Ask the Grads

Whether you're in need of some friendly advice and encouragement from people who have been through the course or you'd simply like another perspective on implementing a new technique, you can pose your questions about the Sleepio course directly to the Graduates here!

Posted 29 Apr 2012 at 8:06 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 42 comments
    • 2 helped
    Session 4

    Im thinking of going down to a 4 hour sleep window. Currently on a 5 hour window and cannot sleep more than 3.5 hours. Anyone go to 4 hours before? Trying SRT since September, no progress

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Zander, you joined in September 2017 but your profile says you are on session 4. Have you restarted the programme again?

    Are you doing everything that Prof has asked you to do? I am sorry to ask this but it's worth just assessing yourself and making sure you are sticking to a bed time, getting up time and getting up for 20 minutes or so if you cannot sleep.

    I don't see that it would hurt to try a 4 hour sleep window. You will need to decide whether to go to bed an hour later or get up an hour earlier. I was on sleeping pills for a while before joining sleepio and I never got more than 4 hours sleep with them, so I know you can function during the day on that amount of sleep.

    Have you put this question to the sleepio doctors, it's really frustrating for you if the programme isnt working or at least not improving your sleep.

    I do know myself that you really have to work hard at the sleepio programme, I am almost 3 years on from joining and I still have a bed time and I still get up if I can't sleep, not that I have to get up very often these days. My getting up time is more relaxed but I don't lay in much because I am so chuffed at sleeping through the night that I want to get up. Sleepio was not a quick fix for me but I persevered through it with the help of a great sleepio mentor who always encouraged me to keep trying. Looking back it was a slow and long recovery from insomnia for me.

    So what I say to you is keep working at the sleepio programme, stick to what Prof asks you to do, it can take months for some people to get a really good sleep night after night. Other sleepios don't take so long.

    One other thing Zander, do you have a lot on your mind when you go to bed? It seems to me that it's what is going on in your mind that determines whether you are going to have a good sleep or not. Have you tried mindfulness, it does help to learn to have some control over your thoughts. From doing a course in mindfulness I learnt that thinking of my breathing when I get into bed helps me sleep, and definitely a few deep breaths once I have got into bed really helps.

    I hope you can get over your sleep problem Zander, be kind to yourself, get plenty of exercise and fresh air. Watch what you eat and drink and try to relax before you go to bed, think good thoughts.

    Best wishes

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 42 comments
    • 2 helped
    Session 4

    Yes Im doing pretty much everything the prof asks. I have meditated for 10 years now so I dont really have any issues with anxiety. When I get into bed, I sleep very quickly pretty much every night. My main issue is it's an extremely poor quality of sleep where Im half awake and half asleep. This was confirmed in a sleep study which showed i fall asleep quickly, but never reach level 3 or 4 (deep sleep). The most bizarre thing is that every January for 12 years (insomnia started out of the blue 12 years ago) I sleep like a log. January is the darkest month in Ireland. After January, it slowly deteriorates to 1 or 2 hours sleep by august. I've put this to sleep doctors here, sleep doctors in Ireland, and researched all over the internet but haven't come across this phenomenon. It seems to be something with light, but I use bright light in the morning and blue light blocking glasses at night.

    I will move now to a 4 hour window. If still cannot sleep deeply, i'll move to a 3.5 hour window. I came across a girl on Reddit who claimed she had to start with a 2 hour window.

    One issue is that most fridays I go out after work for drinks. On Saturday morning I often stay in bed until 9am (usual get out of bed time is 6am). I wonder could that be an issue…

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    You certainly pose a difficult one Zander. Strictly speaking you should get up at your normal time of 6am at weekends too. Is your bedroom completely dark so that it doesn't matter what month of the year it is?

    I have nothing else to offer to help you Zander, but I really hope you can find a way through this so that you can get some decent sleep.

    Best wishes

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 42 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Yes my room is dark. I will move to a 4.5 hour window and get up early at 6am too and see does that work. Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I will be interested to see how you get on with your reduced time in bed Zander. I will watch out for your messages. Of course you may have to do this for a while before you get a result.

    Best wishes

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 16 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hi all,

    Does anyone experience consistently good sleep since doing sleepio? I know I have an overall improvement but I get a week of good sleep followed by a week of awful sleep – no deep sleep, early awakenings or inability to get to sleep. Nothing in my life changes at these times but I do think sleep seems to be strictly tied to my hormonal cycle.

    Its just so frustrating as I feel like I put in all the hard work with this programme and still feel powerless to control the times when its bad and it really does affect my mood and my job.

    Any tips or advice?

    Best,
    Amy

  • Sleepio Member

    • 80 comments
    • 26 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello Amy, I do have a blip now and then, maybe one night every other week, after 6 months on Sleepio. I can’t for the life of me figure out what happened. I’d keep meticulous notes in the sleep diary, and couldn’t find a pattern or cause. I know what you mean, I do all this hard work, so why can’t I sleep? If you are disciplined and committed, I’m sure your sleep will get more consistent over time. Sometimes I just have to accept the bad night and slog through the next day, realizing it was just a blip.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 16 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Thanks :)

    Unfortunately my blip has now lasted two weeks.. not only that but since starting the programme I find it hard to get to sleep (ever since the pressure was on to get to sleep with SR) in addition to my primary problems of early and frequent awakenings.

    I feel like I’ve forgotten all the cbt and sleep science stuff that was making me calmer about it all. Im following the rules but back to being obsessed over my sleep and terrified of not sleeping. My efficiency has dropped 10% and hours asleep by 30 minutes.

    Has anyone ever gone right back to SR week 1 and begin it all again? I feel as though I may need to reset myself but I dread the thought

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    You don't need to start again Amy, what you do need to do is make sure you don't stop doing things that Prof taught you. Blips come and go, and yes you can get anxiety again about going to bed. Take it as a learning curve, because once you get over your blip you will see that you can manage your sleep. Take some extra special measures to help overcome the blip. Get outside for some fresh air, get some exercise, watch your diet and tell yourself you can overcome your present sleep problems.

    Make sure you are tired before going to bed. You need to check your regular bedtime to make sure you thunk it is the right time for you. Do some deep breathing to relax you, and concentrate on your breathing when you get into bed. Sit in the dark for 15 minutes before bed but get ready for bed beforehand. These are things that I have found suit me, it doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

    I can still get the odd blip and if it lasts a few nights I too can get a touch of anxiety. I have been with sleepio for over 2 1/2 years. There are only 40% of insomniacs who go into remission from insomnia, the other 60% have to manage their sleep. Unfortunately I am one of the 60%. On the whole I sleep really well now, and really glad that I did sleepio. I still stick to everything that I learnt from Prof.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    Hi all, it’s my fifth week on the Sleepio course and I don’t feel like my sleep is getting any better – some nights are good but some (like last night) I’m exhausted, go to bed and then gradually wake up. I do the QHR but still only managed around 3 hours sleep. I’m not always that strict with my sleep window – I’m meant to get 6 hours 15 but sometimes go to bed for 6 hours 45 if I’m really tired and falling asleep on the sofa. I figure that nothing is keeping me awake so I must be tired enough to sleep??

    Looking for some words of encouragement from veteran Sleepio people. How important is it to stick exactly to Prof’s sleep window? How long until you saw some change? I don’t feel like I’m benefiting yet.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 80 comments
    • 26 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Everyone’s different in the time frame it takes to see improvement. Some say that it depends on how long you’ve had insomnia. The longer you’ve had trouble sleeping, supposedly the longer it will take to establish new patterns.

    I had insomnia for decades. It’s now 7 months after starting Sleepio and i am sleeping well most nights, as long as I follow the rules. Any napping, more than a sip of wine, or any other triggers, and I’ll have an off night.

    I would say that the first month of sleep restriction was really hard, but I knew I had to stick with it since nothing else had worked and I wanted to get off sleeping pills. After that month, I’d alternate between a good night and a bad night. Then, 2 good nights in a row. Then, gradually worked up to mostly good nights. I think around the 6th month, I was starting to really do well and had established good routines.

    It does take your body awhile to get used to new routines, so you need to be patient. Keep checking in with the community and read these discussion threads and library articles. It was all very helpful to me. Good luck to you!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    Hi quick question – I started with sleep restriction about 3 weeks ago and then found Sleepio and started session 1 2 nigjtsbago. Should I stop the sleep restriction to get a normal reading on the sleep diary or continue? Thanks!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Pnutter, Depends really on if you are having any good results from what you are already doing. You don't want to unpick any results you may have achieved. Prof will work out your sleep schedule on what you provide for him.

    I think if I were you, I would choose a bedtime that suits you at the moment and a getting up time and continue with that until Prof gives you your own personal schedule. So just follow the sleepio programme, not a great deal happens in weeks 1 and 2, apart from getting ready for sleep restriction in week 3.

    Sleepio does have a high success rate for those that follow Prof's instructions, it is not a quick fix and it is challenging initially, but once you start to sleep it becomes easier to do.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I would like to ask peacock52 how long it took you to feel that your sleep was good for you. I have just graduated from the program and my sleep is still all over the map. Some good nights but still mostly very little sleep. My best nights are 4-5 hrs worst 1-2. My SW has not changed over the course of the program, 6 hours. If I got 6 hrs of sleep every night I would be very happy.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi PoMo, One of the sleep doctors told us that 40% of insomniacs go into remission, whereas the other 60% have to manage their sleep, unfortunately I am in the 60% range. So I am still sticking to the rules and my sleep is amazing. I can still get the odd night when things don't go to plan but it is usually self inflicted, rubbish food can cause me to have trouble getting to sleep, or alcohol can do the same thing. So through doing sleepio not only have I learnt to sleep really well but also eat well too. I still get up if I cannot sleep for about 10 minutes, then I go back to bed and sleep. I usually sleep right through the night, but pre-insomnia I had to get up for the loo most nights. So to get a solid lump of sleep is brilliant.

    As for how long it took me to get to this stage is difficult to answer. My problem was being able to get to sleep. Although I did everything that Prof instructed me to do, I was well passed graduation before my sleep settled down. My anxiety was still very bad and I dreaded bed time. So it's been gradual, I could have several good nights and then a load of bad nights. A bad night would still increase my anxiety again and cause more bad nights. Then a good night would encourage me and lessen the anxiety. It has carried on like this and gradually the bad nights have become less and the good nights increased.

    Looking back from when I joined sleepio I can see in hindsight how it has all worked. It is only by keeping on with Prof's instructions that I now sleep so well. The community were brilliant, I could not have done it without them. A sleepio guy called Holiday helped me so much, he encouraged me to keep going and I am so glad that I did. It is only your mind that stops you from sleeping, get control of that and sleep problems are gone. None of the sleepio ways helped me to stop my racing mind, but the breathing from mindfulness did.

    So PoMo, keep doing sleepio, follow it to the letter, get up if you cannot sleep. As you go through the programme you will find what works for you. I stick to the same bedtime every night. As I get towards bedtime, I do the same routine, it's no problem now, it just feels natural. This comprises, getting ready for bed, go back to the lounge, chat with hubby or read, then sit in the dark for 15 minutes before I go to bed and then think of my breathing when I get into bed. I am asleep in no time and sleep right through. It's great.

    We are all different PoMo, you will find what works for you as you progress through the programme. If something doesn't work, change it and try something else. Don't waste what you have already done, keep going, get encouragement from the community and things will get better.

    Sleepio has a high success rate.

    Best wishes

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    I did the restricted sleep session yesterday. Prof said that the bedroom is only for sleeping. Does anyone know if the restriction includes soft music? When my husband is out of town I like to put soft worship music on so that it automatically goes off after awhile.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 16 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hi all,

    I’ve hit a major blip and looking for advice. I’ve moved in with my boyfriend for a week between jobs and all my habits and routines have gone out of the window. The living room is used by his flatmate in the evening who stays up until 2 or 3am so I’ve lost my wind down space. I’ve had 3 or 4 late nights so I’m not getting tired at my usual time either but have to get up early for work.

    I also have nowhere to go during the quarter hour rule- I used to get out of bed and lie down meditating with my feet up and it works but now I feel trapped in the bed and it’s making me feel so anxious I just cannot relax or sleep.

    Any tips or advice?

    Thanks,
    Amy

  • Sleepio Member

    • 532 comments
    • 200 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Amy, you are in a difficult situation here, but it seems like it is just for one week. Explain it all to your boyfriend and see if he can help you. Maybe he could get his flat mate to go to his room rather than stay in the living room.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 80 comments
    • 26 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many people here listen to music or meditation tapes while trying to fall asleep. This might be a question that you can ask the weekly expert.

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