I've written before about my sleep problems -it's not unusual for me to be awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night or ridiculously early in the mornings. I don't normally have a problem getting to sleep - in fact the opposite is true as I'm often so tired in the evenings that I struggle to keep my eyes open and am prone to napping in front of the TV. It is this which has eventually prompted me to take action - I want to be able to enjoy my evenings more. So I've signed up for Sleepio, an online CBT course which claims to tackle insomnia.
I found out about the Sleepio programme through my reading of a self-help book on insomnia by Colin Espie I borrowed from the library. He's a Scottish doctor who is an expert on the subject. The programme is outlined in the book and you can create your own tables to log your sleep and follow the course that way. But the online programme allows you to log your progress via an app, gives you access to an expert you can question weekly and an online community of others with similar problems. You have to fork out £60 quid for this, But I suppose the pain of doing this increases commitment - it's a bit like the Weightwatchers model.
I'm in the third week of the programme now and it's not easy. For a start, I've had to give up reading in bed, one of the greatest pleasures in life. And audio books are banned too - recently I've got through the whole of 'David Copperfield' in my nightly wake ups - all 32 hours of it which is a lot of time awake. I was even looking forward to waking up so I could listen to some more so the habit of being awake at night was getting worse. I can read or listen but it must be downstairs - you have to get up if you are awake for more than 15 minutes. My sleep diary indicates that I usually sleep just 6 hours of the 8 I usually spend in bed so now my time in bed is restricted to these hours. My sleep window is 11,30-5,30. Getting up at 5.30 not so bad now it's light in the mornings but staying awake until 11.30 last night was painful as the previous night I'd had less than 3 hours sleep because I just couldn't settle. But then last night I slept 6 perfect, undisturbed hours, achieving over 90% sleep efficiency which is the big goal - that's the percentage of time in bed actually spent asleep.
Being up early has allowed me to catch up here again too so it's all good. Perhaps I'll write a post every morning for a while. Anyone out there tried sleep restriction? Would like to hear from you if you have.