Discussions By Condition: Sleep disorders

Waking many times in a night

Posted In: Sleep disorders 6 Replies
  • Posted By: Temperate
  • April 13, 2007
  • 06:53 AM

Okay, so, for years, I've been sleeping loads (12 or more hours, unless I have something to do, like school, or work) I wake up so much. Also sometimes take hours to get to sleep. I once woke up about 5 times in 15 minutes - or something equally ridiculous. Also, when I do that, sometimes I dream dreams in like 3 minutes of sleep. I thought you were only supposed to start dreaming like 15 minutes into sleep?
On a few occasions I have sleep walked, I often sleep with my eyes half open, I sleep talk sometimes (all these things I can only tell if I happen to be sleeping in the presence of someone), occaisonally snore, toss about a lot (apparently kicked my sister on many occaisions) or stay stark still and wake up with my legs still crossed or some weird position I was in while trying to get to sleep for an hour.
The worst is the waking up so much. I once woke up like 20 times in 8 hours. That's like once every 24 minutes.
I figure maybe I sleep so much because I wake up so much...but I dunno, I think sometimes if I happen to wake up only once or twice I still sleep a long time.
I slept about 11 hours before I made myself get up today, about 13 the day before, and 12 or 12.5 the day before that. Never physically want to get up either (even if I do mentally) after those amounts of time any more than I want to after 8 or 9 hours.
I've often compared it to feeling like the 24 hour day is wrong. I need to stay up at least 18 hours or something to feel like I should go to bed, but then I need to sleep at least 12. Thats a 30 hour day. So I feel like 24 is just screwing me up.
Anyone got a clue?

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  • Hi Temperate,I'm not sure how helpful my reply will be, but I'll offer it for what it's worth. For 15-30 years (depending on how I count it), I suffered from some kind of chronic fatigue. One aspect of the fatigue was very poor sleep -- not as bad as what you're describing, but at times I could not sleep more than an hour and a half at a time, and might only sleep 3-4 hours a night. When my sleep was that bad, I was a zombie -- I couldn't think, I couldn't accomplish anything. I had a lot of days when the *only* thing that could get me out of bed was to use the bathroom; I didn't even have the strength to eat.I saw zillions of doctors, had exams, tests. My treatments became steadily farther out to the fringes of healing practice: chiropractic, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, candling, energy balancing. I think my next attempt was going to be bee-venom therapy. I've only been able to work for 2 out of the past 13 years.Then about a year ago my mother paid for me to get a complete checkup at a nationally-known medical clinic. And the major finding from that -- after spending a night in a sleep lab -- was that I have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When I fall asleep, the muscles in my throat relax, and my airway collapses and closes. The monitoring in the sleep lab showed that I would sometimes go 90 seconds between breaths. My blood oxygen was so low that I also got a round of cardiac exams because the doctors thought I might have heart damage. (I didn't, thank God.)There are several treatments for OSA. I'm using the most common one, a specialized air pump called a CPAP (Continuous Postive Air Pressure). The CPAP connects to a hose which connects to a face mask that I wear while I sleep. The CPAP gives me pressurized, humidified air that holds my airway open so that I can breathe at a normal rate. Wearing the face mask isn't as bad as it sounds; I'm using the latest model which is small and relaively unobtrusive, and it only took me about 10 minutes to get used to it.So if you haven't already done so, talk to someone about whether you might have sleep apnea. Sleep studies such as the one that I had aren't cheap, but most insurance will cover them if your primary doctor orders it. Since I was diagnosed with OSA, I've learned that it's a lot more prevalent, and under-diagnosed, than I knew.I started using the CPAP, but that by itself didn't improve my sleep, because although I didn't yet know it, there was another piece that had to be put into place before my sleep improved. During that same clinic visit, they suggested a different class of drugs for treating my chronic depression, which I've had all my life. After I came home I started seeing a psychiatrist for that, and after several months of building up dosages, I'm doing better with my depression than ever in my life.But what's relevant to you is that my psychiatrist also prescribed another drug that finally gave me normal sleep. When I told her that the CPAP wasn't helping me, and described my sleeping patterns, she thought that I might have a small degree of anxiety that was agitating me during sleep and waking me during the night. That was a complete surprise to me, because I've never thought of myself as an anxious person. However, she prescribed a low dose of a drug in the Librium/Valium family, to be taken at bedtime. And that was the final piece of my treatment that finally let me have full, uninterrupted nights of sleep. With the CPAP and the anti-anxiety drug, my emotional and physical health are finally returning, and I should be able to start working again soon.So anxiety is another possible source for your sleeping problems. Your doctors may not think so -- I've been seeing shrinks, psychotherapists, and medical doctors for most of my life for my depression and fatigue, and no one until my current shrink *ever* suggested it -- so you may have to push them to give you a trial of an anti-anxiety drug.Your symptoms are in many ways quite different from mine. I never sleepwalked, and I usually could initially go to sleep with no problem. But I'm not a medical professional, and all I'm doing is telling you my story and suggesting sleep apnea and anxiety as possible causes for your sleep problems.I sure do wish you good luck!
    AmateurHistorian 74 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well, I think it sounds like you had it worse than me actually o.0 not being able to work for years and stuff :s Hmmmm...I actually wouldn't doubt the whole collapsing thing...my body doesn't seem to deal well with any sort of pressure. My ears are kind of crazy, and I notice it's hard to breathe underwater (haha, that sounds funny :P I mean, like, if my lungs are underwater in a swimming pool the extra pressure makes it hard to breathe) so maybe that's possible...also wouldn't doubt the anxiety thing either...I'm horrible for that kind of thing I think...actually today I cried for like 4 hours probably v.v (not non-stop of course) because I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out what to do for university...I always feel stressed or something...I quit my last semester of highschool (no ill effect or anything, wasn't dropping out, it was just superfluous) because I was getting so stressed and anxious all the time :/
    Temperate 35 Replies Flag this Response
  • I know a whole lot about depression, having lived with it all my life. I don't know nearly as much about anxiety, although I'm learning from a friend who started having regular panic attacks two years ago, and takes a lot of Xanax.From everything you've said, your situation does sound pretty severe. There's no more shame in having anxiety than there is in having depression -- whether the cause is physical or emotional, it's real, and you deserve to get treatment and relief from it.Any M.D. can prescribe anti-anxiety medications, so you could go to your regular doctor and ask for something. But in my experience, any doctor not specifically trained in psychiatry or psychology is likely to be influenced by pharmaceutical ads and reps, and won't make the best recommendation for you. I strongly suggest that you first have several visits with an experienced psychotherapist to try to determine whether the source of your anxiety is emotional. If you think it's not, then the therapist can probably make better recommendations for an anti-anxiety drug than a G.P. And if you think it is emotionally based, then you can continue seeing the therapist, and still take medication if you need it.And, you may have some kind of sleep disorder too. I'd talk to a neurologist or an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat). Do you live with anyone who could tell you if you snore, or stop breathing for long periods? Those aren't definitive symptoms, but they would point to a breathing problem that's interfering with your sleep. Your comments about not tolerating pressure well also sound like an indication of some breathing issue.Your situation sounds really tough. And chaotic. Are you financially able to see all these various doctors? If not ... maybe you have to toss a coin to figure which to check out first, sleep problems or anxiety. :confused:
    AmateurHistorian 74 Replies Flag this Response
  • It's sound severe? really? v.v well that's no fun...I must admit, even though anxiety and depression could be chemical or something, it does make you feel like it's your fault and you could think your way out of it, just cuz it's your brain. I know it's no different than a kidney not getting the right chemicals or something, but it really does feel like it's just something wrong with you :(Hah, actually, it just hit me. This is totally ironic or something >.>...I just came downstairs and am replying to this comment at almost 2AM because I can't sleep :/ because I'm thinking too much I think, I feel upset >.The problem with anyone trying to figure out if I snore or stop breathing is that I wake up really easily so my mom couldn't like sneak in my room to check or anything :s Yeah...not at the moment, my dad is in between jobs, but benefits are returning shortly. I've made a doctor appointment to check out my ears actually, so maybe I'll mention it, or it might be related, who knows.
    Temperate 35 Replies Flag this Response
  • I must admit, even though anxiety and depression could be chemical or something, it does make you feel like it's your fault and you could think your way out of it, just cuz it's your brain. I know it's no different than a kidney not getting the right chemicals or something, but it really does feel like it's just something wrong with youI know. What finally helped me with that was someone suggesting that my needing antidepressants was no different from a diabetic needing insulin. The organ isn't working right, so you have to supply the necessary chemical externally. It's no one's fault, and you can't think your way out of it ... it's a disease.The problem with anyone trying to figure out if I snore or stop breathing is that I wake up really easily so my mom couldn't like sneak in my room to check or anything :sSomeone once suggested that I could do a simple self-check by setting up a tape (or digital) recorder by my bed, with the microphone near my head, the record sensitivity turned up high, and a long enough tape (or memory chip) to record an hour or more of my breathing sounds. Then listen to it after I woke up, and get at least some idea of whether I snored and/or had long breathing interruptions. I never tried it because soon after that I had the formal sleep study that diagnosed my apnea. But if I hadn't had that, I would have tried the tape recorder set up. Simple, private, and possibly really helpful.Sure, if you're already scheduled to see a doctor, mention all your sleeping problems while you're there. She/he may have some good suggestions too. Long as you're paying for the office visit, get your money's worth. :D
    AmateurHistorian 74 Replies Flag this Response
  • Heh, well, sometimes it takes me more than an hour to fall asleep...my digital camera can record sound though, 1:33:33 on an empty card, so maybe if I get to sleep in an hour I could record half an hour of it...though it'd have to be close to my face and i might move or crush it if I'm sleeping...though I have been known to not move at all, I've also been known to kick and such >.>...hehe, I don't have to pay to go see the doc :) Canadian healthcare, and my dad has benefits besides that
    Temperate 35 Replies Flag this Response
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