Depression & Early Waking

Good Morning :) I'm suffering from depression which has recently got a lot worse. The Sleepio programme has been a great help but recently as a consequence i'm waking an hour and a half before i need to – has anyone any advice on how to deal with this?

Many Thanks!

Medsy

Posted 6 Aug 2012 at 3:46 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 6 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    I completed the six week course but never managed better than around 70% sleep efficiency. At the age of 65 I have tended to wake after about 3-4 hours regardless of whatever time I have gone to sleep for at least the last 40 years. Having to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning for work always masked the problem but I have been retired three years now and the problem persists. I know from experience that once awake I can't go back to sleep. Occasionally I find myself nodding off in the afternoon or early evening but always resist for fear of having an even worse night as a result. Have tried Melatonin/Valerian with absolutely no benefit at all. Am I suffering from depression? I don't think so and I seem to have plenty of energy during the day and take daily excercise. It hasn't caused me to overeat and become obese as some warn, so do I have a problem at all? Interestingly my father had the exact same problem for years. I am still concerned about the possible long-term effects on my health, mental and physical but have just had to live with it.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 96 comments
    • 21 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Liveinhope; I think that when you've had a sleep problem for many years, your habit is quite ingrained, and it will take a while to for your body clock/brain to re learn a different habit.
    I am on around week 10, and still am working on extending my sleeping hours. It's been a very slow improvement for me, and although I've seen some improvements, (I don't need my earplugs, natural sleep remedies, or to visit the bathroom in the night anymore, and I generally go to sleep straight away now) I'm not sleeping that much longer than I was before. It is frustrating, and tempting to throw in the towel and think it's not working, but you have to remember that everyone is different, and it might just take you longer to see change in the length of your sleep time.
    Keep using the tools every day. Keep up with your wind down routine, and every now and again, write down every little improvement you have noticed. Go over your stats since the beginning, and even a slight gradual improvement on your graph can be encouraging.
    Keep in touch with the community too, as they have been a great motivator with me, keeping me going when I've felt so hopeless at times.
    We'll get there.
    EO

  • Sleepio Member

    • 60 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hello Philipp,
    Glad to hear you are getting good results with your sleep. Hope the excersise routine helps you with the depression, I try to excersise through the week but I don't enjoy it, I force myself to swim and do gym stuff, the only thing I love is walking in the countryside. Or growing plants in the greenhouse , or anything outdoors always bucks me up,I'm hoping to start bike riding again soon. My worst depressing day is Sundays,
    Anyone else find Sunday's depressing?
    Anna xx

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
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    Graduate

    Just finished week 3, but I don't think I did as well a I hoped to. The first night, did okay. The second one however, even though I'd gone to bed and woke up as scheduled, I woke up with a bad headache starting. These have been managed recently and I haven't had one like it for a few months. It scared me having something I was recently hospitalized for return, so I gave myself an extra hour of sleep.

    I'm posting this in the discussion about depression and early waking because it was the earlier time combined with a loss of about a half hour of sleep that brought on the headaches. Part of managing my depression is getting enough sleep. While I was successful in getting rid of the headache with the extra hour, I was unsuccessful in keeping with the sleep schedule.

    Any advice on how to adjust the schedule to cover such issues?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 417 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    It is hard to understand how loss of 30 minutes sleep can cause such a problem, I guess this is a question for your GP.

    All I know contradiction is that sleepio works as long as you follow Prof's rules and taking an extra hour more than your sleep schedule will not put you on the road to recovery from insomnia.

    The bad headaches must be scary so if I were you I would definitely chat to your GP. Sorry I can't help you with this problem.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

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

    Oh! I guess I better clarify. I don't have insomnia. I'm doing this program to see if I can't improve the sleep I am getting.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 54 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Contraddiction, if you don't have insomnia, how blessed you are! If you're just trying to improve the sleep you get, I would think you may not need to necessarily press through a highly narrowed sleep window, especially if a lack of sleep brings on bad headaches. You can modify your sleep window (there's a page on here that tells you how to do this: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/how-to-shift-your-sleep-window/).

    There are other habits to solidly fix in place, like a regular bedtime and get up time;
    Do you wake up in the middle of the night or do you usually fall asleep quickly and sleep straight through?

    Keep in mind that when your sleep efficiency average for a week is in the upper 80% range, the Prof will add increments of 15 min. to your sleep window.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    Session 3

    Hello! I just started the program. I also have a long history of depression, but I only started suffering from early awakenings two years ago. It's gotten progressively worse. I thought starting low dose Celexa would help, but it hasn't. Hopefully Sleepio will help.

    My question is in regards to the daily recording and sleep efficiency. I usually get tired and fall asleep around 10:30pm-11:30pm just fine. However, I am wide awake between 3am and 5am and almost always can't fall back asleep. I'll feel tired and miserable all day long as a result.

    Typically I will try and get out of bed to go for a run or do work since I know laying in bed is futile. However, with recording, this will make my time spent in bed and time asleep almost equal and give close to 100% efficiency despite feeling terrible. Should I be recording that I stayed in bed until my desired wake up time?

    Thanks for any help, and I'm looking forward to my journey with Sleepio :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    In reply to a deleted comment
    Session 3

    Thank you for the advice! It's greatly appreciated. I am really hoping that Sleepio will help. Any other advice on things that worked to help your early waking insomnia?

    I emailed the folks at Sleepio, but they won't give me any clear advice on what to do with my data entry. It's kind of frustrating. I still haven't gotten a definitive answer as to whether or not I should be adding in more time to bring down my sleep efficiency, so I am just going to adjust it myself.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 54 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I posted a lengthy reply on your profile page.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 140 comments
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    Graduate

    For what it is worth alexburr, I have always understood that you should calculate your sleep efficiency based on the sleep window you have been given.
    So, for example, your SW is 11.30 to 6 and you fall asleep after 10 minutes and sleep until 2a.m. but then wake and get up to do something to help you get back to sleep ( reading, cooking, physical exercise etc) then get back into bed after 30 mins and fall asleep 10 minutes later until your assigned wake up time. Then you calculate time asleep as follows:
    Your allotted sleep window of 6.5 hours – 50 minutes ( 2 × 10 minutes to fall asleep both times + 30 minutes up out of bed) so total Sleep of 5 h 40m which will be calculated as a percentage of 6 h 30 m.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 99 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Alex
    You might be interested in the following….

    Hello,
    There has been a lot of discussion this week about how the time spent out of bed on QHR affects our SE figures. If we went to bed at midnight and got up at ten, having spent an hour out of bed on QHR and a total of another hour awake, would our SE be 80% or 90%?

    09.07.2017 @ 06.14pm
    Dr Bryony Sheaves

    Hi,
    Thanks for your post. It depends on the way you enter it. If you put your QHR in as it taking an hour to get to sleep (eventually getting to sleep at 1am) then the course would count that as 80% (including the other hour awake too).

    Entering the data into the diary depends on the goal here, if taking an hour to get to sleep is something to work on through the course, then it may be helpful to capture this in the sleep diary data (despite doing the right things by following the QHR), so that the course knows about it. If that hour doing the QHR is not problematic, and the overall sleep time is desirable, then one may chose to just enter the time to bed as 1am.

    Here are also some other articles which may be helpful:

    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/how-is-my-sleep-efficiency-calculated/

    https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/sleep-efficiency-in-depth/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 3

    I read it, and I appreciate it, Chickatee! My sleeping did recover for about two weeks, but it has taken a dive again. I'm not going to bed at around 10:30 and am wide awake usually at 3:00am. It's been super frustrating. I'm looking forward to seeing what sleep restriction can do for me.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 3

    Thanks, Ohforsomesleep. My problem seems to be that I just can't fall back asleep no matter what I do. I will feel physically exhausted, but my brain will be running a mile a minute. Even relaxation techniques will help my mind calm down a bit, but I just can't seem to cross the threshold over to sleep once I've woken up. It's very frustrating.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 4 helped
    Session 5

    Hi alexburd88,

    I was going through something similar when I started Sleepio. I went to the doctor, who gave me Zolpidem (generic Ambien), which helped somewhat, but I came to Sleepio because I knew that wasn't a long-term fix.

    For me, the things that helped the most were:
    1) The “putting the day to rest” exercise and writing a to-do list for the following day, which you should get by week 3 or so. This made me think through my problems during the day instead of at night. If I think of a solution in the middle of the night, I write it down, then go back to sleep.
    2) Taking at least an hour for wind-down time. If I can't get my mind off my problems, I watch a good TV show or read a good book that will get my mind off of things. Once I find myself yawning and wanting to doze off, I know it's time to think about going to bed.
    3) Taking some time during the week just for fun. I had been focusing a lot on a stressful work situation and having very little fun, which I think led to the insomnia. Once I started taking time again to get out and enjoy myself, the sleep improved.
    4) My doctor told me to take a walk outside every day if possible in the sunlight if I could. This is good exercise, gets my mind off my problems, and the sunlight helps the body make it's own melatonin. The only time that worked with my schedule to do that was early evening (around 6:30 – 7 PM), which she said wasn't too late.

    I hope some of this helps. I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes. I try to keep calm and not think about anything, and most of the time I can get back to sleep. After I got used to the new sleep restriction schedule, I spent less time awake in the middle of the night.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    Thank you for all of the positive comments. I went through Session 3, and I honestly feel even more frustrated than I did before it. I only get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. However, the professor wants me getting 6.5 hours of sleep a night. How am I supposed to do that when I can't sleep that long?

    The other frustrating part was not being able to identify with the insomnia he was speaking of. I have no trouble falling asleep at night. None. I just can't stay asleep. I usually go to bed around 10:30pm-11pm and wake up at 3:30am or 4am. Last night I went to bed at 11:30pm and was wide awake at 2:30am. I can never fall back asleep once I'm up.

    Ideally I would like to go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 6am- something I was able to do a year ago. What I'm thinking I should do is push back my sleep later- trying to go to bed at 1:30am or 2:30am to force myself to sleep in until 6:30am. Any thoughts?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 4 helped
    Session 5

    Hi Alexburd88,

    I started out with a long sleep window also for weeks 1 and 2, then for week 3 it shrank to only 15 minutes more than the number of hours I was actually sleeping. I would find 6.5 hours surprising for the sleep restriction part of the course. Can anyone else speak to this?

    For quite a while, I was getting 4-5 hours per night. I don't think that's too unusual for Sleepio members. I agree staying up a little later may help you sleep later. Personally, I move my sleep window in smaller increments of about a half hour at a time.

    I'd recommend experimenting with the different techniques to see if any help you get back to sleep once you wake up. I I find if I keep calm and don't start thinking of what I have to do the next day, I have a better chance of getting back to sleep. Advice I was given by my husband was to think of a nice place you visited, such as a beach or hotel etc. In week 4, I received instruction on imagery, essentially the same thing.

    I hope your sleep improves!

  • Sleepio Member

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

    alexburd88, yes I would definitely try going to bed later. If you want to sleep 11pm to 6am, but currently you sleep an average of 3 or 4 hours I would place your current duration in the middle of your desired window – and go to bed around 1pm. Bear in mind the idea that quality is more important than quantity. Being attached to a set period of 7 hours may cause anxiety, so I invite you to focus on getting better, not more, sleep. Good luck!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 86 comments
    • 19 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Alexburd88. I imagine you must have been sleeping for at least 6.5 hours in weeks 1 and 2 to have been given this as a sleep window so it should be possible for you to do it again. I would imagine that the idea of 'forcing' yourself to sleep will be enough to prevent this happening. I have found out that just the very thought of how much sleep I might get can cause a bad night.

    You say you tried going to bed later at 11.30 but still woke early (or even earlier) so maybe that's not the answer. What do you do when you wake at 3.30 or 4am? I ask as this is the time I always wake (along with a few other short wakings before my get up time)? Do you do any relaxation, thought blocking, imagery in bed before getting up? If I were to get up this time and do anything remotely stimulating (even reading) I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. Perhaps you should try paradoxical thinking have you learned about that yet) – lying in bed and trying hard with eyes open not to go to sleep. I know some people have found this works.

    It's very frustrating when you know you need more sleep but you are very early in the programme so give it time. Really this is the time to Try everything you are offered and see what works for you. I don't think many people get enough sleep in weeks 3 and 4 but eventually it all comes together and gradually you should increase your sleep. Try your hardest to forget about how much sleep you want/will get (easy to say I know!) and just follow the programme to the best of your ability. Lindsay

  • Sleepio Member

    • 54 comments
    • 17 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Alex-- great input from the others.
    Here's another way to think of your 6.5 hr. sleep window when you are not presently sleeping that amount of time as it is. The Prof is not expecting you to sleep that long. But it's the longest block of time you are allowed to be in bed for now, until your sleep efficiency improves.

    That's great that you can usually fall asleep quickly. Since it's staying asleep that you're struggling with, you need to experiment with different approaches to dealing with that awake time, but nothing lengthy since you are trying to transfer that into sleep time. The tools the Prof has given for getting to sleep initially are a good place to start (i.e. progressive relaxation, autogenic training, and imagery).

    Just getting out of bed and sitting in the dark about 15 min. may be all you need to do. Mentally coaching yourself might be surprisingly helpful, by mentally telling yourself you don't need to wake up now, giving yourself permission, so-to-speak, to go back to sleep. Tell yourself that you CAN get back to sleep. Tell your active thoughts “no, not now, this is not the time”, etc. It may seem silly, but I've been amazed at times how this has helped me with my wakefulness in the middle of the night.

    If there's something genuinely on your mind during that time, in dim light, try briefly writing down your thoughts and concerns so they're out of your mind and on paper until daytime, the better time to deal with things.

    It could be a metabolism thing that may be remedied by an appropriate small, simple snack or warm beverage, though you don't want that to become a habitual thing in the middle of the night either. Do you eat or drink anything shortly before to going to bed?

    During the day, do you drink anything caffeinated? Even if it's early enough in the day, caffeine regularly in the system could be an interference to uninterrupted sleep. I've been experimenting with leaving coffee only for the weekends, and it seems to help. When it's out of my diet for a few days, sleep is better, and having it on the weekends has been fine.

    We are all puzzles to ourselves with these things aren't we? You'd think we could figure them out at little more easily than we do… if we ever do. I do hope you get some resolution with your situation. Keep in touch.

    Chickatee

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