Sleeping With a Sleeping Disorder

Sleeping With a Sleeping Disorder


Published On: 11-08-2013 04:44pm

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I have been suffering from chronic insomnia since I was thirteen years old. Sleeping disorders are common among my dads side of the family, and mine could have possibly been brought on so early by trauma... The hardest part is going to sleep and staying asleep proves to be just as difficult. "A good nights sleep" for me is 4-5 hours of sleep, which is rarely continuous. On the best nights I only wake up once every hour, on the worst I can wake up to five times an hour. I would say my average is 4 hours a night waking up 2-3 times every hour.
My sleeping disorder also causes the oddity of my waking up experience. When I wake up in the morning I don't feel like I just slept (refreshed), I feel like I've come home from a long day of hard work, and this feeling persists for a few hours after I've been awake.

A little bit of information on insomnia:
insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorders having quite a wide range of severity. Insomnia is simply defined as "having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep". 
There are two different kinds of sleep that play out in a pattern as you go through the process of sleeping: N-REM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. 
Lack of N-REM causes the common physical symptoms of sleep depravation: fatigue, headaches, etc. 
REM sleep is the kind of sleep that enables you to dream. Lack of this kind of sleep (which many college students who have busy lives and little time for sleep usually run into at some point) causes more emotional damage leading to depression, anxiety, and the like. Lack of REM sleep in serious cases can even cause temporary schizophrenia (hallucinations) and memory loss, all of which I have experienced.

Because of my age, lack of availability (financially and variety wise), and the highly addictive nature of prescription drugs used to treat severe sleeping disorders, I do not take them. Instead, I take melatonin every-other-night (trying not to make my body too dependent on it since my body can't naturally produce as much as I take; this helps me get to sleep) and a vitamin supplement called coral calcium (this helps me stay asleep).

I'm curious to see if anyone else has had similar problems. I would also like to hear what you do to combat it if you do.
If you have never been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder but think you may have one, comment about it anyway and address why you believe you have a sleeping disorder.

-Kate

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