4.04.2011

Night Terrors Review


I kind of thought that after my kids were out of the baby stage and were sleeping well, that I would also get back to a reasonable sleep schedule. Wow, was I wrong. The fact of the matter is, there are simply too few hours in the day to justify what most would call a reasonable amount of sleep. I don’t like to take time away from my wife and kids, so if I pursue hobbies or sports, I have to do it at times when they are sleeping or away. That leaves either late at night or early in the morning. Hence, to fight my fatty fatness, I get up before 5am every day for some exercise before work. I then work until 6pm and get home in time to eat dinner with the family and spend a little time with the kiddos before bedtime. After the kids go to bed, I spend time with the wife and handle all other household/civic/and/or personal duties and projects that are my responsibility. This puts me in bed around midnight every night. That’s just life, everyone does it, but I’ve noticed some strange complications as I reached the age of 35.

I’ve always claimed that people who say they “must have at least 8 hours of sleep or just can’t function” are whiners and “must” have it because they have the option of having it. “The body adapts“, has always been my motto. I’ve also always quietly despised anyone that says they just “can’t” get up early because they simply aren’t a morning person. When you have no choice, I guess you will get your lazy ass out of bed. I don’t think there was ever a farmer that let his cattle whither and die or their udders burst because he wasn’t a morning person and just “couldn‘t“ get up to milk or feed. Ok, enough with the soapbox, now to the sleep complications that I never expected.

1. It is now 50/50 whether I will choose sex or sleep. Most nights I go to sleep and just hope for a sex dream to kill two birds with one stone.

2. I’m borderline narcoleptic. I can be in full REM sleep within 10 min. anywhere, anytime. Watching movies at home is useless, no amount of skin or blood onscreen can keep me from snoozing.

3. Dull eyes. My eyes are now yellowish, bloodshot orbs that look dull and lifeless. At least now my yellow teeth don’t seem so out of place in my jaundiced melon.

4. Fat. I’m Fat and I know it has something to do with my sleep, and Cheetos.

5. Even when I do sleep, I am now plagued with Night Terrors. This is where you are either fully asleep or half asleep and basically get dismembered in your dreams. I wake up thrashing, screaming, or sprint to the kitchen out of a dead sleep with my heart pounding out of my chest. I’ve also had the partial dream experiences where I am looking around the room but am unable to move any part of my body, while drifting in and out of my nightmares. If you haven’t experienced this, no logic or rational helps. In those moments, you end up being a terrified pile of goo just wanting to be held by your mommy….or your naked wife. (For some reason the naked part helps.)

All of the other mentioned complications are things that I can deal with, but the last one is really freaking me out. So, with something this disruptive in my life, I went to the only reasonable source of knowledge around. I’ve searched the internet to look up reasons for my insanity, and here is what I found.

There does seem to be a link between mental disorders and sleep terrors in adults. Researchers have found that adults with night terrors may also have a medical history of one of the following mental disorders:
  • Depression - Getting murdered in my sleep every night is starting to depress me.
  • Anxiety - I’m a little anxious about getting murdered in my sleep.
  • Bipolar disorder - I’m pretty much a prick all the time, so no real issues here, I‘m just polar, not bipolar.

Even if an adult with night terrors does not have a mental disorder, they are likely to have other sleep disorders, medical conditions and lifestyle issues such as:
Sleep disorders:
  • Sleep deprivation - Yeah, but who with kids and a job doesn’t have this problem?
  • Obstructive sleep apnea - Not yet, but another 10lbs and a little more on my 3rd chin and I am there.
Medical conditions:
  • Hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones) - I only overproduce testosterone.
  • Migraine headaches - Yes, did I mention the kids and job thing?
  • Head injury - Do small doses via Kickboxing count?
  • Encephalitis (brain swelling) - Do small doses via Kickboxing count?
  • Stroke - Not yet, but my triglyceride levels say it is inevitable.
  • Premenstrual period - My time of the month has more to do with a mortgage payment than physiology, but it carries similar results, and often a heavier flow.
  • Bloated stomach - Hurtful! I’m working on it.
  • Some types of medications - Real men don’t take medicine.
Lifestyle issues:
  • Physical or emotional stress - Did I mention Kickboxing and the economy?
  • Travel anxiety such as sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings - Sometimes, when I am getting killed in mBulleted Listy sleep, I get confused as to the location of my attacker.
  • Alcohol use and abuse - Not yet, but I may need a little something to help take the edge off and actually get some sleep.
  • Noise or light - Umm…now I’m scared of the dark, cause of the whole violently dying in my dreams every night, so I like a light on.

I realize that I am completely bonkers and have just started the phase of my life where age plays the major role in every physical change I will experience. If I am fighting in my sleep every night at the age of 35, I can’t image what madness will ensue 10 years from now. Probably the same thing with less bladder control. Yup, this is going to get messy.

2 comments:

Eris said...

I have all 5 of the same sleep complications as you, and it drives me completely insane. If it helps during the partial dreams (sleep paralysis) you should try to remember what they are when they happen.

I used to wake up terrified from them but now I hum or think of something else until its over. Its not a solution to the paralysis itself of course but doing this will make you a bit more calm when you wake up from them or more rational when you fall back into the Night Terrors.

Now you just need to stop that guy from murdering you in your sleep and you'll sleep like a baby!

taz alter said...

This is interesting stuff to read about. Thanks.

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