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Can’t stay asleep

(58 Posts)
watermeadow Wed 05-Aug-20 21:09:07

I’ve always fallen asleep quickly but nowadays I wake up after only 3 or 4 hours, feel wide awake and can’t go back to sleep. I usually read for a couple of hours then might go back to sleep for a while before waking for the day at my usual early time.
This pattern leaves me very tired by evening.
Is there any way of staying asleep long enough at night? It’s not the same as not being able to fall asleep.

BlueBelle Wed 05-Aug-20 21:14:40

I ve bunny hopped through the night for years watermelon
I go to sleep quickly have two /three hours then an hour or more awake then another couple of hours sleep rarely sleep more than five or at most six hours in this fashion
I ve known myself go to bed at 11 and wake up bright as a button thinking it’s time to get up and find it’s 12
😂 I just accept it though I don’t let it bother me

Jane10 Wed 05-Aug-20 21:15:38

If I wake in the night I immediately go to the loo otherwise I lie awake thinking I should go. I find I fall asleep straight away after that.

annep1 Wed 05-Aug-20 22:15:10

Some folk need less sleep than others and like Bluebelle feel fine with a few hours.
But if you feel you aren't getting enough you need to try to change it. Once I start reading and my brain is active I know I'll be awake for hours. So I usually try to get back to sleep for a while first. I use mindful breathing or something simple like listing names beginning with certain letters etc. while lying with my eyes closed. It doesn't always work but it helps. I also use a magnesium oil spray and a lavender spray. (deep sleep pillow spray)
If you worry it will only make it worse. Many older people waken during the night regularly and are fine.

Chewbacca Wed 05-Aug-20 22:20:56

Oh watermeadow that's just the same for me. No difference if I go to bed early or late; after about 90 minutes sleep, I wake with a jolt and then spend the rest of the night having cat naps. Sometimes, if I don't have to work the next day, I just get up at 03.30, have a cup of tea and then go back to bed and try again. Having a full nights restorative and refreshing sleep seems to be impossible now.

Oopsminty Wed 05-Aug-20 22:22:53

I've had sleep problems for years. I think it could have been after I'd worked nights for a few years I never got my pattern back.

Have you tried changing the time you go to bed, watermeadow?

Might help

Like annepl I too do the listing of names alphabetically and I'll also try counting down from 1000.

Maybe if you just lie awake doing some mindful thing rather than reading

I was also prescribed sleeping pills at one point which were just wonderful. I'd fall asleep in an instant and stay that way for 8 hours but these aren't for long term use.

Good luck!

Beauregard Wed 05-Aug-20 22:29:43

I feel for you watermeadow. I've got the other problem of struggling to get to sleep. Either way, it's still a poor nights sleep for us. I often go to bed tired but can't empty my mind and I start thinking about things/people/the days events. Next thing i'm wide awake and it's two or three hours before I finally get to sleep. I don't know what to do either and would also appreciate any suggestions. Is it worth giving sleeping pills a try, or is that a last resort/bad idea??

mamaa Wed 05-Aug-20 22:57:12

I never had sleep problems until the pandemic hit. To begin with to try and solve the sleeplessness I’d stay up really late. As the weeks progressed and things seemed to ease so did my anxiety and I got back into a reasonable sleep pattern. For some reason this has now changed and I too am struggling. I go to bed about 11pm really tired ( pre-COVID Id be asleep as soon as head hit pillow) but it can be 1am and I’m still awake, thinking...of what I’m not sure but it’s v debilitating. I was one of those irritating people who could ‘fall asleep on a washing line’- not any more...

Grannynannywanny Wed 05-Aug-20 22:59:45

I feel for you all. I can go to bed after struggling to stay awake downstairs, then get into bed and could be awake 3 hours. Or else conk out within mins but ping awake after an hour.
Probably sounds silly, but I sometimes find if I push back the duvet and let myself get chilled, I feel cosy when I cover myself again and doze off for another while 💤

Chewbacca Wed 05-Aug-20 23:14:47

I usually find having iPlayer Sounds on, very low, helps me to drift off again. Especially if it's something boring and long winded like a party political broadcast.

LadyBella Wed 05-Aug-20 23:24:01

I've got the opposite problem. Go to bed around 11.30pm and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Sleep nearly all night and struggle to get up by 9am and often don't. Feel I'm wasting time though.

Katyj Thu 06-Aug-20 06:17:40

Hi, The this works deep sleep spray works for me too ,quite expensive buts lasts ages. Also if I have a run of bad nights I take half a phenergan tablet for three nights and that seems to reset my sleep pattern. Good luck it’s awful being awake through the night.

Calendargirl Thu 06-Aug-20 06:48:13

I always get up at least once in the night for the loo, but mostly go back to sleep quite quickly. Just certain nights though, all my worries and meandering thoughts intrude, and I am awake for maybe 3 hours. Hopefully not too often, but when it happens I just accept that is me.

I am a real lark, today awake before 5, lay still until 5.30 then got up. I might be nodding off in my chair at 8 tonight though.Sometimes in bed soon after 9 if I feel weary.

Calendargirl Thu 06-Aug-20 06:50:03


I've got the opposite problem. Go to bed around 11.30pm and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Sleep nearly all night and struggle to get up by 9am and often don't. Feel I'm wasting time though.

Why not go to bed an hour or so sooner, and you might then be ready to get up earlier, providing you can still get off to sleep quickly?

Urmstongran Thu 06-Aug-20 06:56:57

A sleep expert recommended in an article to think of something boring. Her tip was to imagine doing your weekly shop in your usual supermarket. Think it through, take your time and walk it through your mind. Start by arriving at the door and picking up a trolley, watch the sliding doors as the let you enter, admire the plants and bouquets on display. Tug your mind to really concentrate.

You’ll be so bored you’ll be asleep by the second aisle!

Puzzler61 Thu 06-Aug-20 07:09:06

Grannynw I am very sensitive to being cold or hot and it can affect my night’s sleep. I get hot sweats that wake me and foot cramp if I’m cold.
I have thin nightdresses, longer, warmer nightdresses, and bed socks in winter. I try to match the nightwear to the temperature. I thought I was weird, but it could be connected as I am a good sleeper most of the time.

Esspee Thu 06-Aug-20 07:14:29

I am the opposite.
According to my OH I get 8 hours sleep a day................................... ........and as much as I can manage at night.
He's just envious😁.

Grannynannywanny Thu 06-Aug-20 08:09:22

Puzzler61 I only have a 4.5 summer weight duvet on my bed even in winter. Even if it feels cold getting into bed I seem to warm up quickly and often feel too warm.

Maybe I’m just hot stuff 🤭

BlueSky Thu 06-Aug-20 09:22:44

Watermeadow I've got the same problem as you since retiring, before I must have been too exhausted, now perhaps I'm not tired enough. And yet I fall asleep in front of the TV, then stay up till after midnight, then ready to sleep only to wake up for the loo at 4 o'clock and stay awake thinking of all problems real or imaginary! I don't worry about it as if I'm tired I can always nap when I want to!

Ellianne Thu 06-Aug-20 09:28:56

Like many here I wake up after 2 or 3 hours and that's pretty much it for the next few hours then. It is quite a sudden wake up so it is harder to drift back again. I'm sure it is to do with a dip in BP or heart rate because the readings are so much low than in the day.

Spookwriter23 Thu 06-Aug-20 10:02:02

I have to take antipsychotics because of mental health problems, they always make me sleep, but sometimes they don't help and I'm wide awake

Gypsyqueen13 Thu 06-Aug-20 10:05:05

I have slept badly for about 15 years. If I got 4 hours a night I felt I was doing well. I would fall asleep very easily but only manage to stay asleep for a few hours. This went on for years and years. The harder I tried to get back to sleep the worse it became. I tried every single thing that I could think of. This all changed within the last couple of years when I was told to try a little mantra. This has literally changed my life and is so simple. When I wake now I just repeat quietly in my head ‘don’t think, don’t think’. This is virtually guaranteed to work every night.

Coconut Thu 06-Aug-20 10:12:37

Playing soft, chilled music always helps me nod back off again. I’ve downloaded all my favourite songs from over the years on Spotify and it works perfectly.

hicaz46 Thu 06-Aug-20 10:12:42

If I wake up I go through the alphabet to list Countries, fruits, UK counties, vegetables, girls names, boys names anything really. It usually works but can be counterproductive when you’re racking your brains to think of a county beginning with Q.

Gingergirl Thu 06-Aug-20 10:32:30

I know you get to sleep ok but I think that if you can go through some relaxing rituals or routines before bedtime, so you’re basically more relaxed, that when you wake, you may find it easier to get back. The hyper alertness can sometimes relate to the mindset you were in before you went to bed.