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

Actually, yes. There is a really strong leaning toward hyperactivity on my dad’s side of the family. I’ve been aware of sleep hygiene since before I could spell it.I actually didn’t even know about sleep driving until I seeing the neuropsychologist. I knew that my car was being moved, but I wrote it off as my teenagers borrowing the car after bed. Quite often, I would find coke slurpey untouched in my car. I personally HATED coke slurpeys. The girls were really confused when I asked them to stop leaving slurpys in my car, LOL.


Better check with Santa - because HE KNOWS !


Yeah, it’s an unfortunate weird quirk of who discovered the optimal dosage and timing (and claimed intellectual property rights) vs who actually wanted to get paid to sell it. That has led to many years of it being hard to even find a low dose. Also the timing of when to take it matters. High doses are a soporific and can be taken near bedtime, but low doses are a chronobiotic, and IIRC need to be take several hours earlier to be effective.

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I hope you have a good sleep neurologist. Or can find one. If you live near Georgetown Texas, I can recommend someone.

Look into iron supplements or even an iron transfusion. There is good evidence even low-but-not-anemic iron can have huge effects on the mechanism that causes paralysis during sleep
The Relationship Between Anemia and Sleep.

ETA: this one is more about kids but might be useful for you and particularly @docosc (If he isn’t aware)



Sleep state misperception is common in depressed and anxious elderly

Elderly people have lighter sleep in general, and remember waking up more often. If lighter sleep alone also adds to perception of wakefulness, then that fleshes out our understanding.

Depression also alters REM sleep - it increases its latency (time from first onset of sleep to entering REM), but increases its duration and density, meaning you spend less time in deeper sleep.

Antidepressants ALSO alter REM sleep.

Would be interesting to see deeper examination of these interactions


It took me WAAAYYY too long to realize that Tramadol doesn’t let me sleep well. I enter what I call “sleep limbo” where I am not totally awake, but also not asleep. It lines up with when I’ve experienced insomnia, but I don’t know if it is the exact same thing.

I know that I used to be able to “sleep” 12-14 hours because 4-6 of those hours were garbage. The depression at the time didn’t help things.

But yeah, eventually, by running out of drugs, I figured out that “holy shit, I slept right away and for only 8ish hours”. I thought pain killers were supposed to zonk you out, but not Tramadol. :confused:

CBTi made my insomnia (which was already wrecking my damn life), worse. Can’t remember how, but I discovered ACTi here in the UK, and attended the guy’s “sleep school” day of training in it. About six months later things were a lot better, and two years later I was sleeping like a baby. Not really had a bad night in perhaps 6 years now. Essentially ACTi teaches you to “accept” insomnia by means of a number of techniques. Not everyone uses the same though so it takes a while to discover which ones work for you. It also makes a general assumption that your brain has developed a fear of sleeping, rather than you having some physical issue like sleep apnea, a nutrient deficiency or some such.

The issue of thinking you are awake when you’re not also came up briefly on the course as part of a discussion about sleep research he was doing.


I believe it, because whenever I sleep in hotels, I have trouble sleeping. But when I do get to sleep, I often have extremely bizarre dreams that take place in that room (monsters in the hallway, dead relatives, or dozens of weird visitors that sort of thing).

Sometimes, though, it’s just me laying there wanting to sleep. I wonder if those are also dreams, just super boring ones that prominently feature an alarm clock moving slowly. The next day I’m usually tired, but not all-nighter tired.

Well, at 51, I’m not elderly, but I’ve got the depression :white_check_mark: and the anxiety :white_check_mark:. It would be interesting to know more about why, or how to avoid it.


(Cartoon I drew for a company newsletter, 1997-ish)


Nice! Fortunately, coffee doesn’t really work that well for me. After a meal or something it can be perfect, but usually I just feel queasy and jittery. Tea has always been my go to (Tea, Earl Grey, hot!) and I don’t let myself have caffeine after 3 unless I’m doing something late anyway, but if I have coffee any time after noon I’m basically guaranteed to be staring at the ceiling all night. I don’t know why and there’s not a valid biochemical reason I’m aware of (lack of Theanine?), but damn, it really zaps me.

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Thank you so much for the information, Kii! I will discuss it with my doctors at the next visit! I consider myself pretty fortunate because I live in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins is really close by. In another stroke of luck, Neuro appointments typically take months, up to six months isn’t unusual. My daughter was a cancer patient there and she mentioned that I was really struggling with insomnia after a bad case of covid last year. It had triggered strange neuro issues, including a 4 day episode of delerium, horrific panic attacks, and hallucinations at night where I could not tell if I was awake or asleep. Her team pulled a few strings and I was able to get in after a couple of weeks. It’s been a long year and I’m really looking forward to moving on :scream:


I hope the knowledge bears fruit for you. Sleep is absolutely sacred.
ETA: I also hope your daughter is ok


The more we learn about covid, the worse it gets. I just began to feel hunger again after catching covid last year. Very weird neurological effects seem to be pretty common with it, and insomnia is right up there. Good luck! (Don’t be surprised if you wind up in somebody’s research paper at some point!)


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