Some insomniacs are actually asleep when they think they're awake

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I am not a “normal” sleeper: I can occasionally have full coherent conversations while I’m asleep with my wife that I do not remember having at all the next morning. Brains are weird.


When I’m asleep, I’m actually a butterfly, dreaming that it is awake.





To sleep, perchance to feel rested, Ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep post screen what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled our endless playlist,
Must we pause, to intrusive thoughts
That makes calamity of sleep so wanted


This is me to a tee. I am not a great sleeper, often waking up at 3-4 AM and feeling like I don’t get back to sleep before it’s time to get up. My partner, however, insists that I was dozing away. Unfortunately the physiological result seems to be the same. CBTi has not been successful for me, and melatonin or other over the counter sleep aids are likely unsafe to take long term. Glad to hear there are other treatments in development. I would do almost anything to get my sleep back, insomnia is a vampire.



Exactly. FTA:

I’ll leave it to the scientists to determine what constitutes “sleep”, but it’s one and the same to me. I have this probably 30% of nights and it can utterly wreck a day. The really crummy part is that when bedtime rolls around I’ve really just begun to shake off the dopiness and am not even tired.


I have struggled with insomnia most of my life, probably related to being hyperactive. I not only dream I’m awake, I will get up and swallow hands full of sleeping pills in my sleep. I ended up in the hospital after downing a half a bottle of Unisom, so I decided I would not keep sleeping meds around. A friend mentioned that taking a shot of whiskey a few hours before bed would. I hate the taste of liquor, but I gave it a try. Woke up in the ER the next morning after apparently drinking the entire bottle in my sleep and passing out on my bathroom floor. Neuropsychologist said that parts of my brain are active during REM sleep that shouldn’t be. They eventually realized that I was talking in my sleep, walking in my sleep and even driving in my sleep.


Snl Season 47 GIF by Saturday Night Live

I hope they were able to help you with that and it’s not a problem anymore!


Mike Birbiglia on his sleepwalking:


I have recently gotten a little better about coping with insomnia. I had gotten so obsessed with sleeping that I started having anxiety attacks after less than an hour. It took about a year in treatment to get past that. Full disclosure: I am still taking over the counter sleeping pills, but I divide the bottle up into a bunch of smaller bags and I keep them in the garage with a loud motion detector alarm. There is also an app that has been miraculous in helping me sleep. It’s called… I don’t know why it works- I’ve gone through a dozen different relaxation music sites but they never did much more than distract me for a while. It takes me around a half hour to fall asleep now. I don’t even take sleeping meds half the time. I apparently still talk in my sleep, but I haven’t been trying to drive to the 7-11, so I’m cautiously optimistic :upside_down_face:


I’m asleeping right now!


Sounds like a lot!

Season 6 Good Luck GIF by Friends

I hope you continue to improve!


Parasomnias (what you are describing) are a pretty common complaint in my office (I’m a pediatrician.) Usually improve as you get older, for an adult to still have pretty much all of them going on is pretty rare. Best advice I give is to stay on a good sleep/wake schedule, try to minimize stress (yes, I tell people this, but I am terrible at it myself) and try to avoid alcohol and depressants. Although these do make you tired and sleepy, they play havoc with your sleep cycle and short out REM sleep, often leaving you more exhausted than your norm. Even melatonin can lead to weird, not so restful sleep by causing weird dreams. Sounds like you are doing the right stuff, but obviously, there is no real cure. Usually strongly genetic. Is there a family history?


Same. You do not know anger until you have someone repeatedly say you were sleeping when you get up feeling exhausted and remember the hours of thoughts chasing themselves around your head. Like, you may be laying beside me in bed, but you’re not in my brain.

All that aside, getting a CPAP has made a world of difference in my sleep quality.


Same here. I am convinced I am not sleeping, although I show none of the signs of being especially tired the next day. And this has been going on for years. CBT turned out to be a good way of lightening my wallet (even though the therapists were all lovely) and I could eat melatonin gummies like candy without any effect.

Maybe I am sleeping? But doing it wrong.


Melatonin is one of those things where a tiny dose, like .25mg or less, may work better than a 5mg dose. (I lucked out and found a sleep specialist who clued me in.)


Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be sleep apnea for me… Gotta be wary about the CPAP machines tho:


I have been lying awake at night, feeling all the horrors of insomnia, only to have my partner nudge me because I’m snoring.

I have occasionally heard myself snoring and deduced that I must actually be asleep.
A very weird sensation.

I don’t snore most of the time - at least not enough to bother my partner.