I am a creature of habit. I like things done a certain way each time because it’s usually the most efficient way. There is one thing that I have been doing as a teenager that is really the most inefficient Catch-22 bullshit of my life:
Since I was a teen, I fall into a pattern of night terrors and sleep paralysis during times of stress. Here’s the basic scenario: I go to sleep and within the first five minutes I feel like I’m being electrocuted in waves. I can’t breathe. I wake up panicked safe in my bed only to realize I’m still dreaming. Rinse and repeat.
Some nightmares stand out:
When I was in high school, I had an attic bedroom with sloped ceilings almost exactly like this:
My bed was against the window wall with the head of my bed against the short wall. I had a light bulb hanging from the sloped ceiling so that I could turn it on and off while in bed. I went to sleep as normal looking out the window. I started dreaming immediately and thought I saw an owl in the window looking at me which freaked me the hell out. I felt like I was being electrocuted in waves up and down my body and I couldn’t move. Finally, I woke up and turned the light on. So I was awake, light on, sitting up in bed. Then I was being pulled off the bed by my ankles. Flailing and screaming and grabbing the sheets to try to hang on. I wake up again, laying on my back, no lights on, every thing calm and still. I tried to turn the light on and couldn’t; I just kept smacking my hand against the bulb. Still dreaming-wake up again, for real finally. Went back to sleep. Electrocution again. Good times.
I’ve had a dream about the Devil. Like, THE Devil. The Devil-Devil. He took the form of my husband and even though I had this dream years ago, I can’t even think of it without an incredibly deep rooted fear. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
These bouts usually last about two weeks but right now I’m on an unprecedented two month (give or take) roll. I’ve been prescribed an anti-anxiety medicine to take before bed to relax which used to work. Doubling my dose doesn’t help. My doctor is frustrated because I won’t do a sleep study because my insurance hates me and I can’t afford to do one out of pocket. FYI, the sleep studies around here are around $750-$1000 and it is covered by insurance only if you’ve hit your yearly deductible through Humana. Since my deductible is 4K, you can understand the probability that this is never going to happen.
Too little sleep may cause:
- Impaired memory and thought processes
- Decreased immune response
- Increased pain
Studies have shown that people sleep more efficiently when they are sleep-deprived and that they enter REM sleep faster when this is the case. Sleep studies also show that patients who sleep less move to stage 3 and REM sleep faster than patients who are not sleep deprived.
I also have this amazing thing called FUCKING EXPLODING HEAD SYNDROME which absolutely sounds made the hell up.
This would explain why I dream immediately when I fall asleep, but this is a paradox. How do I get over being sleep deprived when night terrors keep me awake? I want to nap during the day, but I’ve started having terrors during the day, too and I don’t want to do that when the kids are around. This never used to happen; naps used to be my solace. I feel like I’m failing at life. I just want to sleep like a normal adult.