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Re: Sleep disorders and ADD

Re: Sleep disorders and ADD2011-10-23T12:08:57+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Sleep disorders and ADD Re: Sleep disorders and ADD


Post count: 14413

In the case of a person with narcolepsy, you can’t make yourself stay awake. Nor can you make yourself fall asleep. Nighttime sleep is usually poor quality. Hallucinations, cataplexy, sleep paralysis are all part of the picture, although not all of them are present in all narcoleptics, and they are not limited to night-time, which makes it a challenge for those who have severe cases of the disorder.

I tried using books to fall asleep since I usually can’t read more than a few paragraphs (although sometimes it wires me up and I can read for an hour or more). Since the problem is a brain issue, it doesn’t help – I used to wake up frequently and would never get much deep restorative or REM sleep, meaning I would be very tired during the day. Daytime naps were impossible. Every few nights I would get a “better” night’s sleep but only because my body was so exhausted that it had no other option, and then the cycle of severely fragmented nighttime sleep would start again. It was frustrating, and there was also an element of anxiety because each night I wondered whether or not I would fall asleep.

None of this really hit home for me in terms of a pattern since I’d been told I didn’t have narcolepsy 20 years ago. But after seeing the sleep study I have a much better understanding of what’s happening. Why I have this particular pattern, I don’t know. Why a stimulant med taken during the daytime helps me sleep at night, I don’t know.

I’ve been on meds for a week now and seem to have found the optimum dose that allows me to be safely alert during the daytime, feel somewhat tired during the evening, and fall asleep fairly quickly (normal) and stay asleep during the night. Last night I slept for about 7 hours without waking up. For someone who never got more than 2 hours of sleep at a time (and apparently awoke even during that period without becoming aware of it), that’s a very major improvement. It’s going to have an immense impact on the quality of my life.

Now that the condition is getting under control with meds, I can start to tweak it with good sleep hygiene – no computer or exercise within a few hours of going to bed, no heavy meals late at night, no caffeine after noon, no over-stimulation mentally or emotionally in the evening, try to get to bed at a regular hour, and try to wake up at a regular hour, even on weekends. Those behavioural changes support the meds but don’t replace them.

I think any sleep problem that persists for more than 3 months should be thoroughly investigated by a sleep specialist, it’s worth being persistent with your GP to get a referral.