How do I get to the bottom of my sleep disorder?
December 16, 2013 4:52 PM Subscribe
I have a health care problem that is fairly ambiguous that deals with sleep.
Basically, roughly since puberty (i.e. beginning of high school or a little before) I have been exhausted on anything less than 10 hours of sleep, and I don't sleep more than 3 consecutive hours more than a handful of times a year (generally this means getting up to use the bathroom, sometimes it can mean full on insomnia.)
posted by imabanana to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had my very large tonsils out hoping to deal with potential apnea, and things improved but have gotten very bad again. My wife says I don't snore (I realize this doesn't rule out apnea, but it seems like a relevant anecdote.)
My sleep schedule seems to shift very easily, and I am more wakeful in the middle of the night. An ideal sleep schedule for me would probably be something like 4am - 2pm, but even this ideal schedule will shift on it's own.
I suppose this is two separate problems in the end:
1) I can't seem to sleep regularly on a normal schedule, i.e. 11pm-7am or something similar.
2) I can't sleep more than 3 consecutive hours more than a few times a year, usually when I have gotten to a point of utter exhaustion.
The first problem I feel I share with others, the second I can't seem to find anything about online, possibly I am searching for the wrong things?
I am self employed, so I have managed to build my life in a way that accommodates this problem, but I have two small children that would benefit from me being on a normal, regular schedule and a wife that deserves a more normal life.
I have discussed this with my doctor, and he prescribed me Ambien, which I didn't fill because I don't generally have a problem going to sleep if I've been awake long enough. He seemed to think the problem could be related to sleeping too much, which just kind of made me think the conversation was hopeless because he didn't seem to understand at all. If I sleep 8 hours a day I literally feel sick after a day or two and seriously struggle. I also didn't see Ambien as a long term solution, and I'm not that interested in solutions that would only fix things in the short term.
Other relevant points - I exercise. I've run five half marathons in the last few years, and I run regularly, I play tennis twice a week, I lift weights semi-frequently. I do drink caffeine (diet soda, probably 2-4 a day. I realize this is an issue, but often it feels like the only way I can function?)
Is there a benefit to doing a sleep study if it turns out not to be sleep apnea? Part of me hopes that's what I have just because there is a solution. Reading up on other disorders and it often sounds like you just have to learn to live with it.
I've been extremely successful professionally and I have a happy, loving family despite what often feels like a significant handicap, and I daydream sometimes about what I could accomplish if I slept like a normal human being.
I'll take any advice, thank you. I've lived with this my entire adult life, and there are times I just can't even imagine living like this for another 30-40 years.