Problems falling asleep
Petra Imwinkelried knows (almost) all of them, the remedies for sleeping problems: drink warm milk, listen to soft music, take Valerian drops. Since childhood, the 51-year-old Swiss woman has struggled with insomnia. It used to take her 30 to 60 minutes to fall asleep. She would then usually wake up in the middle of the night, lie in bed for another hour and mull over her thoughts. «Until I was about 45 years old, I took sleep problems relatively lightly. But then the tiredness in the morning got to me more and more,» she explains.
Online sleep training
One day, Petra Imwinkelried read the report in a CSS customer magazine on online sleep training. Her curiosity piqued, she registered on the website. After just under a week, she was able to start training. She installed the app on her smartphone.
A sleep diary is the key to success
First she followed the lessons given by «Albert», the virtual coach. However, Albert wasn't really able to teach her anything new, the 51-year-old says sceptically. Instead, she sings the praises of the sleep diary, a feature integrated into the app. Every day, she entered the time she went to bed, when she fell asleep, and how often and for how long she stayed awake at night. «In the subsequent evaluation, I saw that I lay in bed for an average of 8 hours and had only slept for 5 of them,» Petra Imwinkelried recalls.
Finding the optimal sleeping time window
After 2 weeks, the virtual sleep coach used the data from her sleep diary to devise a training programme specifically for Petra Imwinkelried. In her case, this meant only 6 hours of sleep per night – without exception. If she slept through for more than 85% of that – about 5 hours – during a week, the sleep time was increased by 15 minutes the following week.
Sleep deprivation at the beginning
At the beginning, Petra Imwinkelried was super motivated. But then the sleep deprivation got her down: «I would sit on the sofa in the evening, dog-tired, and knew that if I didn't hold out for another 3 hours now, I'd have to get up again at 4 o'clock. That just wasn’t enough sleep for me.»
Conclusion: methodology worked
On her own initiative, Petra Imwinkelried increased the amount of sleep at a faster pace than the sleep coach intended. Although the virtual sleep coach grumbled, the methodology still worked. So, all in all, the training programme tailored to her personal sleep pattern took between 4 and 5 weeks. Petra Imwinkelried is extremely satisfied with the results: «I've found my optimal time window of 7 hours and now sleep between 85 and 95% of the time I'm in bed instead of just 60%.»