It has been about a month since I started using Dreem and I am now 18 nights into the core part of the CBT program. Feels and looks like it is working. I’ve been fairly optimistic for the past week or so.
A big part of it – the toughest part – is the sleep restriction therapy. Essentially it is:
- Take the average hours I was asleep (Dreem chose 6.5 hours) and limit myself to never sleep more than that.
- Don’t get in bed until after a specific time (12:30AM).
- Get up at a specific time (7AM) and never before then.
- Never sleep past 7AM.
- If I spend more than 20 minutes awake in bed, then get out of bed to go relax somewhere else till I am about to fall asleep.
- After my 7-day average sleep efficiency is over 90% go to sleep I get to move up my bed time in 30 min increments.
The goal is to get rid of the ups and downs in my sleeping, increase efficiency, and consistency.
It has been incredibly exhausting. Every night for the past two weeks I have been so tired before my bedtime that I can’t even read anymore. I just sit on the couch trying not to fall asleep. But my sleep is not bouncing all over the place anymore:
The first two weeks my average sleep efficiency (time asleep divided by time trying to sleep) was 70%. It also varied a lot from 0% to 96%. Over the past two weeks it has averaged 89% and varied from 84% to 92%. Due to the sleep restrictions I’m still getting slightly less sleep than I had been on average, but currently I am on a 12AM to 7AM schedule, and hoping I get to shift to 11:30PM to 7AM this week.
The slow increase in hours I can sleep should also help me identify how much sleep I actually need. I’m trying to continue to do my rehab at a consistent level so that I can properly gauge how much sleep my body needs while doing rehab.
Shooting for 90% efficiency leaves surprisingly little time to fall asleep and for any awakenings at night.
A nice thing about going to sleep so late is that I actually have more time in my day. I’m exhausted during that time, but I do get more time for reading. Currently alternating between the second Mistborn book and a history of the fall of the Roman Empire. Books for work seem to do too good of a job keeping me awake unfortunately.
Despite the exhaustion, this is still way less miserable than when I was experimenting with my medication earlier in the year.