I don't think I've posted about this here, so I am bored and figured I would... Some stuff is copied directly from a blog, so a few things sound present tense, I'll try and sort that out....
January 11, 2006
I went through a long period of being an insomniac. From middle school up until I was 20-21 I got very little sleep. On good nights I would fall asleep within 4-5 hours of laying down and get 2-3 hours of sleep. I went through periods of being able to sleep more than that, but that was uncommon. A lot of nights I would get 1 hour or less of sleep. I have gone days or even weeks at a time without any actual sleep. I won't try to deny that it was almost completely stress related. I got over it eventually.
For the past 2-3 years, I've been able to fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed. I can easily get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If I let myself, I can sleep for a good 10-15 hours straight. Problem solved, right? Not a chance. It took a long time to notice it, but I eventually realized that I wasn't waking up feeling rested. It didn't matter if I got 4 hours of sleep or 14, I woke up feeling tired. Not just the "I'm not a morning person" kind of tired... but seriously drained. I woke up feeling more tired than before I had gone to sleep, as if I was up all night partying, when I was really in bed. I didn't know what was going on at first, because I was so used to not sleeping at all... the feeling of exhaustion was an everyday thing that I managed to hide pretty well (thanks mostly to the folks with Mt Dew). However, the problem started getting worse. Within the last year, I've not only woken up feeling tired, but the feeling stopped going away. I would feel tired throughout the day. I worked 2nd shift for a while, and would wake up at 8AM to go into work at noon. Even with all that time to wake up, people would still always say "Did you just wake up?" or something like that. I started to feel like s#[email protected]
through my entire day and it showed. It got worse. I started waking up with horrible migraines that lasted through the day. It got to be a weekly occurance. Some times the headaches would be so bad that I'd throw up out of sheer pain. I tried whatever I could to fix the problem myself. I changed my diet to be much healthier (cut back to 1 soda or less per day, try to eat a lot more chicken, vegies, fruit). I started exercising daily. I stopped staying up late and made absolutely certain that I got 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Nothing changed, I kept getting worse. On nights when I don't get that many hours of sleep, I would wake up with horrible stomach aches. On the other hand, the more sleep I got in a night, the more tired I seemed to feel in the morning, and the higher chance of a headache. It's really screwed up my life. My attention span has dropped sharply. I've become a far less patient person and get frustrated very easily, which isn't my normal way of being, it takes me a good hour every morning just to figure out where the hell I am and how to function as a normal human... my girlfriend says I wake up a LOT during the night. I mean a LOT. I never recall waking up before my alarm clock. Never.
So it finally got so bad that I was out of things to try myself and started going to the doctor. They tested for every possible thing they could (liver problems, thyroid problems, allergies, etc etc etc). After that all came up normal, it was off to a sleep specialist I went. I had an initial consultation where they asked me a TON of questions about my sleep habits and other parts of my life and did a quick examination. They decided there was definitely something screwy with me and recomended I go in for a sleep study to find out just what the problem is. So early January of this year, I went in.
It took me at least an hour to fall asleep. Normally I am out within 20 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. I woke up around 3AM and was very uncomfortable and could not fall back asleep. I think I did pass back out after 2+ hours. Even though my girlfriend says I wake up a LOT during the night, I still never know I wake up. As far as I know, I sleep straight through the night, every night. So this was a very uncommon sleep for me. I noted that in the post study questionaire, but I am still concerned that they might not get all the needed data.
The day study was a real drag. I did 4 naps and I know I fell asleep for 3 of them. 2 of the 3 were spent with more time being awake than asleep. One of them I slept almost the full time. I woke up more and more tired as the naps went on, so I hope that is a good sign for finding my problem.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that if you normally display signs of apnea, they will try putting you on a CPAP or some sort of mask midway through the night. That didn't happen with me. That worried me in the morning because I was fearful I would be diagnosed with narcolepsy. I really do not want to be on medication for my entire life as I've seen the side effects... but if it works, it's better than what I'm going through now.
I guess I am coming out of it with an overall feeling of fear and disappointment. I thought I'd end up being a clear cut case of apnea, because I fit the bill on every single symptom aside from being overweight (I'm quite healthy) or a loud snorer (I let some quiet snoring out now and again if anything).
Either way, I go in for my follow up on the 30th. I'm crossing my fingers that they have an answer for me. I'm still hoping it's apnea, but as long as they do find a problem and can come up with a solution...
January 31, 2006
Well, I had my follow-up appointment. Doc said that during the sleep portion of the study, I was pretty okay. I only had trouble when I was on my back (I think it was 40 breath-stoppages/hour), but I was only on my back for a minimal portion of the night. So, as long as I don't normally sleep that way, I'm okay.
During the nap study, I fell asleep on average in 7 minutes (I almost couldn't believe it, but it's true). That's fairly unhealthy I guess, should be above 10 minutes.
So they decided I'm just too tired, I forgot the disease they labeled me with, but I got some pills for it. They gave me a prescription of Provigil. I got a coupon for a 7-day free trial, and that's all I've picked up for now. I put the actual prescription on hold.
March 4, 2006
I've already stopped taking them unless I'm desperate (IE - falling asleep through the work day). Taking 1/2 pills did not do enough to make a difference (as I told my doctor, it was the same as caffine, it woke me up, but I did not feel rested or alert). If I take more than 100mg(half dose), I feel jittery and get stomach aches.
I tried talking with the doctor again and said that the Provigil wasn't solving my problem. It was just a poor attempt at treating a symptom. The doctor didn't seem to care. He said the pills were working as intended and if I was still too tired they could prescribe me some heavier stuff (ie - ritalin). Sorry doc, you suck.