Tossed and turned? Out like a light? However you slept last night: share it here!
Last night was my 19th night on SRT and yet again I had to record zero hours of sleep. At least, it's 5:30am now and I don't feel very sleepy so I probably won't try again before my wakeup time of 6:30.
I was getting sleep onset issues before I started Sleepio, but nothing as bad as this. Most nights I'm lucky to get 4 hours (albeit usually continuous), and I'm incredibly sleepy come midnight when my sleep window starts. But I feel nervous and can't get to sleep.
I've found that if I'm not down by about 2:30am (after maybe the third try with the QHR), then that's it for the rest of the night. My sleep drive just evaporates after that. The next day is then hell and I'm all the more nervous that night because of it. I admit that I have had to take a pill twice now out of fear of clocking two nights in a row with no sleep at all.
I'm going hammer and tongs on the progressive relaxation, autogenic training, positive imagery but no matter what I do, I'm hitting the pillow and feel fearful and uneasy, which stops me falling asleep. And this feeling has now started accompanying me almost all day now. It's not just the bedtime feeling it once was.
The only thing that's keeping me going is the knowledge that this is only my third week on SRT and that others have reported things taking a long time.
But I have to say this is utter hell. I am hoping for a miracle as I stick to a routine that is gradually destroying me night by night.
Given that my anxiety about not sleeping seems to be the main issue, I'm thinking maybe I should look into an additional therapy specifically for that. I'm reading a book on mindfulness, but perhaps hypnotherapy might work, or even just an anti-anxiety medication to dull the feeling of dread I get when night falls?
I completely understand how you feel JohnB, my problem was getting to sleep and my anxiety was sky high. My doctor gave me 5 mg Diazapam which I took to help me through the hardest part of the course. I didn't take them every night but I believe they did help at that time when things were so bad. I also had to go on antidepressants which helped with my anxiety after a couple of weeks of taking them. I didn't think I was depressed but they helped me a lot at that time. There is nothing wrong with taking them and they did calm me down and I am gradually getting off them now. I too was suffering during the day, worrying about bedtime and worrying what was going to happen to me if sleep didn't start to come.
The QHR made me a wreck so I got up within half an hour if I didn't sleep. Are you getting plenty of exercise JohnB? A gentle stroll in the evening is good.
I have been through all of this JohnB, and I have got through it, but I think you need a chat with your GP just to see if you can get that anxiety under control.
Thanks Ve – my anxiety seems only just high enough to keep me from getting to sleep though. Then, annoyingly, it fades away and leaves me not sleepy enough after that (by about 2:30am).
I'll see if I can maybe talk to my GP about it. I'd prefer not to take any pills really (he gave me some low-dose Zopiclone about two months ago before I started Sleepio, but I've only taken 4 of them over that time). I just feel that if I could get to bed without the raised heartbeat and slight anxiety about getting to sleep, I'd be fine. But it's only a hunch. Perhaps there's something else going on.
Meanwhile, I think I'm getting enough exercise. I do 2 × 7min high-intensity circuits every weekday morning, which is for cardio and strength (hope to increase it to 3x soon), and walk about 10,000 steps a day. Apart from a bad back problem last November, which is OK now, my physical health is fine.
I did the mindfulness course, I didn't like all of it, but the concentrating on breathing was good for me. I did use that method of lying on my back with hands on tummy and concentrating on my breathing. It takes your mind away from sleeping.
My confidence soared if I had a good night, then dropped to rock bottom when I had another bad night, but I think persistence with a good routine is going to win through. I had quite a struggle to get anywhere with sleepio, but the community kept me going. I am 13 months on now and I sleep every night. It was just a very slow and gradual progression to where I am now.
I hope you start to settle soon, tell yourself you are on the right track despite it taking a while to work.
Yes – I'll keep going with the routine. I might try a few new strategies. For example, I've been doing PR in bed before I try going to sleep. I give it a go out of bed in another room instead. Somebody also mentioned that taking a magnesium supplement about an hour before bedtime might help with the anxiety (and there's a Holland & Barrett opposite us). The thought of going for weeks on end like this is pretty incredible though, but it could be worse!
I agree you need a little help to get that bed anxiety down and also get a good nights sleep. You will feel better then. Keep positive John, it will come. That little Prof guy knows what he is talking about,
That sleep pressure must be building up John so let's hope you get some sleep tonight.
Despite how hot it was last night, I slept really well. Hubby said he didn't get off to sleep until around 3 am because he was so hot, (I am talking about the weather here)........ So all new sleepios, just do what Prof says and you will start to have really good nights too!!
Good to hear you are sleeping well Ve, it's encouraging for others to hear.
Sleepio does work and it helps with your anxiety over sleep also.
Carry on with the good progress.
Anything that helps alleviate the anxiety that comes with not sleeping is worth having a go at as this is one of the biggest challenges of not sleeping, so just follow the profs advice and you will sleep before long.
Thanks Trevor, how are you getting on?
Quick update on my progress. I changed my job and worked heavily on mindfulness and started to see improvements almost immediately. My sleep ratio was hovering around 95% with 7 hours a day. Started new job and was okay first week but slowly old habits are returning and I'm struggling to fall asleep. I'm tempted to take panadol to help here but inspired by JohnB's journey to focus on the good and bad nights. I've had three bad ones in a row. If you relapse do you just shorten the sleep window and follow the QHR again. Once asleep I'm generally fine, its just that initial hurdle. A lot of anxiety is gone I think and in reality I'm probably dozing. Does anyone else get these relapses?
Hi stevo, yes those relapses are entirely normal. It's still early days in your retraining, if you think how long it took to establish the bad sleep habits and by comparison how short a time you've been resetting your system. I know it feels like forever when you're going through the sleep restriction, but it does take time and perseverence to get new patterns and habits built up – and the first task is breaking down the old ones. Have confidence in yourself, it will get more embedded and though you may continue to have relapses (I do sometimes still!) now you have the tools to fix the problem, as you have identified for yourself. Good luck!
Thanks Marie Elaine, after writing the above comment was able to fall asleep and managed to get 5 hours. The worst thing I do is continue to try to sleep and not get up after 15 mins. Had a good run for a few weeks so think I'm over it but reality bites. So second time lucky for me yesterday and need to continue getting up if I'm struggling otherwise the anxiety builds.
Thanks for the kind words.
Slept my five or so hours today…but tomorrow is different.
I'll be working tonight, then I'm expected to work from ten a.m. to noon, whereupon I have to go attend a four hour class. By the time I get home, I won't have four to five hours available TO sleep, so if I do fall asleep, I won't get up in time for work tomorrow night. So I intentionally have to NOT sleep tomorrow. That means I should sleep easily on Friday morning…but I don't expect to get more than my five hour average sleep even then.
So how have you managed your work schedule around your sleep schedule TK, must be very difficult. I was interested in whether you slept more than 5 hours, which I guess is your normal amount of sleep.
I sleep 5 to 5 1/2 hours no matter what time I eventually go to sleep, it's weird how it works. But 5 hours is great for me.
thanks the course is helping a lot.
Yes, I typically get only four to five hours, no matter what I do.
The sleep window keeps getting bigger, but I still can't seem to sleep much more than that--unless I'm sick. If I'm sick, I do get more sleep.
Well we don't want you to be sick TK, I guess you just have to keep on with the programme and see if you get to sleep any longer. As long as you are feeling OK on the amount of sleep that you get, you may relax and then more sleep may come.
Possibly a familiar story but I just wonder if anyone can provide helpful comments or suggestions please. I've been struggling with early morning wakening for 3-4 weeks, started the Sleepio course about 10 days ago. Since then my sleep has got worse and I'm now laying in bed for 3-4 hrs waiting for the alarm at 7am. Other nights I'm probably wakening about 5.30/6am which is OK-ish. The problem is I'm self employed, I love work, not stressed and all very manageable but the lack of sleep is begining to impact. I can juggle but can't drop something big!!
I've had anti-depressants before a few times when the anxiety about lack of sleep has got too great but I'm eager not to go down the same track. But how long do I need to wait to see an improvement? Any other ideas to help?
Welcome to sleepio Simon, I am one of the grads, The first 2 weeks are for you to fill your sleep diary in so that Prof can work out a sleep schedule for you. The actual sleep programme starts beginning of week 3 and Prof will be telling you what you have to do quite soon now. None of us could tell you how long it will take for you to be able to sleep through the night, but I can tell you that sleepio works, it has worked for me and many others, there is a high success rate using CBT which teaches you good sleep habits and enabling you to sleep well again. It isn't a quick fix, it takes time. The reason you are not sleeping is because your body clock has got out of kilter and by using the sleepio programme it resets it, so it is challenging to start off with but as your sleep gets better the it is easier to do.
Good luck and I hope it works for you.