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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Sleep Problems and Sleep Paralysis


 missangel1990 - Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:54 am

For the past three or four years I have been having problems with my sleeping. Firstly, I find it hard to get to sleep at night, and find that I toss and turn alot and never get a good nights sleep. I constantly wake up and fall asleep again. I often find that I don't wake up until the afternoon, which is not ideal as I have classes to attend. Also I find myself falling asleep when I shouldn't, like when I am watching tv during the day or on the computer. I constantly yawn and feel completely drained of energy. I jave tried changing my diet and exercise regime, I joined the gym and started jogging most mornings, but nothing has made me feel more energised. To make things worse I suffer badly from sleep paralysis, I get it almost three times a month and it is so terrifying that I often find I do not want to go back to sleep. Is there anything I can do to make myself feel more energised, Im getting enough sleep but it is constantly interrupted.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun May 17, 2009 10:41 pm

User avatar Hi there --

Your complaint is surprisingly common, and despite the fatigue and aggravation it's turned out in group sleep studies that more often than not the perceived loss of sleep is less than the reality. Nevertheless, even people with percieved sleep disturbance that doesn't add up still do experience fatigue and sleepiness during the day, probably due to failure to achieve adequate REM stage sleep. Also, since you're experiencing sleep paralysis on a fairly regular basis, you may have some stress/anxiety issues which are affecting your sleep advsersely. This is very common among students in particular.

A sleep study would definitely be in order, since you may even be suffering from sleep apnea, which will very often cause daytime fatigue and sleepiness and dozing off, as well as contribute to some cases of sleep paralysis (although this can also occur in people without physical causes, which sleep apnea definitely involves). If you are suffering from sleep apnea that is treated one way. If you have a different sort of sleep disorder it can often be treated another way, usually with a simple pharmaceutical sleep aid. If this is anxiety-mediated, you may be referred to someone who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help retrain your sleep patterns and help you recognize stress and anxiety and how to manage it. CBT, if it should wind up in your future, is a very effective form of therapy that involves a lot of direct involvement of the subject and is self-limited and not endless as regular psychoanalysis often seems to be (and that would be great if we all could afford it, but we can't, and it's not the most useful approach to this sort of problem anyway).

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck with this and please do follow up with us here and also keep us updated as to how things play out.

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