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Parasomina or illness?
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threee posted:
  • **DO NOT reply to this post with "mental health" treatments and diagnoses, or a recommendation for therapy, it's dismissive and rude. I have to say that upfront since it seems not many people read whole posts much less bother with a considered reply.

    I am looking for input from people who've experienced a similar problem. I used to have a lot of sleep walking and parasomnias when I was young and I grind my teeth in my sleep, recently I've started sleepwalking again. I'm not going through anything stressful that could have triggered it, only thing going on is my physical health has been extremely bad for the past few years with episodes of nocturia alternating with night time rigors and sweats (although the sleep walking has only just started again). The doctor has not been able to find the cause, my hormones are fine and I'm not diabetic. I regularly get day night reversal that starts and goes away spontaneously, no amount of treatment has been able to provide any kind of consistency, I've just had to wait for it to resolve by itself when it happens as trying to force it causes a relapse in my physical health which has been very difficult to treat.

    I've been sleeping 12-14 hours and waking up in the most horrendous foul mood, it takes me all morning to shake it. My father is the same only worse, if someone tries to wake him he screams at them, lashes out and punches them and doesn't remember doing it, he's "grumpy" all day.

    Of course I have already tried the usual obvious sleep hygiene, meds, dental plates etc. Although I have a childhood and genetic history of parasomnias my suspicion is it has something to do with my physical health, the day night reversal especially does tend to show up just before I get another bad bout of ill health.
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    atti_editor responded:
    Hi threee,

    Have you looked into circadian rhythm disorders ? The further reading section below the article in the above link has more information on testing for these disorders and diagnosis/treatment. These disorders are characterized by sleep that is out of synch with what is considered a healthy sleep cycle -- some have day/night reversal (especially non-24, which is rare for sighted people but does happen).

    I hope that you are able to find something that helps!
    - Atti
     
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    threee replied to atti_editor's response:
    Thanks Atti,
    I did used to do shift work, I was drawn to it because I'm a night owl. Most of my day jobs didn't last, I'd be too drowsy, I had traffic accidents trying to force my body into a daytime set point, it just didn't work and was sick with colds and flu all the time so I worked in hospitality instead where the time shift is the norm. I was often accused of being lazy and thick in day jobs because I was sluggish and couldn't concentrate, a 5am finish though I was sharp as a tack where most people nod off. People are quick to judge and to meddle with night owls but they still want their restaurants, nightclubs, emergency services, garbage collected and things to be available 24hrs and they want people to do their job well no matter the hour, society needs night owls.

    I've been able to get up earlier since I stopped working but for the most part I've just had to accept those are my good functioning hours, everything else is against nature for me and tempting fate, it's inconvenient but with the extra peace and quiet I'm considerably more productive at night. There is a lot of stigma for night owls and shift workers and I've had to learn to ignore ignorant and busy body people and be pushy about what's good for me for the sake of my health, it's not lazy either, it's so much harder to sleep during the day because of the noise and needing to be up to do business hours things, I was chronically sleep deprived when I was doing graveyard, most people just don't get it, they think you sleep all day and party all night, they don't get we work for a living.

    The problem of late has been sudden and unexpected swings in hours, I can swing a good 10-12 hours overnight and it go back to normal just as quick, that's not consistent with my usual schedule. Just this week though I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and am currently being evaluated for coexisting conditions which have a neurological component so that might be the cause, I've been getting migraines, vertigo, paresthesia and other neuro things so I wouldn't be surprised. Since I get sick pretty quick after the sleep disruption maybe it's a good warning sign.
     
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    atti_editor replied to threee's response:
    I hope that the testing you are currently undergoing gives you some answers to your swings in hours! I definitely have respect for all of the people out there who work night shifts and around the clock -- it is certainly not a party and poses its own health and relationship hardships. You might find this article about night owls interesting -- seems whether you are an early bird or a night owl has more to do with biology than anything else.
     
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    threee replied to atti_editor's response:
    My dad is a night owl too, I'd say that it is biological as you've mentioned since I was always in trouble for late hours and sleep ins, my circadian rhythms were too dominant, no amount of punishment or incentive could shift them. Interesting though I was listening to a podcast on sleep disorders and they were saying only something like about 20% of shift workers report sleep problems, I guess for a day person shift work would have lasted about as long as day jobs did for me so they wouldn't work those hours if they could work different ones, I know we had a high turnover of staff who found the hours too disruptive but a core of regular workers too who preferred late shifts. It does make relationships harder, especially if you have a family.

    I'm guessing I have an underlying sleep disorder that plays up when I'm sick or stressed, I was supposed to outgrow the parasomnias I had when I was a child but I don't know that I have, some medications make it worse too, one morning I answered the phone, had a whole conversation and made an appointment on a very low dose of stillnox (Valium does the same thing), I still don't know who called since what I'd written down was illegible when I found it the next day. I've woken up with taps running, windows open, even in different clothes to the ones I went to bed in even without being medicated, it would be funny if it wasn't so unnerving.

    What's new though is the sudden reversals, there is no stretching out of hours to bring my cycle round again, I just get put on a different schedule literally overnight and it goes back just as fast. I was right about it being a warning sign of health trouble though, I had a nasty flare within days of the sleep reversal happening. Good to note as a warning sign, it'll give me a chance to jump on it faster next time. I've just been diagnosed with an inflammatory arthritis this week, they did testing for other autoimmunes and I've been called back for more test, there's something funny going on with my kidneys not accounted for by the Ank spond which doesn't attack the organs. Whatever is going on it's systemic so I guess I shouldn't be surprised it's upset my sleep cycle.


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