A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Help A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster

Want some expert advice to improve your sleep? Get the free insomnia sleep training course!

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Edgar 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #34191

    ✘ Not a client


    I’m writing to vent a little since I’ve had a rough night last night, the worst kind – a zero sleep one, and I feel so depressed that I can’t even begin to describe it.
    I am a 31 year old man with insomnia my whole life. As I’ve mentioned before, my average for the past three years is around 5 hours a night, which would be almost tolerable if I could just f****** nap when I have a bad night. However, my whole life when I try to nap I either get anxious and my heart starts pounding for some reason, or I just lay there calmly but still nothing happens.
    Right now I’m lying in my bed crying knowing that I have to wait some 15 hours to try to get to sleep again. Thats 48 hours straight of no sleep, nap or snooze. 🙁
    I’m just looking for someone, anyone else who has this ridiculous inabilty to nap or snooze!? Who can only fall asleep when the sleep drive accumulates so much that you fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow, but only at night! I feel so freaking weird over this.

    I know people have written here and on other websites before that they haven’t slept a night or two, but I always assumed that they had a nap somewhere in the day to take the edge off. I would give my right arm just to be able to take a 15 minute nap. 🙁

    Of course, it’s not that I wish this on anyone, I hope you can all at least nap here and there, but if there is someone with a similar condition I would love to hear how you handle it, live with it…
    Right now the quality of my life is zero. I don’t want to die or anything like that, but I wouldn’t much care if I did. At social gatherings I’m useless, at work I’m useless, in my marriage I’m a burden. This is no life, really.

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Edgar.

    ✘ Not a client

    Looking back on my previous posts here, I see there isn’t really anyone on here who can’t nap like me. Believe me, it’s a curse. Imagine if the only time you are allowed to sleep is the night, and it gets cut short. Then you have to wait for the next one, which also gets cut short. And on, and on, indefinitely. And then, a zero sleep night to an already exhausted brain!

    But, I must admit, this time it was mostly my fault. As Martin once said: “the best thing we can do is set the stage for sleep (for example by allotting an appropriate amount of time for sleep and getting out of bed when we can’t sleep) but give up any attempt to control it.” Last night I stayed in town on a birthday party too long, didn’t allot enought time for sleep, dawn was already fast approaching and I panicked. Now I will push through this day somehow (silver lining- it’s Sunday) and I swear to God I will never let myself go to sleep at 3 a.m. Also, I’ve decided – I’m seeing a shrink for this, don’t care what anyone says, I need help.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Edgar,

    I’m feeling your pain. Insomnia is relatively new to me, 3 months. The last week I’ve been surviving on 2 to 3 hours sleep and can never sleep do during the day…it’s all that adrenaline rushing round our body. I’m very anxious about it all and a little obsessive too. Massive impact on my life; family, work, friends. I hardly recognise myself compared to the fun loving lady I was done 6 mths ago.

    You’re not alone though so please don’t let this beat you. It’s about taking control again


    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you, Marie,

    You’re absoultely right. It’s anxiety, adrenaline and perhaps too much focus on sleep, a function that should just happen naturally. But when you get introduced to insomnia, you realize just how much your own mind can influence, interrupt and ultimately ruin such a simple thing. And then good luck not thinking about it. :/

    And yes, it is all about getting your peace of mind back. For instance, I think much less about sleep than I used to, even with this constant early awakening. It takes a really bad night like the one I wrote about to get me really desperate again. And thankfully, thanks to the Internet, we have places like this to let off some steam.

    I slept (passed out) for about 6.5-7 hours this night, needless to say I feel like a new man. I slept more than usual because I missed the entire night before. This night, I predict, I will get back to the usual 5. We’ll see. In any case, after a night with 0 sleep, you realize how much better any ammount of sleep is in comparison.

    Did something happen that brought up your insomnia or did it just happen? I hope you get well soon.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Edgar,

    I had a few things happen over the summer, I’ve always been a worrier but this time the worry led to no sleep. I had suffered before, some 8 years ago but that sorted itself out naturally after a couple of months & I just put it down to rebound insomnia after taking a week of sleeping tablets. I didn’t even think about this period in my life just boxed it off never dreaming it would return… my sleeping habits returned to normal, 8 plus hours a night sleep was not an issue, I didn’t even think about it until three months ago…insomnia back with a vengeance!!!!

    This time unfortunately is different, because it’s been for longer and is starting to have an impact on my life…which I have to say is a wonderful life, great kids, great husband lots of friends and a job I enjoy…if I didn’t have insomnia life would be pretty good.

    I’ve learnt a lot about myself these last few months, you have a lot more time to think! I am a little obsessive which I don’t think is helping right now as sleep, or lack of it has become all consuming and I tend to think about it A LOT

    Have tried ACT and to be fair it was working ok however I had a set back & anxiety got the better of me. I’ve just started taking antidepressants to hopefully calm the anxiety (bought on by no sleep) so I will start to practise ACT again. SR not really for me as I found it made me more anxious.

    I just keep praying I get hold of this soon before my family, work & friends start to get really hacked off with me!! It really does suck…plus I think I’ve aged five years in the last three months & I worry how the stress of it all is affecting my health 😟


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Edgar – I know you must feel incredibly awful right now, I’m going on 9 months of insomnia, the first 5 being the worst experience in my life, but slow healing the last 4 months.

    About napping – I can’t nap. As a toddler my mother would complain that I wouldn’t settle down for a nap, she’d walk me around trying to tire me out, I might have got tired but would not nap. I only remember two times as an adult where I’ve been able to nap, and I’m in my late 50’s now. I don’t know if people like us were born this way or early childhood trauma, or just not feeling safe or unloved as a child caused this, but here we are, and so sorry. One of the few things that helped somewhat when I couldn’t nap was listening to guided mindfulness meditations, there are many on YouTube, or you can download apps like Insight timer or Calm. Getting calm from a 20-30 min guided meditation was the difference between being able to stay at home or checking into a psych ward.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Marie and gsdmom,

    Marie – worry led to my first big bout of insomnia in college. I was chosen for a really stressful presentation in front of the whole college plus some local writers. That was the first time I didn’t sleep a wink for two nights, I was useless at the presentation, and when it was finally over I went to sleep and slept for … 3 hours! Needless to say I was confused. Worry, anxiety, stress – they’re all the cause of it. After that I had sleeping problems for the rest of college,but only of the onset type, fueled mostly by worry and fear.

    You said that this time your insomnia is different and is affecting your life more. That’s exactly my problem. Insomnia has changed its M.O., it’s waking me up too soon after I fall asleep easily and no ammount of calm and acceptance can change it.

    I,too, have aged rapidly. I went from a too young looking 22-year old who can’t order a beer without showing my I.D. to a guy who’s lying about his age since I hate when everybody gasps when they hear I’m only 31, I guess I look 40.

    But none of that really bothers me if I could get my old sleep back. When I get 6 hours or more (more only if I take Valium and if it works), I don’t really care about much else. I just want to feel at least somewhat rested.

    Marie , if your insomnia lasts for only 3 months, then there is a really good chance it will go away just like it did once before. 3 months of suffering isn’t little by no means, but I wouldn’t classify you as a chronic insomniac just yet, I don’t care what the official terminology says! Hang in there, I wish you good luck. You will enjoy your husband, kids and friends soon, I’m sure.


    finally, someone who can’t nap. Not that I would wish it on anyone, but as they say, misery loves company. 🙂
    In all seriousness now, it’s good to know I’m not alone. I also wonder why we can’t nap, but I guess we are just wired this way. I’m sure it has something to do with the circadian rhythm and all that. In any case it’s not easy, the only silver lining is that it helps getting me to sleep in the evenings, I think. People choose sleep restriction, I live it. I also remember only a handful of times that I napped throughout my life. Because of it I had to stay awake on 15+ hours flights, 12+ hours train rides to the sea as a kid, while everyone else cut their flights short by snoozing away. Grr.

    I haven’t tried meditation, but I have tried just laying down and resting. Sadly, it doesn’t help much. If I don’t drift away, which I can’t, I don’t rest. But I know meditation is more thatn that, so I might give it a go.
    Thanks for your response. I think I will save it somewhere for the future , when I feel alone in this non-napping business again.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Edgar.

    ✘ Not a client

    Edgar, yes I remember how frustrating it can be to travel. Many years ago I was a travel agent and I hated when my companions would get so excited about taking a red-eye flight to save time, they get to travel and sleep at the same time – but not me, no, always miserable the first couple days of a long journey and then couldn’t deal with the time change.

    Anyway, I would mostly recommend the mindfulness meditation because if practiced daily over time (at least two months) studies have shown it helps to shrink the amydala – the fear area of the brain and this will help with insomnia recovery. And also when my insomnia was really bad, like I wanted to die, doing mindfuness in the afternoon helped me just enough to pull together a decent dinner for my family, although trying to clean up afterwards was another story. You should definitely check out the Resources tab at the top of Martin’s website, very helpful stuff to help you get started dealing with insomnia, it just takes a long, long time to start healing.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Edgar

    48 hours of no sleep means you’re almost certainly going to sleep the next time your sleep window comes around — exactly as you experienced and described in your follow-up post.

    The key to consistent sleep is a consistent sleep window — because when you give in to the temptation of getting even more sleep by sleeping in later than normal, there is less time for sleep drive to build during the day to help you sleep the following night.

    So, it’s just as important to try to stick to that consistent out of bed time after a good night of sleep as it is to stick to it after a bad night of sleep.

    One thing that stood out from your post was this:

    “Right now I’m lying in my bed crying knowing that I have to wait some 15 hours to try to get to sleep again.”

    You don’t want to be in bed when awake, anxious, frustrated, or angry. You only want to be in bed during your sleep window and when you are sleeping or relaxed enough for sleep. Staying in bed when awake and anxious/frustrated reinforces an association between the bed and wakefulness and all those negative emotions rather than sleep and relaxation.

    If you want to make the bed a strong cue for sleep and relaxation, it’s important to make sure that you are only in bed when you are asleep or relaxed.

    I hope this helps.

    The content of this post 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. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.

    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks for your reply and advice, Martin,

    Yes, I know staying in bed is a bad idea, I just couldn’t help it that morning of the original post.
    I generally don’t have a problem getting out of bed at the same time every day since there are no sleep-ins and snoozes for me anyway.
    The silver lining is that,yes, it at least helps to fall asleep at night most of the time.

    Thanks again.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Edgar.
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

Get involved in this discussion! Log in or register now to have your say!

Want help from an expert sleep coach?

My name is Martin Reed and I am the founder of Insomnia Coach®. Enroll in my free sleep training course and get better sleep.

  • * Get one email every day for two weeks.
  • * Follow my advice and your sleep will improve.
  • * Learn the mistakes you’re making that are ruining your sleep.
  • * 97% of subscribers say they would recommend the course to a friend.
  • * Your email address will not be shared or sold. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Learn more about my free sleep training for insomnia or get started right now:

Certified Health Education Specialist logo Certification in Clinical Sleep Health logo ACE-certified Health Coach logo American Academy Sleep Medicine membership badge