Well, I’ve completed 11 nights of SRT, and the jury is still out. I’m still optimistic, but I’ve had a couple of setbacks and it’s not going nearly as well as I’d hoped. Two nights ago, the goal limit was to sleep 3 ¾ hours, but I woke up fifteen minutes early. It’s always disappointing to “restrict” your sleep and not even be able to sleep as long as what you had “restricted” it to. Lol.
Technically, I should have rocked it back to 3 ½ last night, but instead, I forged ahead and set the goal limit to 4 hours. I made it except one quick trip to the bathroom. According to my Fitbit, I was only awake for 2 minutes.
I think part of the problem is “microsleep”. I’ll sometimes catch myself during the day with my eyes closed and I wouldn’t know for how long. I tried to combat that last night by staying off of the couch, but I guess I’m going to have to do more than that. I read in another online article, that even though it seems minor, microsleeps can seriously undermine your progress.
Still, I’m hopeful that within the next couple of weeks, I will no longer be calling myself an insomniac. And with this new hope, I’ve decided to resurrect a few other non-pharmaceutical strategies I abandoned in the past because they didn’t help enough – cold showers in the morning to get going and “intermittent fasting” (for me, that means not eating anything for 16 consecutive hours every day). I’ve added 15 minutes to my elliptical workouts. And added the headstand back into my yoga routine. This dude is serious.
Insomnia is one thing. Chronic insomnia is quite another. I’m sure I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to deal with it over the years, with special vitamins, supplements, diets, and workout equipment; not to mention doctors, therapists and life coaches.
Then I came across this article about curing your insomnia with “sleep restriction therapy”. At first I was skeptical. But, then I remembered basic training when the drill sergeant came stomping through the barracks at 4:30 every morning yelling and banging on a garbage can lid for us to wake up. A miserable experience, but some of the best sleep I can remember.
Anyway, this will be my fifth night, so I can’t recommend it just yet, but it’s starting to look promising.
The first night, I didn’t even go to bed just like it said not to do in the article. Then, at 6:30 Saturday morning, I turned on the sun lamp and continued on with my day.
Then the second night, my plan was to sleep for 3 hours (3:30 – 6:30). Only to my disappointment and surprise, I was only able to sleep for a little under 2½! That’s after being awake for 45 hours!
Still, I keep it up. The third night, I set the goal at 2½ hours and again was disappointed. I woke up after 1½. Ugh!
I wondered if there was anyone else on earth whose circadian rhythms were as screwed up as mine. The first night staying up all night, didn’t even faze me. In fact, I felt better after working through the night, than I do after lying in bed staring at the ceiling.
Anyway, the fourth night (last night), I bumped the goal back up to 2¾ hours, figuring that there’s no way after sleeping only 4 hours in the past 72 that I was still going to have trouble making that. And I was right. I finally slept the whole time. This is the first point at which I truly felt like my sleep was “restricted”, and hope that’s a good sign.
So tonight (#5), the goal is 3 hours and, according to the article, every night, I'm increasing the goal by 15 minutes unless I “stall out” again. At that rate, if the program works, I’ll be up to 7 hours a night by a week from next Thursday. I haven't slept like that in years. What a great way to start the new year!
By the way, I had a doctor’s appointment today and was going to tell her about what I was doing. However, she canceled. Won’t she be surprised if the next time we meet, I tell her that I no longer will be needing her pharmaceutical potions?
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