We see a lot about lack of sleep, but not so much on the effects this has on our every day waking lives. It seems this is the crunch-line in fact – How do you cope on little or no sleep? Any strategies for keeping going?
Yes I do, mine seems to be in the form of tiredness headaches (not migraine), stiff neck/back, aching joints and, on the really bad days, my body just wants to shut down. The pains usually go away by the afternoon with exception to the headaches that just seem to last for ever.
Today I’m sat at work after a series of really poor nights sleep and I feel like I have a hangover/man but there's nothing I can do about it, I just want to curl up somewhere and sleep!
I’ve found that it’s a very difficult to explain to someone including my doctor, have you had the same problem
Yes I find it very difficult to explain to people. I get the feeling that they (including doctors) think I am complaining too much. Where I am (UK) it is very difficult to get to see a sleep specialist, unless you pay privately. GPs usually jump to the conclusion that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder and want to prescribe SSRIs.
It's only just occurred to me that maybe this isn't how other people feel their lack of sleep. I think you're right, it's almost like a hangover but for me, without the nausea, and the headache for me is very dull. Almost between a pain and a dragging sensation. And I also find that it starts feeling slightly better around 5pm or 6pm and turns more into non-painful tiredness.
I'm just wondering whether there is something out there that could reduce the suffering of the daytime which isn't actually anything to do with sleep, but more of a pain-targeted treatment. Albeit one that isn't the usual painkillers because I haven't found that they help.
@katsura. I know exactly what you mean, I try to keep how I’m feeling to myself because unless people suffer from a sleep problem they can never truly understand what an enormous impact it has on your day to day life and are very quick to dismiss you as being “just a little tired”!
I think I’m one of the very few lucky ones who still has a doctor that doesn’t see me as a 10 minute appointment and actually takes the time to listen as well as really help me, we’ve both come to the conclusion that my low moods are caused by my lack of sleep so the antidepressant medication I’m on just addresses the aftermath and not the cause.
After many years of exhaustion and drawing blanks she referred me to the John Radcliffe Hospital Neuroscience Department, I had my first appointment about 4 weeks ago and I’m waiting for my official results back.
I haven’t managed to find anything to help me through the day I’m afraid, do you take daily vitamins?
Have you had a look at this article as well: https://www.sleepio.com/library/article/fibromyalgia/
If you’re on prescribed medication have a look at http://www.nhs.uk/medicine-guides/pages/default.aspx to see if any of your issues can be attributed to medication side effects.
In reply to the how to cope in the day question, I've come to learn it's simply how you view it.
Sleepio has massively helped me in this regard. If I think back to when my sleep problems started then the odd sleepless night was a chore; no doubt but it was a shrug of the shoulders.
After 10 years of it getting worse it became an all consuming brain controlling “I can't take this anymore”. At least 5 days out of 7 were like this.
Sleepio has made me realise I can get through a sleepless day. If I don't sleep I refuse to think about it in a negative way because I know I can make it through. If I start to think about the affect last nights (or the last three nights sleep) is having on my day, it ruins my day and makes everything so much harder.
I write a note in my phone to say I've started thinking about it as soon as I notice I'm thinking about the lack of sleep. My rule is once I make the note I have to stop thinking about it. I can review the notes later if needed. At first I'd make 100's of notes a day. This made me realise worrying/thinking about not sleeping was a) a waste of time b) exasperating the problem c) taking over my life.
Now I've stopped thinking about it ( maybe 5-10 notes in the phone). And that in itself has helped me sleep a lot better. The key is how you see it. It's natural for it to consume you but breaking that thought pattern really helps. If you see it as a negative ruling and controlling your life it will.
I also find 10-20 minutes of mindful meditation really helps. I do it every morning. On the really sleepless nights it's another chore but worth it. It focuses the mind away from the “omg I haven't slept and I can't handle the thought of e.g. Work” to “oh well, I haven't slept, best crack on. You've coped before”
I hope that helps.
I've just signed up. I have slept badly since I was a child, but since starting kidney dialysis 2 yrs ago it's gone worse. I think your post is very positive Scottyhews and helpful. I hope this is going to help, I'm getting desperate.
I have signed up for an eight week mindfulness course which I am hoping will help me fall asleep. You do manage to get through the day without having slept the night before and it's hard not to keep thinking about it but the best way is to just carry on and keep busy
Like others above, I've just learnt to get on with it and not get so wound up about it. I used to panic during the night when I wasn't sleeping. I'd look at the clock every half an hour and get more desperate as the time ticked away. This anxiety made me feel much worse the next day, much more so than just the effects of lack of sleep. I usually get an average of 4 hours a night, which I can live with, but often it's only 2-3. I know I'll survive the day after though. I've also learned to really appreciate the good nights, like last night, when I actually got 6 hours of sleep
I'm with you guys- I find it remarkable how much better I have gotten with the low-sleep nights. I just slow down and tried to stay focused. Most of the time I do pretty darn okay, even on the challenging days. There's a lot about it that is how you frame it.
In decades of insomnia, I've always noted that no matter how terrible I feel when I 'wake up' (after, e.g. not sleeping at all, but it's time to get up), I still usually have a pretty good day, and actually feel ok by the afternoon. After I started Sleepio, and doing SR, I just stopped worrying about it, and have amazed myself at what I'm able to do, even severely underslept. Fortunately, I'm not a surgeon or a pilot, but I've managed to work full days, drive pretty far and just do it. I've done my share of whining about poor sleep, but that makes it worse, not better.
Ok now it's time for me to join this section as I am mashed today! I've just started week 4 so had my first full week of SR, and nearly jacked it in on day 4, made up I didn't.
What I know can help me today is to catch my thoughts and if they are unskilful and going on and on about how awful I feel, and how dreadful my day will be I can…
use an affirmation to relax into a more constructive
mental and physical internal space,
chuckle those thoughts under the chin and give them a mental cuddle as they pass by,
choose to do something today that can be a healthy distraction, this can be challenging as I have CFS/ME I know I can find something as I have done before,
know this will pass,
call a trusted friend to share,
love myself no matter what,
use EFT or NLP.
What other things do others use to get through these these types of days?
I was really relieved to read your post. I have started doing meditation. Now, last Saturday I did not sleep the entire night.. I could not doze off during the day. Evert time I tried I got a hypnic jerk and couldn't get back to sleep. That evening I went to a mediation class and had a wonderful relaxing feeling that resulted in a great nights sleep. Last night I thought I would do mindful meditation for 15 mins and then go to sleep straight away. But when I finished and tried to go to sleep I couldn't. My mind after having been empty for 15 mins could not suddenly drift. I got anxious frustrated and had no sleep. I have an Insomnia workbook which states you have wind down before you got to sleep. Is it better to meditate and then do something light or can you meditate and immediately nod off?
Thanks for your help
I'm interested to know if you have a common problem with me? When I sense that I'm getting frustrated by my inability to sleep I as per insomnia workbook I get up and so some lighr reading until I feel sleepy. The problem is that i'm too wound up to relax? I look an insomnia workbook who say no more after 20 mins. Get uo and do something light. The problem is that I'm roo frustrated and annoyed with myself. By the time I wind down is one hour before work.
Any advice you give would be richly appreciated
Feel your tiredness and accept it, then forget about it. Thinl of all the good thomgs in yur life and keep the end goal in mind. Read 'The effortless lseep method.'
Interesting what you say about your GP, I have been these tablets for about 5 weeks. Although I was told they should only I be used in the short term, 2 different GP's have offered me more if I need them! They are advised b not to over prescribe but….! I'm reducing mine by having a half ( found this in the community) and then skipping a night so that it's not too sudden. Work in progress.
If I don't keep active, I sometimes find myself nodding off. That's not only physical activity. As long as I'm actively doing something that requires concentration or activity, I can get by.
I sit down with nothing to do (like on a city bus), I fall right asleep.
Hi , actually I have had similar physical issues after 3-4 nights of no sleep, but mine is accompanied by overwhelming feelings of nausea, which drives me to bed and totals my day, I don't usually physically get nauseated just the sensation that it's going to occur and can't really eat anything but ginger ale and boiled potato .
Hi there, I would be interested in finding out how others cope with work after only a few hours sleep. I've had chronic insomnia for 5 years now and the days where I've only slept a few hours the night before are like slow torture. I find it difficult to concentrate and it affects my mood at work. It's getting to the stage now where I wonder how long I will be able to keep this up for jobwise as I'm finding it very difficult to cope. Any advice would be much appreciated.
OMG! A Hangover! That is exactly how I feel constantly!
Hi there. Not sure if this is the best place to respond to your query but it sounds as though you have the same issue as me! How are you getting on? Have you found that you're sleeping a bit better now?
Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. A community like this makes it easier to know you're not the only one feeling like this! I'm sorry to hear you're having similar issues as me – it's not nice is it!?
I've been doing Sleepio for 5 weeks now and feel it is helping a little although I do have good and bad nights still but my overall sleep time has increased slightly but still not where I want it to be.
In addition to Sleepio I ended up going to my Dr's and getting some sleeping tablets – I've got some big events at work and I plan on taking these only to get me through the next day. So far I've only taken one and I managed to get a good nights sleep to get me through the next work day. I don't want to rely on these and don't plan on taking many more – I got to the point with work that anything I could do to get me through the next month would be worth it. I hit a pretty low point where I was thinking of giving up work altogether due to my insomnia as I was struggling to cope.
Things are a bit better though now and I'm trying to put some of the techniques I'm learning through Sleepio into practice. I tend to put the day to rest before bed as suggested by Prof as well as some of the imagery techniques to help relax as I get extremely anxious at bed time due to the fear of not sleeping.
I also tried sleep restriction for a week and managed a sleep efficiency of 90% – I haven't stuck to it though as I had some big work events coming up but I plan on perservering when things calm down at work.
I also find this community helpful – I've found insomnia a lonely place to be and it's good to be able to chat to others in the same position and also hear about the positive success stories too.
So it's a battle but I will keep on going and am heading slowly in the right direction!
How are you finding Sleepio?