Another totally sleepless night

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 2 months ago.

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  • #28330

    Sallyann
    ✘ Not a client

    I have suffered from insomnia all of my adult life and now approaching 60 get desperate at times.  Sometimes I have a choice of either a totally sleepless night or taking a tablet, being groggy the next day but at least that wears off during the day whereas when I have a night like last night I really struggle to get through the day.  Then what is happening is I can’t keep going very well and crash out too early and have too many hours sleep and then can’t sleep the next.  Any tips ?

    #28412

    Carls
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi sallyann

    I’m 34 and my chronic insomnia started at 30 I really hope I don’t have it the rest of my adult life 🙁

    #28470

    Daf
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Sally Ann

    I’m exactly the same as you.

    Nil sleep nights, then a night where I have too much  – which for me is over 6.5hrs, then the following night another nil sleep

    It is also so unpredictable  – nil sleep nights have come in series that last up to a month, in which up to 12 nights will be nil sleep nights.

    I can then be fine for periods of a few weeks. Then it starts again.

    And there is no stress trigger.

    I’m convinced after 3 years of this, that it must be caused by a chemical imbalance.

    Try all the SBTI stuff and ACT therapies. Also, mirtazapine (remeron) for periods at a time (7.5mg)

    #28473

    jazzcat22
    ✓ Client

    At 65, I have similar sleep issues, although I never crash and oversleep.  On a night like last night where I finally got three hours sleep from 4 to 7 a.m. (after trying to go to bed at 11—I thought I was getting sleepy, with my book dropping a couple of times—took two antihistamines at 10, 1 Valerian, 6 mg of melatonin, and some glycine) I am at least 50% likely tonight to sleep “well” which for me is six or seven hours.

    When I don’t take anything I never experience sleepiness until 2 or 3 a.m. (and my natural waking time is always 6 or 7).  I may get a little sleepy between 2 and 3 pm, as even normal sleepers tend to (but have been refraining from taking naps for the last nine months since this started).

    Like you, Daf, I have no stress trigger.  Insomnia is my only stressor (retired, same schedule day after day week after week).  It just seems that I don’t experience sleepiness/ability to sleep after 16 to 17 hours of being awake.  It’s more like 19 to 21 hours!  This wouldn’t be so bad if it were true sleep delay syndrome where I went to bed late but then slept seven to eight hours later.  I’d be willing to do that—it would mean that I would miss my daily gym classes in the morning, which I love, but I’d be okay with that—if I could just sleep past 7 am!

    I finally talked my doctor into running a cortisol test.  The results were fine, as expected (like I said, low stress, regular exercise, meditate, etc.) but there are so many other hormones.  If this was 50 years from now, there would be a way to test for adenosine and GABA and treat it accordingly.

    I think my trigger for the insomnia was staying up two nights in one week when my husband had some medical emergencies and then worrying about his health.  But even before this happened, I saw some changes, like I was unable to fall asleep for an afternoon nap.  It was a little frustrating since I’ve never been a great sleeper, usually sleeping six hours, so liked to supplement it a 30 to 60 minute nap.  And I also noticed that my window of opportunity for sleep was lessening.  With most people, they start to get sleepy and progressively get more sleepy.  With me, if I didn’t go to bed right after the first signs of sleepiness I would then lose that sleepiness and get my second wind.

    #28474

    Daf
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Jazzcat,

    I am the same too sometimes. If I drop off a bit on couch at 10pm, I have to go to sleep then and there or else I too get a second wind often, if I go up the stairs to bed.

    Drives me mad.

    I think you said before (on another post) that you also get nil-sleep nights?

    I know Martin does not agree, but like you, I think they will in the future prove a link to some neuro-chemical or other.

    Worth adding, my Dad and his mother were both bad insomnia sufferers. But good news is she lived to 84 and my Dad is still walking about and fairly fit at 93.

    After a night of nil sleep I have never yet (tough wood) had a second one (unlike some poor sods on here – I really feel for them)!

    If I get 7.5hrs or more, that is only on about 2% of occasions. And only ever occurs after a night of nil sleep and often because I have taken Mirtazapine, which is a Godsend on occasion.

    Hope this helps

    Kind regards

    Daf in London

    #28479

    jazzcat22
    ✓ Client

    Daf, you seem to have some good genes there—although possibly not good genes for sleep, if there is really such a thing.  For a while I took comfort in the fact that other people lived long lives on four hours of sleep.  Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher came to mind….and then I remembered that both got Alzheimers!  So no more comfort there.

    Even before the insomnia happened, I’ve never been a “good” sleeper.  Maybe that’s not fair/true.  I got enough sleep to have lots of energy, even in my sixties.  Six to seven hours, even with several bathroom trips a night, were enough.  But I’ve never slept as long or deep as others.  As a kid I would wait eagerly for 9 am because my friends didn’t get until then and I wasn’t allowed to call them until then (I would be up at 7).  In college I had a roommate who slept so deeply she slept through fire alarms—that would never be me!  And I’ve never overslept in my life.  Even when I worked and had to use an alarm I never used a snooze button.  There would be no way I could fall asleep (or even want to) for 10 minutes knowing I had to get up.  And the truth is I’ve always looked forward to getting up and starting my day (not any longer, although I’m glad to escape the bed and to not have to “try” to fall asleep any more).

     

    #28484

    Daf
    ✘ Not a client

    Yes, I do have good genes. But as you say, not for sleeping.

    I’m same as you. When a kid I can never recall staying in bed asleep till 9, nor when I was a teenager.

    My teenage son age 17 sleeps for Britain! And my wife often gets 9 hours.

    Crazy isn’t it

    #28522

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Sallyann and welcome to the forum. It sounds as though you would really benefit from observing a regular (and appropriate) sleep window as a first step towards making your sleep a bit more consistent.

    Unfortunately, when you experience a really long period of sleep after a night of minimal (or zero) sleep, you reduce sleep drive to such an extent that sleep the following night becomes almost impossible. As a result, you repeat the cycle of poor sleep followed by lengthy sleep followed by poor sleep, etc.

    Another problem with not keeping a regular sleep schedule is that when you get out of bed at a different time every day, your body clock doesn’t have a strong morning anchor. This is needed because the body clock has a natural tendency to drift. If we don’t make sure we’re out of bed by the same time every day, and when we perhaps combine this with going to bed early, we end up going to bed long before our body is ready for sleep. This leads to anxiety and less sleep.

    Finally, I urge you not to take sleeping pills contingently since this constantly reinforces the incorrect assumption that you are incapable of sleep without a pill and that any sleep you get after taking a pill is sleep that only happened because you took a pill. I talk more about this in the video below:

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