21 episodes

Welcome to the Insomnia Coach® Podcast! My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life. In this podcast, I share insomnia success stories and expert interviews that I hope will motivate and inspire you to implement changes that can improve your sleep and transform your life.

Insomnia Coach® Podcast Martin Reed, MEd, CHES®, CCSH

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.3 • 3 Ratings

Welcome to the Insomnia Coach® Podcast! My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life. In this podcast, I share insomnia success stories and expert interviews that I hope will motivate and inspire you to implement changes that can improve your sleep and transform your life.

    How health-conscious Anafer shed her identity as an insomniac and now focuses on her career, relationships, and personal happiness rather than sleep (#21)

    How health-conscious Anafer shed her identity as an insomniac and now focuses on her career, relationships, and personal happiness rather than sleep (#21)

    Listen to the podcast episode (audio only)







    Anafer believed that she was born with insomnia. Sleep was a problem for her for as long as she could remember. Being very health-conscious, she spent many of her adolescent years focused on improving her sleep.



    After years of doing her own research, speaking with health professionals, and taking various supplements and prescription pills, Anafer's insomnia was becoming unbearable.



    After graduating from college, Anafer decided she needed to address her sleep issues before starting her career in dietetics. Two years ago, she came across my online coaching course and is now here to share her transformation and the ups and downs she experienced on her journey to better sleep and restored sleep confidence.



    As a nutritionist, Anafer's goal is to help people obtain a healthy lifestyle without the added stress of dieting. Fortunately, she no longer has to contend with the added stress of thinking and worrying about sleep!



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    Okay, Anafer thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come onto the podcast.



    Anafer Barrera:

    No problem.



    Martin Reed:

    So let's start right at the beginning. When did your sleep problems first began? What was it that you think caused your initial issues with sleep?



    Anafer Barrera:

    I'm pretty sure I was born with sleep issues because for as long as I remember, I was always the last person to go to sleep and my parents also suffer from sleep problems and they've been on pills for as long as they can remember. I was pretty certain it was by birth.



    Martin Reed:

    It sounds it's just something that goes back for as long as you can remember it, you just always had this sleep disruption. It was just part of who you are. Is that right?



    Anafer Barrera:

    Yeah.



    Martin Reed:

    So what'd you find the sleep disruption would just be every night or would it just be bursts where you'd just go through a few weeks of sleep disruption, things would get back on track and then you'd go back to struggling again. What was the pattern like?



    Anafer Barrera:

    It had no pattern. When I was a kid, I would have a random anxiety at night and I would be up all night panicking that I didn't want to go to bed. And then when I would go to camps, every time I'd go to some camp or a vacation with a friend or something, it would be the first night was an all nighter pretty much, even if I was in second grade or if I was a teenager and then the second night was iffy and then after that I would almost got used to it and sleep just everybody else. Then when I went off to college, I would have weeks of episodes and then something random would just let it go back to normal a...

    • 53 min
    A conversation about sleeping pills with Dr. Wallace B. Mendelson (#20)

    A conversation about sleeping pills with Dr. Wallace B. Mendelson (#20)

    Dr. Mendelson is a psychiatrist, sleep doctor, and author who works primarily in the field of sleep research and sleep medicine. He is perhaps best known for his research related to the properties of sleeping pills and the effect of medication on sleep.



    He most recently worked at the University of Chicago as a professor of psychiatry and clinical pharmacology and was the director of the school's Sleep Research Laboratory. Two books authored by Dr. Mendelson that might be of particular interest to those listening to this podcast are Understanding Sleeping Pills and The Science of Sleep.



    In this episode, Dr. Mendelson describes the evolution of sleeping pills, explains how they work, and shares information on their potential side-effects. We also talk about over-the-counter pills and supplements, and the evidence-based alternative to sleeping pills and recommended first-line treatment for chronic insomnia — cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    Okay, Dr. Mendelson, thank you so much for taking the time to come on to the podcast today.



    Dr. Mendelson:

    Well, thank you, Martin. I'm delighted to have a chance to chat with you.



    Martin Reed:

    I'm really excited to cover this whole topic of sleeping pills, but before we move on to that, specifically, can you tell us a little bit more about your own background and how you got interested in the field of sleep?



    Dr. Mendelson:

    Well, sure. I guess the best way to describe, it is that I was a student in the 1960s. And it was a remarkably exciting time. In the field of psychiatry, the 1950s and early 60s, saw a revolutionary kind of evolution, prior to that time, the dominant process in American Psychiatry had to do with psychoanalytic treatment and Freudian notions which involve things like understanding the unconscious and the very powerful influence of early childhood on adult life. Although this was a very interesting thing and still I believe a very important thing. It didn't fully address the range of psychiatric patients in my opinion. And then suddenly in the 50s, a whole new era opened up, and it began with a discovery of Thorazine which revolutionized the way hospitalized patients were taken care of, the two major kinds of antidepressants, anti-inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants came along.



    Dr. Mendelson:

    Probably a little more relevant to our today's talk, and 1961 the first benzodiazepine, Chlordiazepoxide, became available in the US and was seen as a very re...

    • 59 min
    How Sally improved her sleep after 60 years of insomnia and 10 years of sleeping pills (#19)

    How Sally improved her sleep after 60 years of insomnia and 10 years of sleeping pills (#19)

    Listen to the podcast episode (audio only)







    Sally had been living with insomnia for 60 years and had been taking sleeping pills for 10 years. She believed that she would never be able to sleep properly — but this all changed when she started to change the way she thought about sleep and began to implement new sleep-related behaviors that made it easier for her body to generate and sustain sleep.



    Sally used to average around three hours of sleep each night. She now averages around seven hours of sleep each night and barely thinks about sleep.



    In this episode, Sally shares what she did to improve her sleep after living with insomnia for 60 years. If Sally was able to improve her sleep, you can too!



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    Hi, Sally. Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast today.



    Sally Newman:

    Thank you, Martin. It's nice to meet you at last.



    Martin Reed:

    Yeah, absolutely. We've been talking through email for quite some time. So, this is really the first time we're meeting so to speak. So yeah, it's good to see you too.



    Sally Newman:

    Yeah.



    Martin Reed:

    Let's just start right at the beginning is what I like to do before all these podcast discussions. Can you tell us a little bit about when your sleep problems first began? And if you can think or if you have any recollection onto what that initial trigger was that led to sleep disruption.



    Sally Newman:

    I can't actually think of a trigger, but I've had insomnia nearly all my life. I'm not sure what the trigger ever was because I've had it since I was a child. I must have been about eight years old when I was frantic about not getting enough sleep and worried that if I didn't get enough sleep, I wouldn't be able to get through the school day, and that was at a very young age. My parents were concerned enough to take me to a therapist at that time.



    Sally Newman:

    I don't remember too much about the therapist, but I do remember him with a slide projector, and he was explaining to me that I shouldn't worry about sleep, it wasn't that important, and that a lot of people didn't sleep wonderfully, it wasn't the end of the world. I remember he showed me a slide of Winston Churchill. Very old, very old, way before your time, who only used to cat nap, and he was perfectly all right. He showed me various other people. I think it did help me. It did help me to talk with a therapist at that time.



    Sally Newman:

    I didn't have a major problem with it but I was witness to insomnia because my parents were both addicted to sleeping tablets. I remember they were taking lorazepam. Every single night at nine o'clock, my father would make my mother a cup of tea and they would take their sleeping tablets. So,

    • 53 min
    How Rick’s retirement triggered a two-year struggle with insomnia and what he did to get his sleep back on track (#18)

    How Rick’s retirement triggered a two-year struggle with insomnia and what he did to get his sleep back on track (#18)

    Rick's insomnia started in 2017 shortly after retirement. He started to wake during the night and would find it hard to fall back to sleep. Before long, he started to feel very anxious every time he woke and began to worry about what the day would be like after each difficult night of sleep.



    Rick started to cancel social events, he would try to take naps during the day, he started to change every aspect of his life in a bid to improve his sleep. He also started experimenting with a cocktail of supplements and pills — none of which helped.



    Fortunately, Rick discovered evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques that changed the way he thought about sleep and helped him implement behaviors that would improve his sleep for the long-term.



    Gradually, Rick started to get more sleep without a single sleeping pill or supplement. As his sleep improved, Rick began regaining sleep confidence and that really got the ball rolling!



    Today, Rick averages somewhere between seven and seven-and-a-half hours of sleep each night. In this episode, Rick shares all the techniques he implemented to transform his relationship with sleep. Just as Rick was able to improve his sleep, you can too!



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    Okay. So Rick, thank you so much for being on the Insomnia Coach Podcast.



    Rick McNally:

    Well, thank you for having me.



    Martin Reed:

    So can you start at the beginning for us. When did your sleep problems first begin and do you remember what initially triggered them?



    Rick McNally:

    Well, they started back in 2017 and it was shortly after I retired. I really didn't seem to think there was much stress going on in my life at that time. I do have a small bit of tinnitus, which I was able to sleep with and I think just retiring and changing my going to bed time and my waking up time had completely changed. I was going to bed like at eight o'clock and getting up at 3:00 in the morning and heading off to work. All of a sudden, I didn't need to go to bed at eight o'clock and I didn't need to get up at three o'clock, but I still went to bed at 8:00 and was probably getting up about 6:00 or 7:00 and didn't realize it as I retired all the things that would come into play. Trying to get health insurance, taking care of financial situations. A lot of things I think, started to build up and I thought, wow, this wasn't a just an easy transition like I thought.



    Rick McNally:

    All of a sudden I noticed, boy, I'm really having a tough time going to sleep and I was probably spending at least eight or nine hours in bed. Then I thought, well, I'll take a sleeping pill. Then I looked at supplements and I started mixing, coming up with a cocktail of supplements and sleeping pills. I got to the point where I started to think, well,

    How Anna went from not feeling sleepy at night and thinking her sleep system was broken to sleeping well and with confidence (#17)

    How Anna went from not feeling sleepy at night and thinking her sleep system was broken to sleeping well and with confidence (#17)

    Listen to the podcast episode (audio only)







    For five years, Anna experienced short episodes of insomnia that would last for a week or two before disappearing. However, when her mother fell ill and required surgery, Anna found it very difficult to fall asleep and this time, even though her mother recovered, Anna's sleep did not.



    For two years, Anna struggled to fall asleep at night and this led to experimentation with sleeping pills, supplements, relaxation techniques, light-blocking glasses, sound machines, weighted blankets, and a lot of ongoing sleep-related research (and worry).



    Anna got to the point where she just didn't feel sleepy when she went to bed and this made her think that her sleep system was broken. Luckily, she began to implement evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques to help build sleep drive, rebuild sleep confidence, and create a strong association between her bed and sleep rather than unpleasant wakefulness.



    Today, Anna doesn't really think about sleep and she gets somewhere around seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep each night. In this episode, Anna shares everything she did to improve her sleep and also reveals how she coped with the typical setbacks most of us experience on the road to recovery.



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    So, Anna, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come onto the podcast.



    Anna Wojcicka:

    Thank you for having me.



    Martin Reed:

    So can you get us started right at the beginning? When did your problems with sleep begin and what do you think caused you initial issues with sleep?



    Anna Wojcicka:

    Sure. So in general, I have never been a very sound sleeper. I was never a person that took naps. I never really enjoyed sleeping in. So I think in general I always needed less sleep than an average person, but it was never really a big problem and I was actually quite happy with it. I started having short episodes of insomnia I would say maybe around five years ago. They would be triggered by something like a work-related stressful event and then I would have trouble falling asleep for maybe a week at a time or two weeks and then it would generally resolve itself on its own.



    Anna Wojcicka:

    Two years ago I had a stressful event that was health-related. So my mom was having some heart issues and we didn't know exactly what was wrong with her. It lasted for quite a while and then doctors were running some tests, she needed to have a surgery. So the whole situation I would say lasted for maybe six week or so, and during that time period I was having a hard time sleeping. I think this is when my real sleep problems actually started. So before, like I said, within a week or two insomnia would resolve in its own but this time,

    How Gretchen went from believing she was the world’s worst sleeper to someone who sleeps well and has confidence in her own natural ability to sleep (#16)

    How Gretchen went from believing she was the world’s worst sleeper to someone who sleeps well and has confidence in her own natural ability to sleep (#16)

    Listen to the podcast episode (audio only)







    Gretchen is a pediatrician and the mother of three children. Her sleep was regularly disrupted as she worked shifts during college and was on call during her pediatric residency. After having children and then entering early menopause, Gretchen started to spend hours awake during the night. This led to sleep-related worry and anxiety that combined with work stress to make sleep more frustrating and more difficult.



    In this episode, Gretchen talks about how changing the way she thinks about sleep and implementing constructive sleep-related behaviors helped her improve her sleep significantly — and how setbacks along the way didn't lead to insomnia working its way back into her life.



    Gretchen went from believing she was the world's worst sleeper to looking forward to going to bed at night! Gretchen did it — and you can, too!



    Click here for a full transcript of this episode.Click here to hide the transcript.

    Martin Reed:

    Welcome to the Insomnia Coach Podcast. My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.



    Martin Reed:

    The content of this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. The statements and opinions expressed by guests are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Insomnia Coach LLC. All content is provided "as is" and without warranties, either express or implied.



    Martin Reed:

    Okay. So Gretchen, thank you so much for coming onto the podcast today.



    Gretchen Volk:

    Oh my pleasure. Thanks for having me.



    Martin Reed:

    So can we start right from the beginning and can you just tell us when your sleep issues began and in what ways were you struggling with sleep?



    Gretchen Volk:

    So, I struggled with sleep for many, many years. Things got noticeably worse probably seven years ago when I entered early menopause. So for the past seven years I've just been struggling more nights than not.



    Martin Reed:

    Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, did you tend to struggle with falling asleep at the start of the night or was it more to do with waking and then finding it hard to fall back to sleep or maybe both?



    Gretchen Volk:

    Yeah, for me it was both, so it would take me a long time to fall asleep, and then I would pop up multiple times during the night and just stay awake thinking in my brain way too hard and wishing I could go back to sleep.



    Martin Reed:

    I think you touched upon it there, but why do you think you were struggling with sleep, what do you think was the barrier that was making sleep more difficult for you?



    Gretchen Volk:

    I think ultimately the issue was the anxiety that I developed around sleep. So I think initially there were maybe some hormonal issues that switched in my body and then issues just related to family conflict and worries about that and work stress, all the normal things. But then, I think why this became such a huge problem for me is that at the slightest sign of sleep trouble, my brain would just launch into this full fledged attack like, this is going to be terrible. Oh my gosh, here goes another bad night. Oh, you've only got six hours left to get a good sleep. You better fall asleep right now,

    • 51 min

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