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Remember; Sleep is essential to life and well-being

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Edited by Emily Blakey, Wednesday, 20 Jul 2011, 12:22


Mother said I slept well as a baby.

Mid childhood;

started falling out of bed,

started sleep walking.


started night terrors and continued sleep walking. Hurt my self a few times by somehow leaping out and away from bed...And often would get dressed for school or work while "asleep". (Really, my parents should have taken me to a Dr!!!)

By 40 years of age had got to the stage that I never (or rarely) slept through the night. I didn't even realise how tired I was every single day...

Last year had 5 nights in a row of sleep terrors, so much I had a sore throat from screaming and was emotionally and cognitively "exhausted". GP gave me some meds as a short term solution. This was the first time ever I had taken meds for sleep...I never ever wanted to be dependant on tablets. They worked a little bit..

Just before Christmas I went to see the psychiatrist who diagnosed ADHD and Aspergers to take up his suggestion of methylphenidate and one of his suggestions for treating the sleep problem. I had started to suspect that the older I was getting the worse my sleep was becoming.

He said, you only start one treatment at a time, especially if you have an ASD. He thought the priority was methylphenidate. I reluctantly agreed. Reluctant because;

I feared it wouldn't work...

I feared it would work and then I would be "dependent".

I feared it would increase my irritability/impatience and make sleep worse.

How wrong could I have been?????????

Even with the incredibly low dose and mindfully keeping an eye out for side-effects (tempory headaches) I soon realised I was less irritable. And, I was sleeping better.

He increased the dose slowly, and I defied his instructions and actually increased my taking of it even more slowly than he suggested. And the biggest gain is sleeping through the night, followed by less irritibility and more patience. I still have night terrors occasionally, but, I can go back to sleep now.

I did wonder if I just slept better because I was being more productive each and every day. However, I started running out of meds and just took the morning dose for a week before I got to see the Dr again. And, even though I was still being just as productive and active, my sleep started worsening again. So, somehow, for some strange reason, a stimulant helps my life long sleep problems....

People just dont realise quite how important sleep is...

Well I didn't, until I started sleeping better...I don't know how I managed to function all those years...

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Hi Emily, urrgh sleep disturbances!, you have my sympathy they're awful sad I am really glad you have found something that works. I have had my own version of them for at least 34 years and they're hell. I'm ok if i can get into sleep but it's the period between awake and sleeping i have a big problem. I've got what i longtime later found out has the lovely name of 'The hag and the darkman' so it's as though being attacked every night. Also have regular periods where it's as though my sleep switch just stops working and i'm wide awake for days and nights; worst episode of it was last November when i was awake for 5 days and 5 five nights, it was unbelievably horrible! sad sad sad

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I wish I had some suggestions for you...but, I am sure you have already tried most things yourself...

Just keep trying to find new ways to help yourself sleep though. It does make a very big difference to your life when you sleep better. I can hardly believe the difference.

Its funny, my brother, Dad and Gran all sleep (or slept) poorly.

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Re. the hag and darkman. I have read about the folklore...

The Dr wondered whether my night terrors were really night terrors since I had a feeling about what the content actually was. However, I was sure they were night terrors and not nightmares since they always happen within 30-40 mins of when I go to sleep.

I used to think when I eventually came round after a night terror that I had either dreamed of a big spider above me, or, that someone was attacking me.

But recently I came round, and thought my dream was about a tunnel. The next night when going to sleep I noticed that my husband had moved the fan in our bedroom. The fan is just a circle with no blades. And I realised that the moonlight coming through the blinds showed this fan and that it looked like a tunnel!!

I then realised that I hadn't thought a night terror had been about a spider for a good few years. Then something clicked!!

I don't actually remember the content of a dream at all. What happens is as I "come round" and become aware of my surroundings I end up misinterpreting what I am seeing.

When I used to think it was a spider it was actually a chandelier over the bed. We moved a few years ago and no longer have a chandelier over the bed.

When, I think it was someone getting me, it was actually my husband shaking me to wake me up.

And, the time I thought it was a tunnel, it was actually the stronger moonlight highlighting the fan!

I am not sure if this affects your "dreams". Maybe they are nightmares and not night terrors????