r ranson wrote:Sleep and the body scan. I've done this since I was a kid - be aware of each individual part of the body (start with the left toes and move up), tighten the muscles, relax with an out-breath, continue. This worked fine for sleep before puberty. It still helps for nights when there is no sleep as it imitates some of what happens while I sleep so the body feels more rested in the morning.
My body isn't restless. It just won't sleep. It is like a broken switch in the body that lets it go into sleep mode.
One doctor theorized it is not producing a chemical needed to turn it off. But we couldn't get the tests to find out what was missing. I can get a fair amount of rest just turning off my mind and staying still, but not proper sleep.
I do all the things. I turn off screens at 4 pm. I exercise, being careful to eat the right things at the right times, stretch, be calm, don't use the bed for anything other than sleeping, make sure the room is completely dark... on and on. I do it all. I've tried all the over the counter herbs and remedies. Most of the "sleep" herbs have the opposite effect - like 60 coffees directly injected into my brain.
Are there any situations you can think of where you can't help falling asleep? For example: riding in a car, floating in a pool, watching tv in an easy chair, sitting in a tree, swinging in a hammock etc. If so, maybe that situation could be recreated at home.
When I have trouble falling asleep and mindfulness isn't working, I put on a "sleepy playlist" of sleepy music I have curated over the years of songs that make me sleepy. Sometimes it works better to focus on something external and familiar, like a sleepy song on repeat or audiobook. Sometimes focusing on my internal state or daydreaming is too stimulating, so the music works somehow.
Sounds like you are ready for "advanced" CBT! If you got a workbook for the class, skip ahead and see if anything interesting is ahead. If it's boring and painful, it's not working. It should be relaxing or at least a positive experience. But I think the point of CBT is that it is supposed to be tailored to each patients needs and how their mind is working. I guess a group class setting would be very basic skills, and it sounds like you have those already!
I don't remember where I learned this or if it falls under CBT. Specifically with nagging pain, I like to visualize the pain as some kind of creature like a gecko or something in my mindscape. This poor gecko is running around frantically trying to alert me to the pain/damage in my body. I hold the gecko, say something like "thanks for letting me know. I'm working on it. You can rest now" and set it on a leaf in my mind forest and imagine it settling in to just bask in the sun for a while. Sometimes I feel better, the pain is still there, but it seems less nagging, like it takes less of my attention. It's a little woo woo and you have to be into it for it to work, but it's the concept of accepting and befriending the pain as a part of you.
Sorry if those are things you've tried already. It's so frustrating to be an outlier!