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What Is Semi-Somnia?

Updated on August 23, 2013
Yet another night of interrupted sleep, semi-somnia strikes again.
Yet another night of interrupted sleep, semi-somnia strikes again. | Source

Semisomnia - The 'Bad Sleep' Condition

Semisomnia is the latest condition to plague the population at large.

It isn't Insomnia, out and out sleeplessness; it is semisomnia, a kind of 'half' sleep that has 69% of the population having trouble sleeping..

So what exactly is semisomnia and might you have it?

  • Does it take you a long time to get to sleep?
  • Can you not 'switch off' your brain before you get to bed?
  • Are you often tempted to take your mobile phone up to the bedroom with you or use your laptop whilst in bed.
  • Is your working life encroaching on your home life?

If you said yes to any of these and are not getting a good night's sleep, you may be suffering from semisomnia, the latest sleep-related condition to be affecting people.

And semisomnia is no joke, especially as your deep sleep is extremely limited leaving you feeling exhausted during the day.

Dr Neil Stanley has been studying Semisomnia for several years, first for the R.A.F. and then the Clinincal Trials and Research Unit in Norfolk, England.

He claims it is 3 main things which cause semisomnia - technology and its omnipresence 24/7, allowing our working lives to overlap extensively with our down time and stress over the current recession and the extra pressure on our finances.

So what can you do to stop semisomnia in its tracks?

In bed - The worst place to work
In bed - The worst place to work | Source

Causes of Semisomnia - Are You A Tech Wreck?

Technology plays a huge role in all of our lives; whether it be in our TV sets, X-Boxes, smart phones or laptops.

It is a now pretty unusual to not have some sort of tech in your home or in your hand.

Overuse of technology is thought to be one of the biggest causes of semisomnia.

Your brain is so used to having digital data and information fired at it for hours a day, often in short, sharp snatches of information (tweets, texts, status updates, likes, emails, IMs, etc) that it comes to expect being interrupted from other things every few minutes and this is no different at night. When this happens, semisomnia is the result, poor snatched moments of sleep with no restful qualities.

Whilst you're still engrossed in Twitter at 10 pm, you are never going to be in a state of winding down from your day.

You need to give your brain a fighting chance when it comes to switching off and allowing it to begin its 'recharge'. The full recharge comes with adequate sleep and semisomnia is not adequate sleep.

Technology is great, we all love it but you should set a curfew for the last time you will look at your laptop if you want your semisomnia to stop wrecking your life.

And your bosses should not really expect you to still be in work mode late into the evening - everybody deserves some down time, especially if you have a family and need some rest.

phone off
phone off | Source

Semisomnia Survival - SWITCH OFF!

Leave your mobile phone switched off during the night or at least away from arms reach so that you will not be tempted to check on any messages or Facebook statuses if you happen to wake up.

Even better, switch off your phone. If someone needs you in a real emergency, they will ring your land line.

Make sure your laptop is switched off by 10 pm too - if you work at home, set yourself a time to 'clock off'.

In the long run, semisomnia and disrupted sleep may leave you unfit for work; better to make changes now and get some decent rest and be fit for your work during the day.

Falling asleep at work is never a good reason for promotion!
Falling asleep at work is never a good reason for promotion! | Source

Why You Need A Good Night's Sleep

Our new technology filled lives have provided us with stimulus if we want it 24/7.

And for many people, especially young people, this has become the norm.

Some people see sleep as an inconvenience which gets in the way of doing other things but sleep is one of the most important things in our lives.

Your body needs several hours proper rest at the end of every day in order to function at its best.

Semisomnia, typically, can cut down the amount of sleep a person is able to have by half.

Semisomnia is the constant interruption of sleep and it goes on for most of the night with very little deep sleep taken.

Women suffer from semisomnia more than men and women's hormone levels can also affect sleep.

Stress is also thought to be a cause for semisomnia because people work longer days and regularly take work home with them (using technology again). At the present time, people are also worried about faltering finances and making ends meet; this kind of worry is bound to cause sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation like semisomnia can have major effects on your health as lack of sleep weakens the immune system.

A lack of good sleep over a long period gives you a greater risk of things like depression and heart disease and with a weakened immune system, usually mild illnesses like colds or viral infections can feel much worse.

Tiredness will cause you to feel run down and listless. You cannot function for long in that condition.

Semisomnia is a condition which can be cured with some straightforward life changes but it will all come down to a person's will and determination to get proper sleep.

Ah, fast asleep
Ah, fast asleep | Source
All of the family get some rest
All of the family get some rest | Source

Get Into Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep 'hygiene' is the broad term for the things we all do when we are getting ready to sleep.

For those who think that they may have semisomnia, it is essential to get some good sleep hygiene and break the habits and rituals which have now become 'embedded' (no pun intended) in your life.

You can alter the sleep habits you have now by:

  • Having a fixed bedtime and awakening time ) - say go to bed at 10:30 pm and get up at 7:00 am
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, other stimulants, spicy foods etc for at least 4 hours before bed time.
  • Don't take naps during the day.
  • Do some exercise every day - nothing too strenuous necessarily but at least 20 minutes.
  • Change or rearrange your bedroom - get some comfy bedding. Ensure the room temperature is pleasant to sleep in. Have some low light from lamps and draw your curtains so the room is darker.
  • Make a rule that the bedroom is for sleep and intimacy only - no phones, TVs, games consoles. Reading is fine because it is quiet and can often aid relaxation.

Before going to bed:-

  • Spend some time trying to relax - some quiet time with the TV switched off
  • Do some meditation if you enjoy that.
  • Establish a routine - switch off downstairs, put phone way, go to toilet, shower, brush teeth, put on night clothes.

Semisomnia can be dealt a fatal blow just by your own will to change your sleeping patterns - the suggestions above will be a good place to start.


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    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Alecia, you probably missed it because I published it when you were at work or still sleeping - many thanks for reading. I have been away for three nights with no computer and have slept like a baby...makes me think I need less laptop and more conversation :o)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Vellur, many thanks for reading and your kind comment -I think I may have it :o)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I don't know how I missed this one from you Jools. I can relate. Some of my semisomnia relates to my upstairs neighbors not making noise until 10pm but other than that I know I can do better in terms of getting to sleep and staying asleep.

      Great hub!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips, as you say we must switch off mobile phones and other electronic devices to get a good night's sleep. Great hub, voted up.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Love your Hub Name! Thanks for your comment and the view - I have steadied my bad habits now. I do still occasionally put my laptop to bed after 9pm but I am trying hard to mend my ways.

    • Mommy Needs a Nap profile image

      Michelle Clairday 4 years ago from Arkansas

      Great reminders. I have definitely let technology creep into my bedtime routine and reek havoc. Time to fix it. Thank you.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Mary, I think TV is ok to be honest, often I would watch it in bed when I had my own flat before marriage and just fall asleep watching it. My computer is what I need to turn off at 9pm, I'm terrible.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Thanks Michelle; the trick is to set yourself a time when you will definitely switch off!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Well, a new name for an old problem and yes I'm a semi-somniac! There, I've admitted it. I watch tv in bed! Sometimes I use my iPad in bed. I guess with my advancing age its time to start new and better habits so I get some sleep. Thanks for this information so nicely done.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I am passing this to my hubby because he's been having this lately and sleeps too lightly. WIll share with him, and all over.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Vicki, many thanks for your comment. I have broken my curfew recently and had a few disturbed nights so I am back to switching off at 21:00 from now on - I am my own worst enemy because I know I cannot sleep when my mind is still racing.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Hi Jools, I didn't know there was a name for it, but it is definitely something I can relate to, and it can be tracked to when I started writing Hubs, commenting, and all that sort of thing! I have to get this under control! Like your idea of a curfew, I think that will work for me. Thank you for coming to my aid when I needed you. Now I'd better look at your other hubs, and see if there is more wisdom there!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Jris, thanks for your comment - you're right, the world is different now, I am practically attached to my laptop :o) but I stick to my rule to switch off by 9pm and then winding down before sleep - I usually sleep ok!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Steve, many thanks for your comment - we're all living in a technology rich world now so we are probably all our own worst enemy when it comes to getting a good night's rest!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Great informational hub. I think in this fast past and high tech world that this is probably becoming more and more common. Voted up and sharing.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Jools99, you write with such authority on this subject. It was so informative. I don't have trouble falling asleep, it is the staying awake that is the problem for me. Could be to do with the time I get up for work, I guess. I will try your tip on not falling asleep at lunch time because I do feel worse for it.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      shinigirisheyes, Thans for your comment. I think I had your sort of semisomnia this time last year when I was working too hard and bringing too much of it home with me - it's so easy to get overworked and sleep in usually one of the first things to be affected.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Although not regularly, I do suffer from this form of sleep deprivation due to so many work related issues. Very informative

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      I knew it! I knew you could not be parted from your BFF :o) I only leave my F (my phone is so crap that it is more like a friend that is hanging on in spite of regularly getting the brush off!) switched on if dear daughter is 'clubbing' or 'partying' (every weekend pretty much), otherwise I leave my BFF in my coat pocket downstairs. I don't have semisomnia or insomnia and get about 7-8 hours every night. I think my daughter has got it though.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent article! I don't have semisomnia or insomnia, I get a good 5-7 hours of sleep a night. I do NOT like naps, which from your article is a good thing. I'm a bit confused about being tempted to bring the phone into the bedroom. Doesn't everyone sleep with their phone (BFF)? LOL

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Yvonne, it sounds like you've already figured out a way to empty your mind by doing something more focussed like your journal. Thanks for your comment.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      vespawoolf, Thanks for your comment. Isn't it strange that you recognise the symptoms in your father? I used to be terrible for taking my work home with me and working more or less up until I went to bed - needless to say, I never slept well then! I am strict with myself now about switching off from everything at 9pm and I sleep fine now.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      I've never heard this term before, so was intrigued. I have found that if I am tempted to stay on the computer late on (eg answering comments on HubPages) that I do indeed have a poorer quality of sleep. Any time I do that I regret it. I think some people are affected more than others and it probably depends on how sensitive you are to distractions etc. If I'm feeling restless at bedtime I find it very helpful write in a journal: just noting down any stressful thoughts and then letting them go. It doesn't always guarantee a good night's sleep, but it definitely helps.

      Interesting hub!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is the first I've heard of semisomnia, but I think it's a common problem! I'm sure my dad has it. I'm going to have him read this article. It's so important to keep work separate from our personal lives, or else it will take over. Thank you for this valuable information.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Mike, you're lucky to be a sleeper without any issues - my hubby can just fall asleep anywhere, any time of day which I never do but sometimes I think it would be nice to have a cat nap or 'power' nap at will. Thanks for the comment and the share Mike, I appreciate it.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Paula, I sleep ok as well, mainly because I am a creature of habit and like to begin my wind down from everything going on at about 9pm or earlier if I've been on my computer most of the day. Sweet slumbers to you too!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Michelle, put down that laptop...:o) that's al it comes down in the end, having a time free from technology towind down and leave your phone out of arm's reach. Thanks for reading.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Ha Ha, Martie, I love your attitude :o) You are making the most of every 'waking' second to live your life the way you want with creativity and that is great for you and the rest of us! I could not manage on 3 hours sleep though. I need about 7 to revitalise my energy levels.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 5 years ago from London

      I have only read about Insomnia which as I understood is Seminsomnia's "next level" sleep disorder ..

      Fortunately I do not suffer from any inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired :) - yet.

      Thanks for sharing such an interesting and well researched report,, quite useful and awesome, shared!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jools.....I thank you for this interesting education. I do not have a sleep issue, but certainly know plenty of people who do. Learning about such things makes us all the more aware of what to be alerted to, should an issue arise. You've gone further here and offered very useful suggestions to your readers... Great hub, Julie.....Sweet dreams! UP++

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Oh my, I certainly suffer from this and must learn to wind down. Thanks for sharing these tips...and will keep this hub as a reference!! Sharing too!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Jools, this is an extremely interesting hub about semi-sonia. But whatever they call it, I do suffer sleep-disorders since 1989 after my father had died and I am still here, using my hours awake productively - not staring at the ceiling counting my sorrows, but doing nice things until my brain goes zzzzzzzzz. Then sleep like a rock for 3 hours. WTH, one day I am going to sleep until the end of Time.

      Excellent hub, voted up!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Carol7777, I had not heard of it but when I heard what caused it I could see my daughter has it and I think I have had it a few times over the last few years. Thanks for your comment.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Life Iz Beautiful, Ha Ha, your husband knows that you're a techno junkie! You should do what I do, have a techno 'curfew', 9pm is my switch off time and I never break my curfew :o)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Martin, many thanks for reading as always!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Dianna, we all live in a technonlogy rich world now and semisomnia is just a byproduct of that. I think it probably affects more younger folk than myself -my daughter's phone is on 24/7, she even reads texts if she gets up for the loo during the night.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Janine, ban your computer from the bedroom and that should be enough. I use my laptop until about 9pm then that's my cut off time. I put it away and then watch TV downstairs until about 10.30. I usually sllep ok. Sometimes, I do feel like using my computer later but I made the 9 o'clock rule myself.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Nell, I know what you mean. I don't sleep as well when I am anticipating having to get up earlier, though I have yet to resort to clock hurling :o) I am lucky that I sleep quite well most of the time but I am a real grouch if I don't get enough Zzzzzs

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I have never heard of this, at least by name. You did a great job researching this sleep disorder. I think technology has played a huge part in this disorder. Thanks for a great hub. Voting UP+++

    • Life Iz Beautiful profile image

      Salini 5 years ago from India

      Oh God I have Semisomnia! My husband is nodding his head i agreement while I am typing this... I am seriously going to follow the steps that you have recommended. Thanks for sharing Jools.

      voted up and useful.

      Have a great day.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. well research report.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This is quite an interesting read, Jools. I can see the affects of semisomnia on a person's day and evening. Good idea to switch the electronics off while asleep -- I must follow this rule! Voted way up!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, I too think I get this from time to time. I know I am on the computer a lot especially inthe evening, but it seems to hit me some nights and not others. Thanks for sharing a bit more on it and appreciate your suggestions. Totally voted up and sharing!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi jools, I think I get this sometimes, especially when I know I have to get up early, it drives me mad, part of my brain is asleep the rest is awake and alert. In the end I threw the clock with the alarm across the room and left it there! lol! I noticed there was a sleep programme on tv, and was going to watch it, but totally forgot, so this is really interesting, voted up! nell