Last night marked my 22 day of “sleep restriction therapy”. My only disappointment is that I had hoped to be through with this in two weeks, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I have to admit, it’s worked better at ending my insomnia than anything else I’ve ever tried. According to my sleep tracker, I’m falling asleep in less than 6 minutes, which is actually faster than the national average. And even though I’m still sleeping under 6 hours, I feel like I’m sleeping more deeply than before. So, based on my experience, I’m going to officially recommend it to anyone with a serious chronic insomnia problem. But with a caveat -- doing this without medical supervision is crazy. It’s a huge struggle and also dangerous, especially if it takes longer than two weeks. And it probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive during the duration of this therapy. Fortunately, I was able to walk everywhere I needed to go these last three weeks and didn’t need to drive.
I found daytime “microsleeping” to be my biggest problem and it was extremely difficult to avoid. Falling asleep during the day, I’ve read, is probably what prolonged my treatment. Yesterday was my only fairly successful day combating it. I only had one occasion when I fell asleep for about three or four seconds. The only thing that helps for me is to keep moving (which is why my fitbit step totals are rocking so far this month, lol). Seriously, I’m on top of the leader board for the Musician’s Activity Group. I’ve never been near the top 20 before!
Anyway, tonight, the sleep minimum goal is 6 hours. This is a magic number for me because I haven’t slept that long in a single night (without medication or alcohol) since the early ‘90’s when I was still teaching at ISU. This would technically be a “cure”, but my goal of this therapy is a full 7 hours of sleep per night. And the real cure is if I can maintain it. So, I suppose only time will tell.
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