I'm new to this topic but not new to the boards....I don't believe I have a sleep disorder, but I'm disturbed by the lack of quality sleep I've been getting-- particularly in the last month or so.
I can fall asleep at night at the drop of a hat. Usually earlier than I'd like too. That's no problem. But I have problems staying asleep. I wake up every 2-3 hours and it takes me about 15 minutes to go back to sleep. My mind usually isn't racing with anxiety, but I do have some very realistic dreams that I can't help thinking about when I wake up.
The dreams are usually more on the unpleasant side. A lot of traditional anxiety type dreams. However, I am on antidepressant medication and an anti anxietymedication.
I used to smoke and assumed it was nicotine withdrawl. I'd often get up at 2:30am and 4:30am to have a cigarette. I read an article that said that smokers often dream more and don't sleep as deeply. Now I'm on the nicotine patch and am still having the same problem-- waking up every two hours, dreaming a lot.
Luckily, I don't feel terribly tired during the day, but I don't feel particularly refreshed or rested either. I do have an upcoming surgery that could be causing EXTRA anxiety, however. I do listen to guided imagery/meditation tapes almost every night, and they're very calming, but that doesn't change the quality of my sleep at night.
Is there anything I can take OTC that might be helpful? Or something natural? What about something like benadryl? I'm getting very frustrated by my lack of quality sleep and don't know what to do. I'm tired of dreaming so much (literally)
While dreaming too much, waking up every 2-3 hours, and non restorative sleep are symptoms of a sleep disorder, I would first look at the side effects of any medication you are taking or have taken recently. Anti depressants, sleep medications, and other meds can cause some serious sleep disturbances similar to the ones you describe. Keep in mind that these side effects can occur after days/months/years of use, and they can come and go. Do lots of reading....they don't list all of the side effects on any one site---and doctors, I swear, are the last to id med problems.
If you rule out side effects as a possiblity, come back and visit us again...as some of your symptoms classic symptoms of sleep apnea...which reminds me, depression and anxiety are also classic symptoms of sleep apnea...treat the apnea and the depression and anxiety can disappear. So best look for the chicken and the egg, lol.
My major sleep problems were caused by blood pressure medication...doctors didn't have a clue...but my sleep returned to normal after discoing the medication.
Thanks for your reply! I am going to talk to my psychiatrist about the possibility that this is being caused by the fact that I just started taking Lexapro three months ago. However, my experience with the other AD's I have taken is that they disturb your sleep initially, but then it wears off after about a month or so. So ruling the effects of those drugs out is very difficult.
My therapist wondered if maybe I have sleep apnea. I really have no idea, but I'm going to talk to my primary care doc about it and see what she says. If it is that, I want to rule it out or confirm it. I do have very large tonsils that could be blocking my airway, but I don't snore and I've had large tonsils for a while without a problem....so I guess I'll keep talking to the docs. Until then, I'm just looking for some type of relief. I bought some sleeping pills from Rite Aid that claim to be non habit forming. Hopefully that will do it. We shall see....thanks for your support!
... I do have very large tonsils that could be blocking my airway, but I don't snore and I've had large tonsils for a while without a problem....so I guess I'll keep talking to the docs. ...!
Large tonsils can block airways and cause apneas...although you "think" you may not have had a problem in the past, you may be incorrect. The problem with sleep apnea is that few people know they have it...usually their partners are the ones who notice something's amiss.
only half of the people who have apnea snore, the others do not snore (I don't snore).....talking to the docs is ok, but do your own research. My docs missed my sleep apnea for over 30 years despite my symptoms. I was the one who insisted on seeing a sleep specialist. So don't rely soley on your docs for help with this.
OTCs can make sleep problems worse if you have sleep apnea...and from what I recall some can be dangerous for those with apnea...again, do some research.
But given the depression and anxiety, I suspect sleep apnea may be a very real possibility.
Take care and good luck! Do let us know how everything goes!