Why Do I Feel Better When My Insomnia Is Flaring?

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT NOW, NOR HAVE I EVER BEEN A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL IN ANY FIELD (UNLESS YOU COUNT FINAL FANTASY 7, WHICH -SPOILER – YOU SHOULDN’T) NOR AM I TRAINING TO BE ONE OR HAVE ANY INTENTION TO DO SO IN THE FUTURE. THIS ARTICLE IS BASED OFF MY EXPERIENCE AND MY GOOGLE HISTORY NOT A MEDICAL DEGREE

I was sat in my writers group Tuesday morning (‘Willcocks’ Writers’* if you’re interested) and I noticed that even though I was in serious sleep deprivation, I was in an amazing mood. When I say amazing, I mean, I felt ready to do ALL THE THINGS, at the same time.

Then that got me to thinking that whenever I am in this state i.e. in the throws of Insomnia, I feel really positive and ready to conquer and when I have sleep like a Normal, I feel like crap. Now, I was listening to a podcast recently in which, one of the hosts talks about the importance of looking back at your life and pattern spotting. It helps find common threads and as per this particular conversation your philosophical brand (as in that’s what a brand should be, YOU, your values etc)

So, with this fresh in my mind and my own sudden realisation that I feel better when I don’t sleep, I cast my mind back (always dangerous) and realised something about myself that I had to share…

… I’m a medical miracle. Not to brag or anything but clearly, I don’t need sleep, sleep is for the mortals, I am Goddess hear me roar. Or like at the very least a mother fudging, real life, bonafide super hero. God, I hate spandex – there will be no spandex in my costume and also, I’m really hoping I develop more powers soon because ‘Not Needing Sleep Woman’ isn’t quiet cutting it, you know?

I’m sorry what?

You don’t think I’m a superhero or a goddess, firstly RUDE and secondly, I doubt that’s it either, so I did some digging, delved into the stats, if you will…

There are an “amazing amount of gaps” in our scientific knowledge of sleep, said Paula Williams, a clinical health psychologist who studies sleep at the University of Utah.

‘Short sleepers’ can get just 4 hours a night and feel fine. But is their health at risk?’ by Stacey Burling MARCH 20, 2019

Well, thank god I went to the experts!

Jokes aside though it appears that the issue of sleep is a contentious one and I should now, I spent a solid 58 minutes on Google. Everyone seems to agree on one thing though, we need sleep. But sleep and dreams remain largely a scientific conundrum.

Everyone seems to agree that most adults need between 7-8 hours a night to function properly and that chronic lack of sleep, or being in a state of ‘sleep debt’ – which, side note falls just under ‘sleep hygiene’ as phrases that make me audibly eye role – anyway back to the point, which was… yes! Constant sleep deprivation is BAD, its linked to a lot of conditions such as,

“Inadequate sleep has been associated with a mounting list of cardiovascular, metabolic, mood, immune system and cognitive problems,  or, as one researcher put it, “pretty much anything bad.”

‘Short sleepers’ can get just 4 hours a night and feel fine. But is their health at risk?
by Stacey Burling MARCH 20, 2019

Or if that seems a bit too vague, this is what the NHS had to say on the matter:

Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesityheart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”

FUN.

But this still leaves me with my main question unanswered, why do I feel better after a sleepless or seriously sleep lacking night? Well, turns out the answer is stress. Or more precisely stress hormones

“Feeling better after less sleep – including after getting less Deep or REM sleep – could be the result of your body trying to compensate for sleep deprivation. When you’re short on sleep, your body releases stress hormones the next day and evening. These hormones supply the sensation of alertness”

Feeling Better with Less Deep Sleep
August 22nd, 2016

The article goes on to cover that you will feel crappy after the full first nights sleep though because your body is in ‘sleep debt’ and if you have chronic poor sleep, or say are an insomniac.

Well, yeah… this explains A LOT.

Also I live in pretty much a constant state of stress. Hello, single mum with a plethora of mental health issues – the effects of which mean that when I relax I often spiral into trauma memories. So stress is my jam, its were I live baby. Yeah, I know its not something to brag about but I don’t have a whole lot of options here and quite frankly I excel in this area, so I’m feeling my dysfunctional oats.

There is one other option though, according to my scholarly level 58 minute research session. I could be a, wait for it…. Short sleeper. Oooooo Ahhhhh I hear you cry, what the fuck is a short sleeper. Well firstly, I kinda think the answers in your question but also its kinda not. I do the explaining well. Let me hand you back to a bonefide scientist and let her explain to you what a short sleeper is and then I can find out if I am one.

“The most perplexing group is people who sleep four to six hours and say they feel good.

Fu has been studying natural short sleepers for about 10 years. She’s found mutations on five genes that seem to change our need for sleep. When mice were genetically altered to express three of these mutations, they also slept less and didn’t appear to suffer otherwise. The group of about 50 natural short sleepers that Fu has found tends to be energetic, thin and optimistic.

People don’t belong in this group, Fu said, if they drink much coffee or tea to stay awake, or need to catch up on sleep on weekends or vacations. “

‘Short sleepers’ can get just 4 hours a night and feel fine. But is their health at risk?
by Stacey Burling MARCH 20, 2019

So, lets run me through the kinda check list in this article and see if I might, possibly be an X-Man

  • Don’t suffer from lack of sleep? Erm Check, it’s the entire premise of this article, hello!
  • Energetic? I mean Yah, after a lean nights sleep I’m feeling peppy as fuck boi!
  • Thin?define thin…
  • Optimistic? I mean, I’d say depending on my mental health, it’s a 50/50 shot, but as this is down is something else I reckon ‘Charles Exaviours School for Gifted Youngsters’ wouldn’t rule me out – and I don’t want to hear ‘But Sam you’re 35!’ Wolverine was hardly a spring chicken when he got there, so can it.

So basically, I’m pretty sure I’m a mutant and proud of it thank you, oh hang on theres one last paragraph…

*reads aloud … don’t belong in this group if they drink much coff…

NOPE. Not a short sleeper, well, I mean who wants to live with a man that can manipulate your mind anyway? Been there, done that – not for me.

So there you have it, I feel good when I’m stressed, Im chronichally sleep deprived (thanks Insomnia) and I’m likely gonna end up with some horrible disease – I said it was a 50/50 shot, stop judging my optimism.

Turns out there is some good news in all this though, you can always improve your sleep quality with information and support from a medical professional

ONCE AGAIN FOR THE BACK ROW – I’M NOT ONE

And by having good sleep hygiene (seriously I hate this phrase it sounds like people are sleeping in crusty sheets and that’s why they have chronic sleep issues)

“Cut back on the caffeine. Put the devices away well before bedtime. Make sure your room is dark. Alcohol can disrupt sleep, so don’t drink too close to bedtime. Use your bed only for sleep and sex. Gradually move your bedtime earlier.”

Honestly, all of that sounds terrible, apart from the sex part BUT again I’d take their advice over my loosely based opinion.

Now if you excuse me, Ive got a coffee to drink while I edit this article on my laptop late at night on my bed. God I should get a gold star!

So what’s your sleep sin? Share it in the comments below and lets compare notes, or you can hit me up over on Instagram, which is where I live these days, on @mastressofnone

Until next time,

Sweet dreams!

*I AM NOT SPONSORED NOR HAVE I ENTERED INTO ANY AFFILIATE PROGRAM WITH ‘WILLCOCKS’ WRITERS’ I JUST BLOODY LOVE THOSE GUYS

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