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Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School Paperback – September 15, 2009
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805089585
- ISBN-10 : 0805089586
- Product Dimensions : 5.39 x 0.69 x 8.03 inches
- Publisher : Holt Paperbacks; Revised Edition (September 15, 2009)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The other two pillars of approaching insomnia -- triggering the relaxation response and sleep restriction, take a little longer to see benefit from. My insomnia returned after the initial improvement (although my anxiety about it remained lower), but then I started implementing sleep restriction as recommended by the book: reduce your time in bed in order to build your sleep drive to overcome the middle of the night wakefulness. That has been working great -- it is enormously difficult to stay awake until my new bedtime, especially at first when I was going to bed at 12:30 and getting up at 6 AM, but it has greatly limited my waking up in the middle of the night, and I fall asleep again quite quickly. I can't really do anything other than fold clothes or play solitaire for that last 30 minutes before bed otherwise I will nod off. After 5 days of 12:30, I moved to midnight, and now I am going to bed at 11:30. I've only been awake in the middle of the night for more than 15 minutes once in the last 5 days. Fair warning -- for the first few nights of sleep restriction, my body fought back and I got very little sleep, just 1-3 hours, but then things began turning around.
Thanks to all the reviewers who left their stories -- just reading them helped lower my sleep anxiety and build my sleep confidence! I recommend reading the 4 and 5 start reviews yourself. Even the low reviews are just commenting on the style of the book, not the efficacy of the approach.
The first thing you have to understand is that insomnia isn't an illness--which means it's not the problem you're *actually* having, no matter how agonizing your sleepless nights have been. (I know that agony: I've been there.) Insomnia is merely a *symptom* of whatever your real problem is.
But in the typical approach of so much of our medical culture, there are pills galore to help you sleep "better." Unfortunately, though, even if they work the first few nights, you'll develop a tolerance to them and start increasing the dosage, until you're ready to swallow the whole bottle--including the bottle itself! (I've been *there* too.)
What to do instead? Simply get to the root of what you're taking to bed with you every night, which is causing you to lie awake or have a really dreadful "sleep." And once you do, there are two parts to keeping it from interfering with your sleep from now on. Part One is to practice the Relaxation Response. This prepares you for a good night's sleep, and its technique Is fully detailed in the book.
Part Two--learn to practice something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This simply means taking a disturbing thought running through your head (or spirit) and asking yourself if it's really true or are you blowing it out of proportion? (E.G., "Well, here's another lousy thing happening to me!" . . . "Is that really true? Are lousy things always happening to me? What are the good things that have happened to me? And when lousy things do happen to me, haven't I always been able to resolve them? Sometimes for an even better outcome than if they'd never happened at all?"
If that sounds "feel-goody" (I initially thought that too), I'll close with a personal example. I moved to a new city for my career last summer, and when autumn came, I experienced a prolonged bout of insomnia--even though I'd never had insomnia in my life. It didn't help that I'd moved to the Pacific NW, which is notorious for continually grey skies in the autumn and winter, and very few daylight hours.
After using meditation, chamomile tea and a refusal to watch the news anymore--especially at night--my insomnia because manageable. Not cured, but manageable. Which meant I was tiptoeing around every aspect of my day to guard against anything that might upset me later that night, when I hit the sack.
So, the other night (January!), I fell into a pretty good sleep. And I awoke, fully alert and ready to start the day! Only problem was, my clock said 1:15 a.m. And I just knew I'd never get back to sleep that night. I had five more hours of wide-awake in front of me, not to mention a new day to drag myself through.
I got up, sat down in the living room and, for want of anything better to do, picked up my copy of "Say Good Night to Insomnia," and said sneeringly, "Okay, give me your best shot. (Though it won't work.)"
I stumbled onto the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy section and said to it, "No, I'm not anxious, I'm not angry at anyone, I'm not in physical pain, I don't have bright lights on, I didn't eat or watch TV after 8 p.m. There's nothing to talk myself out of. I just can't sleep!"
But after a while (hey, I had all night), a thought occurred to me: "What AM I taking to bed with me when I try to go to sleep and can't?"
It took me some time for honest self-reflection. And slowly realized I was depressed and a bit afraid because I hadn't been able to make friends in my new city as quickly as I'd wanted. It wasn't in my mind--I'd always brushed it off from my mind. But it was absolutely in my spirit.
And--typical of so many of us--I'd made it, subconsciously, into a sweeping statement of my life from then on: "I'll never make really good friends here. I'll be all alone, with nothing but grey skies and a few hours of daylight. What if I get sick? There'll be NO ONE THERE!
"No one cares if I live or die!"
Well, yeah, it wasn't so surprising that I had insomnia with thoughts like that!
So now I said, "Is that really true? I've *always* made really good friends, wherever I've gone. Almost everyone I meet really likes me and trusts me with things they wouldn't trust to anyone else.
"The problem isn't me, it's that people are just so busy today, they don't have time to keep up friendships.".
"Which means I'll never have any friends again!--they're all too busy! No one will care if I live or die!
"Is THAT true? Could there be others like me, who want to spend more time with real live people rather than do sound bites with faces on a screen? Do I really think I'm the only person in this city who feels that way? Is that a reasonable thought?
"And hey--I make a really good friend. All my friends in other places have said so!"
After another few minutes, I returned to bed, with only those good thoughts in my head. Next thing I knew, the alarm went off. And it's been like that ever since.
If you have insomnia, I urge you not to take the route of continual pill usage before asking yourself every night, "What am I taking to bed with me tonight?" If you come up with nothing disturbing, dig a little deeper till you find it. Because it's always something--sleep is *natural* when nothing gets in the way.
And then use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to deal with it. Pleasant dreams!
Top reviews from other countries
The writer's assertion that the record for sleeplessness was for fifteen days after which the record holder slept for fifteen hours and was fully renewed, was also helpful.
+ most of these books always talk as if you do get some sleep but what if you cannot go to sleep without something , but it is a good book & the theory behind it must work if you stick with it