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Re: All I want to do is sleep...

Posted by Honest Expert / but only mattresses on May 08, 2001 at 12:29:18:

In Reply to: All I want to do is sleep... posted by sleepygirl on May 06, 2001 at 17:37:29:

Dear Sleepygirl,

Here's my best guess:

There are several types of Sleep Disorders that occur only while you sleep that you would never be aware of unless someone told you: Sleep Apnea and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) are two of the most common. Restless Leg Syndrome can also affect you this way, but there are usually waking symptoms that you may not be connecting with a sleep disorder. There are various others, too.

Here's what can happen: You "go to sleep" but something in your body is causing many many microarousals (very short awakenings that you are never aware of) that are actually preventing you from getting rested. You maintain a perception of having "slept" but you body hasn't!

For many people with these sorts of "hidden" Sleep Disorders, it can result in needing to spend more and more time in bed. Why? Because you are not really sleeping when you think you are sleeping.

Because the fatigue that comes from not getting enough SLEEP -- real sleep! -- builds up one day onto the next (often called "Sleep Debt" because it builds up like bills and can only be repaid by truly sleeping), you can become massively fatigued ... without ever realizing that you have not been sleeping properly because you spend so much time in bed. But more time will not usually solve the problem.

Here's an analogy:

Say you want to play tennis. You buy a racket and some balls and ask a friend to join you. Of course, the game starts with a serve. You throw the ball up into the air, swing the racket as hard as you can, and hit the ball. The ball goes into the net. It turns out that you don't have enough arm strength to hit the ball over the net. You can hit and hit and hit all day long, but until you have the strength to hit it over the net, you can't get the game started with the first serve. You can spend a lot of time and do a lot of work, but you cannot play tennis until you can hit the ball over the net.

Sleep is like that! You can spend hours - days - weeks trying to sleep, but until you are sleeping PROPERLY you will never get rested.

I would guess that you are carrying a MASSIVE "sleep debt" around with you, but suffering from some kind of disorder that keeps you from SLEEPING when you sleep!

BUT TAKE HEART! Virtually all of these problems have a solution! That is what these boards are all about. I'll bet if you read some of the problems described in the Sleep Apnea forums or the Restless Leg Syndrome forums, you will see many stories that sound just like yours. Your problem may be quite different than theirs, but seeing that there are workable solutions can be encouraging nonetheless.

You have already had a taste of how misunderstood these sorts of problems are. Depression? Not likely! But your doctor, who probably knows very little about Sleep Disorders other than some of the names, could only make a diagnosis based on the things he knows! Lazy? Hardly! Here's the fact: When you are rested, you couldn't sleep if you wanted to. You CANNOT get "too much" sleep; you body won't allow you too sleep when it doesn't need any. There is so much misunderstanding of these things that it is very sad.

Take a good look through this site: There is a wealth of information on Sleep Disorders. Read what some other people are going through: You'll see that you are not alone. Study up on Sleep Disorders, especially those that are "hidden" (can only be diagnosed when you are asleep) like Sleep Apnea, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Gastroesophageal Reflux ("Acid Reflux") and the like. Search through the links in this site for some of the tests and questionaires that might help you answer some of the more basic concerns.

Then, after you have done some research, try seeing if you can talk with a speep specialist. A sleep specialist will recognize immediately what you are going through and appreciate the significance of it; your General Practitioner or Primary Care Physician most likely won't. (As huge a problem as this is in this country, the education on the suject in medical school is down-right pathetic!)

Good Luck and Be Encouraged! There IS help available!

THIS is a great place to start!

Honest Expert

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  • Sleep Deprivation due to Sleep Apnea and insufficient sleep are common and can present as insomnia, narcolepsy, or idiopathic hypersomnia. In infants and children sleep problems commonly present themselves as ADD or ADHD.

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