Insomnia Coach will stay open as normal and continue to accept new clients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Kristina dealt with anxiety, worry, and stress as her insomnia shifted from difficulty staying asleep to difficulty falling asleep (#38)

Kristina had a very stressful job. One night, her husband woke her suddenly after experiencing a really bad nightmare. This event seemed to trigger the release of a lot of anxiety that had been building for some time and Kristina was unable to fall back to sleep. Unfortunately, sleep proved to be difficult on subsequent nights, too — and this created even more worry and anxiety.

At first, Kristina found that she could fall asleep but would wake in the middle of the night with a racing mind and find it hard to fall back to sleep. This then shifted into difficulty falling asleep — and this change created even more anxiety and sleep disruption.

After trying lots of things that didn’t seem to help, Kristina started to do things that are known to starve insomnia of the oxygen it needs to survive. Instead of chasing sleep by going to bed earlier and staying in bed later, she started going to bed later at night — when she felt truly sleepy enough for sleep, rather than fatigued. She got out of bed by the same time each morning — no matter what. Whenever being awake at night didn’t feel good, she did something more enjoyable instead.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Kristina decided to work on shifting her focus back to the present moment and what was in her control. She engaged in things each day that helped her continue to move toward the kind of life she wanted to live, independently of sleep and even in the presence of difficult thoughts and feelings.

How Deeandra reclaimed her life from insomnia and got her sleep back on track without medication (#37)

Deeandra always slept well but a stressful period in her life led to 48 hours of no sleep whatsoever and this generated a lot of anxiety. Deeandra started to panic and thought that she had lost the ability to sleep. Doctors gave her different medications that didn’t always seem to be helpful and came with their own set of side effects. For three years, Deeandra put her life on hold while she engaged in a long list of rituals and experiments in an attempt to improve her sleep.

Gradually, Deeandra moved away from trying to control sleep and avoid nighttime wakefulness. She started to go to bed only when sleepy enough for sleep. She decided to live her life regardless of how she slept at night. She started to do things she’d withdrawn from — she no longer canceled plans, she started to exercise again. Little by little she reclaimed her life from insomnia — and her sleep began to improve.

Today, Deeandra averages around six to seven hours of sleep. She still has difficult nights from time to time but they no longer have such an effect on her life. In Deeandra’s own words, “life is about the time we spend awake, not the time that we sleep”.

How Wayne improved his sleep by thinking of sleep as a friend that doesn’t need to be controlled (#36)

Wayne’s experience with insomnia began when he was preparing for his board exams. Because he needed to get up earlier than usual, he started going to bed earlier than usual. Unfortunately, this made it harder for Wayne to fall asleep — and, as a result, nights started to become stressful and he began to experience a lot of sleep-related anxiety.

Ultimately, Wayne got his sleep back on track by recognizing that sleep is a natural process that doesn’t require or respond well to effort. He started to go to bed later at night. He started to make some space for difficult thoughts, feelings, and emotions rather than trying to fight them, and he reminded himself that sleep always happens in the end.

This process took time but today, Wayne thinks of sleep as a friend — not as an enemy or something to be feared. He no longer puts pressure on himself to sleep and he no longer puts any effort into sleep. As a result, he sleeps well and is living the kind of life he wants to live.

How Felicity transformed her relationship with sleep by practicing new sleep habits, being kinder to herself, and living life independently of sleep (#35)

Felicity had struggled with sleep, on and off, for her entire life. Usually, her sleep would get back on track after a few months of sleep disruption — however, when sleep issues returned due to some big life changes, Felicity’s sleep didn’t recover.

Fortunately, Felicity was able to get her sleep back on track and change her mindset about sleep by implementing behaviors that created better conditions for sleep. She practiced self-care and did things that helped her continue to move toward the kind of life she wanted to live, independently of sleep.

Sleep is no longer something that gets in the way of Felicity’s life — she lives her life independently of sleep and, as a result, she is sleeping well and living well.

How Amy went from an intense fear of insomnia and feeling her situation was hopeless to averaging over seven hours of sleep each night (#34)

Night after night of wakefulness led Amy to a dark place where she saw no way out. She felt helpless and doomed to a life of insomnia.

Ironically, Amy became friends with someone else who was struggling with insomnia. This friend ended up enrolling as a client of mine and started to experience improvements in their sleep. Amy learned more about the behavioral changes he was making, and — even though she assumed these wouldn’t work for her — she figured she was already suffering so much, nothing she could do could make her situation worse.

So, Amy started to spend less time in bed, she abandoned her sleep rituals, and she shifted away from trying to control sleep and all the thoughts and worries her mind would generate. After weeks of ups and downs, Amy started to get more sleep, more consistently. Now, she averages around seven or more hours of sleep each night and considers her transformation nothing short of a miracle.

Amy’s story shows that no matter how desperate things feel, no matter how severe your insomnia may be, there is always hope. If you are willing and able to make some changes to your current sleep habits and your current relationship with the difficult thoughts and emotions that like to accompany insomnia, you can get to a place where you will realize that you CAN sleep!

How Jennifer moved past 18 years of insomnia by exploring her sleep-related beliefs and recognizing her own insomnia in the stories of others (#33)

Jennifer’s issues with sleep began 18 years ago when she started to wean her firstborn from breastfeeding. When Jennifer fell pregnant again, things got better — until it was time to wean her second child. As the mother of five children, Jennifer went through this cycle for a long time — and when she decided that she was done having children, she started to get really nervous about sleep.

After listening to a few episodes of the Insomnia Coach podcast, Jennifer felt that it was her belief system that was the real reason why she was enduring an endless struggle with sleep. At this point, she felt ready to implement some changes that would lead to new habits and a new relationship with her thoughts and beliefs that would help create better conditions for sleep.

Ultimately, Jennifer regained confidence in her natural ability to sleep after learning that she wasn’t alone and that other people were experiencing insomnia in a similar way to her, and by making changes to her behaviors and the relationship she had with her thoughts. It was these changes that helped create better conditions for sleep and helped Jennifer put chronic insomnia behind her.

How Jovana put insomnia behind her by recognizing that her insomnia wasn’t unique and that sleep is a natural process that cannot be controlled (#32)

In 2019, Jovana experienced a night of no sleep whatsoever but she was confident that she would get some sleep the following night. However, the next night was just the same — Jovana didn’t get one minute of sleep.

At this point, she started to panic, and her anxiety was further compounded by the fact she was a new mom. Jovana started to dread going to bed. She felt frustrated. She felt lonely. Fortunately, she found the Insomnia Coach YouTube channel and the Insomnia Coach podcast and started to realize that she was not alone and that her insomnia was not unusual or unique.

Ultimately, Jovana stopped the endless sleep-related research and ongoing detective work. She stopped experimenting with medication and supplements. She started to remove herself from the process of sleep and began to accept that sleep cannot be controlled. At the same time, she committed to actions that helped her move toward the kind of life she wanted to live, even after difficult nights and even in the presence of difficult thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

As a result, Jovana regained confidence in her natural ability to sleep and is once again living the kind of life she wants to live.

How Cindy tackled the insomnia that appeared after her baby was born by accepting nighttime wakefulness and eliminating safety behaviors (#31)

Cindy developed postpartum depression shortly after her daughter was born and was prescribed medication to help her sleep. The medication seemed to work at first but Cindy soon found that it wasn’t helping and this led to more anxiety and more sleep difficulties.

Ultimately, Cindy stopped putting pressure on herself to sleep. She stopped striving for sleep, she stopped putting effort into sleep, she stopped trying to fight or avoid sleep-related anxiety, and she started to recognize that all the anxious thoughts produced by her brain were just that — thoughts. Nothing more and nothing less.

Today, Cindy doesn’t take any sleep medication and she is sleeping well. Perhaps one of the biggest insights she shared is that she no longer uses sleep itself as a measure of her success. In Cindy’s words, it’s our relationship with sleep that is the true measure of success.

How Jake got his sleep back on track by changing his nighttime behaviors and his daytime behaviors (#30)

Jake’s sleep was severely disrupted when the COVID pandemic forced him to work from home. He soon found himself working at all hours and during weekends. When he took a vacation he found it really hard to get any sleep at all and this led to a lot of sleep-related research, a lot of anxiety, and a lot of worry.

As Jake learned more about sleep and insomnia he started to implement evidence-based techniques to help build sleep drive, strengthen his body clock, and weaken arousal. He started to spend less time in bed, he got out of bed during the night if being in bed didn’t feel good, and — perhaps most importantly of all — he tried to live the kind of life he wanted to live during the day, independently of how he slept.

Now, Jake’s life doesn’t revolve around sleep and he no longer tries to control sleep or put effort into sleep. As a result, he is sleeping a lot better and has regained confidence in his natural ability to sleep.

How Celia improved her sleep by abandoning all attempts to control her sleep and accepting and acknowledging anxious thoughts rather than trying to fight or avoid them (#29)

From a very young age, Celia would often try to control her sleep and often used medication to get her through her frequent bouts of insomnia. After the birth of her son and the emergence of the COVID pandemic, Celia became even more fixated on sleep. All of her old sleep crutches seemed to stop working and she didn’t know what to do.

Celia recognized that it was her desire to control sleep and her sleep-related thoughts that was a big part of the problem. When she was able to accept that she couldn’t directly control sleep or her thoughts and committed to implementing behaviors that would create better conditions for sleep and help her live life according to her values, she was able to starve her insomnia of the oxygen it craved and enjoy the life (and sleep) that she wanted.