ZocdocAnswersWhy is it that time seems to pass by more slowly while I am sleeping than when I'm awake?

Question

Why is it that time seems to pass by more slowly while I am sleeping than when I'm awake?

As far as I'm aware, most people feel as if time passes more quickly while they are sleeping. For me, time passes by more slowly. My dreams are lengthy, and vivid. Every morning I wake up feeling as if several days have passed. This has gone on for years, and becomes more disruptive as I have more memories of being asleep than I do of being awake.

Answer

Your symptom is fairly unusual. As you suggest, most people have limited "dream" sleep. This is a problem that should be addressed, although it is possible there is no serious medical cause. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. If needed, he or she may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist. Sleeping is a process by which we replete the energy needed for cell function as well as heal the body during the natural wear and tear of the day. It is required for adequate and healthy body function. One stage of sleep is known as REM or rapid eye movement sleep. In this deep sleep stage, the body is relatively paralyzed (there is little movement) but there is significant brain activity. It is from REM sleep that dreams are most often formed and are most often recalled. Your alteration in dreaming sleep to be a problem in REM sleep. The most common cause of this is external influences -- such as medicines or other drugs. Alcohol consumption is a cause of what you describe as can other hallucinogenics. If these are possibly causing your symptoms please talk with your doctor regarding it. There are some primary REM sleep disorders, yet these are more rare. Talk to your doctor. He or she can refer you for a sleep study in which REM and other stages of sleep are measured and evaluated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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