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

Posted 10 Mar 2011 at 4:09 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    This is a fasinating development and take on sleeping or not…or both?

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321388.php

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    Is it just me or the sleep diary that I jot down throughout the night/morning is adding a lot more to my anxiety over sleep. It's like clockwatching pretty much if you need to write down what you took at what time, time spent awake etc… Too much pressure and makes me very anxious, also keeping me up even more waiting for the next thing to jot down. Also the course is for 6 weeks, I feel that I am not getting the help I need NOW when I have severe insomnia: with sleeping pills eg zolpidem only get 2-3 hr sleep or without it and only taking supplements eg 5-HTP complex, Atarax and Night Kalms only manage to sleep at 4/5/6am for 1.5/2 hrs max which is not ideal as once I am back at work or when it's a school day I can't afford to wake up at 7/8am when I usually get up at 6am. So even this little sleep is taken away from me at the moment. Not sure how long I will be able to function like this, very flopsy, limbs aching, disorientated, losing my memory, don't remember things, hard to express myself, slow when talking. Propranolol was prescribed on Fri to treat the anxiety over sleep, since I have bad chest pain, very tight and uncomfortable also have sore throat as a side effect. Can't stop taking it as says on the pack but have no GP until Thursday/Friday. NHS is bad!! By the way my fitness tracker does not record my sleep accurately, records me sleeping when I am actually awake and not even in bed.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I' m interested to hear sleep tracker doesn't really give an accurate account of ones sleep. Even when I am awake I keep very still( got into this habit so my husband would think I was asleep) but has the fitbit fooled! It gives me loads more sleep than I actually have.I am in my 4th week of program and hating getting up at night. Winter is just starting here.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I don't think any apps, Fitbits etc are very accurate as they rely on motion & pressure to guess whats going on. I use a app called 'Pillow' which is free to try & about $7 (AUS) for a version that allows you to keep recording & download the results.
    I'd say its about 75% accurate – which means I don't believe everything it tells me but I use it as a guide & correct the rest. I've found it good to have something automatically recording your sleep rather than trying to guess or remember. Every little technique helps!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi PB93, I didn't use any gadgets to record my sleep but I think some people find them helpful. I just guessed it when I had to do the sleep diary. Sometimes I didn't know if I had been asleep or not, but I continued with the programme and I get really good sleep now with just the odd blip.

    We have hot weather here in the UK at the moment which can often keep people awake, but I am still following what I learnt from Prof and still sleeping well through it, we are not used to it being really hot here.

    Hope you are finding sleepio helpful, it needs a little patience and perseverance but it works. I am 3 years down the line now of being on here and there has been a lot of success.

    Ve

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 1

    i have got out of bed. fed the cats i have two. let the dog out for a wee i have 1 dog and fed the love bird it's new seed and water. made a coffee listen to the news while drinking the coffee i have gone through house work etc. only to WAKE up and find i was in bed and my day has not yet started. i get so confused when this happens. that i now write things down like a to do list. and who asked me what and who said what. i am used to it more now but at 1st i was a rek.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thought I was bad!
    Woke up the other day and it was daylight ..horrayyy, I slept through!!
    So excited..I woke up:-(

  • Sleepio Member

    • 10 comments
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    Graduate

    Do you sometimes feel that you are not sure if you slept or not? I think I can be at this point for hours, I look at the clock and see that suddenly two hours have passed. At this time, I hear every little noise and I'm not sure I slept. Does this happen to anyone here? And if so how do you deal with it?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I go to bed and go to sleep, waking up about 4 hours after. I go to the toilet get back into bed. I am comfortable, relaxed, and things drift through my mind. I am aware that I turn over, and time passes fairly quickly.
    Am I in light sleep or am I awake and just comfortable, I cannot decide?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I know exactly what you mean!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Anyone else using the SleepScore Max from ResMed? It sits next to the bed and uses ??? to detect sleep patterns. It works way better than Fitbit or other wearables I tried, but I have been wondering about the many hours that it decides I am awake – perhaps I am really asleep for some of them!!
    I have been living with disrupted sleep since menopause kicked in over 15 years ago. I tried every herb on the market to end/reduce the mild hot flashes that still wake me up. I am in week 3 of Sleepio and am hopeful for the first time that my wake time will go down.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi there Green Darner,
    No I don’t use any device to watch my sleep. But I did used to dream I was awake – a lot! I could even ‘see’ the room with my eyes closed it was so real!
    I know you said you’ve used all the herbs – the only thing that’s keeping me from hot flushes at night are sage leaf tablets. I take them with food twice a day. Still get some hot flushes in the day, but none in bed any more.
    Don’t know where you are in the world – but I’m in the U.K. – I get my sage leaf (not oil) tablets from Holland and Barrett, online.
    These were recommended to my neighbour who has prostate cancer and his consultant’s treatment involves female hormones – he said the sweats were horrendous so she (the consultant) advised sage leaf, not oil tablets. The oil ones don’t work. He is still using them a year later – me too!
    I really hope you get on well with sleep restriction. Keep cool, not ice cold, water near you in wind down. The other thing is to make sure your bedroom is really cool through the night – leave a window open for air. I’m sorry you’ve had menopause symptoms for so long – it’s wicked isn’t it? <8((

    The Live Doctors here on Sleepio often tell Sleepios not to take too much notice of Fitbits etc – because they are not always accurate anyway.
    The best thing to gauge how you are doing is how you feel the next day…gradually you start to feel like you can cope more – you’re not as exhausted and you can achieve so much more.
    Do reach out if you have any other questions or want some encouragement as you advance through the programme – just click on my name and you can leave a message on my profile page ;)
    Best wishes on your Sleepio journey!

    Kurly ;)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Thank you so much for responding so quickly to my first post here. I never heard of sage being used as a remedy before, and am glad to know it has helped you and your friend.
    I have a huge plant in my garden and I found a recipe for tea that I will try since I know it is organic. Of course then I wouldn't know the dosage. I live in Vermont, USA, and found lots of websites for sage capsules and tablets, with prices ranging all over the place!
    While I do not have the hot flashes in the daytime any more, and it does not happen every night, I think it might be worth a try. I see that Holland and Barrett sells capsules, not tablets, and wonder whether that makes a difference do you know? Do you take their recommended dosage of 2 caps, twice a day? that would be 1140 milligrams total.

    Re the tracker, I learned that mine (SleepScore Max, by ResMed) sits next to the bed and sends out low frequency radio waves. Apparently the device analyzes the pattern of the reflected waves and uses their time tested (they say!) algorithm to determine the sleep phase. The phone app is crashes a lot and I am frustrated with it. But it does give more believable results than the two Fitbit type devices I tried. And as I mentioned I am beginning to question the high # of hours of wake time it tells me, since I often feel good after a night with a lot of wake time.

    I am in the Sleepio deprivation week and am hopeful of seeing a shift. We'll see!

    Oh – would you mind translating <8(( for me? Brain not working!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 4

    Ok i was where you are without the meds. I still have aching limbs groggy when getting up bloodshot eyes etc feeling of never been alseep. I ditched the tracker as its a safety behaviour and causes more hyper arousal. I had to educate myslef on sleep and how it works but have now ditched googling as thats another behaviour you have to leave behind. The way i have learned how sleep works.

    On the surface
    There are 3 surface mechanisms driving sleep wake. Sleep drive, circadian rhythm and unfortunately arousal or hyper arousal. The hyper arousal runs off the same nuero transmitters as circadian wake drive.

    Sleep drive builds the longer you are awake and builds even more with extra activity during the day ie exercise. This happens via adensoine which is the product of cells energy expenditure. Circadian wake drive switches on when you need to wake up and dies down when darkness falls and melatonin increases. This allows all the wake drive built up to be used. These 2 processes are opposite each other wake drive gets heightened to counteract sleep drive building. Arousal will act like the wake drive is still switched on as it will engage the sympathetic nervous system in the HPA axis and the central nervous system in the brain stem.

    Under the surface
    Adensoine builds in the basal forebrain and inhibits catecholamines that in turn are inhibiting the sleep are or the VLPO. With the dampening of the corcadian wake drive at night this also inhibits the orexin neurons in the lateral hypothalamus which in turn excite the awake centres in the brain stem. There is a mutually inhibiting switch between the VLPO and the awake centres of the brain. In normal sleep the adenosine builds the circadian wake drive dampens orexin nuerons cease activity and the awake centres lose there power. This allows the VLPO to take over and pushbyou into a nice refreshing sleep. In insomnia the flip flop switch is destabilised. Sleep drive builds or should if you get up the same time and partake in activities during the day. But at night the limbic system (amygdala) is active this has connections to the orexin system (awake nuerons) and the locus coreleus of the brain stem. Once activated they will cause a chain reactiom in the central nervous system and activate the sypathetic and the HPA axis and you may or may not experience physical symptoms. Thos process over powers the parasympathetic system and the VLPO wich either masks the sleep drive or the switch flip flops all night meaning you dont get much sleep or restless sleep

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