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1 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2019 :  17:57:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi GUYS!..
In this post I'm going to lay everything on the table. It's probabably going to be a bit long, but i think if you read all the way through, not only might you see insomnia in a different light, but you might also take away something that might drastically help/speed up your recovery.

Please keep in mind that im just a 36 year old dude from texas with an opinion. I'm not out to undercut anyone or to question anyone else's knowledge or expertise or views. I know there are alot of different stories out tthere..lots of success stories even. I want nothing more than to help people. I know how debiliating insomnia can be...and I know the unbeleivebale panic it to be fair I need to tell all, and say what i really think about sleeplessness.

First of all let me say that even though I took sleep aids for many many months and experiementd relentelessly on myself, I never did get addicted...mostly because nothing really worked. Ambien zoned me out. Sonata did absolutely nothing..Elavil was from the Devil and kept me sleepless for 5 nights in a row. Kava Kava and Valerian didn't work. The only thing that might have helped a bit was a small dose of Melatonin...and even that was "ify: at best. Many people have more of an uphill struggle because not only do they have to beat insomnia, but they have to do it while coming down off the Evil Empire..which is highly addictive sleep medication.

Also I must say that i suffered from sleep onset insomnia. Getting to sleep initially was the main problem. If i could just get to sleep, I would be good to go all night.

My whole life I had been a good sleeper. My insomnia started when my wife and i started building a house. The details of do-it-yourself house building quickly overwhelmed me. I'm self employed and im used to burning the candle at both ends so it didnt initially dawn on me that i was overdoing it. At first my insomnia was sporatic and incovenient. I'd miss a night here or there. I didn't think much about it. But after a while i started doubting myself...and then i started reading and searching the internet for answers.

This is when hell really started for me. Soon after finding this board (and other sleep sites) my problems escalated. I started reading posts from desperate people who weren't sleeping at all. I read about fear and utter helplessness. I read about panic. I read about fatal insomnia. I read about people who were once good sleepers and then had insomnia for 15 years. I read about people whose lives were destroyed....But looking back, I know i wasn't thinking clearly. I didn't stop and think that these people were not ME. I did not have serious depression issues. I did not have a head injury. I was not bi-polar. I did not have migraines or sleep apnea or a host of other physical problems that these people may have had but failed to mention in their posts. All i saw was a life in front of me of more of the same. I could not imagine how i could possible heal myself..I could not fathom how i could get my old self back.

My insomnia got worse and worse. 3 and 4 sleepless nights in a row were common. Sometimes I would go 3 nights...then sleep good 1 night ...then have 3 more sleepless in a row. I was really in trouble. It was destroying the business i built up and eventually taking a big toll on my marriage and family life as well. My kids tiptoed around me. My wife thought i was absolutely losing control of my sanity. I was not the same person. I was sad and negative all the time. I lost weight...i could't think straight. And i had no answers.

This phase went on for months. I was doing everything in my power to change things. I tried all the things that everyone else has tried. The this is, and what I didn't know at the time making an experiemnt out of myself, I was actually self-destructing. Let me explain. I would usually decide during the course of the day what my plan of action was going to be that night. Was i going to take an Ambien? Was i going to take Melatonin? Would i take an aspiring?NyQuil? would i take nothing? Would i take all three? Then I would wonder all day if my concotion was going to work. Then when I finally got to bed I would think...." this going to work tonight? ..and all i could od was lay there and wait for it to happen. Think and wait..and wait..and think and wait some more. I was desperate. My anxiety was sky high. My heart beating 100 beats a minute. My adrenalin was up just in the ANTICIPATION of whether or not it would work. I prayed over and over to GOD that THAT night's plan of action would brain was fried..I waited and watched and hoped and waited.....and I DID NOT SLEEP.

Not only did I have medication issues, but i had other issues as well. I had read that spending an hour or two in the sun each day would help with seratonin levels. I had also read that daily physical exercises would help. As would avoiding caffeine. And using your bed only for sleep and sleeping with sock on. and eating a diet low in white sugars and low in fat. And you know what...? I DID ALL THAT STUFF AND daily life had completely and radically changed. Every decision of my day had to pass the sleep test. "Would eating a bagle help me sleep?" "What if I started drinking diet sodas instead of regular??" What if i ran as hard as i could for 30 minutes?? As you can see, I was a basket case. I ultimately had 3 mental breakdowns.

My wife and I eventually had a heart to heart talk. She said "Ferny if I was running around doing all the stuff you are doing, I wouldn't sleep either", She told me her honest opinion that I was driving myself crazy. She suggested dropping it all. All the internet investigations, all pills, ..and all the routines. EVERYTHING!!! She was right.

The first thing I did was basically unplug my computer. Then i trashed everything that I owned that was sleep related...and I had a bunch of stuff. Then i Slowly started changing my thing of what important and what was not. I determined that NONE of that stuff I was doing was helping me sleep. And on the contrary, as I know now, NONE OF THAT STUFF WAS CAUSING MY INSOMNIA TO BEGIN WITH.

At that time, my confidence was low. And I had no plan. But a strange thing happened.
Curiously I started to be able to sleep consistently from 3-6 am. I don't know how or why. My sleep onset problem was still a disaster but I soon grew confident and thank for the small window of sleep that I was given.

Each night when i went to bed i became more and more confident in my ability to get at least a little sleep. I still would be a zombie the next day but at least I had hope.

Over a period of a few months that window of sleep in the middle of the night would get bigger. And sometimes I could even go to sleep earlier. If I didn't sleep quickly, I didnt fret as much because I knew I would sleep at some point. It was this HOPE that eventually cured me.

Now I'm going to say something that's probably pretty controversial....I think the reason that the sleep-restriction plan works for some people is simple: In my opinion it's not because it fixes your sleep system. Its not because it reduces your anxiety. It's not because it makes you SO tired that u cant help but stay awake (although that may happen)...I think ultimately that this system works because it gives you one thing...H-O-P-E.

Hoep is everything. You have nothing without hope. A Sleep restriction plan gives you hope. Some people will probably swear by the methods and swear that they work, but i'm here to tell you I think it runs much deeper than all the physical stuff you learn in a book...(ie..going to bed later, waking up earlier, getting out of bed if you don't sleep, keeping a sleep log, etc) ITS ALL MENTAL!!Here's what I mean..Many many people try sleep restriction. It works great for some, not well for others. I beleive that if you sincerely BELEIVE that its going to work, it probably will. However, if you DON'T beleive or if you have serious doubts, you're probably in for a long battle. To tell you the truth, I don't think the author(s) actually realise the REAL reason their plans actually work. In my opinion, it's not because the stuff they have you do, it's simply because they offer a plan and a little sliver of hope.

I recently read a book called "HEALING BACK PAIN" by dr. John Sarno. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. Every Insomniac needs this book. In this book he talks about how unresolved tension and stress manifest themselves in your body (courtesy of your brain in the form of pain. Now he talks mostly about back pain. But he also ensures that insomnia is a classic symtpom of TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome). Im not going to spell out the whole book here but let me say the one thing that struck me very clearly: He mentions in his book that various muscle-tension related ailments are brought on and used as a distraction by your body to cover up painful-real life events. My understanding of his hypothesis is that if you can simply accept WHY the pain is there, and that it stems from repressed emotions that you can quickly rid your pain. In the beginning of his discovery he encouraged his patients not only to accept the diagnosis but also to proceed with stretching and different exercises of the infected area(s). However after years of intense studies he changed his position. He now beleives that the only thing that is required is the unequivacable acceptance and beleif that your afflictions are self-manifested. don't need to stretch or exervise or rub hot towels on yourself or ice packs...or ANYTHING ELSE PHYSICAL. Simply accept that you're doing it to yourself. I know it sounds too simple here...and maybe unbeleivable..but after reading the whole book, i'm a beleiver.

So how does this relate to curing insomnia? same way. You have to accept that insomnia is self inflicted. Its probably a mental cover-up. And the answer to curing it is not anything physical that you can do in my opinion . You need acceptance and you need hope.

Now hope, unfortunately is not somethinbg we can bottle up. What will be your hope? I don't know. For me , a small piece of hope came from the 3 hours per night that I could count on sleeping. Also..this is VERY important: My major piece of hope was that I WAS NO LONGER GOING TO LET INSOMNIA RULE MY LIFE. This was the powerful, personal revelation that allowed me to heal. This is what allowed me to relax when i put my head on my pillow. Just having this realization took a thousand pounds off my shoulders. This was the piece of enlightment that set me free. Why? I knew I was no longer going to take a pill. I knew i would never again lay in bed waiting and wondering if a chosen medication would work. I knew i was no longer going artificially keep myself up at night. I was no longer going to place false hope on a worthless herb. I was no longer going to tap-dance around a silly sleep routine. Not only these things...but I was no longer going to moan and complain to my matter how little sleep i got. It was all over....My life had changed. I found my way out...and I knew it.

Now don't get me wrong. For many months my sleep was still flawed. I still had bad streaks. I still had anxiety. I still had doubts (I STILL have doubts to this very day) But I knew one thing...I was getting better. I could FEEEEEL it...I knew the knowledge I had was RIGHT knowledge. Everything else I had ever learned about sleep was garbage but this was the real deal.

I eventually started sleeping well in streaks. I would count them like a little kid counts candles on his birthday cake. 5 days in a row...7 days in a row...2 bad ones...3 good ones...10 good ones...22 good ones..then months went by and I started to forget and lose count. Then I went almost a year with maybe 8-10 really bad nights...specifically where i had something important the next day. But with each bad night I still knew I had hope and I knew i was no longer in insomnias grasp because I had just too much information. I realized that insomnia is mostly caused from the FEAR or not sleeping...and I learned by taking a stand against fear, that it can never win on a long term basis.

Am i cured? hoenstly no one is perfect. I still have small struggles like EVERYONE else does..i took mine to another it too much attention..but i can tell u one thing..Ill never step one foot out of the way for it again.

Thank you all...please email me at if this has helped anyone.

tennis tom

4686 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2019 :  13:27:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for sharing your sleep experiences and their relationship to TMS. Here's a good article about sleep that may also be helpful :
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589 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2019 :  19:42:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Gully,

thank you for your in depth post. I learnt some new thoughts as well as confirmed existing views. It might be of interest to you to read this thread from tmswiki where I posted my answer recently , it ties anxiety to sleep issues as well as how I like you spent oodles of inventive time trying to resolve physical sleep instead of accepting TMS reasoning. I also write about Creative Anxiety.


Past TMS Experience in 2000, with success.
Charlie Horse on neck for 20 years, is almost gone.
Healing Back Pain
Unlearn your Pain
The Great Pain Deception

Edited by - andy64tms on 04/11/2019 19:47:51
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184 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2019 :  02:01:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've found that the only time I have trouble sleeping is when I worry about not being able to. But it isn't as simple as it sounds. For the most part it has to do with work stress, and having to "be somebody" the following morning. A normal workday isn't usually a big deal but when I have to travel - and especially when I have to get up earlier than normal the next day and put on my game face - is when it hits. In those situations I feel fortunate if I sleep for 4 hours, and there have been many occasions of literally sleeping zero minutes which makes for a thoroughly miserable next day. Especially if you have to think on your feet.

Fortunately I rarely travel more than a few days at a time, and usually will sleep better on the second night due to sheer exhaustion. But insomnia is the ultimate mind game, I feel your pain.

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."
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tennis tom

4686 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2019 :  08:01:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I used to do marathons, it's common for marathon runners to experience pre-race insomnia. I read about a running study that said pre-race insomnia was found NOT TO EFFECT PERFORMANCE. Once I learned that, I no longer worried about "insomnia", a TMS affective symptom, having adverse effects on outcomes for ANYTHING else either.

Like Weatherman says, after a restless night, you'll sleep naturally from shear exhaustion. Along with the excellent "BBC Segmented Sleep" article, about natural sleep patterns in the non-industrial world, I no longer fear/worry--TMS--about "insomnia". The article was posted here several years ago by a Forum member. I fall asleep when I'm sleepy and can't keep my eyes open any longer, after reading or watching TV, putting the TV timer on sleep mode.

When I wake up from my "1st sleep", I do stuff productively--or non-productively, when I awake. "Insomnia" is one less fear for me to worry about, laying awake ruminating on the ceiling. I now no longer worry about waking up after a refreshing two to four hours of sleep, but rather look forward to waking up and doing stuff in the quiet hours, like continuing my reading or watching my stored up favorite shows on the DVR. After an hour or two, I'm ready for my 2nd. sleep--(see the BBC Segmented Sleep article).

The celestial architect, as Dr. Sarno refers to him, gives us two of most everything--he even gives us an extra night of interrupted anxious sleep, without effecting performance--perhaps as a Darwinian survival tool, when we may have had to be alert keeping one eye open at the mouth of the cave for intrusions.

Edited by - tennis tom on 04/22/2019 12:34:35
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