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Sleep Restriction

(23 Posts)
Sealover Sat 02-Feb-19 06:14:22

Does anyone have any experience of following a Sleep Restriction programme to combat chronic insomnia? I feel it does make sense to shorten the time in bed and promote the drive to sleep as opposed to lying awake for hours. I have been recommended to get into bed at midnight and out at 5am. (Very hard during this cold and dark period!) I began last night so it's early days, am determined to stop the cycle of insomnia, sleeping tablets, frustration etc. Am interested if anyone else has done it and their experience of it and was it successful?

BlueBelle Sat 02-Feb-19 06:39:51

But if you don’t go to bed before midnight how do you avoid falling asleep in the evening ?
I think the answer is not to worry about it (easier said than done I know) I have funny nights often leapfrogging in two or three hour sessions but I never ever worry about it I just accept I m awake, play a few word games or puzzles on my iPad then I drop off again the few times I ve worried about it I ve found sleep is then further than ever

sodapop Sat 02-Feb-19 06:44:51

Yes I do the same BlueBelle except I read a book. Just accept periods of sleep not one long stretch.

Sealover Sat 02-Feb-19 06:49:31

Just have to avoid falling asleep in the evening, in fact napping at all during the day. I have gone through a period of accepting it and trying not to make a big deal of it but it is a real problem when I have many nights of not being able to sleep past 1am. I do all the sleep hygiene things, there is no pattern to it. This is the last attempt to hopefully 'reboot' my system and get into a better sleep pattern.

RosieLeah Sat 02-Feb-19 06:51:25

I have not heard of 'sleep restriction'. The trouble is that we all have different sleep requirements. If you feel well, alert and refreshed then you are getting enough sleep. I seem to need just 5 hours a night and usually wake early. During the warmer months, it's easy to get up and do something...something quiet that doesn't disturb others. Not so easy when it's dark and cold..but one can still read, sew or go on-line while sitting in bed. Make use of the extra hours you have, instead of feeling that there's something wrong with you.

Farmor15 Sat 02-Feb-19 08:07:49

I haven’t tried deliberate sleep restriction but try not to go to bed before 11-30 to 12 even if really tired, otherwise I would tend to wake about 1 am and could be awake for 3 hours. I get up as soon as I wake, if after 7 am.

Some nights I’m wide awake at 4 am and go downstairs and read for a while but try not sleep late in the morning, even if I haven’t slept much as I usually sleep better next night.

DoraMarr Sat 02-Feb-19 08:10:15

Good luck sealover, and I hope it works for you. I’m sure your doctors know what they are doing.

NfkDumpling Sat 02-Feb-19 08:17:59

Isn’t a disturbed sleep pattern what happens when we age? I remember my grans both talking of getting up in the night, one read and the other did a bit of dusting. One grandfather was always complaining of getting up for Calls of Nature several times and not getting back to sleep. My parents followed the same rhythm and I find we’re now doing it too. A nap after lunch is nearly compulsory.

It goes along with not being able to eat spicy foods and having a main meal in the middle of the day. We no longer invite friends for dinner - it’s lunch now!

M0nica Sat 02-Feb-19 08:31:20

I think the chronic insomnia Sealover describes, goes way beyond the disturbed sleep pattern that comes with age and can be affect people of any age. The treatment suggested sounds drastic, but necessary when all else fails.

I hope for your sake and others that the treatment works. I have never suffered as badly as you have, but did have a a period of highly disturbed and sleepless nights just after the menopause and I can remember how debilating that was. I am thankful it was no worse.

All I can offer is sympathy and flowers

BlueBelle Sat 02-Feb-19 08:58:52

My problem with this regime is it is making it into a BIG thing when I feel the best way for you. to get over it is to make it as unimportant as possible You now have to be vigilant about the time you go to bed the time you wake up and surely that will put more presssure on you than ever and keep it utmost in your mind while really you need to be ignoring and accepting and with that relaxing I would have thought

I believe all mind problems start with acceptance

PECS Sat 02-Feb-19 09:10:22

I am not sure what the medical definition of insomnia actually it too few hours of sleep, inability to fall asleep, waking frequently/ early, not being refreshed after sleep or combos of these?
I have one friend who goes to bed at about 9:30 but is up and about at 5 and another who goes to bed at 2:30 and is awake at 9. Both complain of insomnia.
I go to bed at 11 ish and wake at 6/7 ish having woken in the night for a pee. I usually get back to sleep again reasonably quickly. I don't consider that I have insomnia.

Urmstongran Sat 02-Feb-19 09:21:06

To get up at 5am in the dark & cold will you have to set an alarm to restrict your sleep?
Not to be flippant as I’m sure your lack of sleep must be stressful for you, but I did read somewhere that wearing socks in bed helps promote sleep - it raises the core temperature or something. Have you tried that?

Farmor15 Sat 02-Feb-19 13:51:25

I think some people who have sleep problems go to bed early, take a long time to fall asleep, wake up after a few hours and then fall into a sound sleep in the early morning and may not wake till 9 or 10. The principle of sleep restriction is to set alarm to wake early- I’d read 6 - and get up immediately.

The next night the person will be quite tired and fall asleep more quickly. After a few nights 5 or 6 hours of sound sleep will hopefully result.

NanaandGrampy Sat 02-Feb-19 14:03:01

I think as we age we sleep in shorter cycles. I find I have to get up for a wee also but most nights I fall straight back to sleep. Occasionally I don’t and I think the worst thing you can do is lie there and worry about it.

I’ve been known to get up and make a snack 😁, I often read or play a ‘ brainless’ type of game.

I never use the alarm unless I absolutely have to , I think falling asleep when you’re tired , and waking when you’re body is ready and accepting the bits in between is key. I think as I’m retired my time is my own and if I get up in the night to do stuff I might once have done in the day who’s to mind but me :-)

Embrace it I say!

Jane10 Sat 02-Feb-19 14:36:15

I agree with acceptance. After my knee replacement ops sleep in bed and at night was problematic. So I reckon that if I looked on the amount of sleep I had across the 24 hours added up to about 7 hours I'd feel OK. Not necessarily brilliant but OK. Once I decided to just run with this and nap when I felt sleep overcoming me I was fine. Obviously, this wouldn't work for someone who needed to be at work.
My DS has real problems with insomnia. I bought him a magnesium spray last week. It's supposed to help. Time will tell.

MiniMoon Sat 02-Feb-19 15:01:34

Since retiring, and not having to get up early for work, I don't worry about sleeping. Last night, I was awake until after 02:30. I got up this morning at 09:30. I probably had about 7 hours sleep.
Here's an interesting article about the sleeping patterns of our ancestors.

Jane10 Sat 02-Feb-19 15:36:33

Very interesting MiniMoon.

Sealover Sat 02-Feb-19 15:39:50

Thank you all for your posts, especially MOnica. Chronic insomnia is not a 'mind problem!' I have suffered all my adult life, it cost me my career 6 years ago. I have tried all the self help and sleep hygiene recommendations, I think if anyone mentions a hot milky drink or socks they haven't really got a clue about the severity of the issue. Yes acceptance is important but so is more than 2 hours sleep a night! My GP has taken it seriously and referred me to a sleep consultant, neurophysiologist in Oxford 2 years ago. I live in south Cumbria. Most of the time I feel as though I am only half living, I want to beat this. The natural inclination when we are tired is to go to bed and sleep, sleep restriction is rebooting the system, allowing for a deeper sleep albeit for a shorter time, then allowing more sleep gradually. I have researched it and it does make sense. I am fed up of long, lonely nights when it appears that the rest of the world is sleeping, although I do know that there are many people suffering with insomnia. Insomnia is an enduring inability to have sufficient sleep. My husband of 20 years cannot believe how I can function on so little sleep and, thankfully, is supportive. I am very fortunate not to have any worries, am in a secure relationship, am relaxed, so?

Jane10 Sat 02-Feb-19 19:05:36

Good luck Sealover. Your insomnia sounds awful. Sleep deprivation is used as torture so I know it must be hellish for you. I sincerely hope that this new plan can help.

morethan2 Sat 02-Feb-19 22:07:51

I don’t know if I’m an insomniac or not. I just know that sleep is a constant battle. It’s not the long lonely nights that bother me, (well not since retirement anyway) it’s the total exhaustion of dragging myself through the day in a haze. I normally fall asleep without any trouble around 11-12 but wake anytime between 2-4 and that’s when the trouble really starts. I often drop off again around five but most mornings have to get up for the school run. I’ve known for sometime that going to bed before 11 would mean being awake even earlier. Unlike Sealover I used to sleep well I think my sleep pattern went out of sync because of some major family crises over the last decade. So it makes sense to try to reboot my sleep pattern. I will follow your progress with interest. I have a new bed on order and will decorate the bedroom and implement the strategy then. Good luck Sealover and thanks for sharing.

Sealover Sat 02-Feb-19 22:47:25

Thanks Jane10, yes sleep deprivation is used as torture. I do hope this programme works, I have been working very hard at keeping awake this evening so that, hopefully when I get into bed at midnight I can have 5 hours deep sleep. Screen time to stop now!

Cressida Sun 03-Feb-19 15:43:21

Sealover you mention 're-booting' your sleep pattern so I wonder if you have ever tried light therapy.

Jane10 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:06:15

Sealover let us know how you get on.