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.