Non restorative sleep destroying life

I haven't posted in a while. At this point, almost two years later since my symptoms began, i was hoping to be posting about great positive progress, but have made very little.

After some long term traumatic events I started exhibiting severe symptoms of PTSD. Panic attacks, agoraphobia, disassociation, extreme anxiety, severe depression and suicidal ideation, nightmares, and MAJOR sleep issues. The most debilitating symptom was an absolute lack of ability to achieve any kind of sleep. It was so severe for many months that I eventually fell into psychosis from lack of sleep and had to be hospitalized. For a year it felt as though I literally wasn't sleeping at all at night...as months went on i realized I was sleeping to a degree, but so shallowly and so briefly, that it was nothing more than a cat nap.

Here i am about 2 years later and not much has changed....I am able to sleep for a few hours during the night, but it is so shallow and completely non restorative to any degree that it literally feels as though i haven't slept. Some nights i still don't sleep at all.

I am in constant fatigue and pain all over my body...headaches...exhausted all the time...and i am incredibly weak and have lost lots of muscle mass. my digestion and metabolism has changed greatly also. Im 24 years old...i used to be a college athlete...I should not feel like this at my age.

I have been on every sleep medication you can think of including many antipsychotics..antidepressants etc. Nothing has improved my sleep in the slightest. There is one drug my doctor is pursuing for me called Xyrem which promotes deep sleep...but it is highly controlled and most likely won't be passed by insurance.

This is destroying my life...i can barely function...I guess my question is...Has anyone experienced poor sleep to this degree? Is there hope that with time it will revert back to normal restorative sleep? Is there anything i can do to improve things? I see a sleep specialist, psychiatrist, therapist....Should i be looking else where for help? My theory is that there is still some type of hyperarousal during what little sleep i get not allowing me to go deeper...or brain activity during my sleep. I have been pursuing a sleep study for a year now hopefully will have one in the next couple of months...but whatever the sleep study shows, I am still at a loss of how to correct things. I don't want to be stuck like this for the rest of my life...it isn't a life at all -THanks for any insight or response.

5 Replies

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  • hi Mike, I started taking prasozin a month ago or so.

    It helps me calm down it seems, supposed to help with PTSD nightmares and sleep too I think. You may have tried it.

    Just wanted to put it out there just in case.

    And you probably tried it, but melatonin. It keeps me asleep all night most of the time. knock on wood.

    You can take a high dose and it is natural.

    Just in case you haven't tried these.

  • Hi Mike,

    I experienced severe insomnia but not for as long as you have.

    The only thing I can say is that it did improve. In my case I needed safety and stable situation to be able to sleep.

    Everytime there are lots of problems without a solution, I don't sleep and my body gets extremely overwhelmed and it shuts down (loss of consciousness after many nights of zero sleep).

    Luckily it is not that very often.

    I don't know what is the reason in your case, is it biological or is it because of unresolved issues from the trauma?

    If there are real life problems that are bothering you to extreme degree, and if you try to push them out and not think about them, it might be causing this severe loss of sleep. You might have pushed stuff so deep that you don't even realize it but subconsciousness is busy trying to constantly solve it or process the trauma and therefore always on high alert.

    Just an idea not sure if it's relevant in your case.

    Medications don't help.

    Melatonin a little bit.

    Maybe try hypnotherapy or any deep relaxation techniques or any other form of therapy that you haven't tried yet to restore the body and bring you some peace of mind.

  • Hi Mike,

    The first few years were rough for me. The nightmares would start before I was asleep as intrusive memories. When I did sleep it was shallow and short. An hour or two, wake up, fall asleep. Never deep, never restorative. Metabolism got trashed. Digestive system got trashed.

    I took to checking my bedside clock. Although I felt like I wasn't sleeping the clock would say "1 hour" or "two hours" so I knew I was getting some sleep at least. I call it blip-sleeping. I learnt that even if I wasn't sleeping lying still would give my body some rest.

    Your body is trying to balance keeping you safe and restoring your body.

    Facing things during the day helped me to sleep better at night. I eventually lost the fear of falling asleep.

    I replaced the sheets with egyptian cotton that was softer on my skin. I uprated the locks on my apartment.

    Finding ways to feel safe helped, as did learning to relax, as did some exercise and sunlight. I have blackout curtains now and my bedroom is the quietest room.

    I sleep better these days with many nights giving me some deep sleep. Nightmares are not so bad any more and more varied. Sometimes I sleep through the night.

  • I know very well the damages sleep deprivation can bring & got relief once my nutritional deficiencies were addressed.

    So I'd like to ask, have you had a physical with full bloodwork done recently ?

    There are several mineral deficiencies that can cause sleep deprivation along with many of the symptoms you describe.

    Iron , magnesium, & calcium all play a vital role in proper sleep.

    How is your diet?

    Does your mind race & keep you awake?

    Try listening to meditation , sounds of nature, vibrational frequencies... You can find plenty on YouTube. I found them helpful.

  • I know that diet can have a big impact on one's mental and body fatigue.

    Have you sought advice - maybe there is something you are allergic to even, or perhaps you can avoid certain foods to help improve body digestion and alleviate the fatigue. That would certainly be my first port of call.

    I had awful insomnia throughout childhood. I'd be going spare with the lack of getting to sleep. It's not a good experience.

    Getting lots of fresh air has always been the natural way to create calm and prepare for sleep. Also ensuring all mind activity even like using the phone or computer, is stopped by a certain time. The earlier the better. Reading a novel is good though.

    Meditation to still the mind and body can actually, I believe, calm and give rest also. Small and frequent breaks to meditate might help, to give rest, even if you are not able to sleep in the night. Cat-naps... do you take these?

    I hope you find some reprieve from this insomnia you are experiencing. Best wishes.

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