A woman journals in her bedroom about her sleep with a large hand offering up pills that she doesn't want to take

Insomnia: Unpredictable Sleep Patterns

Last updated: September 2021

I have recently gone through a wide range of sleep patterns. This has left me completely out of sorts and led to many days of exhaustion and confusion. When you have insomnia, you never know whether you are going to get a decent amount of sleep or none at all.

I am convinced that being able to predict our sleep patterns would allow us to plan our days. More than anything else, I would love to be able to have a period of adjustment rather than sudden and drastic changes. Alas, we do not get any kind of schedule with insomnia.

Sudden changes in sleep patterns

My recent shifts have been quite drastic. I went from 4 to 5 hours of interrupted sleep to a full, uninterrupted 8 hours. The full 8 hours of sleep did not leave me feeling well-rested.

It left me feeling run-down and tired. I always dreamed of getting a full 8 hours of sleep. After about a week of it, I did not want it anymore. I felt more tired than I did before.

Frustrating and endless dreams

I had a couple of days where I got almost 10 hours of sleep without waking. Those days were the worst. I had endless dreams that were identical. I was standing. That is it. That is the extent of those dreams. I stood in place for hours on end, and when I woke up, I felt like I had indeed been standing for hours. It was extremely frustrating to wake up after getting so much sleep only to feel exhausted.

Learning your preferred sleep pattern

There were a few days where I woke up within a half-hour of going to sleep throughout the entire night. I honestly felt more rested on those days than I did on the nights when I got a full 8 hours of sleep. I think it was because I did not have time to enter into a dream state and experience exhausting dreams.

As odd as it sounds, I feel better when I get 4 to 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I feel okay with 6 hours of interrupted sleep. Dreams usually leave me exhausted, so I prefer not to have vivid dreams. Lucid dreams are the absolute worst.

Predicting sleep patterns would allow planning for productivity

If I were able to predict my sleep patterns, I could better plan my days and be more productive. Of course, I cannot plan. When I do try to plan, my sleep schedule shifts again. I am at the mercy of an unpredictable non-pattern of a pattern that drives me absolutely insane.

I know that I could likely straighten out this pattern with medication, but I am afraid of becoming dependent on something and being unable to sleep without it. The thought of further messing up my ability to sleep on my own is a very real fear because I know this is a possibility. This leaves me at a loss as to how to proceed.

Coping with unpredictable sleep patterns and frequent change

For now, it seems I am at the mercy of an unpredictable bout of perpetual change. I am exhausted, and I am completely out of sorts. The answer does not seem to be more sleep. The answer definitely is not less sleep. There has to be a middle ground. I need to find that sweet spot and find a way to stay there.

Have you had any luck maintaining a consistent sleep schedule? I would love to hear how you have managed unpredictable sleep patterns.

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