I knew I was late updating my Sleepstation review but I hadn’t realised my last post was eight weeks ago. Obviously a lot has happened since then and the world we’re currently living in is no longer the same (not at the moment, anyway. Will we get back to ‘normality’? Will I be able to watch Eastenders without thinking, ‘They’re in a pub – how unrealistic! Oh, they’re touching each other – they shouldn’t be doing that! Why aren’t they standing two metres apart from each other? No, Sharon, you can’t just “pop across the road to see Linda”‘.
As I’m sure you’ve all got better things to do than read 1,800 rambling words about my last few weeks on Sleepstation, I’ll get straight to the point of this latest and final Sleepstation review: Sleepstation worked for me. And, surprisingly, given the current worries and anxieties about what’s going to happen and will I die after going to the little Tesco to buy bananas? (I haven’t actually been into any shops since lockdown – which was a week ago – as I’m too paranoid about leaving my safe little bubble and I’ll wait until I really need to go to the shop. At the moment, I’m not sure running out of bananas is a good enough reason) it’s still working. Yep, I’m sleeping the whole night through, even when I’m dreaming I’m in a zombie apocalypse.
As you’ll know if you read my previous Sleepstation review posts (week 1 is here, week 2 here, and week 3 is here), the Sleepstation program started off with me only being allowed to be in bed between 2:30am and 7:30am. This was increased each week by half an hour until it got to 1am when it stayed the same for the following week. I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED. I was so disappointed, I messaged Sleepstation and said I AM SO DISAPPOINTED. One thing – maybe the only thing – I looked forward to each week was getting my new plan and that extra half an hour of sleep. It made me feel like I’d passed some kind of test and gave me a much needed ‘yay’ moment. Sleepstation messaged back and said because going to bed at 12:30am (I’d been ‘cheating’ a bit and had confessed it in my sleep diary) seemed to be working for me, they’d adjust the plan and they let me do days 1-3 of that week at 12:45am and days 4-7 at 12:30am. (The getting up time of 7:30am stayed consistent the whole time.)
I must admit I didn’t stick to the plan very well in the last couple of weeks. In fact, the only week I actually completed a whole week as I was supposed to (i.e. not getting into bed before I was supposed to and not getting up later than I was supposed to) was in the final week. I think I just wanted to finish on a high note.
Sleepstation review TL;DR: It’s brutal but it works
I could just finish this Sleepstation review here and say, if you stick to the program it works. I’m going to carry on though, especially as a couple of people have taken the time to leave comments on earlier posts (hello Lynne and Jonathan!) and I feel I owe them and anyone else who’s reading an update.
Sleepstation is brutal at first – you only have five hours in bed – and there’s no way I could have stuck to it if I had a full-time job that involved leaving the house and having to form actual sentences to other humans. I’m lucky though: I work from home and my cats didn’t really care if I couldn’t remember their names at times, as long as I didn’t forget to feed them (which I did one day last week, oops).
It’s not much less brutal after the first couple of weeks either. It’s not like you’re suddenly allowed to stay in bed as much as you like; but that’s the whole point of it. Sleepstation trains you to spend your time in bed sleeping – not lying awake worrying about sleeping or going to bed early because you feel you need the extra rest or lying in bed longer in the morning because you’re still tired. It works though, because although I wasn’t in bed for long, the sleep I got was quality sleep and I wasn’t waking up all the time and not being able to get back to sleep.
In the first few weeks, I was too tired to do anything. I cancelled most of my plans (I know – plans are now something we used to have) and had absolutely no energy. Then, in the last couple of weeks I had boundless energy – I went from not leaving the house all week to going out five times in a week (I know – going out is now something we used to do in the past). I even started running again (we can still do that at the moment, yay!)
When I read back over my previous posts, I sound flat and deflated and that is how I felt in the beginning. My mood improved along with my energy though and I felt better and happier, I had more energy and I could think and concentrate. I could even form actual sentences with other human beings although, having not spoken to another human being in over a week, I am not sure this is any longer the case.
So, thank you Sleepstation – you work! By the end of the sleep restriction programme, I was sleeping for a solid 7 and a half hours a night – amazing!
What happened when I was left to my own devices though and didn’t have a plan to stick to? I won’t lie, I was scared of being left on my own and it turned out I was right to be apprehensive. As soon as I was off the plan, my sleep went back to being shit. Immediately. To say I was miffed is an understatement. I must admit, the first day after the program had finished I was tempted to go to bed at three o’clock in the afternoon, just because I could if I wanted to, but I resisted the temptation and, although I went to bed early (about 10pm I think), it wasn’t that early and I didn’t think I deserved to sleep so badly.
The next night wasn’t any better, even though I’d gone back to the midnight-7:30am routine. I messaged Sleepstation and told them and they said to stop filling in the sleep diaries (I already had because the programme had come to an end) but to leave them a message each day briefly saying how I’d slept that night and they’d give me advice at the end of seven days.
This I did and Sleepstation were really shit. They didn’t give me any advice, just sent a few irrelevant messages that read as if they’d been copied and pasted from a call centre in India and not sent by professionally trained staff. (This is actually how I’d felt about the staff throughout the program, so I didn’t interact with them much, as I didn’t feel I got any personal or consistent support. Most of their replies were irrelevant or not addressing what I’d asked them. The friend who recommended Sleepstation to me also said she’d found the support ‘wishy-washy’ when I compared them to a call centre in India.)
Still, despite the support from Sleepstation being shit, having to check in with them every day seemed to have the effect of me sleeping better. That was a couple of weeks ago, I think, and – touch wood – my sleep is still improved and although I do wake up sometimes in the night, it’s only for a brief moment. I’ve been trying to go to bed later but it’s usually before midnight and getting up at 7:30am has been difficult, especially since I turned my alarm off (unsurprisingly, but with all the coronavirus stuff, I thought ‘sod it, I’m turning my alarm off and getting up when I want to’).
Another thing I was miffed about was the Sleepstation program ended so abruptly. I thought I’d get a load of charts and possibly a report or something but I got pretty much fuck all. There was a graph to show my progress, some assessment scores and codes that meant fuck all to me (although obviously they can be googled) and a very brief summary that said what my sleep efficiency score was at the beginning (67%) and what it was at the end (92%, yay). For a geek like me who loves graphs, charts and stats, this abrupt ending was a huge disappointment. I suppose the main thing is it worked for me and it’s better to actually have a good night’s sleep than a load of graphs, charts and stats proving it but, meh. Give me my graphs, charts and stats!
Good points about Sleepstation
- It works
- You get to fill in a diary every day to keep you accountable
- You get a graph each week showing your sleep efficiency progress
- It’s free on the NHS (you need a doctor referral)
- It works (I know I typed that twice but it’s the most important bit)
Bad points about Sleepstation
- The ‘support’ is akin to copied and pasted messages from a call centre in India
- It’s brutal (but it needs to be)
- It’s really difficult staying up late
- I lost my energy and concentration
- I couldn’t remember my cats’ names (or my own, for that matter)
- It ends abruptly without any pretty graphs and charts or stuff
- It costs £295 (I think?) if you don’t have a referral from your GP but I don’t know if the support is better if you pay for it
- I put on 6lbs during the seven weeks because I figured if it wasn’t sugar keeping me awake at night then I was going to sit and eat chocolate each evening if I had to stay up until stupid o’clock (admittedly, this isn’t Sleepstation’s fault).
Sleepstation review summary
The Sleepstation insomnia cure is well worth doing if you suffer from insomnia. It’s brutal but it’s worth it. I spent about a year sleeping really badly to now sleeping all through the night (most nights, but *everyone* has the occasional bad night and apparently no one actually sleeps right through the night without waking briefly at times).
So, thank you Sleepstation for my sleep (but sort your support system out).
If you’d like to apply for the Sleepstation programme, you can do it online here.
I hope you enjoyed my Sleepstation review and it was useful to you. If you’ve also undertaken it, I’d love to hear how you got on!