Insomniacs Often Sleep Without Realising It

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Daf 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #25888

    ✘ Not a client

    I have read lots of articles and academic sleep research that says this is the case.

    I do know it to be true of me. I can fall asleep on couch and not be aware of it. I’m then saying to my wife and son how I’d hoped to just fall asleep on couch – and how frustrated I was that I could not. And they both scream at me, “You’ve been asleep and snoring for 20 minutes!!”

    In which case, people who get up after half an hour in bed and do something else, as per Sleep Restriction Therapy advice, may have got up needlessly because they’ve actually been asleep.

    And it kind of blows a hole in the whole Sleep Diary system – i.e. people may be worried they have not slept, and develop a fear of insomnia, where in fact they have been sleeping, but they did not realise it.


    ✘ Not a client

    I agree. Sometimes a light sleep or stage one sleep is much the same as laying awake. Sometimes I wake up and get mad that I haven’t slept and I really have. I can tell by a little drool on pillow. Sorry for the grossness but that’s how I know I’ve been asleep.


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Many people with insomnia do underestimate the amount of sleep they get each night. However, this doesn’t mean that sleep restriction or stimulus control is without merit. That’s because these techniques don’t rely on completely accurate estimates of time. Instead, they are intended to help you more closely match the amount of time allotted for sleep and the amount of time spent in bed with the amount of time spent asleep.

    To use your example of stimulus control (which involves getting out of bed when unable to sleep), it would be rare for someone to get up needlessly for a couple of reasons. First of all, if the individual is actually asleep, they wouldn’t physically be able to get out of bed. Second, if they are awake and feel that around half an hour has passed, it’s still a good idea to get out of bed in order to strengthen the association between the bed and sleep.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the amount of time allotted for sleep should be constantly adjusted based upon an individual’s progress as they go through a course of CBT for insomnia. So, although there may be a slight discrepancy when it comes to how much time someone thinks they are sleeping compared to how much sleep they are actually getting, constant adjustments to the amount of time allotted for sleep over time will still lead to improvements because the way we estimate time tends not to change over time.

    It’s usually best to think of the fact that many insomniacs underestimate sleep duration as a way of recognizing that you are probably getting more sleep than you think you are — and this should lead to less sleep-related worry and anxiety.


    ✘ Not a client

    I use it as a positive sleep thought.  I say to myself after a bad night’s sleep that “I’m sure I slept more than I think I did, and I can make it on that amount of sleep (insert time I think I’ve slept). ”

    Then instead of obsessing on the bad night’s sleep, I refocus my mind on the fact that although I might not be feeling that good today, I did get some sleep, probably more than I think, and I will make it through the day.  And tomorrow’s another day.

    This has helped me so much.


    ✘ Not a client

    That’s very sound thinking!

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