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- April 19, 2021 at 1:26 am #40848
Like Rick, my insomnia began soon after I began a new semi-retirement schedule. Contributing factors were health anxiety, subsequent to having been in a car accident requiring hospitalization, covid anxiety, and life change—downsizing, new schedule, generalized anxiety as a result. I am struggling with sleep restriction, which I have begun employing. My week’s worth of sleep data shows I average 5.5 hours/night. Staying awake in the evening/past 10 is very hard for me, getting out of bed at 5 is not a problem. Also, getting out of bed and staying out of bed is very hard but for the past 2 nights I have done so on average 4 times. I have yet to stay out of bed for 30 minutes but will begin trying that tonight.April 20, 2021 at 6:24 am #40861
Hi Boylston, welcome to the forum!
Your description of how insomnia begins for some people isn’t uncommon. Life events and stressors can be the culprit of an occasional restless night but usually once the trigger that caused sleep disruption is gone, your sleep returns to normal again. When we begin to change our thoughts and behaviors toward our sleep it can perpetuate our sleep issue.
What activities are you engaged in before your sleep window starts? Are there any non-sedentary but relaxing activities that you could begin doing that could make the wait for the sleep window more tolerable? When I had insomnia and began implementing CBT-I, I experienced a similar difficulty. To help ease the wait, I’d watch TV whilst standing and I’d walk around the house during commercials.
What causes you to remove yourself from your bed – anxious thoughts, frustration? If so, what’s going through your mind while you lay awake in bed? If you aren’t aroused and are calm/relaxed, have you tried remaining in bed? The rule of thumb for stimulus control (removing yourself from bed) is 15-30 minutes but instead of watching the clock, have you tried returning to bed when you’re sleepy (yawning, head nodding, heavy eyes, etc)?
Scott JThe content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.April 20, 2021 at 8:03 am #40864
I have one more question. I am very much a morning person and so getting out of bed at 5am is not an issue. Right now my sleep window is 10:30 to 5. My sleepiness has proven to be very much around 9:30, 10pm.
Do you recommend I change my sleep window to 10 to 4:30 rather than push it to 10:30?
Thanks for the advice!April 20, 2021 at 8:15 am #40865
Boylston – since it sounds like you’re an “early bird” chronotype, like myself, it only makes sense to shift your sleep restricted window. The important elements of sleep restriction is that you retain the number of hours of the window and consistently get out of bed at the same time every morning to assist in building a strong sleep drive.
Hope that helps,
Scott JThe content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.April 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm #40863
Thanks for the reply Scott!
Last night I did just what you suggested…I walked around, did a crossword puzzle while standing. Admittedly I was sedentary while watching TV and an hour before my window, I was nodding off, only to jerk myself awake. By the time the window began, I was less sleepy than I had been and experiencing a little anxiety about going to bed.
I got out of bed because that is the directive…after trying for up to 30 minutes to sleep, get out of bed and begin anew after 30 minutes out of bed. Do you think I should not be so literal about doing that? When I returned to bed, that was the biggest stretch of sleep I had, 2 hours. Prior to last night, I would not get out of bed and would lie there awaiting sleep….sometimes it would come, other times I would experience anxiety.
I have been experiencing anxiety, although not every night. I am working with someone who does cranial sacral massage because I have alot of muscle tension in my back. This tension seems to be the source of the restlessness I experienced later in the night. In fact, it is the reason I got out of bed the last time (after 5 sessions out, at 4:30am)
This week by far has been the hardest with me averaging 5.5 hours and this number going down. Some nights, although few and far between, I sleep. It is mystifying.
I appreciate your thoughts!April 22, 2021 at 6:33 am #40885
Based on what you mentioned, do you think it’d be beneficial if you remained engaged in relaxing nonsedentary activities until your sleep window starts?
If we are watching the clock and find that we haven’t fallen asleep within 30 minutes, we might begin thinking that it’s going to be impossible to fall asleep and this increases our arousal, making sleep even more difficult. If you find yourself calm/relaxed while lying in bed, have you tried remaining in bed instead of removing yourself from the environment? The idea of implementing stimulus control is to break the association between anxiousness/frustration and your bed so if you’re not experiencing either of those emotions, you might consider simply remaining in bed as long as that continues to feel good. What do you think might happen if you stopped watching the clock?
Scott JThe content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.April 22, 2021 at 2:39 pm #40890
Well, the first night of sleep restriction was tough but the past two nights I have had more success and more sleep. Not clock watching is really tough right now as I want to collect some true data, not estimate since I am getting up so frequently. But last night, I awakened 3 times and got out of bed for good on the 4th and was able to fall asleep readily. AND today is the first day I have not been walking around in a stupor in a really long time. SO, I will experience this rather than try to plan it, which is a reason I have sleep interruption. My worries are related to planning. I appreciate your suggestions and guidance and am so grateful that I found this site! I have been very invested in the same sleep window for many years, based on my work schedule and have been very hardwired to ‘needing my sleep.’ Learning from Martin and realizing that I won’t have dreadful health consequences as a result of losing sleep and that my body will give me the minimum that I need has calmed me down a bit. And so, I will continue with this program as so far so good.
One question: I am a little confused about when I can extend by 15 the sleep window AND/OR when I can be more flexible about it. Is it after 2 weeks of sleeping successfully within this window? I appreciate any guidance you have along these lines. Thanks!April 23, 2021 at 5:06 am #40894
I am assuming you took one of the coaching sessions. I am signed up for the free one and wonder which of the subscription ones your recommend? Are there any discounts as well?
Thanks for the information!April 23, 2021 at 4:44 pm #40891
Well, I spoke too soon. I am really unsure if I slept at all but know that I dozed so I am giving myself 2 hours of sleep. I am averaging 4.4 per night, which is not adequate. Again, I did not have anxiety and so spent the early part of my window just lying there and having hypnic jerks when I was starting to drift off. Hours later I got out of bed and read some, feeling sleepy but it was not to be. My last attempt was at 3:30 and I slept until 4:30, when my window ends. In keeping with the program, even though I will be really tired, I think I need to keep my sleep window the same—10 to 4:30.
QUESTION–I suspect I just wasn’t tired enough when I got into bed at 10…if this is the case, do I get out of bed and wait to get more tired? and still awaken at 4:30?April 26, 2021 at 1:09 pm #40929
Boylston – so sorry for the delay, I took a couple of vacation days and just returned.
Both courses (free and personalized coaching from Martin) can be extremely beneficial for those seeking help but they’re quiet different. If you’re signed up for Martin’s free course, you know that it’s a daily email with instructions on how to implement CBT-I and why. Martin’s phone coaching is hyper personalized to your specific insomnia issue and both of you work together on a specific game plan to restore your sleep. Both programs still encourage the person to be committed to the program and remain patient for results before either can have benefits. I’m not aware of any discounts available at the moment.
If you’re not sleep when your sleep window begins, I encourage you to continue engaging in relaxing activities and go to bed when you’re sleepy (head nodding, dozing, burning sensation of the eyelids, etc). The most important element of implementing a sleep window is consistently getting out of bed at the end of the sleep window to start your day.
So, how have things been going the last few days?
Scott JApril 29, 2021 at 2:17 am #40959
So sorry I am just now seeing your post, hope your time off was good!
I signed up for Martin’s Online Course a few days ago. Generally things are going well, I like the sleep restriction philosophy and getting out of bed when things are not comfortable. I also have broken the clock watching habit.
I have learned that I really have a lot of microsleeps. In his snippet, Martin recommends that if they occur within a 30 min window of the start of my sleep window, then one should just go to bed. I did that last night and slept through the night, getting 6.25h last night. I am still struggling with the hours of my sleep window. I thought I was averaging 5.5h but it turns out that I am averaging 4.6 and so my window this week has been 10:30 to 4:30. I have surprised myself that 10:30 is proving to not be that painful but a few nights ago I just could not fall asleep and that is when I realized I had a LOT of microsleeps in the evening.
SO, you suggest standing while watching TV and walking around during commercials which I employed last night. It was helpful. Martin says you can take a nap earlier in the day and I will experiment with that IF I need to based on a bad night.
In summary, I am an “accordion” sleeper, a few nights good, a few nights of 2 hours or less.
Do you think my sleep window is too long?
On nights I get a lot of sleep (i.e. last night) should I go to bed later tonight OR stick to 10:30? I don’t know if I will be sleepy enough at 10:30, we will see.
Appreciate you knowledge Scott!April 29, 2021 at 7:07 am #40960
Thank you, I did enjoy my time away. I’m glad to hear that you’ve enrolled in the course, I think you’ll find it immensely beneficial when committed to it. Since you have enrolled in his course, I’d defer to Martin with those questions.
Best of luck and I can’t wait to hear your success story!
Scott JApril 29, 2021 at 8:17 am #40962
Thank you Scott!