Help me stay awake!
August 15, 2010 10:20 AM Subscribe
Narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness, etc.: Aside from medication, how do you deal?
posted by overyourhead to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The question pretty much sums it up.
I suffer from post-traumatic sleep disturbances. Post-traumatic meaning this began after sustaining head trauma. (Last fall I got into a car accident and broke C1-C7, had a brain hemorrhage, & some neurological impairments which have since improved.)
I am currently receiving medical treatment & I know YANMD. I'd just like to hear what other remedies, aside from medication, people take to combat excessive sleepiness. I already take 4 medications that are either stimulants or have stimulant-like properties: Wellbutrin SR, Adderall, Ritalin, & Nuvagil.
This is not enough. I'm going in for a sleep study in a week to determine what exactly is going on with my sleep cycle. Endocrinology stuff has yet to be ruled out, but right now all of my doctors believe this is related to my past head trauma. According to the literature, this is not uncommon.
Basically, I suffer from sleep attacks at random, unpredictable times. One minute I will be perfectly fine, the next I'm holding my eyelids open with my fingers. I've already fallen asleep at work on multiple occassions, this last time resulting in me falling to the ground. I fall asleep sitting up in hard chairs. I'm taking continuing education classes, half of which I've missed so far because I fall asleep. I'm also trying to study for a grad school entrance exam in October... which I likely won't be taking if this continues because physically, it just isn't possible.
Napping when the sleep attacks come (assuming that would be possible-- I work 9-5) does not cure the sleepiness. When I wake up, I may feel okay, but the sleepiness will eventually come back. The attacks last from 2 hours to multiple hours. After it passes, I will be fine, as if I was never tired in the first place. For example, sometimes this will happen at 10 a.m., and then by 2 p.m. it will pass, and I'll feel well-rested and energetic like I would be after a full night's sleep.
I get enough sleep. Not too much, not too little. My whole life, my body has been good with 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Right now I'm sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and it's not working for me apparently. I wake up to my alarm feeling well-rested after the normal first few minutes of ugh15moreminutesplease.
Right now the only things that are helping are the meds. I cannot function without them. Unfortunately, they're also short-acting and make me feel like shit when I'm coming down.
I'm wondering what else I can do to stay awake. Caffeine doesn't affect me. At work, I try to take walks when I start to feel an attack coming on, but within 10 minutes of returning to my desk, I'm back to nodding off. Eating small snacks like pretzels helps, but again, only temporarily. I can't exercise because of an unresolved neck fracture. Exposure to sunlight helps. Should I get one of those light boxes for people with SAD? Would smoking help? (Terrible, I know, but I'm desperate.)
I'm scared of falling asleep while commuting and I'd really like to take this test I've been preparing for in October. I just need something -- anything! -- as a supplement to the meds. I'm willing to give anything a shot, no matter how crazy or weird it sounds.