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Dutchess_III's avatar

If you don't know you fell asleep, does your body still get the benefit of having fallen asleep?

Asked by Dutchess_III (40074points) March 27th, 2019

Pretty sure I’m not the only one that this has happened to, but there are times I’ll wake up at 1 a.m., go the the bathroom, get a drink go back to bed….and toss and turn for an hour, totally unable to go back to sleep. Lay there with my eyes open, staring into the dark. Think about getting on FB or Fluther. Changing positions. Just awake.
Sigh.
Then I get up again and damn if it isn’t 4 a.m. so 3 hours actually went by, not just 1. I don’t remember falling asleep, I don’t remember waking up again. I do not feel refreshed, just tired.

With all that, did my body and brain actually get any rest during those lost 3 hours?

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30 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am guessing with that short a final interval, you get ripped out of sleep right in the middle of the deep sleep phase, which will absolutely wreck you.
Happens to me all the time.
You can try to alleviate the difficulty of falling asleep again, if you are quick about the business you need to perform, and keep the lights down while you do it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t turn any lights on @ragingloli and I certainly don’t dawdle. I want to go back to bed. I love sleeping.
The thing is, I’m not “ripped” out of anything. There is literally no transition.

JLeslie's avatar

My guess is yes. There have been sleep studies done where people feel or believe they only slept a certain amount of hours, let’s say 4, during the night, but they actually slept 6 or even more.

Most people average 90 minute sleep cycles, meaning they went through all stages of sleep. The 90 minutes can feel like a blink. Same with 3 hours (two sleep cycles).

I think it must be beneficial sleep, because a bunch of these “insomniac” people would probably be dead if they were literally only getting a few hours a night and no naps.

There are some people who need very little sleep, but that is a small group, and they don’t tend to feel frustrated about sleep.

My advice, not that you asked, is don’t get frustrated when you wake at night, you raise your adrenaline. Go back to bed and go into your favorite sleep position and see what happens. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, then do something to occupy your time so you aren’t tossing and turning and frustrated. Watch TV, read, etc. then once tired again go back to sleep.

It usually takes less than 20 minutes to fall asleep, so let it happen. If you feel some struggle, clear your mind if you can, or concentrate on a peaceful place, or on one thing like counting sheep. Say the same word over and over in your mind. Carrot, carrot, carrot, whatever.

Don’t drink liquids right before bed if you can avoid it without being thirsty.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Left to myself I could easily sleep 12 hours a night.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Can you sleep 12 hours, because you consistently don’t get enough sleep? Or, you could sleep 12 hours a night for weeks and months in a row?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I consistently get enough sleep. I just love to sleep. I could sleep that long every night.

JLeslie's avatar

^^It’s very odd at your age to sleep that long consistently. Are you sure your TSH isn’t over 3.5? That would cause you to need more sleep, small appetite, high blood pressure, you have a lot of the symptoms, but other things cause those symptoms also.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have been this way for as long as I can remember. I certainly don’t consider it an illness.

JLeslie's avatar

I used to sleep many many hours when I was younger too. As a teen I could easily sleep 12. Most of my adult years I felt reasonably rested with 9.

Needing or wanting 12 nightly is a lot for someone your age. You do have some health problems. Maybe check the number I suggested next time you glance at your bloodwork.

jca2's avatar

If I get five hours a night, I’m good. I can be ok on four hours. Not for days in a row, but one or two days I’m ok. I find as I’m older, I need less sleep.

It’s not uncommon for me to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, toss and turn, maybe go on the computer for a bit, and around 6, which is when I should be ready to wake up, I’m going back to sleep, which really screws me up. Then I’m tired when I do wake up and I feel like crap. More crappy than if I just stayed awake since 3, but I feel like I needed to go back for a few.

I feel like even though I feel like crap if I do that, and even if I don’t realize if I’m sleeping or awake, my body gets the benefit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

1) I have always slept as much as I could, even as a kid.
2) I choose to have a small appetite because I don’t like getting fat.
3) I have had blood pressure problems for 12 years and with meds, it’s perfectly well controlled. It’s also genetic.
Why are you digging around for some sort of medical problem where there is none @JLeslie?

jca2's avatar

12 hours is a lot of sleep for an older adult. My 11 year old will sleep 12 hours. @Dutchess_III if you go to sleep at 10 at night, you sleep straight through to 10 in the morning?

JLeslie's avatar

Ok, so many nights you’re not getting a ton of sleep, so you are probably catching up on sleep when you say you can sleep 12. That’s not abnormal.

Not digging for a medical problem, trying to possibly help you by finding a single medical problem, that’s fixable, that might fix some of your other medical problems. Doctors often don’t look for or treat underlying causes. I don’t understand why what I suggest would upset you. If I’m right maybe be upset with the incompetent doctors. I could easily be wrong though.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@jca2 I could, yes. Easily. It’s not that I need it. I just like it. Always have.
When I’m on a work schedule I go to bed at 10. My alarm starts going off at 5:30, get up at 6.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I am getting plenty of sleep every night JLeslie. I am not sleep deprived in any way or at any time. I do not have a medical problem.

jca2's avatar

I like to sleep, too, but if I’m not tired, I can’t sleep even if I try.

kritiper's avatar

Your body gets rest, asleep or not.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Boy am I going to sleep tonight! This has been wild. P.E. K thru 5! I’ll post a Q about it when I get home, about something I found interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

10:00 to 5:30–6:00ish sounds good. That fits with that 1.5 hours sleep cycle I mentioned. 7.5 hours is typical for people our age.

I’m not telling you you’re sick, stop being defensive. You do have some health problems. Your blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, I don’t remember what else. All things you shared here on fluther. Now, I thought you were adding needing to sleep 12 hours a day, but possibly I misinterpreted it. I don’t know why you’re upset, but I’m sorry what I said bothered you so much, I’m not trying to upset you, my only intent is to help you. I didn’t tell you run to the doctor your dying, I just said look back at an old blood test, assuming you have been tested before.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, you are. You are ”...trying to possibly help you by finding a single medical problem, that’s fixable, that might fix some of your other medical problems I don’t have any other medical problems.

I love kindergartners, but I hate trying to corral 24 or 25 at one time, in an echoing gym, trying to give instructions on how to play this game (which I’m asking a question about in a moment)! Ms B, Austin hit me Ms B Jane is not doing what you said for her to do Ms B can I go to the bathroom Ms B can I have an ice pack Mis B Marcus threw one of those discs that you said not to throw Ms B SHE TOOK THAT FROM ME Ms B can I get a drink Ms B I feel sick Ms B I think I broke my leg Ms B will you tie my shoes Ms B will you tie my shoe Ms B will you tie my shoe Ms B will you tie my shoe Ms B Fred went over that line you said not to go over!!!!!!!
The ones who aren’t pestering me have their hands all over each other, hugging each other and just doing little child primate shit, rolling around on the ground together screeching and yelling!! 30 minutes of that, and I had two kindergarten classes back to back.
And I take my “no medical issues” back…I need a chiropractor! Do you have any idea how much time you have to spend on the ground with 5 year olds?!
Cheese and rice!

JLeslie's avatar

^^Ok. Lol. If you have no other medical issues then you don’t. You know your issues, or lack thereof, better than I would obviously.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Yes I do. Intimently.
Thanks.

Zaku's avatar

Yeah, having a desire to sleep 12 hours a night is not abnormal or cause for concern, especially if you don’t actually do it and don’t feel like you need to. Sleep is great. Wanting to enjoy bunches of sleep is normal for many people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think it’s abnormal either, but that wasn’t the question. That wasn’t even close to the question.

I was asking about those weird episodes where you toss and turn and lay awake staring into the dark, waiting to fall asleep for an hour. Then you get up and realize several hours have passed so you MUST have fallen asleep, but there is nothing in your brain to clue you in. No memory of falling asleep, no feeling of “waking up.”
If your brain doesn’t even know it fell asleep, did it get any benefit from having fallen asleep?

Zaku's avatar

Well, my thinking (and experience) is:

* When that happens, I tend to feel a bit upset/distressed and not very rested. For me, a big part of what I feel I get out of sleep is the nice comfortable restful experience and mental/energetic vacation that I get from being aware of my sleep.

* However, even if I didn’t experience it and don’t feel it, I am sure that some aspects of my body and mind have benefited from the sleep, just not all the aspects that usually do.

* Sleep, bodies and minds are complex systems, and our conscious awareness is only one view onto what’s going on in our brains/minds/bodies.

So that may be one of the least satisfying sleep experiences, but I expect it still has many positive effects. Comparing to what it feels like to completely fail to sleep, I think it tends to be much better than that, at least.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

The tossing and turning is a distressing to me too. I don’t feel very rested at all, not even when I realize 3 hours went by and I must have been asleep for most of it.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@jca2 I can’t sleep when I’m not tired either.
And, oddly enough, I dislike taking naps. I have to be really, really sick to sleep during the day. Like, in- the- hospital sick.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also, I hate going to bed at night! I could sit up all night. Guess I’m afraid that if I go to bed downtown is going to catch on fire and I’ll miss it.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I“m confused. Elsewhere you said you don’t need to sleep 12 hours but you like to sleep 12 hours. Then you said you can’t sleep if you’re not tired. Then you said you hate going to bed at night and can sit up all night. Totally confusing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What is confusing about it? If I am not tired and I go to bed, I will not be able to sleep.
I hate going to bed, but once I’m there I’m good. Especially once I am asleep I don’t ever want to get up.

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