How Do You Feel After Night of Nil Sleep

This topic contains 44 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Carls 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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    ✘ Not a client

    No sleep, Daf? Do you sleep any during the day? Do you nap or sleep in?

    On the second night,  do you get enough sleep?

    Before Valium, I also had plenty of zero sleep nights, and they were absolutely awful. But the worst part was that I couldn’t nap the next day, and also that the next night, instead of dropping dead into sleep, I would be nervous and find it hard to fall asleep. Paradoxically, no sleep lead to more difficulty sleeping, until things would settle into a normal pattern in 3-4 days.

    So, my question is, if you think 4-5 hours a night is nothing to complain about, I’m assuming you would be satisfied with that amount? Again, without naps, microsleeps or sleeping in on the weekends. Would you sign that deal, Daf?

    I hope I won’t offend anyone, but I am of the belief that nost people who complain of only a couple of hours of sleep mean only night sleep, and don’t take into account other forms of sleep, mainly during the day.

    Anyway, we’ll just have to take eavh other’s word for it I guess.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Edgar,

    Yes, sure I would sign up for 4 hours sleep for the rest of my life rather than face episodes where I get nil sleep.

    I do feel OK on 4 hours. And no, I never nap in the day, because I agree with the experts on this when they say that  that napping for more than 15 minutes will reduce one’s sleep drive the following night.

    I think folks out there in the public have to realise that yes, 5 and a half hrs  to 7 hours is the normal range for people of my age, but like all things in nature there is a normal distribution curve – so some people are fine on 4 hours, others need 9 hours. I wish the media would stop preaching this 8 hour mantra. Not only is it above the average for people over 40, but it is just that – an average. By referring to the need “for 8 hours” all the time the media make primary insomnia sufferers (people for whom the worry about sleep is what is keeping them awake more than transitory worries about other stuff) more anxious than they ever need to be.

    Right now I’m averaging a nice 6 hours sleep, maybe a bit more, but I’m not sure as I have rightly got away from diligently and OBSESSIVELY recording it all the time.

    But I am realistic and I now listen to my body.

    So the night before last I got maybe 7 and half hours sleep – a lot for me. Last night I played my 8 a side football (not bad for a man of 56 doing that twice a week), went to one of our fine London hostelries with my footy pals to do plenty of man-talk about the game, women, this Brexit rubbish. Had a pint and a half of cider. Went home, felt life was great. Had bath. But was still up and buzzing from the game and the fun. So not the slightest bit tired. So, instead of trying to sleep, I watched TV until I felt tired – which was not till 240am. Slept maybe from 315am to 630am. Got up, felt great.

    In the old days I would have tried to sleep when not tired. Now, I listen to my body.

    Tonight, I’m sure I’ll be asleep by 11pm, but we shall see.

    It’s been 5 weeks since my last nil sleep night.

    My episode of insomnia nil-sleep nights last less long each time now.

    Solutions –

    Listen to your body

    Only go to bed when tired.

    Try to restrict sleep a bit. In my case it’s best to keep sleep to less than 6 hrs to ensure I’m fully functioning but also tired the next night

    Don’t obsess about sleep and how much you get

    Try to do the things you normally do

    Keep fit

    Occasionally I have used Mirtazapine to break up nil sleep episodes – Read my thread on Mirtazapine here. But I appreciate not everyone want to take drugs. I do it very occasionally though.

    I’m getting better.

    Nil sleep episodes may come back, but I’m sure they will be less long lasting now than they were before. It’s taken 2 and a half years but I think I’m coming out the other end.

    Daf (in that there sunny London)



    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Daf


    I regularly have nights of no sleep, which makes me feel unwell with headaches vomiting etc it’s an awful feeling but  somehow I manage to get through the day as I become more used to it.

    ( I am definitely one of those who rolls their eyes when someone says I only get 4 to 6 hours a night)🙄 if only!


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Carls,

    Well you will have to roll your eyes a few times on these forums, because there are many like that.

    I guess someone who gets 4 to 6 hours and is v worried about that and cannot function on it, still deserves sympathy, though many might say, “Stop worrying about it and start living”.

    Its hard to decry another’s experience, but the range of what people consider bad insomnia is clearly v wide.

    On here there are people who regularly get nil sleep, sometimes for three or more days on the trot. And others who are fearful because they only get 6 or even 7 hours regularly.



    ✓ Client

    I’m very sorry you get nil sleeper nights for days in a row but you shouldn’t be rolling your eyes at those of us that “only” get between 5 and 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Even when I get that much sleep, I still suffer the awful symptoms of tremors, not being able to concentrate, severe dizziness and limb weakness, among other things. So yes, I worry about being able to function the next day as much as you do.


    ✘ Not a client

    I’ll ask again – which is worse? A few dreaded “nil sleep nights” followed,presumably, by days and days of good sleep (sleep that makes you feel good all day), or constant,daily, subpar sleep and exhaustion.

    I’ll use a very crude comparison, but I can’t think of any other at the moment. Should people with only one leg never complain because there are those with no legs? I mean, those woth one leg can at least hop, so why are they complaining?


    I went to sleep at 11 last night, and woke up at 3:55. And it’s not a one-time thing, nor does it happen “a few nights in a row per month”. It is constant, daily, and I’ll say again, most selfproclaimed”insomniacs” would not want to trade places.

    I always think of my late grandpa in sotuations like this. He was always my comfort when I couldn’t sleep, because he and my mum said that all his life he’s been living on 3 hours of sleep per night. I always thought to myself “man, my sleep can be tough, but my poor grandpa has it far worse”. Then on one occassion we had to spend a week at his house because we were recedorating ours. And I saw for myself what his 3 hours meant. 3 per night, 1-2 per day, and about a dozen power naps.

    I’m sorry, but throughout my life I’ve witnesed so many cases like his that I don’t know what to believe anymore.

    If there really are people out there who often spend 2 or 3 nil sleep nights in a row,and on other nights really sleep for only 3-4 hours, and don’t nap, then I feel so strongly for them. Their life really is hell in that case, and mine really is peanuts in comparison. But, I still have to meet such a person. Until then, please allow me to complain and let off some steam when I wake up at 3 or 4.



    ✘ Not a client

    Replied to you both, but its waiting moderation for some reason… don’t know why.


    ✘ Not a client

    Ho daf,

    well, I’m 30, and my 5 hrs a night sleep nights are killing me.

    I can’t help but doubt if anyone would, if they could REALLY live like me for, say, a month, say that it’s nothing to complain about.It’s easy to think so when you secretly DO nap, or catch a 7.5 hours (or more) occassionally (not saying it’s you, just saying it’s most pretenders around “insomnia” forums.)

    But if they really, REALLY went for it, and dilligently avoided naps and sleep ins and all that, I doubt they wouldn’t get as pissed off as I am with 5-6 hours of sleep a night. I invite anyine to stay at my olace and live life at my pace. Then I would know for sure that they really do sleep only that little.

    So to most “if only-ies” I say – something smells fishy. You only think it’s easy, but you don’t really know what it’s like. There are probably some unaware naps, some sleep misperception, some sneaky little sleep-ins here and there.

    But , it doesn’t matter. I will still complain of my insufficient sleep,because it makes me feel bad. Whoever feels I’m complaining for no reason, doesn’t have to read. And vice-versa, of course.

    Ah, good night everybody.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Steve, Luckily I have never had two or more nil sleep nights in a row. I feel for people that do. And yes, one cannot decry another’s experience, if it is making that person feel bad.

    Hi Edgar, You ask some very good questions there re specifics. Like you, I suspect it rather bugs me when people say they “had a bad night” without being specific as to what that means. .. rather annoyingly lacking detail.

    It’s funny but when my insomnia was very bad (well bad for me!)….. say three week periods in which there would be maybe 8 or 9 days sleepless out of 21, with the rest being a mix of some really good 8 hours and 3 hours…. at those times I would happily take 4 or 5 hours a night every night instead.

    But now I’m getting around 6 hours each night, with just the very occasional nil-sleep night – say twice a month, I’d probably not welcome 4 hours every night . It’s all relative.

    But your question is good cos it strikes to the heart of the “relative-ness” issue. We always want better.

    Maybe if we all are a bit more accepting and um, mindful in our lives (ACT approach to insomnia as per Guy Meadows adopted from Hayes et al), them maybe we would all sleep better.

    As the gaffer here of this site says in one of his emails, “If you can’t sleep then so what. Maybe just rest Just accept it, try to relax and see what happens”

    Last night as I said, I was just not tired, so spent a great 3 hrs watching Corrie and then a doc on our Cambridge Spy, Guy Burgess. Fascinating, the Russians couldn’t fathom how being in MI5 and being openly gay and alcoholic was allright and actually protected our spies because British upper class society was so hypocritical. I digress…..Anyway, forgot all about sleeping. Then by 230am felt tired.

    In  old days I would have tried for sleep at midnight – and not got it.

    I think I’m learning to soften my approach to life and sleep and it is working a bit. Insomnia will no doubt come back, but I feel better able to nip it in the bud.

    Re your Granddad. My Dad is the same. He’s not got dementia but it 92 now. Swears he is a bad sleeper but we have all seen him nap in the day too. And I think he does not realise when he is asleep at night too due to old age impairing his awareness.

    Kind regards

    Daf in that there London


    ✘ Not a client

    And my two replies got mixed, the one that starts with “Hi daf” is chronologically first, and the one starting with “I’ll sat again” should be second.

    This forum is confusing people on purpose! 🙂

    Daf, I like your new approach, I have to confess I’m still in the mindset that you used to be in. I go to bed between 22 and 23, regardless of whether I’m tired or not. And the weird thing is – I fall asleep most times irrelevant of how I feel. Beter still, like I mentioned once before, I fall asleep better when I’m NOT tired than when I am. But I know it’s not that uncommon.

    My poor old granpa did develop dementia ih the end, sadly. His sleep got even worse then! I thought he would sleep like a baby when he practucally reverted to his kid stages. Too bad.

    Being openly gay AND in MI5? I’m glad that it was even possible, I always though openly gay people are bullied by default in the military and similar institutions. Reminds me of Imitation game and poor Alan Turing. But I , too, digress. 🙂

    Off to bed, it’s past 22 in Croatia. It’s only 21 in Britain, if I’m not mistaken, and I envy you right now. 🙂



    ✘ Not a client

    Hi All


    If I can manage on no sleep weeks on end then I find it really difficult to believe you struggle so much on 6 hours sleep! That is more than enough sleep.


    ✘ Not a client

    I wonder at it too, Carls. (You may get angrily shot down for suggesting that!)

    But I guess we have to take their word for it when they say that “only getting 4 or 6 hours sleep” is awful for them.

    I wondered whether for those people, there was another ailment present.

    But they say that when they get their target 7 or 8 hours, they feel fine, so “it must be lack of sleep that is the problem”

    I really wonder though, whether for those kind of people there is something else wrong other than sleep.

    I know for me, 4hours a night would not be ideal, but it would be liveable with. With 5 and a half hours I feel fine, well rested and alert enough until 10 or 11pm. If I have 7 or more hours, I risk not being sleepy the following night, so 7 is really too much to keep a nice pattern going for me.

    This huge variance is interesting.

    Clearly an insomniac is just someone who worries about how much sleep they get (no matter what the experts say is the right amount, (which can vary hugely between people anyway))



    ✘ Not a client

    What you describe Daf, is similar to what I experience. There’s a host of physical symptoms that come with not sleeping at all. In addition to the depression, anxiety and lack of appetite, I also experience nausea, intense headaches, over-sensitive and painful skin, pain in my legs, light sensitivity and related pain, weakness and heaviness.

    Then there’s the mental side: emotional instability, overthinking, inability to concentrate, difficulty with speaking and memory (literally periods where I can’t remember what was happening from moment to moment or a stretch of days I remember nothing about), hallucinations etc.

    And, just like you said, as soon as I get reasonable ( I won’t go so far as to say good) sleep, all of these things vanish and I feel normal again. You’re definitely not alone in feeling as you do.

    When life seems very bleak as you describe, the way I tend to think is that all of it is temporary, and that even though it won’t be ideal, you will get at least a little sleep in the future.


    ✘ Not a client

    Thanks Aeglaeca,

    At least it does pass. And I’m same as you – once I have a good nights sleep I’m fine.

    I’m grateful the episodes of nil-sleep nights, at least seem to be shorter lasting now – a combination of sleep restriction therapy (keeping my sleep less than 6 and a half hours on the good nights, avoiding sleeping in), mindfulness and the occasional use of Mirtazapine have done the job to break up episodes.

    Hope it continues.


    ✘ Not a client

    Whoa,slow down, nobody is going to get “angrily shot down”.

    I am first to say that , in addition to this lack of sleep, I also suffer from MS (which i mention perhaps too often here), so I don’t deny that maybe it also adds to my chronic exhaustion. Maybe in my 6 hours my brain doesn’t reach enough REM, who knows. But I do feel exhausted, and just today everyone at work asked me what was wrong.

    Do you get that question a lot, too?

    Sleep needs vary. I know for a fact that my mother sleeps less than me, yet you could never tell. She can talk all day, I struggle to find words.

    Perhaps Martin can chime in on what the situation is. Why do I (and others) feel terrible on 6 hours of sleep while others are energized the whole day on the same 6 hours.

    Who the hell knows.

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