Full Sleep is a comprehensive solution designed to help people with chronic sleep issues. One symptom of chronic insomnia is waking extremely early and being unable to go back to sleep—here, we examine how Full Sleep addressed this symptom in our early trials.
Insomnia can look different to various individuals. For some, insomnia looks like an inability to get to sleep, and others may wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep. Another common experience, particularly among older adults, is early-morning awakenings where the insomnia sufferer can’t get back to sleep.
Full Sleep was developed using proven principles of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) principles to address the underlying causes of this sleep disorder. During our early trials, a number of people struggling to sleep until their alarm and wake up well rested found relief after completing the Full Sleep program.
Once I implemented [Full Sleep] strategies, I definitely noticed a change.
Full Sleep is a comprehensive, personalized 6week at-home program for people with ongoingnsleep challenges and symptoms like consistently waking too early. 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—one that no longer involves waking too early in the morning.
The Full Sleep solution includes:
Full Sleep helps people wake up feeling rested 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 and.
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 in 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 waking too early, and not feeling rested.
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 sleep study. As we focus on factors impacting one’s ability to wake up at a consistent time feeling refreshed, we’ll highlight the specific success stories of the following participants:
Many people dealing with insomnia have difficulty waking up at the right time—often waking up far too early instead of being woken up when they intend. This can be caused by a number of different underlying factors. Here are some of the most common factors addressed in our early trials.
Sleep anxiety is stress associated with insomnia and a lack of sleep, which often exacerbates the problem. Negative patterns of thinking can take over and convince people that their sleep problems are beyond repair.
Feelings of dread or apprehension about sleep can make it more difficult for people struggling with insomnia to relax and unwind. They can develop fatalistic ideas about their ability to develop normal sleep patterns.
Sleep anxiety can dramatically affect one’s ability to get quality sleep and feel rested. And when individuals experiencing sleep anxiety wake up too early in the morning, it can make it particularly difficult for them to fall back asleep.
The foundational CBT-I principles of the Full Sleep program help participants understand the impact of sleep anxiety and help them focus on things they can do to relax and drift off, and get back to sleep if they do wake early. The REST device leads them through wind-down exercises to help quiet their minds and get them into a state more conducive to sleep.
The box breathing exercise was really, really good. It allowed me to chill down . . . it really got me into that sleep mode. . . having that voice come out of the [REST device] and guide me through had a pronounced effect.
You introduced me to this PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) thing, and that proved to be pretty successful.
Many people with insomnia will spend as much time in bed as possible, hoping for opportunities to sleep. Figuring that he was going to wake up at 4:00 a.m. anyway, Gerald would go to bed incredibly early to maximize sleep. This can make symptoms worse, making late-night awakenings pronounced and making it more difficult to go back to sleep.
Spending too much time in bed trying to sleep can often associate bed with worry rather than rest. Going to bed early isn’t the solution for waking early—it just reinforces the issue.
In alignment with CBT-I principles, Full Sleep improves sleep efficiency by limiting the time participants spend lying in bed. With a custom sleep schedule, the program helps them focus on sleep quality instead of chasing after a specific amount of sleep. Ultimately, this sleep compression is the most important factor in helping individuals wake up feeling rested at a consistent, desired time.
The REST device also assists in this regard. When participants have been lying in bed awake for too long, the device will encourage them to get up and find another activity until they’re ready to try sleeping again.
You took all these little bits of sleep that I had been getting, and you made me pack them into a single period. . . and it was very successful actually. I think I was sleeping more successfully in your program than I was prior to that. I wasn’t laying in bed worrying about all the consequences [of not sleeping].
When I hit that target, I’d wake up at 7 am, and I was ecstatic about that.
—Gerald (talking about meeting the challenge of the sleep schedule)
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.
When individuals who struggle with waking too early spend the morning hours doing things besides sleep in their beds, it can have cascading effects on their ability to get consistent, restful sleep.
One thing you’ve [encouraged] me to do is not do anything in bed other than sleep . . . I used to go to bed . . . and I had a little headlamp, and I would read books. I’d be in bed between 10:30 pm, and 7 am—most of it awake—and I’d be doing stuff, and I’m not doing that anymore.
People receive a lot of misinformation online and from others about sleep, and they can occasionally rely on intuitive ideas about sleep that are unhelpful. These misunderstandings can create unnecessary worries about sleep and encourage coping mechanisms that are ultimately unhelpful, including self-medication, the creation of expectations that leave them frustrated, and poor sleep hygiene.
Full Sleep provides training and educational materials that enable participants to understand how sleep actually works, what healthy and effective sleep should look like, and how to manage their lifestyle, so it better aligns with sleep. Along with tips and information on avoiding obstacles to getting sufficient rest, these instructional materials equip participants to deal with their insomnia in a productive way.
The information contained in [the lessons], most of the time, I found useful, interesting . . . and I’ve integrated it now.
“I’ve integrated some of the lessons . . . also the insomnia lessons were really good.”
Waking up early and struggling to feel rested can make you feel helpless and desperate, but you aren’t alone. If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, and/or wake up feeling rested, there is still hope. Others have overcome the same chronic sleep issues with Full Sleep.