Dysregulated sleep and your senses

A couple of weeks ago, in one of our sleep health assessments, Sevie told me how since her insomnia started, her senses have lit up.

She described her typical night:
She falls asleep quite quickly, but then some random noise from outside could normally wake her up.

Then, she glares at her partner snoozing peacefully while the wood flooring cracks seem so loud they could burst her eardrums.
And the light coming through the curtains feels as though someone was waving a flashlight straight into the entire bedroom.

But how could this be?

Why is that?

You see, continuous, broken sleep turns you into a hypersensitivity expert.

Your own heartbeat becomes like a drummer from a hard rock band, and every tiny disturbance—be it a snoring partner or a cat’s late-night escapade—feels like an earthquake in your sleep world.

It’s like the universe conspires against your quest for a decent night’s rest.

When sleep is broken, our senses sharpen. Leading to increased arousal.

Pain in your body? You feel it even more.
Your heavy breathing partner will start sounding like gale force winds. A little toilet call quickly becomes a pressing urge.
And a cat walking across the carpet suddenly jolts you out of what seemed like sleep.

It’s unfair because those seemingly small triggers then become the perpetuating factors of broken sleep.
Like a vicious cycle…

But here’s the silver lining!

When you get your sleep on track, you’ll flip the script.

Suddenly, you’re snoozing through the same disturbances that used to launch you into insomnia-induced rants.

The noisy floorboards? Just background noise. Snoring partner? Barely registers.

Turns out, once you deepen your sleep, that hyperarousal takes a backseat. Once you’re asleep, you’ll be in dreamland, unbothered by the noises that used to be your nightly nemesis.

What may feel like the trigger and perpetuating factor of your insomnia is in fact a symptom in disguise.

9 Responses

  1. This is so true!! I am often troubled by my heart beat at night. I have my blood pressure and pulse measured regularly and they are fine. I suffer from anxiety during the day which is not related to my sleep problems. I am hypersensitive to any small pain or change in my body

    1. Hypersensitivity is so common with insomnia. The more broken sleep gets, the more sensitive we become. Once you start progressing through sleep re training it’s something that starts to go away thank goodness! Let us know if you would like support!

  2. I have trouble actually getting to sleep and switching off despite not having a stressful life, exercising regularly, fresh air and going to bed at same time each night. I then wake on and off to go to the loo, and although I do go back to sleep I never feel refreshed in the morning and always tired.

    1. Thank you for sharing this Claire. Unfortunately, going to bed at the same time won’t work when you have this kind of problem and all the wonderful things you describe are not going to be able to tackle all the components of an unrefreshing sleep. If you need more support going through sleep re training don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

  3. I cannot fall asleep so frustrating or stay asleep when I finally do sleep. I’ve had insomnia for 30 years still taking zopiclone. Xx

    1. Yes, this is so common the case. On our programs, you won’t have to come off your medication in the first instance. Rather, we encourage you to get confident and start trusting in the evidence of improved sleep first, and then a lot of our users with the help of their prescribing physician slowly reduce their medication and start sleeping naturally. We have support for you to help you know along the way what you can do and when. – and most importantly what is right for you, which may be slightly different from the next person. Everyone’s insomnia experience is unique.

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