Thursday, October 23, 2014
Sunday, September 07, 2008 sclwyr, Community Member, asks

Q: what sleeping disorder has these symptoms: going directly into REM sleep and dreaming while awake?

I'm a 39 year old man. In my teens I started having trouble falling asleep at night, and trouble waking up in the morning. In high school, I would sleep through the first half of the day, then take long naps (2 hrs) after school.  At age 23 I had a sleep study done and was diagnosed with phase delay syndrome and narcolepsy. Ritalin initially worked amazingly. With time, it worked less well. I now take Provigil in the day and diphenhidramine at night.  Both work okay.


Over the last couple years, I've developed new symptoms.  I take diphenhidramine at night.  (If I don't, I can't sleep.) When I go to sleep, it feels as if I go immediately into REM sleep.  I do this whenever I go to sleep - at night, naps, falling back to sleep in the morning.  Also, as strange as it sounds, I feel as if I dream, vividly, while awake.  (I say "I feel" only because this sounds so strange.  But really I'm certain I dream while I'm awake. I can't really describe it.)


One other thing - a past girlfriend told me when falling asleep my breathing would change.  Instead of smooth inhaling and exhaling, in a continuous sequence, she said I would almost hold my breath briefly after inhaling, then exhale.


So, what is this - going immediately into REM sleep, skipping the first 4 stages of sleep; dreaming while awake, but while coming in and out of sleep; erratic breathing?



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Answers (1)
HealthGal, Health Guide
9/ 7/08 11:54pm

Narcolepsy is a complicated illness.  One of the diagnostic criteria is - that REM occurs earlier - but to diagnose that you really have to re-undergo a sleep study.  this might indeed, if proven, change your current medication regimen.  Ask about Xyrem which only certain doctors can prescribe and which resets the "off switch" for REM.


that's different from elayed phase shift syndrome - which you would diagnose with a polysomnogram.

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By sclwyr, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/17/12, First Published: 09/07/08