View Full Version : Insomnia from OCD

11-01-2015, 05:18 PM
I have so many OCD sleep issues. I know this will be long but I will try to condense it. I need some advice ASAP .

- Lifelong insomnia (usually sleep about 3 hours a night)
- Once I wake up (even if it's 4:00 am) I can't sleep again until the next night
- Cannot sleep in the day no matter how tired I feel
- Chronic exhaustion
- Use a custom mouthguard for bruxism (can't sleep without it)

- Signs of OCD in my sleep requirements:

1) DARK: The room must be pitch dark (room is painted dark, ceiling is painted dark, curtains are dark or even taped down to the wall, blinds down, door shut, no light under the door or in the hall, no alarm clock glowing or lights from electronics; it must be pitch dark outside. Even in the pitch dark I cannot sleep at all without a blindfold, sometimes two or three layered. I mean, I can't sleep at all. If I've lost my blindfold I will be awake ALL night.

2) QUIET: I require silence. Dead silence. No white noise. Nothing. I sleep with ear plugs (yes, and the blindfolds). To my horror, I developed TINNITUS which is a high pitched ringing noise in my head, ten years ago. I hear it 24.7 The earplugs amplify the buzzing sound so that it echoes even louder in my head but I still need the earplugs to block ambient noise (dogs barking, etc).

3) ALONE: I can't sleep with anyone else in the bed or I will literally go nuts. Can't touch anyone, even their toe. Can't stand to have anyone roll over or disturb me in any way, or take up the space. I have been known to physically attack people who have shared my bed

4) TOUCH: I love big loose t-shirts but they must be the soft, old stretched out kind. Can't sleep with a nightgown: nightgowns get tangled because I turn so much. Can't sleep with cotton PJ pants because they make it hard to roll over (they rub on the sheets and make friction), or else the legs twist around on me. Leggings also make friction. Can't usually sleep with bare legs or I get cold. Spandex bike shorts are usually OK but if it's cold out I'm in trouble because I'll be cold.
I also can't sleep with flannel sheets (too tactile) or satin (too slippery), or any bumpy texture against me (my duvet cover had a bit of pleated material at the bottom and I couldn't stand the pleats touching me so I threw out the cover which was $300 because I couldn't find the receipt).

No headboard or footboard to touch me
No loose sheets (I get tangled) -- only a fitted sheet and a duvet, but no cover on the duvet
-- sometimes a micro fleece blanket is OK if it is on top of
the duvet (not under)
Nothing touching my feet (no covers, socks, etc)
No breeze touching my skin (no open window)
No fan because it will make a noise and the wind will touch me
No sweat
No stuffed animals or extraneous stuff
No hair in my face but no elastic or ponytail because I don't like the bump

I must have a cover (the duvet) even if it's hot. My lower back and thighs (if not my whole back) MUST be covered at all times. My arms are usually sticking out but they can't be cold so I might need a long sleeve t-shirt.

5) SMELL: No smell. No scented laundry detergent on the sheets or my clothes. No food cooking, outdoor BBQ smell, coffee brewing, skin lotion or room deodorizers

6) TEMPERATURE: Can't be hot. Cant be cold because I can't cover my feet at all and I can't wear PJ pants or socks. Must be refreshing but perfect

7) POSITION: MUST be on my stomach with legs sticking out the end of the bed (from the knees down are past the end of the bed). Arms extended over my head.

8) PILLOWS: Must be foam. Two for my head. I like a body pillow too but I roll over so much that I can't use one because the bedding gets all screwed up when I try to move it side to side

9) FALLING ASLEEP: Besides the OCD hyper stimulation issues that I listed above, I have a falling asleep problem where I hear weird noises (phones ringing, voices talking -- not scary, not schizophrenic, but full, random conversations in my head -- I see flashes of bright white light as if I am looking directly into the sun, I hear zapping sounds in my head and I often feel the sensation of falling.

10) TWITCHES: I have hundreds per night

11) SLEEP DISORDERS: I thrash and fight in my sleep (wake up with hyperextended elbow, scratches, bruises). I act out my dreams. I think I even sleepwalk very recently. I have recurring dreams and recurring nightmares. I sleep very lightly and will wake up at any cause

12) MEDS I take Clonazepam very occasionally. It calms my mind but doesn't sedate me enough to sleep. I lay awake, calmer but awake. I'm afraid of sleep meds that can lead to depression so I don't take much

PROBLEMS (If this isn't enough)

I have chronic insomnia. Takes me about 4 hours to fall asleep on a perfect night. (e.g., go to bed 12:00, toss and turn and thrash and swear and rearrange and cry and do everything to sleep: change clothes, change pillows, roll over 100 times), then fall asleep around 4:30, wake up whenever the sun comes up and can't sleep again until the next night, get about 3 hours a night).

I finally had a sleep study last spring.

I rolled over 259 times in the short sleep session (I forget how long it was) and got tangled and fought the air.

I have Upper Respiratory Resistance Syndrome (like apnea) and Alpha Wave Intrusion. Means that even when I am asleep I don't get deeply restorative or Stage 4 sleep. I do get REM sleep so this is a different stage. I have chronic exhaustion even if I do sleep sufficiently.

I now have a CPAP -- can you imagine me trying to get used to it. I have the nose mask with a plastic part on my forehead and a plastic thing around my nose. It drives me crazy. It's been 3 months. I can't stand it touching me. Can't stand the hose touching me, or the hose rubbing on the bed because it makes a noise when it rubs. Can't stand the little whine that the motor emits with every breath -- I can hear it even with my earplugs and tinnitus, can't stand the leakage / cold air blowing on my face, arms, pillow, eyes, skin. Can't stand it tight. Can't stand it loose (it leaks when loose).
I have woken up with the hose wrapped twice around my neck. I can't roll over with it. I can't sleep on my stomach because the pillow pushes the mask out of line. For the past 9 days I've had severe insomnia and only slept a total of 6 hours (as measured on the CPAP) because I am constantly throwing it off, crying, and trying again.

I now have: mouthguard, earplugs, one to three blindfolds, a giant CPAP mask with straps over top of the blindfold straps. I can't see, hear, speak or breathe in this contraption.

I tried the nasal pillows instead and that was an even worse disaster. It wouldn't stay lined up on my nose and it was always blowing gale force wind on me.

I told the sleep study place all of these issues and they wrote them down. When I saw the Doctor after the study he talked to me for all of 3 minutes including writing the prescription for the CPAP. I asked him about my weird sleep OCD issues and he hadn't even been informed by the sleep clinic. He didn't care. He didn't say anything except that I should use good sleep hygiene. LOLLLL. Then he kicked me out and moved to the next patient. I am not supposed to go back and see him again so I can't even get help with any of this.

I had a stroke from a blood clot, just prior to the sleep study. I'm afraid that with the stress of my CPAP and the crazy insomnia I am going to have another stroke. My BP is high (about 160/100) even when taking two BP meds.

I don't have any significant anxiety issues during the day (besides exhaustion) and I don't want to take SSRI or MAOI meds for anxiety because when I tried them in the past they made me seriously depressed. I'm not willing to try again. I don't think I have OCD or hypersensitivity in any part of my life, except sleep. Does anyone have ideas what might be going on? What can I do?

11-03-2015, 06:16 AM

It sounds to me like you may have a few mental health issues and medical issues all going on at the same time. Just from what I read it seems as though your entire sleep routine revolves around OCD even though you do not experience significant OCD or anxiety symptoms during the day. It definitely sounds like OCD based alone on all of the "requirements" you have to be able to sleep, and even though you may meet all the requirements, you still suffer from insomnia.

Obviously I don't know about your previous health history (emotional and physical) but I do know that severe anxiety and OCD can actually cause health related problems, and vice versa. It sounds like the doctor dismissed your OCD sleep concerns, and I'm guessing it was your PCP or another doctor who are far from psychologists. Here is what I would suggest:

-Get in to see your PCP for a full check up. I would bet your elevated blood pressure is the result of a combination of insomnia, anxiety, OCD, and anxiety about having another stroke. Have blood work, etc.

-Ask your PCP to refer you to a cognitive behavioral specialist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders and OCD. Or you can look online for a CBT in your area.

-A light dose of an SSRI medication may help you to focus and sleep at night. SSRI's including luvox, paxil, zoloft, and anafranil generally work well for people who have OCD or anxiety disorders. While Clonazepam may be used to treat panic disorders, it's more of a sedative than anything else, and generally not prescribed to treat OCD.

First things first, get in to see your PCP and go from there and let us know how you're doing!