Insomnia: Hi All, I wonder if anyone has something... - Headway


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Headshrink profile image

Hi All, I wonder if anyone has something to share, like most people I could have slept for Britain after my BI, The community Team were really helpful and solved most of my fatigue, however I still had no bother sleeping until about a month ago. Now I get tired about 10 and sometimes force myself to stay up til 12 but I always wake up at about 3am, play on my phone which i know is bad! anyway I usually fall back to sleep and get another 2 or 3 hours but then I'm UP! My bed is comfy and warm, its quiet and mood is fine .Its just such a dramatic shift and I wondered if anyone else has experienced similar. I am now nearly 3yrs post BI

20 Replies

Hi Headshrink, my sleep patterns are still pretty random nearly three years after the TBI. I don't wake up in the night, I just don't fall asleep in the first place. I get the odd week of a reasonable sleep pattern, and then it goes AWOL again. Oddly enough my sleep is worse when my fatigue is more pronounced. If I get very washed out in the day (through either cognitive or physical fatigue) I fall asleep much later at night (3am or 4am late). Interestingly I made more of a point of having a rest yesterday afternoon, and I fell asleep at 12:30 and woke at 9. I set multiple alarms for 8am. To put that in context, I apparently only had 4hrs 40min the night before....

( The migraine buddy app on my phone measures sleep duration automatically somehow - though my neuropsychiatrist advised against the smart watch/ wearable at night - apparently you start measuring your sleep by what you read on the watch, rather than how you feel).

sospan profile image
sospan in reply to Painting-girl

4 hours sleep - I dream of that, if only I could sleep !

When I was working and staying in hotels, I got into a bad habit of getting back to the hotel at 6-7 pm. sleeping for an hour, eating and then working into the early hours, falling asleep and waking at 7 am if I wasn't telephoned over night.

Despite my best attempts, I can't unlearn this and still end up going to bed at 1 am and wake at 7am. However, the problem is that since her own head injury my wife is awake 2 or 3 times in the night and I wake up the same time to check on her.

Then once I am awake, it takes ages to go back to sleep again. So maybe, I get 2 hours sleep at a time.

Painting-girl profile image
Painting-girl in reply to sospan

Ouch Sospan. No, I know I'm lucky that I get solid blocks of sleep, it's just they tend to be at random times - last night was a once a fortnight sleep... My worst nights are actually things like not falling asleep till 6 or 7 am - but that's not an every week thing. Trouble is, for some weird reason I can read at night - I don't know if its because I'm rested, the light is dimmer, it's quieter, or all three - or possibly because I'm just nocturnal? 😕

sospan profile image
sospan in reply to Painting-girl

I can understand the reading thing late at night because that's when I used to do my reading /writing. 6 or 7am is a very long day before sleeping and is quite dangerous for your health.

Last year the doctors thought I was having heart problems it was just sleep deprivation.

I did have a session with a "sleep doctor" whom suggested a 90 minute walk mid afternoon helps going to sleep. However, I could never organise my life around this as something always happened.

Painting-girl profile image
Painting-girl in reply to sospan

Well it's something else to try. .. How much sleep do you get in total do you think?

I've always been an owl rather than a lark -and the TBI certainly hasn't improved that.

sospan profile image
sospan in reply to Painting-girl

I may get 40 minutes during the day. Last night went to bed at 1 am and was awake from 6 am when my wife went to the toilet and was cold when she came back. Plus being awake twice in the night.

So probably around 4-5 hours a day.

One of the interesting things that never gets mentioned is the side effect of activity - walking, volunteering, craft work is the side effect of better sleep. Most people will relate the benefits to the activity itself but not that they sleep deeper and better at night. Whether it the "feel good" factor and less stress or just exhaustion! I know thay when I was doing the physical work as part of my rehab, my head would hit the pillow and I would be in a deep sleep for hours.

Painting-girl profile image
Painting-girl in reply to sospan

Perhaps being 'in the flow' on some activity helps the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in? I shall test this - more painting needed!

Hi, sleep I did have major trouble (9 months of cat naps), was referred to Tommies sleep clinic, best nights sleep I had in months, so they couldn't find any problems.

They did prescribe pregabalin, which worked for about a month, but it also stabilise my mood.

Now I do sleep at night, thanks to meds, but it is a bit hit and miss. Mid day to about three, I have a point where I can't resist the fatigue and have to sleep. If I go beyond three then usually I can last until night.

Night meds are taken at nine, but I have no control when sleep will arrive, any time from nine-thirty to three in the morning.

Waking is a problem, I can wake, but not enough to function. Waking can take up to an hour.

Sorry I don't have any answers or suggestions.

May I first ask why you are forcing yourself to stay awake until 12? That sounds like a bad thing.Setting a routine is vital. I'm still usually in bed by 9pm, often earlier this week due to the amount of stress.

Hide Yr phone....

Headshrink profile image
Headshrink in reply to moo196

I stay up longer in the vain hope i sleep through

moo196 profile image
moo196 in reply to Headshrink

Sadly that doesn't usually work.....I remember thinking it would work when my kids were small.... Definitely not.

I find a really strict bedtime routine, including same time. No screen etc.

Hopefully you'll get back to sleeping through again soon.

Welcome to the 3:21 club😂. We should all meet up online at that time,

One of my clients who suffered a BI in a car accident years ago always used to email me in the middle of the night. Now I know why!

I do wonder if it has anything to do with heat though. If the window is open, I sleep better usually. In addition sleep is apparently habit forming, not a concious reaction, so to counter it, keeping a sleep diary helped for a while. Also because there are no interuptions, I do find it easier to write long detailed reports overnight, so long as I am in the right ‘mood’ to do so. Bizarre. Prior to BI I couldnt go on beyond about 02:30. Now happy to go through to 05:00 or occasionally 06:00.

Theres a fascinating study to be would be a great subject for some doing a Doctorate or other detailed academic study.

Meanwhile, see you all at 03:21am 😉

Painting-girl profile image
Painting-girl in reply to Shreds

Glad I'm not the only one awake at 5am Shreds.... Could just mean our parasympathetic nervous system is out of kilter?

Headshrink profile image
Headshrink in reply to Shreds

Fascinating. Wow i didnt realise that would be such a popular post, my best yet! But this is the stuff you think about at 3:21 am, of course; and yes let's do a study. I think im about to embark on a career in neuropsychiatry anyhow

Has anyone tried anything that works re sleep habits even for a short while?

My rehab consultant started me on melatonin (4mg) and a tiny bit of amitriptylin (5 mg) a night and after a couple of weeks I fell into a pattern of 11pm to 6am ish. I'm 5 months post op for ruptured aneurysms and could have slept for 10 hours a night before this all happened :-(

Ooh that's interesting BooSocks - thanks

A rehab consultant, what luxury you have!😜

Agreed! I am very fortunate to have a fab team trying to "put me back together" :-)

3:42, 20 min late! Sorry for my tardiness!

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