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Sleep Reduction Strategy for Better Health ? - Interesting Story

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Wayne, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    THIS LINK will take you to a discussion board, where the initial post (fairly lengthy) was made by a member named Ivy (DOES NOT HAVE ME/CFS). I first ran across this a couple years ago, and have thought about it off and on since then. Essentially, it's a story of how Ivy was able to overcome many health difficulties, many of which are common to pwCFS, simply by reducing sleep to about 4-6 hours / night.

    I found this story intriguing because I too notice that I sometimes feel significantly better a day following a relative lack of sleep, although sometimes I feel worse as well. Anyway, thought I'd pass it along. You never know when some obscure kind of thing can make a meaningful difference in our lives. I found Ivy's comments about depression (bolded below) to be particularly interesting. -- Wayne

    The first paragraph was part of Ivy's introduction, the following two longer paragraphs were part of the conclusion. The entire post is considerably longer.
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  2. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I feel absolutely horrible after a night of just 4 hours of sleep, moderately horrible after just 6. Maybe if you sleep deeply, this would work, but I can't imagine surviving on that little sleep myself.
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  3. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I can't imagine surviving on that little sleep either, but that doesn't mean that other people can't. For me, reduced sleep has just about the opposite of the effects that she experiences.
    justy likes this.
  4. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I think there is a happy medium between the two ideas, and it is always going to be personal, how many hours and exactly where they are placed in the day. My happy medium ideally is a midnight bedtime and up at nine am with one, maybe two "power naps" during the day, no more than 15 minutes each. This has come after a lot of hard work with monitoring changes, sleep hygiene, learning my own body, and regaining deeper sleep patterns. For me, pushing myself a little on sleep denial has been an important part of my overall "envelope," so I agree with this lady somewhat, but also know well what it has taken to get there. When I crash, all bets are off... I sleep as much as I possibly can. Right now with the seasonal change and time change coming up, I do not get up until about 10:30 am most days. When things settle down, I will push it back half an hour at a time, until I can handle 9 am again. I am definitely more clear-headed on the midnight to 9 am regimen.

    4-6 hours a night is sheer torture even at my best and quickly takes me down on everything else.

    My guess is that most people, normal or otherwise, need MORE sleep, not less, considering the insane schedules most keep with work, school, family, etc. and then trying to decompress and de-stress themselves regularly.

    Any exercise I do falls in the same pattern. Sometimes I can pursue and build it up, other times, I cannot. The sleep and exercise patterns seem to go together.
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  5. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    If i regularly sleep 6-7 hours a night i soon get very very ill, the crash is nasty. I also find that i muct go to bed and be asleep by 11pm or else i will be awake for hours and hours.

    I feel best on 9-10 hours a night - sleeping around 11 and getting up about 9. I cant manage this duirng the week, because i have to be up for the kids for school - but in the holidays this routine is better for me.

    I'm gald this woman has found something that helps her so much and given her her life back. But (sorry there has to be a but) is it possible that she is pushing her body into some kind of hyper alert /adrenal state, that she could later crash severely from? just a thought. My other thought is about the quote about depressed people feel better if they sleep less. I think a lot of people who are severely clinically depressed sleep a lot- during the day and night, and this may not be good for you if you have depression, you may need to be up and about more, to get the energy flowing again. Whereas with M.E, my personal experience is that i can never sleep or rest too much - i always find it healing.

    All the best, Justy
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  6. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    I've just been reading through the thread posted to, and it's clear that this woman doesnt have M.E - is that right Wayne? she discusses suffering from fatigue and depression - especially upon waking. I don't think that sleep restriction would be good for people who are chronically sick. In much the same way that i recently tried intermittent fasting - to increase health and lose weight - but my body did not react the way my friends who were trying it did - i became very weak and my blood pressure went all over the place - i just couldnt keep it up = whilst everyone else i knew started to feel amazing, i caught pneumonia and then was told i was severely anemic.

    I'm just trying to say that what works for healthy people, doesnt always seem to work for us - we seem so complex!

    Take care, Justy.
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  7. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Justy, I feel fairly certain Ivy does NOT have ME, and that of course has to be weighed into whether any of what she writes might be applicable to pwCFS. I thought I would share her story however, because sleep hygiene is such a big factor for most pwME/CFS. And I do notice that when it feels like I get too much sleep, it can take me a while to "come around". And when I get too little, I'm often noticeably more alert in the first few hours of the day, but generally end up crashing later on that day, or the next, from have gotten too little sleep.

    One reason I've long been interested in these kinds of stories was because of a news segment I watched 20-30 years ago, in which they interviewed people who were able to get by on very little sleep. They found about 4-5 people who for most of their lives were able to get by on 10-20 minutes a day. Interestingly, they all seemed to be somewhat "annoyed" that they had to sleep even that much, considering it a waste of time. One guy was an older (British) veteran from World War II who, when his superiors discovered his ability to stay sharp and focused on so little sleep, assigned him to night guard duty, besides his regular day time duties. I can still remember today that he struck me as an unusually sharp and alert individual, and instead of appearing hypervigilant. actually came across as very grounded and calm.

    I've also heard that some people who have reached a somewhat higher spiritual awareness can often get by on much less sleep than most people. The reason apparently being that they have learned not to hold onto the normal kinds of physical, emotional and mental stresses that most people do, which then require extra sleep to resolve. When they don't have that burden, they only need about half as much sleep as normal. But in the end, there's all kinds of theories, and whatever amount of sleep we need is usually going to boil down to individual needs for a variety of reasons. For most pwCFS, I think more sleep than what is considered normal will be ideal for most of us. That's generally been my own experience.

    Wayne
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  8. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Gracie,

    I find your sleep schedules to be very interesting. After many years, I've discovered that certain hours of sleep are generally more important than how many hours of sleep I get. The best times for me are from around 11:30-12:00 at night, until about 7:30 - 8:00 in the morning, with an hour nap around mid-afternoon. Sometimes my naps can extend to two hours. I've noticed that if I try to practice "good sleep hygiene", and go to bed earlier, that I almost always awaken more often during the night, and my sleep is not as good.

    I've wondered why my own schedule works best for me, and tend to believe it has to do with a couple of things. By 11:30 - 12:00, most people in my local community have also retired for the evening, and so there's less "awake" energy in my vicinity. I also suspect that by this time, there is much less electricity being used, and less cell phone and other low-level EMF flowing through the air. This past summer, we had a power outage for a couple hours, and I was fairly amazed how much more relaxed I felt while it was out.

    Wayne
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  9. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Yes, Wayne,

    Also, different organ systems have their own sort of diurnal rhythm--and if you are asleep during the "designated repair time" for the organs that need the most repair for you, that seems to be important. I think adrenals are something like 7 am to 9 am.

    Sushi
  10. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I have a shifted sleep cycle and I think the rest of my circadian rhythms are off too. If I go to bed before 2 am, I will be up to the bathroom at least once because the rest of my metabolism has not slowed down. I even wonder if part of my liver problem is because I am eating when my liver wants to be doing R & R.
  11. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    It doesn't matter how hard I work at it, haven't been able to move bedtime before midnight. Even 11:45 pm is asking for trouble, as I am wide awake by 2 or 3 am in the morning for hours, and ready to sleep again about 8 am, which of course never worked with jobs reporting at 8 am. Haven't figured out why midnight is the trick, just glad I did figure it out! Life began to get back to normal for me somewhat with a fairly decent daytime schedule with that discovery. It is no exaggeration to say that that was my first real ME/CFS breakthrough.

    I wish I had a dime for every time someone asks, "Why don't you just go to bed earlier?" There is no explaining that it really doesn't work, or to fully illustrate what I've done to determine that, so I don't explain. Of course, it would be AWESOME to go to bed at 10 pm and get up at 6 or 7 am! "Best sleep" is before midnight? not in this body!

    That is intriguing about EMF. I think it would be great to go stay somewhere "primitive" for a few weeks and see how I do. With all that we are bombarded with in the environment, it's hard to pin down why some things work.
  12. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    I find that if i am not asleep by midnight something strange kicks in and the twitching and RLS starts up very strongly (almost on the dot) this happens even if i am in bed. Then i become hyper wired and my heart starts racing and pounding in my head, my feet can contort and stretch painfully for an hour or more. I feel like a twitching, spastic, hyped up toddler. But as long as i am asleep before then this doesnt happen.
    My main problem has always been continous night waking. This is so much improved, mainly from relaxation, meditation and a weird little trick that gets you back into your dream that a friend with M.E taught me. But i still have waking issues and the other terrible issue - the mental crazy dreams - absolutely exhausting!

    Some mornings these days i wake up feeling ok, other terrible, this doesnt seem to relate to length or quality of sleep, but how active i have been over the preceding few days. The more i rest and dont over do, the better i wake up feeling.

    All the best, Justy x
  13. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I am beginning to think that the less tired (exhausted) I am, the better I sleep.
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  14. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    That's common for ME/CFS people. The more tired or sick one is.. the more symptoms we have, with of cause insomina being one of our symptoms. For some of us even having a nap during the day may help us to sleep better at night.

    Wayne..could you please put in your first post that this thread isnt about someone who has ME/CFS. As most people who click this thread will automatically assume she has like I did.
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  15. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Tania, thanks for the suggestion! ;)
  16. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I wonder if Ivy was born needing little sleep, but tried to conform to parental etc expectations. I had a friend in New York who slept 4-5 hours her whole life, and my daughters have a friend here who is the same. Nobody else in either family sleeps so little.
  17. L'engle

    L'engle moderate ME

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    I think it's different for people who don't have ME/CFS. For me, the very idea of 'sleep reduction' is associated with feeling more ill. I have 'reduced sleep' from time to time and it is never a good thing for me. 9-10 hours is always better and necessary for me to even approach my normal baseline.

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