to take a nap in my recliner basically after I got up–CBTi be damned. I needed *some* sleep to feel better about the day. I’ll worry about sleeping tonight in my bed later.

    Should I keep the same sleep window? Or just go to bed once I start drifting off while watching TV? Anyone’s advice on this is welcome. Thanks again.

    #49928

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    @illiniwek9

    Thanks for sharing. But I am not going to write a long post anymore because it is not going to help you or me or anyone else by making big issues out of it. All I can say is setbacks are very common, even for recovered persons like myself, I couldn’t care less about how I sleep, all I know is my body takes care of it all by itself. And nobody is saying you will miraculously sleep well suddenly after doing cbt-i for only days or even weeks! Cbt-i isn’t a sleep generator but it does help make your nights more consistent. True recovery isn’t about sleeping well, it’s really about how you respond to difficult nights in the end.

    #49950

    illiniwek9
    ✘ Not a client

    I do appreciate what you’re saying, Chee. And I’m trying to just let these sleepless nights go. May I ask a couple questions?

    During your own struggle working with CBTi, did you experience five or more straight nights of little or no sleep? I’m really wanting to know if what I’m experiencing is normal or excessive.

    And by accepting the bad nights, do I simply stay in bed awake or do I get up and do something enjoyable? I stayed calm most of last night, just lying in bed awake, until around 3:30. I tried watching TV for an hour then went back to bed. I woke up frustrated again at my lack of sleep. But I’m seriously trying to accept these awful nights. It’s just hard on night 5.

    #49979

    Chee2308
    ✓ Client

    @illiniwek9

    To answer your questions, I don’t think I experienced 5 or more nights of poor sleep continuously. Mine was typically poor sleep one night when I hardly slept a wink, then I’d be thoroughly exhausted the next night and would sleep quite well again. I’m not sure about you, is it possible you actually slept more than you think? Try not to make this a numbers game, where you become obsessed with counting how many days you slept poorly or how many hours you slept on a particular night

    For me, now, I just stay in bed during all of my bedtime. If I can’t fall asleep straightaway, I would just lie in, close my eyes and think mundane things until I eventually drift off and fall asleep. I don’t care how long it takes, I always fall asleep in the end. I don’t get caught up in counting the minutes spent awake in bed or doing stimulus control. I found this kept me up more! When I implemented SC, the pressure to sleep increases and the frequent process of getting in and out of bed very frustrating. Now I just get into bed at X and out at Y. I don’t care what happens in between or how much sleep I got.

    #49986

    illiniwek9
    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for answering my questions, Chee, and giving me an idea of how you handle the times where it’s tough to fall asleep. This is helpful. Like you (and many others, I imagine), stimulus control does the opposite for me: it makes sleep much harder and really never increases my sleep drive for the next night. I’d much prefer to stay in bed as long as I’m fairly calm and just let sleep happen (or not).

    In reading more about ACT and watching some videos by Daniel Erichsen, the negative association with the bed is much more likely a negative association with not sleeping–it just so happens we’ve gotten used to not sleeping IN BED. That association isn’t necessarily broken by stimulus control but by accepting lack of sleep as just something that happens. Remove the fear our brain puts on lack of sleep, and it seems to follow that sleeping in bed will eventually occur.

    I definitely broke from my CBTi routine the last 2-3 nights/days simply to get SOME sleep, and I slept over seven hours in my recliner last night. I’ll take it. But I’ll also work to calm my mind to sleep in bed and only do these one-off nights when I simply need to get some sleep. Does that make sense?

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