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Old 01-06-2008, 12:55 PM   #1
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Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Hey everyone,

I've seen some related diagnoses for what i've been experiencing, but nothing quite exact yet

around 4-6 times a year, i have nights where it is very hard to sleep. im generally quite tired, and as soon as i feel myself falling asleep, I suddenly wake up, in a shock. generally my heart is beating fast, im tense, my breathing is somewhat heaving, and i get a rush of panic through my body.

it lasts for 5-10 seconds...then i calm down and again, im soooo tired, and as i fall asleep BAM it happens again

it happened to me about 8 times before i could finally get asleep

any ideas what this could be? ive been told i might have sleep aponea but this seems to be outside the definition of that, and i never wake up mid sleep due to any other issues, its just this one, when trying to fall asleep


thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!

 
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:53 PM   #2
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

I may be wrong, but it sounds like you are describing something I experience quite regularly. I am very nearly asleep but all of a sudden my whole body jerks and I am awake again! It feels exactly like I have misjudged the number of steps whilst walking down some stairs and, thinking you are on ground level you step off the last step. Or a clearer explanation is as though you are walking along a pavement and accidentaly step into a pothole

I do not know the scientific name for this but, if what I have described is the same as what you experience, rest assured it is very common.

Sorry I could not be of more help.

 
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:59 AM   #3
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

I get that almost every night now. As soon as im about to fall asleep, my breathing slows and i panic. I know its coming and it happened a million times but im scared everytime. Im still trying to figure out what is is also but I think it may be related to anxiety in some way.

 
Old 01-09-2008, 05:37 AM   #4
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

I have this problem also. I think it is related to sleep apnea. Before I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, I used to think it was some sort of panic attack. Since I now sleep with a CPAP, I realize this only happens when I fall asleep without the CPAP. I've decided this must happen when I quit breathing. It happens every single time I don't wear my CPAP and fall asleep. This has never happened when I was wearing my CPAP. The solution for me is to always wear the CPAP for naps, etc. It's just an awful feeling I can avoid.

 
Old 01-09-2008, 06:05 AM   #5
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Sleep deprivation when it is chronic and working toward severe can cause this.. thus sleep apnea patients often get it. You should go to a sleep specialist and get a sleep study done. The data they can glean from it is amazing. They will be able to tell what your mind and body is doing when this happens. The main cause is the mind and body get out of sync when trying to sleep and as a result you are forcibly woken and reset. It has a name and i can not think of it. I was having these episodes along with sleep paralysis which can be the result of sleep deprivation as well. Ugh! Gotta dig up the name.

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Last edited by mkgbrook; 01-09-2008 at 06:06 AM.

 
Old 01-10-2008, 12:25 AM   #6
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

I thought sleep apnea only happens in deep sleep. I used to suffer from panic attacks and it feels alot like having a panic attack minus the pins and needles and the fact that it goes away within seconds.

 
Old 01-10-2008, 06:25 AM   #7
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Sleep apnea is not limited to deep sleep. I have severe sleep apnea and so does my son. My husband has hypopnea. My son and I never reached deep sleep because our apnea events would boot us awake and not let us acheive deep sleep. The only way to confirm or rule out sleep apnea is with a sleep study monitoring session.

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Old 01-10-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

thanks. this is basically what i thought it was. the thing that troubles me is not waking up and shaking, thats manageable. its more the fear of dread or panic that im going to pass out or have a heart attack, but that could be related to the anxiety, or the lack of breathing haha

 
Old 01-12-2008, 07:07 PM   #9
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Wow do you sound like me. I go through this cycle every couple of weeks. After about 2 weeks I finally was able to sleep without the jumping up. I am usually very tired. Fall asleep for about 1 minute and it's as if my body goes into a panic and I jump out of bed with weird breathing and blankets and me on the floor. Get all tucked in again and once again I'm on the floor. This will repeat itself all night until there are tears from near hysteria. My husband evens tries to hold me down but it's as if I use all my strenght to jump up or it feels like I'll die. I even try to go on the couch thinking it will break the cycle. I feel like it's night panic attacks. I'm also perimenopausal and I'm wondering if that has something to do with it. My last resort was taking a xanax before bed and when that didn't work I thought I'd never sleep again. I read that taking a hot bath about an hour before bed might work to fool your body into cooling off after the shower like it would normally due before sleep. So I got oout of bed after jumping up about 90 times and took a hot shower at 2 in the morning. I then layed back down aNd it was the 1st time I slept without jumping up in the 2 weeks. I hope this keeps working and it works for you.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:07 AM   #10
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Quote:
Originally Posted by chis View Post
... I go through this cycle every couple of weeks. After about 2 weeks I finally was able to sleep without the jumping up. I am usually very tired. Fall asleep for about 1 minute and it's as if my body goes into a panic and I jump out of bed with weird breathing and blankets and me on the floor. Get all tucked in again and once again I'm on the floor. This will repeat itself all night until there are tears from near hysteria.... I read that taking a hot bath about an hour before bed might work to fool your body into cooling off after the shower like it would normally due before sleep. So I got oout of bed after jumping up about 90 times and took a hot shower at 2 in the morning. I then layed back down aNd it was the 1st time I slept without jumping up in the 2 weeks. I hope this keeps working and it works for you.
I would almost guarantee this will not keep working. Your symptoms suggest at least one sleeping disorder...undiagnosed sleeping disorders can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, asthma, and other health conditions. In other words, they are nothing to ignore. I would encourage you to do some reading about sleep problems, and make an appointment with a physician who has some background in referring patients to sleep specialists.

Don't assume your doctor is going to know what to do. I have read that patients with symptoms of a sleeping disorder see their family doc on the average of 17 times, and a specialist 9 times before anyone suspects a sleeping disorder...in my case, I saw my family doctor and employment doctors many, many, many more times than 17 before I insisted on seeing a sleep specialist who IMMEDIATELY recognized that I was at high risk for a sleep disorder and sent me in for a study immediately. The study confirmed my and my specialist's suspicions---I had a sleep disorder.

Take care and let us know how you're doing.

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 01-13-2008 at 12:15 PM.

 
Old 01-13-2008, 10:27 PM   #11
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

Quote:
Originally Posted by shocks View Post
Hey everyone,

I've seen some related diagnoses for what i've been experiencing, but nothing quite exact yet

around 4-6 times a year, i have nights where it is very hard to sleep. im generally quite tired, and as soon as i feel myself falling asleep, I suddenly wake up, in a shock. generally my heart is beating fast, im tense, my breathing is somewhat heaving, and i get a rush of panic through my body.

it lasts for 5-10 seconds...then i calm down and again, im soooo tired, and as i fall asleep BAM it happens again

it happened to me about 8 times before i could finally get asleep

any ideas what this could be? ive been told i might have sleep aponea but this seems to be outside the definition of that, and i never wake up mid sleep due to any other issues, its just this one, when trying to fall asleep


thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!
Oh my gosh--I can't believe I am reading this as this is exactly what happened to me last night. It even happened about 8 times before I could fall asleep (about 4:00am). It is SO scary!! I feel like I am going to die when it happens. I was diagnosed with sleep hypopnea last year but I simply cannot do the CPAP. Like your post said, it happens about 4-6 times a year, which is exactly the same with me. I am going to talk to my doctor tomorrow about it. If he provides any insight, I will let you know.

I hope tonight is a better night for you.

Kim

 
Old 01-31-2008, 12:06 PM   #12
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

NPA = NOCTURNAL PANIC ATTACK
Hey there! The answer to your concern of sheer terror waking with a sudden jolt and instant panic, horror, and feeling threatened? This is called a NOCTURNAL PANIC ATTACK.
I have been getting these for about 6 years. They started late in my teens and continue still to this date. I am lucky, I only get about 5 or 10 a year. They are horrible. I have these bad though, I have yet to manage to stay in my bed. I instantly (jolt) wake, not dreaming I know of this, fly out of bed and run as fast as I can. I do not stop for anything. . . not even my bedroom door. I scrape myself up, fall on the ground. . . It happened really bad about 3 years ago at my Mom's. Had that awful jolt, flying thru the air banging into everything, it feels like my heart is going to beat out of my chest, I sweat. . . run, panic, feel threatened, scared out of my mind, fell on the floor and crawled as fast as I could to my Mom's bed. . . Of course in turn, I scared the living day-lights out of her. This NOCTURNAL PANIC ATTACK was by far the worst. I had bruises, scraps, deep gashes in my knees. I know, I know, you probably get the same crap I did from friends and family if you tell them. . . They don't seem too interested in hearing about it or helping solve your situation. Truth be told, these types of panic attacks are extremely rare. . . Most people get panic attacks while awake. People who get NPA make up less then 3% who experience a panic attack in general. Honestly, there is nothing you can really do to stop them. People take valume before bed, Xanax. . . a form a valume. . They are made to relax you and calm you down. I think they are tranquilizers. Tried them, did nothing. . . still got NPA. You make feel like you are going crazy. . . you are not. They won't kill you and your heart will not stop beating. I think most who get these panic attacks are lucky. . . because a lot only get the jolt wake-up. . then the awful, sheer terror feeling, heart racing. . . I end up shooting out of bed freaking out for no reason. . . I know instantly that I am having one. .(The episode takes about 6 seconds). . literally, the second I jolt . . . I think what is hard for people to relate to is the awful feeling. . . . . . There is no way to describe the fear and panic that goes thru you like a lightening bolt. I mostly feel like someone is in the house and my body is telling me to run, freak out, sweat, be terrified, don't stop for nothing. They know very little as to the real reason these happen. . . They also know that we are not dreaming at all before this happens. . . You are actually in your 3 or 4 stage of sleep, no dreams till REM is reseached. That's why people who have these think they are going crazy. We tell the story of how it felt and what happened. . . But trying to convince people that you know 100% that you were not dreaming is impossible. . .. These attacks only happen within the first couple (two) hours after falling asleep . . . I get them around and between 3:00am 3:30am. Do not mistake these for sleep paralysis, paralyzed dreams, or night terrors. . . They are none of these I promise.
Tony

 
Old 02-01-2008, 10:14 AM   #13
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

tbreeze,

Have you had a sleep study done to shed some light on your symptoms? Or are you self diagnosing?

Bethsheba

 
Old 02-25-2008, 07:34 PM   #14
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

I get this as well, or something similar. It first happened when I was 16 and I had a lot of things going on in my life (nana died, school exams, friend problems, body issues) - and most often on nights when I really needed to get to sleep (e.g before a school test). I would first struggle to fall asleep at all, and then as soon as I did (begin to fall into a sleep) my heart would start racing and my breathing would change and I'd feel a burst of panic. It literally felt like it came in a wave through my body (the heart racing etc). I don't know if that makes much sense but that's the only way I can describe it. I have only recently begun to have it happen to me again and it's terrible. I've noticed it happens on the nights that I really need to get a good nights sleep (before big events etc), and the more it happens the more I worry because I know I NEED sleep that night...it's a bit of a cycle. And no matter how tired I am or how relaxed/calm I can make myself, as soon as I start to fall asleep it comes back in a wave. I feel quite hysterical at times because it's so frustrating - I feel so tired and I can't even 'relax with my eyes closed' as my mum tells me to because as soon as my body DOES relax it happens! I'm desperate for ways to stop this. I'm not a drinker and last night it happened so I drank a big glass of bailey's hoping that it would help...it didn't!

 
Old 02-26-2008, 09:30 PM   #15
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Re: Can't Fall Asleep - Sudden jerk awakens me in a panic

did you ever stop to think you may have sleep apnea. Please go to some dr. and see if you have the symptoms. The test is easy and it could save your life and panic attacks.

 
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