Re: 4 hours a night sleep
Last year I began having a bout of insomnia. I had had it before for about 2 months but then it resolved with the help of a naturopath. I've never been a really sound sleeper, more of a light sleeper. So I think my sleep habits prior to this time sort of set me up.
Well it came back with a sleep schedule change last summer. I quit work when I had my kids so I didn't have a set awake schedule. Then my oldest boy began middle school and that started at 7:30. So I needed to be up by 6am in order to get lunch packed, breakfast ready, him up and get him to school. I HAD to get up at that time. This wasn't me anymore, someone elses life was dependent on this time schedule and I couldn't call in sick or go in late - I had to get up.
That was a big change in my sleep schedule and it through me into insomnia. I went down to 5-6hrs of sleep. Then the fear of insomnia, the overwhelming fatigue and stress hormones began to decrease it to even less. I would say that for at least 3 months, I lived off of 3-4hrs of sleep per night. Then I was able to get it up to around 4 1/2 sometimes 5 for another couple of months until I was at a good, constant 6 1/2hrs.
I functioned. I didn't get sick and as far as I know suffered no serious health problems. I still struggle with my sleep but I don't stress about it. I had to work to lower my cortisol levels in my body. Insomnia is a HUGE body stressor. Your body can't identify fear and stress between a boogie man or total fatigue from lack of sleep. It will go into survival mode, create excess cortisol and adrenaline to keep you functioning. After awhile you can no longer clear those hormones and that is why insomnia becomes chronic - it's a viscous cycle. The less sleep the more stress hormones. I took a supplement called Seriphos. It's supposed to help regulate the communication between brain and adrenal glands to calm the secretion of cortisol. It worked for me but it did take time. And it wasn't a perfect fix. But I can sleep and sometimes I will sleep up to 9hrs when I can. But my sleep isn't perfect and I am not going to expect that because that only adds to the stress and anxiety about sleep.
Have you seen a doctor. Would you be willing to try something to possibly break the cycle of insomnia if only for a week? My last bout I decided to take something to help me sleep every other night for awhile. Because if I don't, then I become so fatigued that when I crawl into bed the desperation totally thwarts any effort to sleep. If I can get one good night of sleep then deal with it the next night knowing that the following night I can get a good night of sleep. It has done wonders with taking the pressure off that night of sleep and I am not desperate to sleep when I go to bed. Pills are not a long term solution but they do serve a purpose for a short term assist.
Good luck. Try not to get too hopeless. I know I was. I thought that was my new normal and I would sleep like this for the rest of my life. But I didn't. It got better, still not perfect but it's not like it was and I'm hoping that it will continue to get better. It just takes time and the ever elusive patience when it comes to insomnia.