Waking up at silly O'clock !!!: I assume the main... - Headway


7,962 members10,431 posts

Waking up at silly O'clock !!!


I assume the main reason I sleep so little now is due to the head injury & now I've gone against convention & stopped trying t go back t sleep when I wake up, I feel fantastic & it gives me so much more life & time t chat t you lovely people & hopefully share my wisdom ;o)

If I get up when I wake up naturally I feel great; if I go back t sleep, when I wake up again I feel cr4p & usually doze back off again & again & just don't want t get up.

I get criticised for this by my family - it's just not normal (but what is & besides we're not normal we've had something happen to us that ' normal ' people can't comprehend.

Does everyone find they don't need a great deal of sleep now or have problems sleeping & if U have problems sleeping & wake up, go back t sleep, wake up, go back t sleep etc etc - try getting up when U wake up & as I've said in a different post I can't recommend a 20 minute power nap enough !!!

( But try not t got too far over the 20 minutes cos then U go into a different stage of sleep & U don't feel so refreshed when U wake up ;o)

34 Replies

So when ever yr sleepy - 20 minute power nap baby !!!

I have the same problem. I wake up after 4 hours sleep and I'm wide awake. I've been awake for 4 hours now which is unusual even for me. I'm not feeling feeling refreshed at the moment but nor am I sleepy enough to doze off. Despite that I won't be able to get through the day without more sleep.

The lack of light at this time of year has a major effect, coupled with a tendency to stay indoors during the day doesn't help. Our circadian rhythms are disturbed. I've read that in order to reset it, you should expose yourself to bright light early in the mornin by going outdoors. Even if it isn't sunny, it's still far brighter than it is indoors. Another thing is to try and refrain from using computers, phones and any stimulating electronic devices a few hours before going to bed, especially ones with bright displays (if like myself you can't help use them at all hours, try setting the display to a lower brightness level). Also don't eat too heavy an evening meal, the heat produced to digest it can wake you up since your body needs to cool down in order to sleep. But make sure your meal contains enough carbohydrates because low blood sugar can prevent you from sleeping.

Routine is also important, go to bed and wake up at the same time regardless of whether you sleep or not. This will teach your body that there's a time and place for sleeping.

This is all standard advice, but I know that sleep problems are common after a brain injury or psychiatric illness and that more factors may be at work.

aqua4 in reply to barny1

Hi Barney, good advice and t be reminded to make the most of bright days. Same here with needing light but catch 22 can't stand bright light either! K

StaceM8 in reply to aqua4

As I said t Barney - day light bulbs work wonders - link on the message I sent to him

barny1 in reply to aqua4

Hi aqua, thankyou. The earlier you get light exposure the better. Added to that morning light is normally pleasant. If I could I'd get a dog just as an excuse to get out early.

Broken_Doll in reply to aqua4

Hehe I looked like a total diva when I was in hospital because I was wearing my sunnies until the lights went out in the evenings

StaceM8 in reply to barny1

I don't think it's a problem anymore - just more life t live. When I was trying t make myself go back to sleep, like convention and all the so called ' experts ' told me I should, that's when it would be a problem & one word for you 'Power nap which is actually two so - Powernap !!!

Seriously I don't know if you've tried closing your eyes for 20 minutes but I find it amazing. Usually I do literally fall asleep & dream n everything. I wake up feeling totally refreshed & raring t go & I'm sure U will too.

Even if U don't fall asleep literally, you still feel refreshed after 20 minutes lying down with your eyes closed in total relaxation ;o)

I would advise DON'T try t go back t sleep, If you're feeling sleepy close your eyes but if your not, don't just because U think U ought to or because that's what convention & the so-called ' experts ' say you should do. Also as I say when U are starting t feel sleepy, try the power nap. Longer periods of sleep just make U feel groggy.

It's upto you whether or not U try it, but for me it really is life changing !!!

I could listen to the so called ' experts ' or I could listen to my own body. It's taken me 20 years t realise. but I know what I'd rather do.

& have U looked at getting a daylight bulb


Combats against SAD - I would imagine going outside wouldn't be any better either cos these bulbs are more like normal daylight whereas it doesn't get as bright during the winter does it.

Yours would have been a good idea I'm sure, if it hadn't been for these wonderful little bulbs. U can get one for £4 inc postage as well - copy n paste the link above.

I have the brightness turned down on my Tv anyway, which is what I use as a monitor & do have me computer on pretty much all the time when I'm at home.

And invariably I do fall asleep to it as it goes, generally watching (well listening to Cheers or the Simpsons or something thanx to watchseries.it - box sets of just about every Tv programme ever - love it !!!

To be honest I disagree with the ' standard advice ' cos I think it's a pile of pants - trying t sleep when your not tired is what messes your head up & starts yr mind wandering & thinking all sorts, but I'm not a so called ' expert ' who's read all the same books written by other so called ' experts ' who haven't had a head injury.

I'm just someone who has & has learned through his own personal experience !!!

To be honest I'm sick of listening to the so-called ' experts ' an luckily I go with what suits me personally (now anyway ;o)

I don't eat after 8.0 anyway but that's more t keep my six pack ;o)

- that is a joke btw, I haven't really got a six pack, well not as prominent as it used t be, but it is t save the body fat & piling on the pounds - I'm 42 now ya kno, gotta be careful at my age ;o)

Anyway, sorry t go against pretty much all your advice & at the end of the day it's what suits each individual person, but I do think U ought t listen t what your body tells U & not just do what a so called ' expert ' who's read books & not actually had a head injury, tells u t do !!!

barny1 in reply to StaceM8

Hi Stace, I felt the need to comment because it struck me that my experiences of waking up during the night and likewise feeling groggy after a second sleep, are eerily similar to yours. The advice was only intended to be helpful to others who may have similar issues, even if it doesn't help you it may help someone else so I felt it was worth imparting.

Thanks for the advice about light bulbs, you're right on some winter days it can appear brighter inside than out, but I still feel there's something irreplaceable about sunlight and we should get out as much as we can during the day.

But I'm not anti-technology, I use a sunrise alarm clock which helps you to wake up gradually instead of being jerked out of bed by buzzing beeping alarms. I also use an SAD lamp on dark days which really does help me to stay alert.

I agree though, that everyone's different and we have to find what works best for us.

StaceM8 in reply to barny1

I agree, everyone is different but I think we have had something happen to us that hasn't happened to the so called 'experts ' (I'll stop with the inverted comments round 'experts' btw, but I do think the only way u can know for sure is if you have had that experience & not something U read from a book, written by someone else who hasn't actually had a head injury.

Don't get me wrong I'm sure some head injured people have written books cos they were as frustrated as me, but I bet a lot of the information out there being used to teach people is written by one of those 'so called experts' (& notice how all 3 words were in the inverted commas this time so I haven't done it again before u say owt ;op cos I'm referring to them as a group this time ;o), rather than someone who has had this awful experience.

Hey Barney, if as U say U have woken up after a second sleep feeling groggy, does that not imply that maybe it's best not to have that second sleep - maybe try 2 or 3 power naps instead, as well as the small amount of sleep you had at night. Always try an sleep at night too I suppose, but when U wake up, get up - that's all I'm sayin mate, give it a go cos I might have stumbled across something - I know it works for me ;o)

Can I ask though Barney, the advice U gave, was that through personal experience or ( sorry, gotta do it again ;o) what so called ' experts ' have told U ???

But I do agree with U about the light, it is best t get as much natural sunlight as U can but SAD lamps / bulbs definitely have a similar effect don't they ;o).

& if we both agree on everyone being different, do you not think it's worth trying an alternative way if the conventional way doesn't work for you ???

barny1 in reply to StaceM8

Yeah, I normally feel groggy after a second sleep, but it's so unpredictable as to how I'll feel once I wake up for a second time, sometimes I don't feel too bad, but other times I feel like a zombie (not ZombieDen ;o)). But seriously though, sometimes I don't have a choice but to sleep again because while I may make it through the morning, by mid-afternoon I have no mental capacity left in me. So it's really a compromise, either feeling great for part of the day then horrible later, or feeling not great but being able to get through the day.

About 'power-naps', I agree that they work to make you feel more alert for the next hour or two. I sometimes meditate by lying down and closing my eyes for around that length of time and it has a similar effect.

Yeah, it's so-called expert advice, but if it doesn't help you, feel free to throw it out and find alternatives.

StaceM8 in reply to barny1

Damn. I just wrote quite a long message & I hit the wrong key, it went to a new page entirely & I lost the message.

What I was saying was I find a 20 minute power nap during the day after 4 or 5 hours sleep at night, is plenty. If I've only had an hour or 2 I do need another early morning as well. But again 20 minutes.

But Barney seriously stop going against what I'm saying with approximations cos if U go much over 20 minutes, you go into a different stage of sleep & it doesn't work. As U say U do feel refreshed for a while but it soon hits U again.

Set your alarm for 20 minutes before U shut your eyes & when the alarm goes off get up - try it & see that's all I'm saying !!!

Broken_Doll in reply to barny1

Does anyone know how to get rid of zombies? ;)

StaceM8 in reply to Broken_Doll

Open your eyes and they usually go away !!!

Broken_Doll in reply to StaceM8

Look at my anosmia post and you will see what I mean

StaceM8 in reply to Broken_Doll

Nope, call me stupid but I'm still lost ;o)

Broken_Doll in reply to StaceM8

It's a zombie called den

barny1 in reply to Broken_Doll

Nope sorry, I'm afraid you're stuck with it. ;)

Broken_Doll in reply to barny1

Thanks barny ;)

Hi Stace been up 1 hr now, will give it a go tday.

Feel a power nap coming up aft writing this!!! K

StaceM8 in reply to aqua4

That message was 15 hours ago, was it good for you too ;o)


All great advice, I find that just closing my eyes for 20 mins or so helps reboot me for a few hours don't even have to sleep, it cuts out the visual input and rests my brain. When I go swimming I even swim with my eyes shut sometimes, wonderful sensation but the pool has to be fairly quiet and I wear earplugs cos the acoustics are so exaggerated in there, I don't like noisy environments at all. Janet xx

StaceM8 in reply to Kirk5w7

Hey Janet, do you not find yourself crashing in to the side of the pool though ??? ;o)

That's what I was saying, U don't even need t sleep do you. Invariabley I will but it's like tday I dint - too upset about Tottenham coming back t beat Villa 2-1 ;o( Not happy ;o(

Yep major sleep issues here in early days I got completely wrong way round I remember being told off for patrolling the hospital at night thinking it was daytime I was brought back by security a few times .. Haha that was when I wasn't setting Fire alarms off or answering the ward phone

I normally have at least one nap in day sometimes two and then I'll sleep for 12 hrs other times I'll go through a spell if not sleeping at all night or day but thankfully I think that has passed

Hi M8

At first i tried to keep everything as it was before the accident - tried to keep my job and get back to riding my bike.

With work it was a lot to do with tiredness that i lost my role. Now i sleep in 2 or 3 hour sessions and although i never feel absolutely refreshed, i at least feel a little recharged at certain points of the day. I work from home now and its early days, but i find i am able to produce little things to keep my employment going (for now - god i hope the employer feels my work has some value).

My husband has got used to my sleep pattern now, but it does mean i sleep mostly downstairs to avoid waking him up. I spend hours covered in cats and feeding a very large dalmatian dog ! Where would we be without animals.

Nice to hear from you - i too am looking at my lap top nearly every night around 4 am wondering if any of these lovely people are up for a chat - the forum keeps me going, they have helped me through some very dark hours.

Kind regards


Hiya Julie, it doesn't logically seem right but instead of 2 or 3 hour naps in the afternoon, try 20 minutes & then when the alarm goes off get up go n make a cup of tea or somethin. Easier said than done sometimes admitted but I can almost guarantee that 20 minute nap will make feel more refreshed than having 2 or 3 hours & last for longer !!!

Maybe if U had come across the power nap earlier, you could have kept your role.

A brief example for you. About 6 weeks ago I started volunteering in a community cafe & would work for a few hours in the morning or in the afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago I went right through from half 9 til half 3, without my nap & I was feeling so cr4p by the end of it. I almost gave up altogether but then said I would only be able t do the mornings or afternoon. One or the other, but last week, about 1pm I went into a separate room & got me 20 minutes, came out 20 minutes later like a new person & was more than happy to continue til half 3.

Same applies to yourself as I've been saying to everyone, give it a go, but make sure when you've set your alarm for 20 minutes, you get yourself up when the alarm goes off, otherwise U go into a deeper sleep & feel less refreshed !!!

I had times when I would wake up for no reason at all at 4am, and be unable to get back to sleep. Also very weird dreams.

StaceM8 in reply to 23Rachael

Hiya Rachel have a look at the posts I've left above cos instead of struggling to get back t sleep, get up & then when U start feeling sleepy have a 20 minjute power nap - I found it life changing I really did & it might help for you too ;o)

Rachel, by all accounts we all do have problems sleeping, or the majority do anyway. Although I don't class it as a problem anymore. I just get more life to enjoy, which for 20 years I wasn't particularly happy with my life, but now I am & I put a lot of it down to the power nap ;o)

I've gone for 20 years listening to others, the so called ' experts ' & people who think they know best. After all that's the advice given t 'normal' people. But for us, trying t go back t sleep, then waking up feeling terrible isn't the best advice (or at least I don't think so anyway.

I find personally, instead of struggling to get back t sleep, loads of things running hrough my mind which makes it difficult t do so; getting up the second I wake up & when I start t feel sleepy again set my alarm for 20 minutes for a power nap.

I then wake up totally refreshed. If I do feel sleepy a little later in the day, I do the same & if I haven't already, make sure I have at least one power nap durin the day (usually somewhere between 2pm & 4pm.

Even if U don't sleep, having your eyes shut & being totally relaxed seems to have the same effect btw ;o)

Worth giving a go Rachel t see if it suits U too ;o)


23Rachael in reply to StaceM8

Thanks for the advice :)

StaceM8 in reply to 23Rachael

Nw - let me know if it works for you too. Never known anyone say no, but there is always a first eh ;o)

I have problems getting to sleep, and I sleep less soundly but do quite often sleep for long periods, slept for 10hrs last night and left to my own devices can sleep for 16hrs or so.

Roger. Have U tried having 20minute naps.

To be honest I don't have a problem getting to sleep, I just don't sleep for long, but having the 20 minute power nap (I kno, a bit 90s but they are amazing. Give it a go but don't go over the 20 minutes, set an alarm cos otherwise U go into a different stage of sleep & U don't necessarily wake up that refreshed. If U just can't get up, set your alarm for 20 mins more & have a second.

When U say U slept for 10hrs & then 16hrs is that uninterrupted sleep ???

Hi Stacey its Boy Stalker, I mean Roy Walker here :),

First things first, I do have a six pack... It is in the fridge and it is named Grolsch haha. Kidding :).

I made a post not too long ago about ridiculous sleep patterns. I, at times, will wake up at an early hour of the morning and not be able to go back to sleep until it is an hour or two before I am supposed to get up. Someone told me to read what you had to say about sleep, hence why I am here :). My mum would sometimes spray her pillow with Lavendar and that knocks her out. Lavendar doesnt seem to work with me. I've got a bag of it next to my bed and you give it a little sniff before bed and it helps you sleep "apparently!". Not with me though. I have tried drinking Chamomile tea before and that is pretty good but lately I have been drinking Turmeric tea. I bought a small jar of ground turmeric, put a bit, half a teaspoon or less, in a cup, fill it with hot water and drink. Add honey if you want to sweeten it, I do. Aside from helping you sleep, turmeric is very good for a number of things. A turmeric and ginger tea with honey is very good for getting rid of a cough and cold symptoms. Turmeric is used in curries as you probably know, and my first thought was that it was going to taste spicy? No, it does not taste spicy. It is quite a nice taste on its own but I still like to sweeten with a bit of honey. Turmeric is what gives curries it's yellow colour, that is all. Turmeric certainly does help with my sleep and I sometimes have a cup every few days.

I used to nap a heck of a lot but I have found I don't need to do that so much now. It could be partly to do with my diet, I am eating a bit more healthily now. If my eyes ever feel tired/heavy now, I don't lie on the bed and hope to sleep, I sit in my chair with my eyes closed. If I am doing something/watching TV at the time, I might close them every few seconds but if I have just had a bath, where my eyes would get very heavy, I might close them for longer and sometimes, almost fall asleep :). Like you say, a nap does help but I try to have less naps now and just rest my eyes for a few minutes. that usually does me good :).

You may also like...