Two hours of sleep and not tired

Q:  It seems that no matter what I do I am unable to get more than two hours of sleep.  For the past month I have been under a lot of stress and I think that’s what’s causing this.  I usually need 8 hours of sleep to function during the day, but I’m worried because I am not feeling tired at all during the day, even with only two hours of sleep.  What could be going 0n?

A:  Given that you are not tired during the day, it’s very possible, even likely, that you are in fact sleeping more than you think.

This phenomenon is known as sleep state misperception, and it is very common among insomniacs. Generally, it results from being hyper-aware of the time we spend in bed tossing and turning unable to sleep, but unaware or devaluing the time spent in bed actually asleep, because we are, well, asleep.

One clue to sleep state misperception is time.  If time in bed seems to go by very quickly, meaning hours and hours, even though you think you are awake, you are probably asleep for at least some of that time and just don’t realize it.

Your identification of stress as an underlying factor for at least your perception of missed sleep is probably accurate.  Stress is a potent underlying cause of insomnia.

On the other hand, true insomnia also is accompanied by an adverse affect during waking hours, which you do not have.  So if you don’t feel tired, your mood is normal, and you otherwise perform well during the day, all this suggests you are in fact getting enough sleep at night.

If you want to prove to yourself you are in fact getting more than 2 hours sleep, you might consider buying an actigraph. This is typically a wristwatch type of device worn at night that measures sleep and wakefulness.  A google search will probably bring up many options.

Also beware of the 8-hour myth. There is nothing written in stone that says you or anyone else must get a rock-solid 8 hours of sleep every night. That number is in fact highly variable, and even for one individual changes throughout life.  It’s a lot like weight, there is no single ideal number that works magically for everyone.  Instead, many sleep experts suggest a range of 7 to 9 hours is normal for adults.

The point is we are all unique individuals, each with unique sleep needs.  No one should feel necessarily locked into 8 hours.

If you are otherwise feeling fine during the day, you may want to just let this go.   Because you are experiencing heightened stress during the day, it does you no good to add to it during the night stressing about sleep.  Letting go is in fact an important component of a healthy sleep process.

For more information on natural drug-free ways to help yourself sleep, please feel free to visit us a

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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