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Sleep Apnea? Hypersomnia?
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1DCB1 posted:
Hello

I know someone is going to tell me to talk to my doctor, but last time I mentioned poor sleep quality he assumed I was asking for sleeping pills and told me it was common in college. So I'd like to hear what you guys think, if it sounds like sleep apnea or something else.

Background: 20 yr old male, 3rd year of college, healthy weight (healthy all around aside from sleep issues and chronic bronchitis), allergic to dust mites and some pollens. My brother was recently diagnosed with narcolepsy, though.

Anyway my issue with sleep is that I need so much of it. I fall into really weird schedules because I just can't stay awake all day. If I wake up consistently at 8am for a week, I'll start passing out at 6,7,8pm and waking up between 11pm and 1 am. And if I stay up until 2/3am (like I do in college), it takes ALL of my willpower to wake up at 8am, and as soon as I'm not actively doing something I will fall asleep.

Back when I had a roommate he mentioned I snored really loudly sometimes. I also wake up with a really dry mouth and usually have a sudden onset of congestion/allergy symptoms shortly after I actually get out of bed. That makes me think sleep apnea.

I've tried melatonin, which worked like a charm the first day (fell asleep at 10pm, woke up at 7am more refreshed than I've ever felt), and then never worked again. I tried benadryl which also worked the first day and then never worked again.

I fall asleep in class all the time. I would fall asleep at work except I stand all day. I went to sleep at 3am yesterday, set an alarm for 830 which I slept through. I woke up at 11, actually got out of bed at 1, and now at 430 I just want to go back to sleep.

I don't want to be lazy. When I get to work I work harder than most, I'm just so drained all the time.

Suggestions?
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Stryker777 responded:
Sleep issues can be caused by more than just biological or physiological reasons. The reason can also lie in psychological disruptions. In this case, medicine only masks the symptoms of the real problem.

I would offer this consideration for lack of appropriate sleep in situations such as these. The cause may be an internally persistent fear, or more likely a set of dynamic fears that feed on each other.

Fear can come in subtle forms. Not just the fear of war or the fear of something animate.

Examples may include the fear of deadlines. The fear of meeting performance requirements. The fear of what other people may thinks of you. The fear of consequences of things you have no control over.

Sometimes the biggest fears come from the fear of something out there you don't even know about ... yet.

These fears could create a circular mental loop, which runs endlessly in your mind and spirit. And this constant drain of mental energy can be putting an enormous demand on your bodies ability to manage the "non-fear" real issues of life. Having good health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may provide more than enough energy for your mind and body to meet it's daily demands. But the running of these constantly running, fear based, "error loops can consume more than you can possibly muster, even with a well-balanced lifestyle.

And the reason could be because the nature of these fear loops is not "static" but "dynamic". By this I mean, perhaps when you force sleep with medicine or exercise more and eat more, this loop finds new and more issues to run to use up any new available energy.

Our bodies have certain functions that are considered "autonomic", such as breathing. I read a book recently on neuroscience that referred to these "autonomic" processes as "zombie systems".

Your body will run these systems regardless of your consciousness. You don't decide to breathe, you just do. Remaining energy is available for conscious thought and action, including learning. If the remaining energy is consistently drained by the "fear loops" or "error loops", it stands to reason that you will not have enough energy to apply to conscious thought and behavior. Perhaps the mechanism that the body has to shut down this unnecessary taxation of energy is to shut the system down: sleep. And this disruptive energy tax may not allow for normal cycles of shutdown, but instead require both extended periods of sleep or periods during a day that are out of the natural cycle.

Identifying these energy takers could be a big first step. That includes, especially, the many small ones. You could have on major energy tax consumes, say, 50 units of energy a day. It is obvious, so you attack that. What if you also have 10 other energy taxing situations that only consume 15 units a day. They would be easy to "overlook" or "underestimate" in comparison to the one that requires 50 units by itself. But the combined effect of these "smaller situations" would add together to constitute the drain of 150 units of energy, which is 3 times the amount of the one big one. So it would be important to evaluate them all.

Calming the mind and releasing the fears could have the effect of making available an enormous amount of energy that can result in much heightened mental acuity and quality of life. You may find that the increased performance itself resolves the issues you spend so much energy on now. And consider not only the benefits to your life, but to the lives and quality of lives of your family, friends and others.

I hope this may help. Joey
 
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sleepless53 responded:
Although the fear factor may be a contributing factor, I'm not sure how much of a problem it is for you. I do agree fear can manifest itself in many ways. The one thing you didn't mention is if you have been a sleepy head all your life or is this something new for you? I have found that it is impossible to get good medical management unless you are dealing with a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders. For most college students both time and money are a challenging factor as far as going to the doctor goes. I few things I would suggest in the mean time is. You (or anyone) needs quality sleep, the more quality sleep you get the less sleep you will need and the less sleepy you will be when you need to be more alert. If you aren't dreaming and/or can't remember dreaming you are not getting quality sleep. First, go on the internet and look up foods that make you more sleepy and foods that make you more alert. Avoid carbohydrates when you are trying to be alert. Honeybuns, donuts and simple sugars will pep you up for a short interval but in the long run will cause you problems. If you have a way of checking your blood sugar, try doing that. Have a carb. heavy intake (of course not when you need to be alert) and after 30 min. to an hour check your blood glucose level. If it is high this may be what is making you more sleepy, especially; if the sleepiness is a new problem for you. Get a mouth piece to wear while sleeping (at Walgreen's, CVS, Walmart) designed for sleep apnea. Sleep on your side and position yourself where your head will be tilted more toward your chin, not enough to comprimise good air exchange, just enough to assure you aren't sleeping with your mouth open. You may even try sleeping in a recliner. Do NOT rely on sleeping pills, benadryl (diphenhydramine) etc., however; try melatonin, start with 3 mg. about an hour before you are ready to go to sleep, you can go up to 6 mg. if you need to. Start taking it on the weekend or whenever you won't have to get up early. It may take a couple times of taking it to decide how your body is going to respond. (If 3 mg. is too much go to using 1/2 tab. but I am sure you will eventually have to increase the dosage of melatonin. If you can tolerate warm milk, this is a good relaxer to use before getting ready to retire for the night, use it to take the melatonin with. Try not to eat anything for at least an hour before getting ready to go to sleep. Try, really try to get 6 hours of quality sleep each night, absolutely no less than 4 hours. Allow yourself to relax, you will come out in the long run. Don't worry about if you will wake up at the time you need to, your are not waking up on time anyway. Go to sleep listening to relaxing tapes, what ever relaxes you. This could be soft music, rain or other weather sounds, ocean waves, whatever relaxes you. As you are going to sleep repeat (and convence yourself) "I will wake up at the time I have my alarm set, actually say the time-4:00am 6:00am or whatever." Repeat this in your head until you can no longer stay awake. If these things don't work of course your ultimate goal will be to see a sleep specialist. When you start your day EAT-- whole wheat toast with peanut butter or some other protein food. Don't allow yourself to sit down and relax in the morning time. Eat at the table. If you must in order to stay up and at it, do some light exercises, take a walk or something. Do NOT exercise anywhere near time for you to go to sleep, several hours before bed time. Hopefully, this will get you through college. God bless you and hope this works. Sincerely, Been There.
 
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MA64NANA responded:
Sounds like me. I have had a problem with sleep most of my life, either too much, not enough, circadian rhythym (sp) off, not getting to sleep deep enough for rem sleep, exhaustion all the time, weakness, mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, etc. I have gotten a lot better on the CPAP machine, and just LOVE it...feel I get more "air", and can make myself go to sleep "on command" and usually am able to sleep thru the night. I have had the problem with dry mouth...I now know that I am a "mouth breather". Since I have medicare, and have COPD (chronic broncitis), I have a lung doc who ordered the sleep apnea tests. I did use melatonin (1 mg) for the 3 wks as suggested to get my circadian rythym set. It won't stay set tho, and my sleep schedule is easily turned upside down. I learned that I need to do some stretching exercise before bed, keep my sleep area "clean", uncomplicated, calm colors, no tv, radio, clock lights. Now, I read a little before sleep...a calm story, no action stuff. Also, I make sure that I eat so my blood sugar won't drop too low...that wakes me also...shaky. If you don't have insurance, I wonder if u might find some scientific study you could be a part of?


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