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Jesus, this is almost exactly like something I would write. My sleep window isn’t quite so limited like yours to one and a half hours, but the rest of my situation is identical to yours. I can only fall asleep at night,and only if I go to bed at proper time. Only I can handle going at midnight or even 1 a.m. But later than that, no.
And like I’ve complained multiple times here – I can’t nap either. No way, no how. Not even when I miss the entire night, I have to wait it out and try again the next night. It is infuriating.
I like how you described that you feel like your body is only able to fall asleep at that certain time. I feel the same way, my body can only sleep during the night, I swear it’s like some hormones or something are released then and only then. During the day I just don’t feel it, I am tired but not sleepy.
How long have you been like this?December 6, 2019 at 8:07 pm in reply to: A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster #34373
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.
December 4, 2019 at 7:42 am in reply to: A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster #34300
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Edgar.
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 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Edgar.
I have considered trying other sleeping pills since Valium is losing its efficiency after all this time. Sorry for being a skeptic, but I don’t believe magnesium would do much. I do, however, believe some good exercise might help, but for now I’m just not finding the time.
I miss waking up with the birds, not before them, too. I also look pale, have bags under my eyes and I’m skinny except for the stomach. I’ve tried going to the gym in college,I didn’t know then how important sleep is for gaining muscle. Needless to say the results were not very impressive.December 2, 2019 at 4:26 pm in reply to: A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster #34227
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.
I have to agree with Martin here, I am also surprised that you fell asleep at the wheel. I remember reading about a doctor who said she would rather go on a ride with one of her chronic insomniac patients who hasn’t slept the whole night than with her husband, a normal sleeper, on 6 hrs of sleep. Insomniacs in general are too wired for that to happen. But I suppose it can happen.
I don’t think I am the right person to ask for advice, since I use (and abuse) Valium for a long time, much longer that the recommended few weeks, which is a terrible idea that I would love to quit.
But, if we talk about the first time that my insomnia came strong and then subsided, that 2 year episode during college (I was about your age), what happened was I realized that I was focused on sleep too much, obsessed with it if you will, and I feared both thebed and the night. Finally one day I decided that I would just live my life like I didn’t have insomnia. I was young enough for the strategy to work (now I can’t pretend I’m fine, I’m too tired, the body just won’t take it anymore and people are more perceptive in your thirties). I went to coffees,drank coffee, went out, if I slept poorly I just kept going and after a while things got better. I did the opposite of what people say, I didn’t actively DO anything to help me sleep. The difference between then and now is that back then my only problem was getting to sleep. Once I would finally fall asleep, I could sleep for as long as I needed. Now it’s different with this early morning awakening business.
So, I don’t know. Try to adopt a “f*** it” attitude. Sometimes less is more. I know it’s going to be difficult after your car crash, though.
Or, try the things that Martin suggests, he is an expert, I’m just a patient. Maybe there is more than insomnia at work in your case (sleep apnoea comes to mind). In any case, good luck.
For starters, try not to hang around on forums like these too long. Learn what you want, get comfort if you need it and go to some better place. Pop in from time to time when you need understanding, but don’t hang around too much, sometimes ignorance is bliss.
That is, of course, unless you hire Martin to give you a hand, then I guess it’s expected to stick around.
Sorry if I was rough, I’m having a shitty day myself. In reality it doesn’t have to be like that. For instance, I had a two year episode of insomnia in college, then a very long hiatus of nearly normal sleep with only occassional rough nights, then 3 years ago my insomnia returned in its full form as it is today.
You’re young, maybe the same thing happens to you, maybe it goes away and, why not, perhaps in your case never returns. I was unlucky, maybe you won’t be. For most people insomnia comes in episodes,so..
I just don’t think there is much we can actively do about it, other than accept it and try to live a normal life. There are others, though, who say they cured their insomnia with sleep restriction, CBT and all that. Maybe THEY’re right, why not.
Anyway, like I said, you’re young and stand a good chance that all this is only a passing episode, so hang in there.
That’s terrible news, I’m sorry to hear that. This kind of thing can happen to any of us.
Martin Reed, the owner of this site, will answer your questions, don’t worry,just as soon as enough posts accumulate.
As for curing insomnia, that’s a tough one. I personally don’t think it can be cured, but if you’re lucky it can be managed to some degree, perhaps even reaching almost normal.
What does your insomnia look like? What have you tried so far?
December 1, 2019 at 9:07 am in reply to: A night of no sleep and being unable to nap – a recepy for disaster #34193
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Edgar.
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.
How long have you had this? How old are you?
Well, you’ve hit a sore spot on these here pages, but I get you. I get 5-6 hours of sleep per night, and it is NOT enough. Just today I was asked if I’m sick, and yesterday it was even implied (albeit jokingly) that I must be a drunk since I look so beat every day, with pale skin, dark bags and red eyes.
There are no answers, sadly, at least not from my experience, and I’ve been a poor sleeper most of my life. You’ve probably read all the usual advice on ACT/mindfulness (which doesn’t help unless you have anxiety or depression) , and you’ve probably already been advised on sleep restriction (the very thing that you are already doing, by default). Insomnia is a tough nut to crack, and honestly I don’t know if anybody who has really suffered from it has ever been rid of it for real. The best that everyone’s got is “good enough”, i.e. 5-6 hrs. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, there are people who suffered from insomnia for say 6 months, got rid of it and are now calling themselves cured, when in reality it was just a temporary thing.
Your friends who say that they are getting 5-6 hours themselves are probably not being realistic, not counting in 2 hour naps during the day or whatever else it is that they’re doing. Most people sleep fine (and I mean most. Real, persistent insomnia is rare.)
If your insomnia persists, 5-6 hours will be your new normal, and you will function on that. If insomnia stops, as it sometimes does (if you’re one of those 6 months people), then all the better for you. In any case, good luck. If anything, you are not alone.
August 21, 2019 at 4:33 pm in reply to: waking up each night at around 3 a.m.,what to do about it? #31532
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Edgar.
Well, some would say that 4.5 hours each night is a blessing and you should be happy. Of course, it’s not.
It’s good to see you at least found a pill to put you to sleep. I hope it lasts.
As for staying asleep, I’m sad to say that, after three years of fighting the same issue, I am losing hope in a solution. I’ve tried several sleeping pills, and also Valium and rarely Xanax. Out of those, only Xanax managed to prolong my sleep, but I’ve only tried it a handful of times. It scares me, especially since Valium is a constant in my life.
Hope you find a solution.
May I ask, what pill/combination of pills was it that finally helped you to at least fall asleep?
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Edgar. Reason: techicality
Thank you for your response, Martin.
Yeah, I think I’m doing almost everything by the book,too, but my sleep still won’t come back and last. I don’t know why I can’t fall back asleep, I just lie there for a while until I decide that that’s it for the day and get up. Then around 11 I’m hit with fatigue which lasts the whole day through.
It’s easy to know when one isn’t getting enough sleep, and my fatigue is caused by the sleep deprivation, nothing else. In the couple of days in the past three years that I got 8 hrs of sleep I felt like I could fly! 5 hours of sleep can’t be enough for anybody unless they’re like my mom – 5 hours a night and then a dozen snoozes and power naps through the day. Of course, if you ask her, she’ll say “I don’t need much sleep, I sleep only 5 hours a day”. :/
I think most people are like that, so when I complain that I only get 5-6 hours of sleep a day, they probably think this is what I mean. But it’s not, sadly. I can’t make up for my lost sleep in any way, and it’s this accumulated sleep debt that is killing me.
I will try, as a last resort, to include exercise (bike riding) into my daily routine (and thus get my sleep hygiene to freaking perfect, apparently). If it gets me 10 more minutes of sleep per night, it’s worth it.
Also, I’ll try to take a break from forums and researching insomnia in general for a while, hard as it may be. Forums are the only source of comfort for me since everyone around me sleeps fine, but perhaps they are adding to the problem.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Edgar.
And not not open another post, I have something to say about CBT-I and how it applies to my situation (and others like me).
I feel like all the advice is exclusively for sleep onset insomniacs, the ones who can’t initially get to sleep. I don’t think any of it applies to people who fall asleep (pass out, to be exact) without much trouble, but can’t get enough sleep. Let’s see:
- Trying to force sleep – don’t have to, fall asleep fine. Problem is I wake up too soon and don’t feel sleepy anymore, until fatigue hits 4-5 hours later. Not sleepiness, fatigue.
- Taking daytime naps -not possible, this is where I do get tense very soon because I feel I’m forcing sleep.
- Worrying about sleep – I used to do this and it prevented me from falling asleep initially (onset), but I don’t worry anymore and fall asleep fine.
- Spending too much time in bed – is 6 hours too much?
- Clock-watching during the night – I only look at the clock when I wake up in the morning and can’t fall asleep for some time, about half an hour or so. Then I get up because why bother.
- Conserving energy during the day – I do my best to live like I don’t even have insomnia. I go out, I work, I’m constantly on my feet, if anything I’m more active when I’m sleep deprived because I rather focus on some mindless activity then sit and stare bluntly with my mind not registering half of what’s happening.
- Not having a consistent sleep schedule – as consistent as it gets, sadly
- Sleeping in a place other than the bed/bedroom – can’t do that even if I want to.
- Using the bed for activities other than sleep (or sex) – I don’t follow this advice since I fall asleep fine.
Measuring the sleep hygiene index on this page, mine is 6. I guess this means my sleep hygiene is fine.
Sleep Hygiene Index score is: 6
Is there hope in CBT-I for soemeone like me?
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Edgar.
Yeah, I’ve heard of similar military practises that basically guarantee that you’ll fall asleep once they let you.
Maybe the solution to insomnia is joining the military? 🙂