Matt’s insomnia lasted almost seven years. He took sleeping pills and other substances nightly to try to avoid the lengthy wake-ups during the nights.
Matt wanted a healthy, natural way to sleep without relying on substances, which led him to try sleep coaching.
Here’s Matt’s story about how he worked with Sleepably’s adult sleep coach Seth Davis to get past his insomnia and finally get the restful sleep he had been missing.
Matt, will you tell me a bit about your history of insomnia?
I’ve had trouble for six or seven years. I don’t know what brought it on, but it progressively got worse over time.
Not only was I having trouble falling asleep, but I was having more trouble staying asleep. And this led to a series of medications throughout the years, all of which resulted in me waking up with a pretty bad headache. I mean, they sent me to sleep, but I woke up with a big headache.
And I tried for many years many different things looking to fix this the right way without medication, but nothing seemed to work. Maybe it was just resignation that I’m awake and I’m not going to fall asleep. And it almost became a routine. If I woke up, I would just take something because I knew I wouldn’t get back off.
I mean, sometimes there would be pretty horrific nights where I would get really frustrated, where I knew I needed to sleep and I had something going on the next day and I couldn’t sleep.
Before working with an adult sleep coach, what was your mindset about your sleep challenges?
My mindset was probably one of resignation for many, many years. Because I tried so many things on my own and none of which had really worked, I’d kind of given up and I had resigned myself to taking something every night forever. In fact, that’s where I was and clearly that wasn’t the way.
I tried to lead a healthy life. I do gym and lots of cardio every week, but I was still starting the day with this tremendous headache from taking medication.
And so I knew I had to get this sorted out at some point. And, you know, seven years of terrible sleep was seven years too much.
Will you describe your experience of working with a sleep coach and how it made a difference for your insomnia?
So when we started, because I’ve done so many things on my own, I was quite dubious that anything was going to fix me.
I think a couple of big things was the fact that somebody was there with me, even though physically not there. It was like being coached – I didn’t want to let them down.
And so I tried extra hard this time to do what I was told to do, what I knew was the right way, but had kind of given up maybe in the past.
Having somebody there on my journey was very, very helpful because I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t let me down, of course, also.
How did your thoughts about sleep change as we worked together?
And the first thing was a really weird thing that happened, and that was, and again I’ve done this before, but it’s because I really,
really stuck to my guns. The first big thing was very quick and that was how I saw my bed.
So before the session started, bed was maybe a bit of TV, maybe a book, maybe a glass of wine. But the first thing we did was just look at the bed for sleep, and my relationship with the bed changed very quickly.
I’m not going to say immediately, but it was that first week and I didn’t lie in bed in the mornings. And I only went to bed when I was tired. And I looked at my bed almost like a lover. I mean I couldn’t wait to get into bed basically at night, and before I never thought of bed like that. I saw bed as somewhere to relax and watch old Starsky and Hutch episodes.
You know, that mindset was a big one for me.
What personal milestones stand out to you during your time working with a sleep coach for adults?
OK, so the first thing that started to happen was not only was I looking forward to going to bed, but I was able to wean myself off the medication over three or four weeks pretty gradually.
And then three or four weeks in, I actually started falling asleep unassisted, which was the first time in years I was able to do that. That was a huge step forward, falling asleep with no drugs, no prescription drugs, or no bottles of wine in my stomach.
I fell asleep naturally the first time in years and have been doing that consistently, more or less for, you know, since our session started, really since three or four weeks. And I’ve been doing it ever since.
I’ve had a couple of slip-ups but generally I’m falling asleep pretty good. There was a time maybe five or six weeks into our sessions and I woke up and I took something that I shouldn’t have and I fell back asleep pretty quickly, and you said that that something wouldn’t kick in for like half an hour or so, so maybe the things I were taking at night was more of a placebo, perhaps. And that helped me wean off that realization, helped me get away from most of my wake-up medication.
I guess the big thing, again, is not worrying if I’m going to fall asleep. Before we started, you know, sometimes I might stay awake till one or two. Now, I don’t even worry am I or am I not going to sleep because I do fall asleep naturally. And if I do wake up, I’m pretty cool about it now because I know I’m not on a horrific path of waking up every single night.
Do you think the investment for sleep coaching is worthwhile?
Of course it was, yeah yeah. I mean, it got to the point where money wasn’t even an issue because there are long-term downsides, I mean serious downsides, to not being able to sleep properly.
And so at the point that I called you up, I was absolutely desperate. I mean, really desperate. So money wasn’t really an issue. Money wasn’t an issue at all.
And so, yes, it was money well spent.
What would you say to someone who asked you whether they should give sleep coaching a try?
OK, the main thing I would say about working with Seth is to trust the process.
I didn’t, I was very cynical and dubious because I’d done a lot of doctor internet research and read lots of books. And when I spoke to Seth, I was very, very cynical about what I was letting myself in for because I thought I’d tried everything, and I was adamant that I only wanted science and fact. I didn’t want any new-agey stuff.
And once I began to trust what I was being told, the whole process was quite enjoyable because I could see progress was being made. Once I saw progress, I began to trust everything.
So if anyone wants to work with Seth, please trust him. He knows what he’s doing.