- May 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm #29280
I’ve been struggling with insomnia for the last year and went through a terrible time with it a few months ago. I’ve done the sleep restriction a few times and it’s helped a lot. However now I feel like my progress has stalled. I sleep well most of the time but still have 1-2 bad nights a week. Can I get my sleep better than this or is this the best it will get?? I’d love to get to the point that I only have 1-2 bad nights a month (or even less!) Im just not even sure if this is a realistic expectation and I’m not sure what else to do to help my sleep.May 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm #29391
Hi Julie. Can I ask you a couple of questions? I would appreciate your honesty in answering them. The first is, where did you take your CBT-i course? Online or in person with a trained sleep therapist? The second is, did you follow your Sleep Window religiously? And the third is, did you practice Stimulus Control religiously, such as getting out of bed after 30 minutes if you aren’t asleep, and even if it means getting out of bed 2, 3 or 4 times a night? Thanks you for answering.May 16, 2019 at 1:28 pm #29392
Hi – Thanks for your response. I didn’t actually take a cbt-I course. I saw a local sleep doctor who gave me a handout about sleep restriction and sent me on my way, so I guess I’ve really just been doing it on my own. I have followed my sleep window very closely but not perfectly. I do often get out of bed when I can’t sleep but I could definitely do a better job at that. I usually either sleep great or don’t sleep at all so I give up getting out of bed after while because I’m just too tired! I’d really like my sleeping to get even better but I’m just not sure if it’s realistic or not and what I can do about it! Thanks!
JulieMay 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm #29393
Martin, the owner of this site, will be along to answer your questions specifically. But in the meantime, I can suggest one thing. The first is to take either of Martin’s sleep courses. The first one is free and the second one is a paid course. He is very good at what he does and many of his clients have only good things to say about him. I took his free course and am doing Sleep Restriction now. While the course is free, he has never failed to answer any of my questions I have asked him. Both of these courses will be a lot more involved than the handout you received. You can find info about them by clicking on the Resources tab in the menu at the top of the page. Read it over and get back to him with any questions you may have. Good luck to you.May 17, 2019 at 12:15 pm #29415
I’ve gone through Martin’s free course already and did find it very helpful. I’ve been considering his paid course for awhile and have just been hesitant to spend the money. I guess I just wanted to make sure that it was possible to see better results than I have been getting so far.May 17, 2019 at 4:14 pm #29421
I’ve had the same issue as you. I went through the paid course back in Jan-Feb and the whole 8 weeks I averaged 5 good nights and 2 bad nights a week. Like you, I either fell asleep right away and slept through the night or was up all night. I also was not good at practicing SC (getting up) so the bad nights were always really bad with me being awake half the night or the entire night. I got discouraged, feeling like I had plateaued and that it was never going to get better. So I took a big detour for a couple months and unfortunately got really bad again. So 3 & 1/2 weeks ago I hired Martin again, got on the program and started getting better again. I’m much better now, averaging 6 to 6.5 hours per night and this time it seems like the bad nights are disappearing for the most part. If I have to get up it’s usually only once so I don’t lose that much sleep.
Martin has a video where he talks about these “holdouts” or bad nights that are taking longer to go away. Click on the YouTube icon on the bottom of the page and it will take you to his videos. He says that you just need to persevere and that eventually they will go away.
I would recommend that you get back onto sleep restriction again and stick with it until these go away. I think that if you’ve just relaxed and are trying to just sleep like a “normal person” and like you used to, it won’t work. I saw this happen with another person on this forum. He relaxed too soon because he was having mostly good nights but then the bad nights came crashing back in again. Now he’s back on the program and doing better. We need to stick with the program until we are COMPLETELY HEALED. You also need to make sure you include doing the SC as well, because otherwise you’re continuing to train your body to associate the bad with wakefulness.May 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm #29476
Thanks Deb for taking the time to write! It’s so encouraging to hear about people with similar issues who are doing much better! I was really starting to get discouraged and thinking that it wasn’t ever going to improve… but after reading/hearing of some success stories, I feel so encouraged and motivated to keep going! I do think I’m going to enroll in his paid course… I could really use someone walking through it with me! Also, thanks for telling me about the youtube videos… so much helpful information in them!! 🙂
JulieMay 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm #29477
RoyN✘ Not a client
“I would recommend that you get back onto sleep restriction again and stick with it until these go away. I think that if you’ve just relaxed and are trying to just sleep like a “normal person” and like you used to, it won’t work. I saw this happen with another person on this forum. He relaxed too soon because he was having mostly good nights but then the bad nights came crashing back in again. Now he’s back on the program and doing better. We need to stick with the program until we are COMPLETELY HEALED. ”
Deb, I agree and have made this mistake for each of my bouts with Insomnia. After a few decent nights of sleep, I am always tempted and have succumbed to going to bed too early and expanding my sleep window too soon. The result is usually a fragmented night of sleep. However maybe an even bigger mistake I make is revolving my entire life around setting up for a good nights sleep. I think it is very important to try and live life like a normal person, while always maintaining the sleep window no matter what. Difficult to do but maybe more important that Stimulus control.May 18, 2019 at 10:02 pm #29478
Yes we need to put our life before sleep, not the other way around.May 21, 2019 at 5:13 am #29534
Martin Reed★ Admin
Such great support in this thread — thank you to everyone who contributed!
The good news for you Julie is that you know sleep restriction works — you mentioned that you’ve tried it in the past and it has helped a lot. Let me also reassure you that it’s very common to be stuck with one or two “holdout” nights each week as you work on improving your sleep.
These nights can be discouraging, but it’s so important to stick to your guns and continue being consistent with CBT-I techniques. If you want your sleep to be consistently good, you need to be consistently good at implementing the techniques. If you are consistent, those holdout nights will slowly begin to disappear.
Just in case you couldn’t find the video I recorded about this (or for anyone else reading this thread) here’s a link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlfO0nm-WHY
I hope this helps!