Category Archives: Sleep Disorders: Sleepwalking, Insomnia

Easy as Falling out of Bed


falling-out-of-bedOriginally Written: October 26, 2014

I’m in here in the middle of the night again. I dreamed that someone was shooting at me. In an attempt to get on the floor and hide under the chair, I dove out of the chair. In reality, I threw myself out of the bed again. This time I pulled all the bedding off the bed and got entangled in it. I was unable to move and got a little panicky.

H jumped out of bed (his covers had been snatched from him), ran around to my side of the bed and tried to help me, but I was throughly trapped in the bedding. My spilled iced water had covered most of the bedside table by now, and was dripping all over me. That was some frigid water. I began to shiver; he wanted to get me off the floor and onto the bed immediately, but I needed a minute to collect myself. H has always been this way when something happens. He wants me to get back to normal immediately because he’s a little nervous that I’ve really hurt something. I insisted on sitting there for a minute while iced water drenched me, cuz who could ever get enough of that? I wasn’t exactly the most plugged-in person, if you know what I mean.

I never really got completely disentangled from the bedding. H kind of lifted me out of the mess and put me on the bed. My t-shirt was soaked by now, and I remember him making some lewd remark about having always wanted me to enter a wet t-shirt contest. I guess he thought he could get away with a sexist remark while I was still half in the dream, but I didn’t miss it. If I’m going to keep doing this, I need to cover the bedside table with glass or the water is going to ruin it.

H made me laugh a few times to get my head out of that awful dream, and now I’m in here with all my grandchildren covering the walls, a warm comforter wrapped around my lap and legs, wearing a fresh, dry t-shirt and comfy robe. H wants me to get one of those bed rails. I am officially moving into old-ladydom or back to childhood. Remember those wooden rails for the top bunk bed?

H never recalls his dreams. I’m the dream star in the family, but he remembered what he was dreaming when I woke him. It was Halloween and there was a knock at the door. He grabbed the candy bowl and answered the door. It was ISIS. At least it wasn’t Ebola. We’ve gone off the deep end around here. ISIS is in the Cul-de-sac, y’all.

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Soul Stealing

nightsstandOriginally Written: August 27, 2014

I think I was flying through the air when I woke around 4:30 am, or maybe I was on the floor, or maybe it was when my head hit that table in the photo above. I was dreaming. I was with an old friend, Howard, the husband of a close friend. Howard and Flora lived across the street from us and two houses down when we lived in Maryland.

There was a little boy. I don’t know if it was my son, my grandson or another child. Something was wrong with the boy. He was fretting and didn’t want to go to bed. Howard and I finally got him to bed, but I didn’t feel right about it. I soon heard the boy screaming in terror. There was an eerie glow emanating from his room, and the sound of what I somehow knew were mischievous, little creatures. The uneasy sound of their pernicious giggling and furtive scurrying about did not feel right. I knew they were of the male gender, but not men or boys. Something else. I knew intuitively that they had come for the little boy’s soul. I began running toward the door to the child’s room. When I got to the door, I launched myself into the room, screaming for them to get away from the little boy, and that’s when I woke, flying through the air, slamming my head into my bedside table. I felt something wet and thought I had spilled my water, but it was my elbow. It was bleeding.

H jumped out of bed. I was still screaming and disoriented. He got me up and off the floor. I still didn’t know which way was up. I had knocked the table about two or three feet from its original position. It’s a big, old drum table – solid wood and heavy. My head had moved it, my head along with the full weight of my body behind it.

What a night, and no, I’ve never read either of those books on the table. I don’t know where the bottom one came from, and the top one is one that my sister recommended, but she and I had completely different tastes in books. I kept telling myself that I’d read it one day for her, but I never did. So, there it sits. I can’t believe I didn’t knock the lamp over.

Maybe that’s why I’m so Thirsty when I Wake

Originally Written: April 10, 2013

I barely slept at all on Sunday night. I woke every couple of hours until I finally gave up in the early hours of the morning. Last night I slept till 2:00 am, and here I am.

I started this new thing. I fall asleep, and then about an hour later I begin screaming. H wakes me or I wake myself. Sometimes I go back to sleep only to repeat the scream in a little while. Sometimes I remember what I was dreaming and sometimes I do not.

And my dreams!?! Oh, my dreams! Some of the people have been dead for years: my sister, my mother, my aunt, but that’s not the strange part. They’re all weird ages. My son could be three-years-old and my grandchildren could be five or six or seventeen. Now that just doesn’t work. In one dream I was a teenager, and in another my mother was a child and I was her mother. I’m not going to analyze that one.

And I talk…

and talk and talk. H tells me about it. I had a bad night a few nights ago. I woke around 3:00 AM and went back to bed at 5:00 AM. H said he could hear me talking the entire time he was in the bathroom getting ready to take a shower, and I was still grumbling when he finished.

Last night I dreamed that it was Christmas Eve, and I desperately needed some moisturizer. I must have been desperate if I was willing to go to a mall on Christmas Eve. I made H and my father take me to Macy’s to get it. It was only minutes before the store closed. They dropped me off at the opposite end of the mall. Why the opposite end of the mall? I don’t know. I sprinted down the length of the mall. I squeezed through the door just as a security guard was closing it, found the moisturizer, found the register and was just about to make the purchase when I woke, heart pounding.

I punish myself in my dreams. It’s unbelievable what is required of me. I’m always forced to carry out near impossible feats – often time sensitive – of tremendous skill, boldness or danger while something unimaginable weighs in the balance should I fail: an infectious disease will eradicate half the world’s population, Earth will run out of water, or House Hunters will be canceled. What? I like House Hunters.

There you go, internet. That’s my bag of woes tonight. It could be worse. We really could have a global water crisis. Oh, wait.

Sleep Demons

night-demonsThe Nightmare by Johann Heinrich Füssli

Originally Written: January 15, 2012

This post is about my son and his sleep issues. A number of my family members are plagued with these issues. Many of us have insomnia and wake early in the morning (3:30 for me this morning). Some of us have terrifying nightmares, and now my son is experiencing some specific problems.

He recently told me about a recurring dream that’s been haunting him. (Forcing you to read about my dreams isn’t enough. Now you must read about his.) When the nightmare (for lack of a better word) begins, he believes he is awake. He’s aware of his breathing, and he can see what’s happening in the room, but he’s paralyzed. He lies there helplessly, peering out of half-lidded eyes, as a giant spider inches his way slowly and malevolently toward him. The spider toys with him, prolonging his agony, as he relishes my son’s fate. This “event” culminates with him in the middle of the bedroom, flailing his arms and legs around in a wild panic and screaming like a madman. Can you blame him?

I stumbled across this article about sleep paralysis – Psychologists Chase Down Demons. It’s about a study by psychologists at Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania.

The general idea is …

Sleep paralysis is defined as “a discrete period of time during which voluntary muscle movement is inhibited, yet ocular and respiratory movements are intact. Hallucinations may also be present in these transitions to or from sleep.”

Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis may accompany other sleep disorders“Less than 8 percent of the general population experiences sleep paralysis, but it is more frequent in two groups — students and psychiatric patients…” My son is neither a student (any longer) nor a psychiatric patient… so far. Source: WebMd

Alien abductions and incubi and succubi and other demons attack while people are asleep, or I should say these are sometimes the… um… victim’s… hallucinations during sleep paralysis. Understandably, some people dislike this experience, but others, remarkably, like it.

Anyway, I sent the link to my son, suggesting (only in jest… honestly) that sleep paralysis COULD be the culprit. I don’t think he liked my suggestion, and he offered his own suggestion that if he had another nightmare that night it would be my fault. What’s new? Isn’t that always the case. Mothers are responsible for whatever woes may beset their children. But Alien abductions and incubi and succubi?

Okay. I’ll own it.

Stay Out of the Water and Watch Out for the Adorable Koalas!


koala-bear

I spent Sunday night alone in a dark and windowless room. I finally participated in a sleep study. It looks like I don’t have sleep apnea. Jack was my technician. He was a really nice guy and made the evening less obnoxious than it could have been.

He attached a bunch of electrodes (is that the right word?) to my head, neck and face and a couple on my legs. Then he strapped a couple of elastic bands with sensors on them around my waste and chest – on the outside of my pajamas. It was quite attractive. I was sure that I would have to beat him off with a stick during the night, but Jack spent twenty years in the Air Force before this job. He’s a pretty disciplined guy.

He pointed at a camera that would record my every scratch or sneeze. He then pointed to an intercom and assured me that all I had to do was say his name, and he’d come running to fulfill my slightest request. He was as good as his word. I had to use the facilities three times during the night. He simply unhooked my cords and sent me on my way. He re-hooked everything when I was finished.

When Jack left the room, I puffed up my pillows that I brought from home, and settled down to listen to a relaxation CD that I had tucked in my overnight bag. I tried to mellow out while cleansing my chakras under a waterfall. I had no idea there would be cleansing of chakras when I ordered the CD on Amazon. I thought it was only soothing music but I went with it. It beat watching scary news before trying to sleep.

Jack said that I only achieved rapid eye movement (REM) once during the night, and I was unable to sleep on my back, which is the best position for sleep apnea occurrences. He said that he couldn’t say positively that I don’t have sleep apnea, but my oxygen level was good all night. I received this as good news. I’ve now lost 45 pounds, and I believe that influenced the outcome of this study. I’m pretty sure I had some instances of sleep apnea before the weight loss.

There were two slightly unusual events. My legs twitched uncontrollably a few times. The other event was a little more unusual. Rem sleep is when you receive your deepest and most restful sleep, and it’s when you dream due to heightened brain activity. We are asleep about 90 minutes before we reach REM and must go through several stages of non-REM sleep to get there. Paralysis occurs during REM sleep. It’s a safety mechanism that prevents us from acting out our dreams. We could dream that we’re jumping off the roof to take a little fly about. Oops! Maybe we’d like to take a Sunday drive and stop our car on the railroad tracks. Double oops! You can see why it’s important that we can not move during REM.

I never reached REM sleep until morning. I recall dreaming that I was sitting at the edge of wetlands. There was marsh grass and water at my feet. I was about to put my feet in the water, but I thought better of it, realizing that the murky water could be inhabited by water moccasins.

Then I started walking across a bridge. I heard a voice in my ears as if I was listening to a radio (probably inspired by Jack’s intercom) that warned of koalas in the area. It cautioned people not to be fooled by their adorable appearance because they were very dangerous animals and should be avoided. Suddenly an especially adorable koala latched on to my forearm. It was eying my hand. The voice in my ears said, “He’s youthful and he sees your arm as lunch.” I quickly jerked my arm as fast and forcefully as I could, and the koala went flying through the air, but….

I woke to a loud whack and felt pain in the knuckles of my fingers. I had slammed my hand into the headboard behind my head. The next morning Jack said he was looking down and writing something when he heard this startling noise. He quickly looked at the monitor and saw that I was rubbing my knuckles. He said I shouldn’t have been able to move. I said, “If a youthful kola was looking at your hand like it was a buttery croissant or a juicy eucalyptus branch, you’d jerk your arm, too.” He solemnly agreed.