Can you think you're awake when actually you're asleep?

Posted 10 Mar 2011 at 4:09 PM
  • 60 comments
  • 34 helped

Comments

Show older comments
  • Sleepio Member

    • 1692 comments
    • 345 helped
    Graduate

    My whole post just disappeared! Why does that happen? Accidentally nudge a wrong key and then poof, into thin air!

    I find that if I think I've been awake a long time, I try to figure out how long I think I've been awake and then check the clock. If the time passed is longer than what I had expected, I realize I must have been asleep. And of course, I am really awake when I'm doing this, as I'm thinking logically or so I think I am! I'm not recommending checking the clock. During one expert session, the Dr. suggested that if you can do something like look at the window and remember it the next morning, you were probably awake.

    In estimating how long my awakenings are, I use a standard 15 minutes, unless it feels like it's been longer, then I increase it to 30 or whatever makes sense to me (always wish there was a 20 minutes option). But I don't worry about it too much as it's just a record after all. I know if I've slept well or not based on how long it's been between wake-ups compared to feeling like I'm not sleeping. Long time between wake-ups = good night. Short time between wake-ups = fair night. Light sleep where it feels like I'm not sleeping = poor night.

    Angie

  • Sleepio Member

    • 258 comments
    • 66 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Thanks, Dion. I agree that filling out the diary is a common problem but not one that need worry us. And, yes, there is uncertainty about whether or not we sleep. Angie has much to say here about this. Let's look at it carefully.

    I agree with the good doctor that anxieties play a role. That probably accounts for my sleep last night. Also, I re-read what the good professor had to say about this in several of his library articles, and yes, it's clear that we do tend to underestimate the time we are actually asleep!

    That helps explain it. But it is still bothersome.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 258 comments
    • 66 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Angie,

    I have had the same experience you had with posts disappearing. I didn't have a clue. It seemed to happen right after I finished composing it, so that gave us a clue. Zach, my older son, asked me to show him how I used the mouse, and he said that the mouse has a touch that enables you to go back to a previous webpage. I had no idea it was built in to the mouse! He disabled this feature on my mouse and that seems to have corrected the problem. See if you can disable this feature on the screen that tells you which features you want for your mouse. If that is not enough help, I can ask Zach for more details.

    I will read your post and think about it.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1692 comments
    • 345 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    No I don't have that feature on my track pad – no mouse. I'm sure I accidentally touch something. I've lost emails that way by moving my finger to the bottom and poof, it's gone! I just discovered today that tapping the address bar twice closes the window. Who knew?
    Angie

  • Sleepio Member

    • 246 comments
    • 98 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Angie. I also get that ..poof into thin air… at times. It is very annoying. I know that it is something on the keyboard that I touch but I don't know what either. Thanks for the reminder to look at a window to check to see if your really awake. I had read that but forgot about it. I also don't like to look at the clock but as an experiment I have looked at it when I wake up (yes I am awake) and then laid back down to go back to sleep. I feel like I am not really sleeping BUT when I look at the clock again an hour or so has gone by. I know that I have not been awake that long so I must have gone back to sleep even if it is in the early stages. I think I have finally stopped worrying about the exact times of being awake and being asleep. I can usually feel what kind of sleep I have had as soon as I wake up and I am beginning to tell the difference between being fully awake(it's going to be really hard to go back to sleep) and just partially awake(I will probably drift off quick). I really like the way you look at sleep …..long time between wake-ups=good sleep etc. It is simple but true.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 246 comments
    • 98 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    All great words of wisdom. It is amazing how I know all of this in my head but seem to forget it all when I have had a bad night and become anxious again. Hopefully with time these wise ways will becoming the new habit.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 17 comments
    • 5 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I would say 99% that sleep is controlled by our emotional stress levels. Learning to control these is very difficult, even with all the Sleepio techniques. Breaking lifelong habits needs dedication and belief. Mind you, I do feel very sorry for people with chronic physical conditions who can't sleep due to pain. I have a few friends with extremely painful arthritic illnesses who suffer with awful sleep problems. Getting on top of head issues seems nothing compared to a lifelong physical illness. I keep having to make myself put things into perspective.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 246 comments
    • 98 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I certainly agree with all that you have said Jazz Enigma. I have come to realize that most of my restless nights are due to racing mind over some emotional stress due to family, work, world events etc. If I realize that I have had a bad day in these regards, then writing my worries and what, if anything, I can do about them the next day and the good things and bad things that happened during the day usually helps. I am also very grateful that I don't deal with chronic pain at the moment anyway.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 17 comments
    • 5 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Dion, thanks for your reply. I've printed some of the sheets off downloads and will see if that helps. I'm going on a Mindfulness Retreat today. My dear friend comes with me; she is the loveliest person you could wish to meet but is fighting serious secondary cancer. I am angry and upset that someone so good, who should have decades of life ahead, is having to cope with the awful treatment yet again and come to terms with her mortality. I should be able to sleep knowing that I am the lucky one but the thought of what other people have to go through makes my mind whirl with the unfairness of life. I lost one of my best friends last year. She suffered for 12 long years with MS and spent the last four in a Leonard Cheshire Home. It was so cruel, especially for her parents and young children. It was interesting that you wrote about world issues as I get quite affected on this score too. You sometimes feel such a weight. I am constantly picking myself up though as I'm a half-pint full girl. Life is a journey…..got to make it as good as possible for the people we love. X

  • Sleepio Member

    • 7 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I am tracking my sleep with a Jawbone UP. Last nigh at dinner I drank more wine than I normally would, let's say two plus glasses white wine. Much of the night I felt conscious, but not enough to get out of bed. My UP says I slept all night, just between light sleep and deep sleep. I realize now that I am often aware or conscious during sleep, such as early sleep. It's not as restorative as deep sleep but it is brain sleeping.
    Make sense?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 13 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    I've been using a jawbone UP too, and it's been really useful as it nearly always shows I'm getting more sleep than I think I have. Personally I've found this reassuring and has helped reduce my anxieties around sleep as I know the reality is I'm getting more sleep than I thought I was, as a result I'm coping with days following nights where I haven't had loads of sleep much better than I was. No massive improvement in my sleep yet but I feel more positive. Fingers crossed things will begin to get better! I'd be pretty sceptical about my ability to accurately fill in the sleep diary without it.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 0 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    I feel exactly the same ? How do you feel now, have you gotten better ? I also saw a doctor and she is link you look perfectly normal, your eyes arent red , you dont look tired and so on… But I really feel my quality of sleep is bad. Please tell me more about your experience.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 2 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 3

    I realized I was sleeping early this morning, when I thought I wasn't due to the images that were going through my head.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 3 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I think I might sleep while I think I'm awake, too….

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 2

    I find this subject of being in a state of not knowing if I have been asleep (for any amount of time) to be a very subjective area to cover. For instance: Last night was not a good night for me; I won't complain, for the last three nights I've had a relatively good 'high-score' in regard to sleeping hours. In any case, let's say that a night without sleep is always going to be a downer unless we analyse what might be behind it and try to put a positive spin into the following day, as hard as that can sometimes be … (that's another topic)

    Anyway …

    As far as I was aware I was not sleeping. But that was only until I suddenly recall a dream I'd had. I glance over at the clock, then ponder on where the last two hours have gone and only THEN feel the need to wonder if I have slept or not. I suppose one could say it's easy to say I've slept if the past two hours seems to have passed pretty quickly, but that's far from an accurate way of looking at the issue. I can say this because I've glanced at the clock in the same way, feeling 100% confident that I have not slept and had no dream/s. But … Does me being 100% confident that I didn't sleep because I didn't dream mean 100% accurate? Does this issue seem confusing to you?

    For me, IMHO, it will always be a subjective, grey area and if I don't know for sure if I've slept or not slept? ... I can only consider I did not sleep simply because I consider it better to err on the side of caution. But then again … ?

    F

  • Sleepio Member

    • 419 comments
    • 140 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I like what you have messaged FF, I have been with sleepio over 2 years now and in the past and occasionally in the present I suddenly become aware that I haven't slept, or think I haven't, and need to get up for a while. But once up I remember a dream and you have to sleep to dream, so I go back to bed and sleep.

    In fact I noticed the clock at 1.10 am this morning and thought 'oh no, I can't get to sleep', so I got up and went to the bathroom because I have found if I do that then I fall asleep when I get back into bed a couple of minutes later, but I always remember a dream or part of it.

    I think it is a symptom of insomnia FF, but I think there is some information in the library about it. I sleep well now, mostly, so I don't search the site so much these days but have a look in the library and see what it says.

    Hope you are OK and sleep is improving for you.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

    • 54 comments
    • 17 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Yes, it is quite possible to think we have not been asleep at times when really we have. I've had some experiences lately waking up an hour or two early when I thought for sure I'd been lying there awake for 15 – 20 min. and looked to see what time it was and was surprised to see that more than an hour had passed. I think dozing off tricks us, especially when lying comfortably in bed, because we're not in a deep enough state of sleep to feel truly 'out'. Of course, having a dream (of a nature that distinguishes it from conscious imaginative thought), is certainly a good clue we've been asleep. I agree there can be a subjective nature to our conclusions of whether we've actually been asleep or not. It's also possible that lying awake for long stretches of time can be interspersed with brief bouts of dozing we're not even aware of. (After decades of long sleepless nights, I'm fully acquainted with this! With Sleepio however, those “long stretches of lying awake” are now a thing of the past).

    I remember reading a book on sleep disorders a few years ago where they related the story of a woman who swore she was awake most of the night, most of the time while her husband slept soundly. Then one night someone broke into their home and entered their bedroom. I don't recall the details of the story, but the husband somehow encountered the intruder and scared him off, and the wife never heard any of it. Her beliefs that she seldom slept or always slept lightly were disproved through that incident.

    Maybe that unknown, unrecognized sleep plays a part in what gets us through some of those days we thought would be terrible due to such poor sleep the previous night, and we're amazed we coped as well as we did.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 141 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    We have all been there, Frank, believing we have not slept a wink but then realising if we look at the time that we have in fact been dozing.
    Have you got a tracker of any kind? They are far from perfect but they can show that our sleep patterns are much more complex that we think and it is rare, if not unknown, to not sleep a wink all night. Your question about being certain you didn't dream mean you can be certain you didn't sleep would be answered immediately by a tracker that would probably show you to have had 25% or more R.E.M sleep that night The fact that you don't remember dreams doesn't mean you did not have them.
    Try not to worry too much about estimating sleep, otherwise puzzling over that will keep you awake. how you feel the next day is more important than the statistics.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 419 comments
    • 140 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I don't agree with you there OFSS, I have had plenty of nights when I haven't slept a wink, before sleepio and in the early days of sleepio. I have also had nights when I thought I hadn't slept and then remembered dreaming. Not now though, thanks to sleepio I sleep every night.

    Hope you are well.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
    • 1 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 2

    I purchased a tracker soon after having problems with sleeping. At first I thought it helpful for not just sleeping, but other fitness activities also. But then I had big issues in how it recorded my sleep patterns. It showed me awake when I knew I was asleep (there are times it's easy to determine if we are asleep, so I knew at those times I was sound asleep.) I became worse, and then the readings became really out of synch and I found myself figuring out AND overriding what y Fitbit wanted to have me believe.

    The short of it … was that I tried 3 fitness trackers and none of them were close enough for me to be confident in any of them and so I no longer have one.

    A point worth mentioning (I feel) is the less problems a person has with sleeping the less they will rely on a fitness tracker to begin with in regard to sleeping. ie: If it shows a person to be awake half the night when they slept straight through, then it's easy to shrug it off, say how wrong it is, even giggle at how wrong it might be and not to rely on it. If a person sleeps badly, then I think a fitness tracker needs to be more precise than they are at this moment in time.

    This is, of course, all a personal matter of opinion and subjective. I would be the first person to congratulate anyone who would declare they feel a fitness tracker works for them … but given my experience, I have little faith to believe they work at least for me.

    :-)

    F

Return to top