You aren't my doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, but maybe you have something to share that will help me get onto a path toward curing a relentless, life-altering ( in the worst possible way( issue with sleep.
posted by marsbar77 to Health & Fitness (53 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen people ask about sleep before, but it seems that their problems were never as pervasive or complex as mine.
I'm a 24 year old post-college-kid who, about a year and a half into college, began experiencing some strange psycho- physiological symptoms, the most troubling of which was a constant mental and physical exhaustion. I wasn't just tired- I was the sort of tired that precluded all but the bare minimum, intellectually and socially.
Fast forward five years. I somehow finished college, albeit with a ruined GPA and an equally tarnished reputation amongst my professors.
I went through many different phases with my depression-like symptoms during this time, but the one that never left, only taking different forms, was my sleep issue.
Now it's been over half a year and what once was a problem of frequent, ill-advised, though manageable all nighters and missed school days has become a paralyzing ball-and chain.
My life is lived around sleep and my bed and energy levels that never quite get where they need to be for me to do so much as send an email- something that's caused me to missed out on the few opportunities for work and personal enrichment that have come my way.
To give you a sense of the problem, here's a break down of the two paths my day usually takes:
-Go to bed at 11pm
-Wake up a little before 2 am
-Stay up till 5/5:30am, not heavy-lidded but not really wanting to do much besides surf the net/watch TV.
-Go to bed, wake up between 11am and 2pm, groggy and almost physically craving my bed but not being able to fall back asleep. This being the case, I go downstairs, eat ( or overeat most days), and chug an energy shot, angry with myself for not feeling motivated enough to do anything productive. Heavy-headed but not sleepy, given the energy drink. Still don't do anything besides Hulu and Amazon and Youtube all day.
- Fall back asleep at some point between 2pm and 4:30-5 ( so two to three hours after my second wake-up)
- Wake up at about 5:30-8pm, feeling much better physically but still with a thin veil of fog and completely unmotivated to do anything that requires effort.
- Then EITHER fall back alseep at 11, OR stay up till 3 or 4 and start the cycle from there, depending on whether I have a second sip of my five hour energy shot.
As you can probably imagine, this is torture. I don't know what's going on. Why are the eight or nine hours after the first early morning wake up not enough for me to feel awake? Why do I take all these naps instead of sleeping the entire day through and at least being productive at night? Why am I waking up so early after going to bed at night in the first place?
What I do know is that I've almost doubled my weight in a year, become addicted to OTC stimulants and coffee, can binge eat carbs and sugar with scary enthusiasm and have to fight with myself to do things like brush my teeth or take a shower, just because I'm SO tired. I can't live life this way, much less hold down a job or a relationship.
So, what I want to know:
Is the time of day at which I sleep really that important? Is that why the first full 8 hours aren't doing anything?
Is there a sleep specialist in the NY metro area that has enough experience to deal with something like this?
I don't mean people you can find on Google. I mean the sort that make the news(papers). Mainly, I want them to know enough to look for the zebra in the field of horses and avoid jumping to apnea, prescription meds to solve my problems. I do have apnea, but this was an issue before that came onto the scene. Also, the energy drinks are only used to cope with this... the problem was there before they were too.
In the likely absence of a source of professional help, what should my sleep patterns look like and what's the quickest, most effective way to get there? I feel like my body has not only reversed day and night, but can't utilize the full pseudo-night for sleep.
What can I do to cope, emotionally and functionally, while I struggle with this?
I know this rambles and so if anyone needs clarification on anything, ask away. It's late and I know this is a lot, but I'm hoping someone has the answers because this is the furthest thing from a life well-lived. Thanks guys.
NOTE: I know that quitting the caffeine and seeing a therapist will probably make their appearances here. Those are good pieces of advice, but try and see if there's another way to look at this.