General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Can my brain and body properly function with this type of sleep pattern?

Asked by tinyfaery (44175points) January 10th, 2011

I have insomnia. Sometimes I can’t sleep at all, but lately I am in this weird cycle where I just cannot sleep more than 4 hours at a time. This has been going on for at least 3 months now.

This is what my nights are like: I go to bed around 11pm and I am up again sometime between 1 & 1:30am. I usually try to get to sleep again about 3:30am and then I will sleep until about 5:30am. Sometimes I can go right back to sleep, but I always wake between 9:30am-10am. Sometimes I take a nap that usually lasts 1½–2 hrs. I have been tracking my sleep and it seems like I average about 5 hrs. a night. Sometimes I sleep less than 4 hrs. sometimes up to 7.

I feel a bit low energy, but all in all I seem to be doing okay. Can I continue to live this way? Can my brain and body function well under these conditions?

I am under the care of a doctor for this problem, so don’t tell me to see one, please.

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7 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

I’ve struggled with sleep since I was a teenager so I completely understand.

Just from my experience, you need less sleep total if you get it in a few different naps rather than one long sleep period at night. I’m not sure why this is.

The problems come in when you can’t get that nap, because the rest of the world doesn’t really accept “I’m sleepy” as a valid reason for not being somewhere at 5 in the afternoon. You power through and your body feels like you’ve been up all night rather than just the time since your last nap. Whatever schedule you were on gets thrown off and it feels like you’re starting over.

Other than that, the actual amount of sleep seems fine. Good luck with it, and very sorry you’re having to deal with sleep issues. Would love to know if you find something that works for you.

tranquilsea's avatar

When I was having sleep issues, which were very similar to yours, I could hardly function. I couldn’t nap during the day.

I was told that the worst thing you could do is nap during the day. I needed to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.

Things got so bad that I had to go on sleeping pills. I was in therapy for all that time and, happily, I dealt with the issues that were keeping me up to the point that I could come off of my sleeping pills and sleep a normal 8 hours.

Make sure you are exercising, exercise in the morning instead of at night, have a good portion of time at night were the lights are low and your are relaxing and try taking a warm bath.

But the most important thing you can do is try to figure out what is keeping you awake/waking you up.

Good luck. Sleep issues really suck.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Seelix's avatar

You might want to look at this Wikipedia article on polyphasic sleep if you haven’t seen it already. It seems that it’s not particularly harmful.

Legend has it that Da Vinci used to sleep in smaller chunks of time.

6rant6's avatar

I’ve read that at the end of the nineteenth century, it was common for people to go to bed at “a normal hour” then wake up at midnight or 1 and get up and do things – including going to visit!

zophu's avatar

Almost no one in the modern world has natural sleep patterns. Find whatever seems to work for you. You might find comfort in the fact that people who live along the equator with no artificial light get up in the middle of the night for a while, then go back to sleep. Maybe you shouldn’t fret over your habit of getting up midsleep and use the time to meditate waiting for sleep to return.

sahuleka546's avatar

I had sleeping issues too, I once couldn’t sleep until 5
a.m. for about a month, and I only had enough time for less than 5 hours of sleep. If you still sleep at night and wake up at the morning your body can handle it, even if it’s only 4 hours.

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