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
  • 2386 comments
  • 531 helped

Comments

Show older comments
  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I've just read your post and wondered if you got anywhere. Like you I feel complete despair. My average sleep night is less than 3 hours and the last two nights I have not slept at all (I often have a couple of sleepless night) despite melatonin. Nothing seems to work for me. I daren't drive and and I'm extremely bad tempered. If I were married I would be getting a divorce.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 95 comments
    • 39 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello noddy, PR refers to the progressive relaxation download from the course. If you're in week 5 you've gotten it by now.
    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time getting some urgently needed sleep. How long has it been like this? Before joining Sleepio I went through some terrible bouts like you've described. It's miserable. If it's been worse since beginning the course it's very likely because you are more intently focused on your sleep troubles and hoping for resolution in the short term. There's a certain amount of anxiety and frustration that comes when we know we desperately need sleep and it absolutely will not come despite how dreadfully tired we are. With this programme, you're trying to implement some new ways of doing things and it probably feels different from what you've been doing before. Once the newness of everything wears off, you will begin to experience some positive changes. But you've got to be repetitive every night.
    I can't help but think that the issue you're dealing with is more than just the need for sleep at night. There is more that goes into sleep than just going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Elements of our daily lives have an influence on how we sleep (or not sleep) at night. It can be a real mystery figuring out just what it is in our life that is having such a detrimental effect on our sleep. Our work, relationships, eating habits (i.e.irregular schedule, junk food, caffeine, etc.), inadequate exercise or wrong timing of exercise, masked depression, among other things, any of these can negatively impact our sleep. Some people struggle with sleep because of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, so a more holistic approach is often necessary.
    At the desperate state you are in, you may need to ease into the sleep restriction, keeping it as one of the main objectives you're aiming for. If you can't make it through day-after-day of only three hours of sleep (or less) and find a nap essential for survival, don't feel you've blown the course for the need of a nap. Once you begin to feel more “human” again, go for the sleep restriction schedule again without naps. Keep in mind, the sleep restriction is not intended to go on indefinitely. As sleep efficiency improves, your sleep window widens. For now, you've got to get yourself to the point of relaxing with (or resignation to) whatever amount of sleep you get in a night. Accept that the day will be difficult, but that you'll live through it and you can manage. Adopting as much of a positive outlook as you can possibly muster can have a very beneficial effect on things. Another thing-- when you are facing a day following a night of very little (or no) sleep, don't think about the whole day ahead of you. Focus on little bites of time, just an hour or two. When we're deeply sleep deprived, we can't take it “a day at a time”, it may have to be an hour at a time, (or maybe a minute at a time)! Just know that you are not alone in this difficult situation.
    I've been with the program for 11 months now. It has helped me tremendously, but I don't consider myself “out of the woods”. I have to mind my daily and nightly habits, I still wake up too early before the “official” end of my sleep window, and even when I get adequate hours of sleep, I still feel like I need more. But I am sleeping better overall since following Sleepio, getting to sleep more quickly on a regular basis now than I did for years prior to this programme. The techniques work once you get over the hurdle you're facing at the moment.
    So, be easy on yourself and keep plugging away at it, bit by little bit. I hope you'll get a breakthrough soon.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Go up to blue tab Case File and click, left hand side under tools click on downloads, next click on audio Progressive Relaxation, it's good but you need to practice it frequently to realise the benefits, try it when you go to bed and just relax.

    Great advice from Chickatee above, best summary I have read on here.

    This program works noddy but it's down to you to give it 100% no short cuts you have to suffer the hard parts to get the good result.

    Holiday

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thank for your reply and encouraging words. In answer to your question, I haven't really slept well for about 30 years. It has become worse since I retired, probably because I have less to stress and tire myself with. I also used to work out manically when I was working and as I've got older and since being retired, although I have the time, my tired body makes me less able to give 100% in the gym. So I'm exercising less, getting out less and my metabolism is slowing down. Catch 22 situation probably for poor sleep. Not seen much about this on the sleepio course.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Your in a catch 22 situation noddy, but you seem to have time on your hands! I know it's cruel to say this but you need activity in your life,Sleepio is not a magic medical solution to insomnia it's a new direction for you. In the early weeks you are having suggestions about changing your daily routine certainly more exercise and looking at diet etc, evenings about preparing mind and body for bed and sleep, then practicing the sleep hygiene of SW and QHR.

    Do you find any parts of this program help you? or if not what part do you struggle with? maybe the community could help.

    Holiday

  • Sleepio Member

    • 462 comments
    • 156 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Work on exercising your body and find things to do Noddy, you may not have so much time to worry about your sleep then. Get yourself out walking in the countryside if you can, maybe join the ramblers or local walking groups.

    Make sure you do a good wind down, get ready for bed first then do something relaxing, and gradually dim the lights so that you have about 15 minutes in the dark before going to bed.

    Sleepio does work noddy. Looking forward to hearing that you have had a good night!

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 1

    Hi Noddy. My first post:-). Noticed you said you were taking melatonin so I thought I’d let you know my experience of it. For me, it made my already awful sleep even worse. It literally stopped me from sleeping. Also, what dose are you on? I think prescribed doses are 10 times higher than they should be. I think it should be around 0.3 mg, but my pills are 2mg. Needless to say, I don’t take it. After less than a week I stopped them.
    Wishing you success. I’m hoping my body might learn to sleep more than 1.5 hours…
    Jo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Greetings to you JV, I found my first post on the community forum very difficult but I wasn't used to using any form of social media. I see from your profile that you joined us on 18th November but you haven't had any messages from the community or mentioned any details of how insomnia is effecting you. But well done on your first post.

    I found when I was in the early stages of the Sleepio program as you are that it was the help, advice and support of the others here that really pulled me through but unfortunately the members now don't seem to exchange there experiences as they did but it's the exchange of how you are suffering and tips on how you deal with the problems that makes this program effective.

    Well done for making your break through with your first post, and I hope things work out for you because insomnia is a lonely place and it's so good to be with others who you can share the ups and downs with.

    You will now be in the hard part of the program, and it's not easy to deal with but try your best to stick to the detail of advice given because it works, will take time and effort but you will see and feel the benefits.

    If I can help in any way I will try.

    Holiday.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 462 comments
    • 156 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Welcome to sleepio JV, I am one of the grads and glad to tell you that I sleep well now. It wasn't easy getting to this point though, but as Holidays says above, the community are great at helping you through the bad times. I also didn't do social media before I joined sleepio.

    I hope this programme works for you as it has done for many people, so glad I joined.

    Keep in touch.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    Holiday and Ve
    Thank you so much for welcoming me. Glad to have finally found people who understand the hell I’ve been going through. I didn’t think anyone slept as badly as me, but it looks like they do and that they manage to improve things.
    I’ve been a bad sleeper for years but this year has been off the scale, some nights not sleeping at all and most nights 1.5 – 3 hours of broken sleep. I have also had CFS/ME for the last year so it’s been tough. Bone crushing exhaustion but unable to sleep! I think the insomnia was triggered by beta blockers (evil things!) which my GP put me on for headaches so I came off them but still can’t sleep despite being off them for 3 months now. Withdrawal was a nightmare with no sleep at all for a while and me going crazy.
    So, that’s my experience in a nutshell, not including the psychological hell it’s put me through!
    If there’s anyone who can give me a bit of hope who has slept that badly that would be great.
    Sorry, my post probably sounds terribly negative, I’m not and and despite all, this my ME seems to be improving which is amazing.
    I did read Prof Espie’s book a few weeks ago and tried restricting my hours in bed from 2 am -7 which was very difficult and made me ill so I had to stop, but it did give me a couple of good nights, so I have a glimmer of hope that if I can stick to it, it will work. I think shifting my sleep window from 10:30-3:30 will be easier.
    Sorry for the essay and thank you so much for reaching out to me.
    Jo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 122 comments
    • 27 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello Jo. Welcome to Sleepio. Like you I have been a bad sleeper for many years, then for various reasons my sleep deteriorated to the point where I got no sleep or a few hours of broken sleep.
    I have been with Sleepio for about a year. Now, I go to bed at 11pm and wake between 5am an 6am. I get up twice for the loo, but most mostly go back to sleep quickly.
    These timings suit me and I wake up feeling rested.
    I have followed the prof’s advice throughout, although it has been very difficult at times. It was the community and especially Ve, who helped me get through and we will help you too.
    My advice is to stick to with the Prof, it’s the repetition and routine that will get you back to good sleep. It’s good that you have the prof’s book, but don’t get ahead of yourself, wait for the prof to tell you what to do and when to do it— he’s a clever cove!
    It’s worth taking time to look through the old posts you may fine good advice there and it will help you to get used to the site.
    It’s definitely not a quick fix and it’s very tough at times but it does work.
    I still use the Sleepio techniques, but my routines have become much simpler.
    Keep posting we are here to help
    Megwich

  • Sleepio Member

    • 462 comments
    • 156 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I really feel for you JV. I had a sudden onset of insomnia and I couldn't get to sleep at all, laying awake all night and ending up a wreck. It affected my whole life. I wasn't a long term insomniac but long enough for it to affect me so badly. I was put on sleeping tablets but I hated them and after that Diazapam for a few weeks and then antidepressants.

    But the best thing happened, I saw a neighbour while I was out for a walk and she is a sleep doctor and she told me about sleepio. I signed up straight away. Prof gave me a bed time of 1.15 to 6.15, that time was so alien to me but I made myself stick to it and having to get up if I couldn't sleep seemed to put me on an exercise session going up and down stairs during the night because I couldn't sleep. The community were fantastic, especially Holiday, urging me on to stick to the rules. I have to say it took some time to work on me but I persevered and I gradually started to sleep, some good nights and some bad.

    So I have been with sleepio for 2 1/2 years now, I sleep every night, I am still sticking to the rules but they are no problem. I get ready for bed and then sit in the dark for 15 minutes and then go to bed. I concentrate on my breathing which I learnt from mindfulness, fall asleep and quite often I sleep right through the night. I still get the odd bad night, but not often, just like normal sleepers get.

    You have some health issues to deal with as you go through this challenging but very worthwhile programme. I hope you can manage to give it a good go. It isn't a quick fix, it is really hard to do but it really does work. So it needs a lot of perseverance and belief that it will help you. Doing a good wind down is very important, by learning to relax and get the right thoughts in your mind is what helps you to sleep. You will learn that it is negative thoughts that stops you from sleeping, dreading going to bed etc. We know how you feel, but we also know that you have taken the right step in dealing with your sleep issues by joining sleepio.

    Holiday was a long term insomniac, somewhere around 20 years or more and still having to work so that he could look after his family. This programme works no matter how long you have suffered from insomnia.

    You can change your sleep schedule, you can e-mail sleepio and they will change it for you. You can do it yourself but I have forgotten how to do it!!!

    I just stay with sleepio In the hope that I can help new sleepios, the rules are well imprinted on my brain and I know to stick with what I have learnt.

    I will be looking out for you on here, you have all the hard stuff to go through JV, but know that it works and look forward to when you start to sleep, it will come.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    Thanks for your messages guys, they mean a lot. And it’s very kind of you to stick around and give support to us newbies:-)

    I certainly will stick with it as I have no other option. I’ve tried all the different pills, OTC, prescription and herbal, and anything that’s strong enough to knock me out gives me a hangover and I refuse to chase a pill shaped solution anymore!

    Thanks again! Will keep you posted. I’m currently right at the beginning recording my sleep in the first week.

    Jo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Jo, I have read the posts above from Ve and Megwich and they should give you a lot of confidence, now you have brought your sleep problem to Sleepio and made contact here.

    I would empathise the point that for this program to work for you it can be tough in places especially the first few weeks but you have to stick it out. Think of where you are now and how you have been and are still suffering from lack of sleep and the misery it causes, think hard about this and then decide to give this program your best shot and the results for this effort will be much better sleep and a major change in the quality of life.

    Take it one day at a time, follow the professors guidence at your weekly meetings and make a very serious effort to do it to the letter. The 'sleep window' really isn't too difficult after all if your only sleeping a couple of hours 5 hours is plenty! you will be asked to get up if you can't sleep after 15 minutes, 'Quarter Hour Rule' this is hard and can be quite stressful so you could use this sensibly and give yourself 20/25 minutes but you will know if your struggling to sleep and it's best to get up. Make a warm decaffe drink and just flick through a magazine or paper but no TV or computers after half an hour go back to bed and just relax, it takes time but it works. In my early stages on the program when I was in bed and struggling to relax I followed a simple relaxation routine.

    Lay on your back relax all your muscles starting by tensing and relaxing them, tense your leg muscles then gently relax them, then your bottom, then your tummy, chest back,clench your fists, tense your shoulders and neck then just lay there relaxed. Now breath in deeply through your nose really fill your lungs and exhale slowly through you mouth, keep doing this for a few minutes then start to mentally count your breaths 'Backwards' 10 down to Zero then start again at 10 do this several times and do this each night and you will see it gradually helps.

    It's a lovely day and if you get togged up go for a nice walk fresh air and exersize are great and you will feel the benefit but like most of the other aspects of the program you have to make the effort, the future success is in your own hands.

    You will find some good supportive pals here Jo, and over the coming days and weeks post how you are doing, where and what part of the program you struggle on.

    Make a start Jo and do it today.

    Holiday.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 462 comments
    • 156 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hey Megwich, how are you? Are you enjoying this lovely weather, nice and snowy and cold, but with the sun out it is very refreshing so long as you are dressed up nice and warm. It's melting round our way so hopefully it will disappear altogether.

    I have the Christmas tree up and I have bought all the presents, now I have to deliver most of them. I've got a few for hubby and son, who both have birthdays too, hubby on Christmas Day and our son on 27th. Bad timing I reckon!

    Sleep is good, I am still following the rules but it is easy and seems natural now, so no bother really. I get between 5 and 6 hours and on a lot of nights I sleep right through. Hope yours is good too.

    I hope you enjoy Christmas in your new surroundings and are well and truly settled in.

    Keep popping in to sleepio, it's nice to hear how you are getting on.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I take 5mg but, like you, I don't think it works.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi noddy, how are you doing?

    Holiday.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 1

    Hi Holiday,
    Thanks for your advice, all very much appreciated. It’s hard for me to do much exercise having ME/CFS but I do a bit of walking when I can (18 months ago I was running several miles a week and playing tennis. ME hit very suddenly after a virus on top of months of stress and very little sleep).

    Great to hear you have made so much improvement.
    Jo

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1955 comments
    • 457 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks your message Jo, I suspected that maybe ME would limit your activity but it's good you try your best as you do, I have a very close relative dealing with this so I understand the limitations. You can though, deal with your sleep problem here and try to complete as much of the program as you are able, good support here when you need it.

    Best wishes,

    Holiday.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 32 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Finished week six and had 3 hours last night. So, no different really.

Return to top