Please help me sleep. Please :(
posted by isoman2kx to Health & Fitness (51 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is going to be VERY VERY VERY long because my sleeping problems have a 2-3 year history. Any replies I get beyond zero I will be very appreciative of.
I've posted questions/threads this in the past but the past has spanned a while hasn't it? As the months have progressed, each time I post this I'm increasingly frustrated and saddened that I will never have a normal sleeping life to get through college and get my degree. I started having sleeping problems when I started college. To this day, I cannot recall anything particularly horrific happening to me to traumatize my sleeping patterns. 4 years ago I switched from high school to college. That's what a good percentage of Americans do right and? Right.
I have a history of depression and a history of anxiety. Both I would say are not severe. The depression is moderate to slightly above moderate most of the time. I take 120 mg of Cymbalta for it and have done so for almost a year. I have anxiety, I used to take Xanax 3 times a day at .5 mg a clip and now I take it all at night to see if it helps me sleep any since I can cope with the anxiety in the day better now.
My depression/anxiety stems from lack of self-esteem and energy from a lack of sleep. So far it's all making sense right? Ok, let's keep going then.
I've always had a hard time winding down for sleep since I can remember and definitely before I started college. I'm sensitive to light before going to bed and I spend way too much time on the computer before bed (even though I've incorporated at least an hour to 2 hour cool down period before bed now after turning off the computer). I currently see an ENT doctor and a psychiatrist (and a psychologist for talk therapy sessions just to kinda vent really, I never have any big updates to give lol) . My ENT doctor is outstanding while I feel my psychiatrist is useless and I'm strictly on a seeing her every 2 month just because that's what you do I guess when you have all this shit going on. My psychologist/campus counselor is outstanding as well.
Roughly a year ago, I went in for a sleep study because as you'll see later on in this master thesis, I've tried every medication known to man for falling asleep and staying asleep. After an awful night in those horrendous laboratories they call sleep clinics, they said they had enough data despite my whopping 240 minutes of sleep. I was later diagnosed with sleep apnea and frequent arousals with my brain wave patterns. My options were CPAP, throat and uvula surgery (noooooooooo way. nooooooo way in hell), mandibular retainer, treating restless leg syndrome and jumping off a building. We tried a CPAP machine and I just got increasingly frustrating with the thing. At first the mask wasn't right, I got a new mask. Then I just detested all the maintenance you had to do to keep the piece of crap that didn't help me sleep all clean and functional. Later on, the sleep clinic and I tried to treat me for restless leg syndrome. Needless to say that didn't do a damn thing. I was on mirapex, although I don't remember the dosage. I just remember increasing it and then quitting the stuff. After I went back to them after all of that, I wrote them off as idiots and politely never scheduled another appointment with them again. I'm done with them. Best sleep clinic in Houston??? We fix the problems other clinics miss? Oh really???
So that led me to my ENT that I currently see. After a few months of trying nasal sprays (prescription), afrin, and useless saline rinses I decided to have sinus surgery on June 22, 2009. For the medical students out there... I had a balloon sinusplasty done combined with correcting a deviated septum (which doesn't cause problems in most peoples sleep) along with a right turbinate reduction. The surgery sucked balls but now I can breathe better, just no improvement in sleep. Hooray! :) The sinus surgery was my part one out of a two part plan for fixing my sleep. My ENT informed me that he could definitely get me breathing better but the surgery would not be primarily to fix my sleep. If it did so then that would be great, but if not then that was what we had understood going into the surgery so no big whoop. I secretly hoped it would though and had the surgery more so for that reason than fixing my day-time breathing. My second part would be using a mandibular retainer after my sinuses fully heal up. I think at this point, my ENT and I are "entertaining" the idea of when it's all healed I'll have great sleep. At this point, if I got a mandibular retainer it would be through a doctor that my ENT knows and not the useless sleep clinic that I previously went to. I don't even know what good that would do?
Now let us back track to what goes on once I manage to get relatively sleepy. I always eat before I go to bed because I've gotten so frustrated with every other method and medicine I've tried, so that's my first step. I then go to sleep and proceed to wake up anywhere from 3-4 times like god damn clockwork (for the past 4-5 years at least). I've consulted with other friends and they wake up too, but they fall asleep quickly. I usually eat before I go back to bed because in my mind I'm tiring my body out by using energy to digest food and thus it will help me get back to sleep. I know, but it's my theory, valid or not, lol. At this point when I post, I'm always asked well what do you think about when you wake up? Are you short of breath? What is your mood? How do you feel?
Well, I'm almost always irritated because I immediately think "great, it starts again. let's see how many times I wake up this night". Despite my severe sleep apnea diagnosis, I never wake up in a panic or short of breath. My mood of course is frustrated and irritated and I feel the same. Surprisingly, this is the point where I say there is nothing traumatic going on in my life that's causing me to wake up in the night like this. I've got the usual responsibilites such as being the man of the house since my dad passed away last year (again, sleep problems existed long before he passed away and I've discussed this with others at length), going to school trying to finish my degree through being tired as hell, helping my mom with daily house chores, running whatever errands I do, getting a good amount of exercise per week, getting together with friends, etc. It's not like I'm waking up every night 3-4 times because there's some lingering issue. If it's buried deep in my subconscious then that's where it must be and someone needs to Harry Potter my brain and extract whatever haunting fear or memory that is buried there with a magic wand because it sure as hell isn't anything out of the ordinary I can think of.
So now we're done with describing this. Have you fallen asleep yet? :). Within the last 3 months, we've replaced my bed and I have a brand new tempurpedic mattress and tempurpedic pillows - both of which I happen to like. However, the new bed and new pillows are not helping my waking up 3-4 times a night any. It's more comfortable to sleep on, but it's not helping the issue I bought it for.
Ok, aside from that paragraph I've stopped taking sleeping pills. They just don't work. Here is a list of what I have taken and I have been on each of these medications for at least 2 week periods (which in my mind is more than enough to see a difference, I've never believed that crap about give it more time...give it more time. 2 weeks is enough god damn time).
list (most are official sleeping pills, some are not):
regular things I've tried:
all the sleep time teas in the world
valerian root capsules
different herbal cocktails (like those bottles that have valerian root, chamomile, etc in their capsules)
different indian teas.
hot baths for at least 30 mins, about an hour before I go to bed.
hot baths with epsom salt (yeah, it doesn't help sleep specifically, whatever right?)
hot baths with different "sleep" salts and other sleep mixtures.
what I haven't tried:
overdosing on drugs and getting permanent sleep. I'm kidding about this as I've entertained the idea, but you get the point of my situation.
After all of that and I really am sorry I had to put you through reading it, but there's just no way to sufficiently describe my situation. I wake up 4-5 days out of the week wanting to kill someone upon waking up or wanting to punch holes in my wall (which I haven't done yet).
What do you guys recommend? I am seriously convinced that certain pathways in my brain are screwed up and that I should almost see a neurologist to see what else could be going on with me. At this point, what would you do? I have tried so many things... so so many things and for what? What has it done for me besides nothing? Who should I take my problems to? Who should I see for this? What battery of tests can help me?