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I have written before about my chronic insomnia. I was supposed to go in for a sleep study in May, which was then cancelled due to insurance issues. Then my insurance changed their policies (I mean, srsly, who requires a diagnosis *prior* to going in for a diagnostic procedure??), and the study was back on.

My results came in while I was on vacation, and I had to play phone tag to line up an appointment to talk to the sleep specialist about the results. I finagled the report out of his staff and the upshot is this:

Sleep study started at 10:04 pm. I woke up 18 times* (!!) between my first sleep period and when the sleep study ended at 4:56. I slept 261 out of 411.8 minutes (slept 63% of the total time). 35% of awakenings were due to breathing issues of some kind, although 98% of the time I had adequate oxygen levels, 65% of awakenings were due to "EEG arousal" (hyper arousal, brain activity), no awakenings were due to limb movements (restless leg or foot syndrome).

I was either in a drowsy state, wakeful state, or light sleep state, I never entered slow-wave sleep. 37% of my sleep was REM sleep. I was awake for the final hour of the study.

The sleep doctor said, "Your study was very abnormal... you have insomnia!" (duh) Insomnia specifically related to hyper-arousal, hyper brain activity. There is no cure for that other than the behavioral interventions I've been doing for years, and retraining the brain.

Long story short, this just sort of put numbers and charts to what I knew already about my sleep patterns. The doctor gave me a prescript for Ambien to help "retrain my mind to believe it *can* sleep" as part of a first step of cognitive therapy. Three nights later, the Ambien has yet to kick in. Still sleeping pretty much the same as I did before it. We'll see in a week or two how it is doing.

* The Sculptor was like, "I hope all those awakenings were just an artifact of trying to sleep in a strange place covered in electrodes!" Me, too, because if that's really what my nights are like (you aren't always consciously aware of all awakenings), I'd be really depressed.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
Wow! 18 times. Fascinating too. I hope the Ambien works out the way you want it to.

I'd love one of those studies for me, you know, just to know. My sleep isn't what I want it to be, but better than it was 5 years ago.
Jul. 20th, 2012 02:42 pm (UTC)
I can almost pin-point when my sleep changed. It was winter of 2002. I remember several nights of being aggravated I was waking up at 4:30. Now a 4:30 wake-up is ho-hum, compare to 3:30, 3:00 or 2:00. Urk.
Jul. 20th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear this since it's so much harder to treat. Hope you find something that works
Jul. 20th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
Really. If there was a treatment for this, I would have been using it YEARS ago, since my insom has been going on at least ten years now. It's just something you live with best you can.
Jul. 20th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)

Wish it was better news.
Jul. 20th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I really wanted validation for what I've been experiencing, but seeing that I was right about the pattern of my sleep in numbers and charts was actually a little depressing.

; D
Jul. 20th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you at least got it confirmed. Not really what you wanted to hear, I know, & I'm sorry there's so little you can do about it. I hope the Ambien helps--is it 1 of those drugs that takes weeks to really kick in, like some antidepressants do?
Jul. 20th, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC)
7-10 days, according to the paperwork. So far, I am sleeping about the same as I always do.
Jul. 20th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
For some drugs, the level in the blood has to reach a threshold before it has a perceptible effect, or your body chemistry has to adjust over time. I hope once it does that, it'll make a difference. Or that the retraining works, with or without it.
Jul. 20th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
I've tried "retraining" myself for ten years. Eventually, you have to figure it's not a training problem after all.

; D
Jul. 21st, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Yay! We love pointless metrics.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )