Getting better sleep with the Sleepio app – week 7
Well, I’m all over the place with this programme.
Sleepio is an app designed to help chronic poor sleepers get better quality sleep. As I’ve been waking and staying awake for several hours in the early hours for a long time now, this looked like a real opportunity to get a good night’s sleep and not be so tired all the time.
Generally I’ve pretty cynical and life-improving apps, but I was prompted to try this approach by a television programme featuring the experts behind its development.
I’ve now come to the end of the six-week programme but I haven’t been cast off into the wilderness to manage on my own. I can still keep my sleep diary up to date, return weekly for an analysis of my progress and a bit of a pep talk, and be part of the community.
At this stage my sleep is not perfect. I’ve fallen off the programme a couple of times, because it is hard, and you’re likely to get more tired before you see a long-term improvement.
What I’ve achieved so far
I’m not spending hours awake any more, or not very often. Sometimes I manage 6 hours of unbroken sleep, which is amazing.
I’ve learned to stop thinking so hard when I’m awake. I’ve also learned that if I wake and can’t get back to sleep, it’s better to get up and do something else for a while than lie there trying too hard to nod off again.
What I’ve learned
By dipping into the community I’ve learned that there are many people out there who have similar struggles. And many have much worse challenges than I do – getting just a couple of hours sleep nightly, if that.
I’ve learned a whole bunch of strategies for relaxing and feeling less anxious about the sleep issue and life in general. And I’ve learned a lot more about the process and importance of sleep.
What I’ve yet to achieve
I haven’t stopped waking in the night altogether. I’m dealing with it by getting up and moving around, and frequently spending the second part of the night in the spare room so I’m not disturbing my partner as I fidget myself to sleep.
My ultimate goal is to be able to sleep well while I’m away from home. Not to disturb friends while I wander around their houses sleepless at 4 in the morning. Not to spend hours locked in the hotel bathroom doing sudukos because I can’t sleep and there’s nowhere else to go. These are things that I’m moving towards, but I’m really not there yet.
I’ve come across people who have given up with the programme. I can understand why. The process actually gives you less time to sleep for an indeterminate number of weeks, so you can become more tired before you get better. It’s hard work.
The technology can be a barrier too. Some things don’t work properly. I use Chrome on my PC but others have been told they can’t. There’s an app for the iPhone but not, I believe, for Android. All good reasons not to believe.
I shall continue. Although saying that, I have broken the rules on at least two nights this week, so it’s going to be tough getting back on board. I’ll come back in a couple of months, maybe, to let you know if I’m progressing.
Would I recommend it?
If you live with chronic sleep problems, I believe this programme is worth a go. There are always plenty of self-help apps available on the web, but I believe in this one because I’ve researched its background and heard the experts behind it explain their reasoning. If you find it too hard, then no one could blame you, because it is tough.
It’s also an enjoyable little app, with some humour, some personalisation based on your answers and sleep diary, and that gorgeous silky voice talking to you at your weekly catch-up. What have you got to lose – except more sleep?
Read about the programme as I worked through it:
- Week 4 – the going gets tough
- Week 3 – trying to get some sleep
- Week 2 – why can’t I sleep?
- Hand’s up – who as problems sleeping?