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Facing insomnia: I tried Sleepio

How to sleep better when you have insomnia

I’m a chronic insomniac. I get off to sleep easily enough, but I don’t stay asleep. After waking and going back to sleep several times in the first part of the night, I get about four hours in and realise I’m too awake to go back to sleep again.

Over the years (and it has been many years) I’ve read and practised plenty of repetitive advice about sleep hygiene – warm bath an hour before bed, no alcohol in the evening, not too much exercise late in the day, and so on. Most of this is about getting to sleep though.

I used to panic about getting enough sleep. I need my brain for my day job as a freelance copywriter. There are no hiding places if you can’t talk to clients intelligently and get your words down creatively.

Nowadays I have less pressure. I don’t have to get up early to get children to school. I work from home, so no commute to my desk. I have a routine for when I am awake that involves getting up for an hour or so in the night. It all works in a fashion.

But it’s still a problem if I want to stay with friends, or even take a hotel holiday with my partner, where there’s no place to go at 4am. Except the bathroom with a book of sudokos …

That’s why three years ago I decided to try the Sleepio app that is now being advocated by the NHS.

It was tough. I loved the voice that took me on the journey, but it involved sleeping for even shorter hours before making progress.

I got to the end of the 6-week programme and it was definitely working.

Then I went away for a week and somehow the change of routine meant it all fell apart. I didn’t try again, I’m sorry to say.

I kept a diary though. And if you’d like to know how the app works, you may find my reports useful.

Week 1 Hands up, who has problems sleeping?

Week 2 Why can’t I sleep?

Week 3 Trying to get some Sleepio

Week 4 The going gets tough

Week 7 Getting better sleep with Sleepio


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