Have your say: sleep problems
My problem is that I cannot STAY asleep. I can get off to sleep within minutes of saying 'goodnight'. I sleep usually for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours - then the problems begin.
I either leap straight out of bed, or my entire body goes completely rigid, or I get very hot; I can feel I am too low on my pillows, and thus get very scared, almost as if someone is pinning me down.
The last 2 symptoms, I feel, may come from my childhood; I could not sleep low on my pillows when very young as I would have difficulty breathing due to me being an asthmatic. Although the asthma is rare now, and strikes only mildly, I have simply gotten used to lying with perhaps more than the average persons' pillows.
The feeling of being 'pinned down' may come from my imagination as a child, which was quite active. Of course, some of my childhood stories involved toys, and I used to imagine putting one in a drawer for the night to sleep; I imagined me being that toy, but withdrew that thought when I further imagined waking up in the drawer, and it being closed - and subsequently not being able to get out.
I sleep with 3 or 4 pillows, but always seem to have too much or too little. I can even be clinging to the top of the bed in a desperate attempt to avoid being too low.
Lately I have been regularly visiting the toilet for a quick wee - I went through a stage of that 9 years ago.
The symptoms I have described have been a problem for about 8 years - as a child it was different.
I simply could not get off to sleep quickly as a child - sometimes it would take me 3 hours. This went on well into adulthood. I also had recurring dreams, which I can still describe now.
Going back to todays' problem. I am in and out of bed from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. - I then 'crash out', go into a deep sleep, and wake up about 30 minutes later, due to the alarm. I HAVE to get up, then, but feel groggy, annoyed, drained, and wonder how I am going to get through the day.
When sleeping, I can have quite a vivid dream, which I will not recall unless I write it down. Sometimes I find I have to 'pull' myself out of the dream if it is anything like a nigthmare. This takes enormous effort, but I can do it. On other occasions I know that I am dreaming, and say in my dream 'I know this is not happening, I am dreaming it'.
On other possibility. I had a violent bang to the head - on 2 seperate occasions - as a child. I have no idea how I slept before that, but maybe it is the cause of some slight brain damage causing lack of sleep.
Some things that are in no way the cause of my problem are eating or drinking caffeine after a certain time, taking a bath, etc, as I have tried these and they all make not the SLIGHTEST bit of difference.
I hope you can help. Thanks for reading this.
Having attended the National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London and undergoing a sleep test, I was diagnosed as having sleep apnoea. It was discovered that it was not the nasal passages that affected me, but the fact that when I lay on my back to sleep, my tongue slid backwards and blocked the airways. As a result, I attended The Dental Institute at the London Hospital, and was fitted with an "Advanced Mandibular Sleeping Appliance." This is a contraption that fits over the the upper and lower teeth to prevent the lower jaw and tongue sliding backwards. Although it has not cured the snoring and sleeping problems completely, people find that they can now sleep in the same room as me without losing sleep. All the above was done on the NHS, though it took a very long time for the finale, but it can be done privately at a cost of about £600. (Or so I am told.)
Although I'm pretty sceptical of herbal remedies, I've recently started to use valerian to help me sleep and found it very effective.
My problem hasn't been getting to sleep but waking early with a stiff back and then being unable to get back to sleep properly. I've found that a moderate dose of valerian (as bought in a health food shop) seems to make my sleep deeper and more refreshing. I'm also less likely to wake early and, if I do, I find I can usually get back to sleep. My back problem also seems to have eased - although I don't know whether valerian also has muscle relaxant properties.
But I've learnt to regulate the dose of valerian carefully. When I took the maximum recommended dose once I felt groggy and spaced out for the whole of the next day.
The only thing that worries me is becoming dependent (psychologically if not physiologically) on valerian. I don't want to have to take it long-term especially as I have no knowledge of any possible side-effects.
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Page created on July 14th, 2003
Page updated on December 1st, 2009