Live discussion with Professor Espie - 22nd August

Posted 18 Aug 2011 at 10:47 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Yes i have tried 3 times and spent a fortune. The 1st time it seemed to work and then months later
    the insomnia kicked in again. I have just finished a course of acupuncture which cost over £200.00
    and I'm back to square one. Try it if your insomnia is not that bad. Mine is awful ie: 3-4 nights
    with no sleep at all. It might be the way to kick the insomnia habit esp if it's not an old problem.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi SarahJane. It seems quite a few of us have the problem of waking up at the wrong time. Like you, when I wake up I'm generally not thinking of anything – the brain's just churning to itself. I'm interested that you use your rambling experience as a method to calm your mind. I've been doing something similar for some years and have found it definitely helps get me back to sleep, although it doesn't always work. I try to visualise in as much detail as I can muster my way around a house I lived in a few years ago – starting in the bedroom, down the stairs, round the lounge and so on. I stick to visual images and avoid words. At first it was a real effort to get into but with persistence managed to make it work. I mentioned this to my GP a while ago who said 'I was training my brain to go back to sleep' – interesting thought! It's not a cure, but at least gives me something to fight back with.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Heonbarbus I'm really interested to hear that you do a similar thing to me and fancy that it seems like we have the tools to hand already to train ourselves back to sleep. Did you follow the Q&A session last night and if so what did you think – did it throw anything useful up for you or did it, like it did for me, just leave you with more questions?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi sarahjane, interesting to see that I wasnt alone in my thoughts about last night…more questions than answers. But it seems that Prof Espie is trying to get us to help each other figure it out. I liked the idea of the 'mind ramble'. Have tried that but it didnt work for me but what I did do years ago was create in my mind a 'song' that I can 'sing' in my head when I need to divert it from other stuff that is bothering me. It is stupid, childish even and very brief but it seems to work for me – sometimes. What I definately wont do is get up and do some ironing, housework etc as I have seen some people recommend…or a cup of tea…caffeine at 3am doesnt seem the answer to me.. Dunno about anyone else but last night I had THE worst night – maybe I was overstimulated by the evening's discussion. Whatever, I remain hopeful for a better one tonight – hope you had a good night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi paulieg how are you feeling this evening? I am shattered and don't really know how I made it through today in one piece! My eyes are so sore I shall switch off my computer after this quick chat with you. I think your repetitive song idea is excellent. I have never done yoga or meditation as I am too impatient but I think the principle that we both use is a part of these disciplines. As for getting up I do try not to but sometimes after I have led there for a while I start to feel thirsty and my mind keeps running on that – and a visit to the loo! Have you tried Yogi Bedtime Tea – I think it is really useful – especially as part of my winddown routine. I don't really think I'm any further forward after last evenings Q&A session. I do understand the idea that we will all swop ideas and encourage lifestyle changes where necessary but I still feel we all need some more professional guidance. Some comments Prof Esp made in fact I thought were unhelpful. All fair and good saying relax into the groove and forget your worries to drop back off to sleep but what about techniques to NOT wake up in the first place?! What is your opinion on how it went?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hiya, do you think maybe we were hoping too much for an actual answer to our sleep problems. The Q&A did leave me feeling less satisfied than I had hoped to be but maybe that is MY problem – too high expectation. I know I have a problem because even heavy prescription sleeping drugs dont KEEP me asleep. i cant imagine the idea of head on pillow for a whole eight hours, fast asleep all the way through…that just doesnt seem possible, but I DONT stress about it. Just 'sing' my little song in my head if I need to. What about hypnotherapy??? I have had that (not for sleeping) but it does have a very relaxing effect, again tho it may be good for getting to sleep but not for staying there. I dont think even a brick smashed on the head would keep me asleep for more than an hour or two!!!
    Time now to start the wind-down process….hope you have/had a good one.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi paulieg another dreadful night. I thought I would do better after some exercise earlier in the day and a quiet evening – just can't win – it is so exhausting. Yes I agree I'm sure my expectations were too high reqarding the Q&A session but it has been such a long wait for those of us not invovled in any of the treatments and to be honest sleepio feels like my last chance saloon. Last night as I lay there wideawake with nothing much on my mind I was trying to remember what it was like before all this began. It seems like such a luxury now to think at some point in the distant past I could actually sleep through. I know around about the time I got into this awful habit I had a few bad years and lost four family members in a short space of time. There was extreme stress which seemed endless in grief and emptying houses and mountains of difficult paperwork. Do you think it is too simplistic to put it down to something like that? Have you always slept badly or is it something that has developed over time?

  • Sleepio Member

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    I have slept badly for as far back as I can remember really, always a light sleeper easily disturbed by noice or sleep but not always waking so often. I think there is a pattern to it and once something disturbs the pattern it can take a long time to get back to that point. With all the traumas you have experienced over past years it is no wonder you are struggling now.But that is in the past and focusing on the present and future may be a way of getting back there again. I seemed to have reached a point where it was all 'manageable' but then a few nights in hospital when I absolutely couldnt sleep and several weeks of recovery afterwards where it was still physically difficult means my sleep routine/pattern got out of kilter and I am struggling to get it back, so I guess that was MY bit of trauma that unsettled everything. Yours clearly was much, much more. Never think tho that you have no choices or chances left – have you seen your GP about other options, or privately if possible. Sometimes just talking can help get your head around it, the realisation you are not alone in this and taking onboard any ideas (no matter how off the wall) of others…just cos it didnt necessarily work for them…it is always still worth a try. I DID resort to my little 'song' last night but not for long – maybe it worked!!! The biggest thing is NOT to make sleep a big thing, it just another thing we do, same as everyone else. Please let me know how you are doing tho. Have a nice evening.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Dear paulieg you are so kind. In some ways the sleepio community getting off the ground this past week has made me dwell on my lack of sleep more than I usually do as I'm examining my own experience in the light of other peoples. I think it is a good thing in general but quite tiring in a way too. Have a good evening yourself.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Valerie-

    Just to let you know that we have now posted a 'How To' on the diary tagging system within the 'Technical Problems' topic on the community. If you paste the URL below into your browser it will take you directly there- we hope you find it helpful!

    http://www.sleepio.com/community/post/291/

  • Sleepio Member

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    I've always slept poorly since childhood and for years I've through I didn't need much sleep until I started actively avoiding afternoon meetings at work for fear of being caught dozing. I've tried a hypnotherapy CD which worked for a few days and valerian tea, which made me feel detached and glazed the following morning. Meditation and yoga help, not trying too hard to sleep also helps and being creative and busy in the evening to avoid sleeping in front of the TV helps most of all. How about anyone else?

    So its plan B

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi sueg how awful to have such long term insomnia – I feel sorry for myself and I have only been suffering for a decade! You sound like you are doing all the right things already. Routine is the only thing in reality which helps keep me operational and I have tried the herbalist approach and acupuncture to no avail. Otherwise it might be worth looking at the nutritional posts jenny cook has put on the community. I'm also thinking of exploring those magnetic sleep mats I have read about although the expense is putting me off.

  • Sleepio Member

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    hiya – your story sounds a bit like mine, in that I cant remember now when I DIDNT have a sleep problem. I can GET to sleep OK – just can stay asleep for longer than a couple of hours then I am laying there till sleep comes round again. Studies say though that waking during the night is quite normal, it is the staying awake that is the problem. Like you I have tried allsorts, hypnotherapy, self-hypnotherapy (sort of meditation I guess), sleeping pills dont seem to work for me and you cant have them forever anyway. I keep to a bed time routine and my bedroom is for sleeping only, no entertainment etc. I also use a lot of lavender preparations – as lavender is meant to be good for relaxation – I have even had aromatherapy – lovely and relaxing. I have come to the conclusion that routine is a big part of my sleep issues and about four months ago my routine was briefly 'upset' since then I have been trying to get it back. I can tell you I was SO desperate one time I went to a chinese herbalist and paid twenty quid for a lot of little pills that kept me awake all night cos they made me feel sick – so I reckon I have tried most stuff. Now I am filling in the sleep diary every day and I can see a slightly improving pattern and maybe that makes me more positive that I CAN sleep and so I do?? I dunno whether a bit of positivity helps.

    anyway, if you have any other things you have tried or vice versa let me know, sharing experiences and possible solutions may be the key for all of us. Hope you have a good night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    me too! I rarely have periods when I sleep deeply, so it is a bit hard to fill in this diary. After many hours, I finally get drowsy and drift off, but I stay on the surface and can still hear things around me. Is this sleep?

  • Sleepio Member

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    I guess it depends on whether you get up feeling rested or not. If not then you are probably awake? if you do feel rested then you are probably a very light sleeper. It seems to me that whatever kind of night I THINK Ive had, if I feel rested and ready for the day it has been an OK one. Have you tried all the relaxation stuff while laying awake in the early hours?? I am sure, like the rest of us on here. you name it, youve tried it huh? If you havent already, read through what everyone else has put on here – you never know there might be something new for you to try. Let us know what you have tried cos it is good to share. Hope you have a good night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    well I missed the doctor but hey discussion is ongoing…
    so I see here my problem is pretty Mild compared to others…
    I dont have a problem staying asleep, only if my son wants more milk or my bladder needs emptying…
    My problem is not feeling tired enough to go to bed… Ill watch tv flick from channel to channel untill 11 or 12 then realize this is not good for my health then force myself to go to bed, but not always working…
    what is working for me when im tired but my mind is not, is sing a song… BUT, it must be THE song, its a song I know enough of not to repeat just one line of the song… bcause sometimes ill have a song in my head, but it will only be like a line or two and it just keeps repeating in my head over and over like a skipping disc… The good song allows me to change disc… its a mellow song, it will usually help me clear my mind if its racing over the day I had, but if I dont FEEL tired the song just becomes a problem… last night I tried binaural beats, it actually helped me feel tired, but I was already 50% there before so Im not sure how much it helped, ill try em again tonight…
    one of my last resort is hum well, you all know that the body releases endorphins after a orgasm, so… have one…

  • Sleepio Member

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    Has anyone on here tried acupuncture? I have had some really good effects with that, they just don't last. But def not placebo as I slept like a baby for two weeks. Have booked a course of it for when I come off my amitriptilyne (which works like a dream, no pun intended, but I have to cos trying for a baby).

  • Sleepio Member

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    sounds a bit like cbt, which is about re-training…educational??? Certainly drug free…

  • Sleepio Member

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    I have had really good results with accuopuncture. I sleep like a baby for two weeks, then it goes back to the normal hell! It doesn't work every single time, but 9/10 for me. In my opinion 40 quid well spent!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Great idea to actually mentally repeat something you really enjoy doing. I was an endurance rider in the UK before my ME and have several routes I could mentally go around. I loved riding my horse when I was fit and could revisit this experience now easily. I tend to use a CD player if I have problems, but being able to use this mental experience would enhance my time awake as well as perhaps put me to sleep.

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