Full Sleep is a comprehensive solution designed to help people with chronic sleep issues. One symptom of insomnia is an inability to fall asleep—here, we’ll examine how Full Sleep addressed this symptom in our early trials.
An inability to fall asleep easily is a chief indicator of insomnia, leading 10%–30% of the population to toss and turn for hours every night. Generally, it takes most people about 10–20 minutes to fall asleep, and it is normal to have occasional evenings where it takes more or less time. The inability to fall asleep within 30 minutes has been associated with poorer sleep quality overall.
Full Sleep was developed using proven principles of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) principles to address the underlying causes of insomnia. During our early product testing phase, a number of people struggling with insomnia found relief after completing the Full Sleep program.
I like that when I go to bed, I’m asleep within 10–20 minutes.
Full Sleep is a comprehensive, personalized 6-week at-home program for people with ongoing sleep challenges. Built on a foundation of proven CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) principles, Full Sleep offers a range of tools that address the root causes of insomnia, help build new habits, and develop a healthy relationship with sleep.
The Full Sleep solution includes:
Full Sleep helps people navigate sleeplessness by getting to the source of sleep issues. Participants keep a sleep log that helps them assess their sleep problems, track their sleep, and guide their progress. A sleep coach walks them through the program, including a custom sleep schedule that helps them focus on their quality sleep instead of focusing on reaching a specific number of hours.
Participants receive daily reflections and information that equips them to better understand sleep. They also discover new tips and ideas that change how they think about rest and how to avoid common pitfalls experienced by people struggling with insomnia. They’re additionally encouraged to change their relationship with their bedroom. Instead of being a place for doing things like watching TV, phone scrolling, or working, users learn to associate the bed with sleep.
At night, REST prepares participants for sleep with techniques designed to help them relax, leading them through various wind-down and meditation methods like box breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
If participants spend too much time in bed awake, REST encourages them to get up and find another activity until they’re ready to try sleeping again. This reaffirms that the bed is for sleeping—and not for worrying about sleep. Instead of working themselves to an anxious state, they can reset their minds with another task until they’re ready to give sleep another try.
During Full Sleep’s development phase, more than 50 people struggling with sleep issues went through the sleep program. Many of their struggles were related to an inability to fall asleep, and their anxiety about sleep made them apprehensive about bedtime.
The participants came from a variety of different backgrounds. A majority of them were retired, consistent with the data demonstrating that up to 75 percent of older adults report insomnia symptoms.
Many participants experienced relief from their sleep issues during the Full Sleep early trial. As we focus on factors that impact one’s ability to fall asleep, we’ll highlight the specific success stories of the following participants:
Many people dealing with insomnia or other sleep struggles have difficulty falling asleep, caused by a number of different underlying factors. Here are some of the most common factors addressed in our early trials.
As a long-time caregiver to an ailing parent, sleep study participant Shari had difficulty quieting her mind at night. Rachel, another sleep study participant, had to navigate the stress caused by a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Stress negatively impacts the body’s ability to rest. Stressors can come from several sources, including relationships, work, school, illness, childbirth, divorce, and grief.
A lack of sleep can intensify the strain that created the sleep issues to begin with. If work stress diminishes one’s ability to sleep effectively, it can negatively affect daily performance on the job, increasing work-related stress.
I don't have the dread that I used to have. Now I find myself going back to box breathing or mindfulness, and then—boom—I go to sleep.
—Jennifer, sleep study participant
Sleep anxiety is a particular form of stress that exacerbates insomnia. For people dealing with sleep anxiety, worry and concern about not being able to fall asleep can consume their thoughts and impact daily life. These thought patterns can become self-fulfilling prophecies, compounding stress and increasing one’s difficulty to fall asleep.
The CBT-I principles that inform Full Sleep methodology help users understand the impact of sleep anxiety and help them develop healthy and accurate ways of thinking about sleep. The Full Sleep program gives users a set of tools for managing sleep anxiety.
I don't beat myself up. I don't do that anymore. I reach into my toolbox and go, 'let me try this, let me try that.’
Sleep hygiene refers to one’s habits and environment surrounding sleep. This includes pre- and post-sleep activities and rituals, air temperature, light and sound levels, screen usage, food and alcohol consumption, bedroom use for non-sleep purposes, and many other factors.
Sometimes people with insomnia cope in ways that make their sleep hygiene worse and only compound the problem. As a result of not being able to fall asleep, they may spend their time in bed reading, working, or scrolling through social media—which further trains the mind to think of the bed as a non-sleep space.
Participants are taught sleep hygiene principles and encouraged to reform bedtime routines. Personal sleep coaches give tailored feedback, and the REST device gently prompts users to avoid poor sleep hygiene activities in the bedroom.
Being mindful of seeing the bedroom as a sanctuary for sleep instead of a living room/office helped Rachel. She removed the TV from her bedroom. When she got into bed, REST would lead her through breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation, which prepared her for much better sleep than nighttime television.
Rachel’s sleep issues began with back surgery and later cancer treatments. Long after recovering from these health issues, the struggle to fall asleep remained.
Falling asleep quickly and waking up rested hasn’t happened for 20 years except on occasional nights.
Many health problems have the potential to impact sleep, including cancer, mental health issues, and chronic pain. In these scenarios, the guidance of medical and wellness professionals is invaluable, as they can provide insight as to how health conditions may affect a patient’s ability to fall asleep, and how patients can mitigate sleep loss.
Like Rachel, many people find that sleep issues persist even after the original health condition has been rectified. This can happen because the attitudes and habits used to deal with sleep problems end up perpetuating them, resulting in poor sleep hygiene and other issues.
In the middle of a health crisis, the focus is on getting better. Other concerns can fall by the wayside, and that includes sleep. The Full Sleep program can ensure that someone struggling with sleep due to another health challenge can create the best environment and mindset for sleep.
Or, as Rachel experienced, Full Sleep can help address any lingering sleep issues that might remain after the primary health issue has been tackled.
I had to get off of [Ambien]. It was awful.
Many common prescription medications can have a side effect of impacting sleep, including alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, SSRI antidepressants, and corticosteroids. Rachel was prescribed opioids to manage pain after her back surgery, and later steroids during chemotherapy. Both of these prescriptions had a negative impact on her rest.
Furthermore, while some prescription sleep aids are effective in the short-term, they can lead to long-term physical and psychological dependency, along with negative side effects. Zolpidem (Ambien) is particularly notorious for the side effects that some people experience, including hallucinations, changes in behavior, and memory problems. Other potential risks and drawbacks of prescription sleep aids include:
People struggling with insomnia also sometimes self-medicate with over-the-counter sleep aids, cannabis, or alcohol. This is also not a healthy nor effective long-term solution to insomnia, and dependency on these substances becomes a barrier to sleep itself.
The information above provides education around potential pros and cons of sleep medication, but if you have concerns about your specific medication(s) and health situation, talk to your doctor, especially before making any changes to your medication regimen.
CBT-I is considered effective first-line treatment for insomnia. For people who are still wrestling with post-medicinal sleep issues, Full Sleep’s CBT-I principles can help educate and empower them to become productive sleepers again.
Talk to your doctor if you believe your medication is affecting your sleep.
Regular, productive sleep is critical to good health. And it starts with falling asleep when it’s time for bed. If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, and/or wake up feeling rested, it’s not hopeless with Full Sleep.