Hypersomnia, sleep apnea, nightmares, and insomnia.


Sorry to hear your sleep is so disrupted, @Lionheart – it sounds exhausting!

I have a few parasomnias – in particular, night terrors and hallucinations. I finally went to a sleep clinic a few years ago and they got me in for an overnight sleep study. I didn't have any parasomnias that night but they did discover I have moderate sleep apnoea. So, they gave me an A-PAP machine to treat the apnoea as they thought the other sleep disorders may be caused or exacerbated by the apnoea.

Anyway – I couldn't bear the machine! I hated the noise (that wasn't great for my partner either), couldn't tolerate having the mask on, and it dried my mouth out to such an extent that I would wake up choking and unable to swallow. And – I still had night terrors. Which were then even more stressful because I'd half wake up, panicked and disorientated and then couldn't breathe because the pressure was so high and couldn't process what was on. my fee and head so it just made everything worse. I gave it a good go for about 3 months and bought all sorts of paraphernalia for it (including a synthetic saliva spray – ugh!) to try to be able to tolerate it better but the sleep consultant agreed with me that it was having too much of a negative effect.

I then got a mandibular device but couldn't make that work either...too hard to breath, too much saliva this time (felt like I was drowning in it!), too much panic from having something permanently in my mouth so I couldn't speak... It was just awful. And it disrupted my sleep even more than the situation I was in when I first went to the sleep clinic!

So....no treatment now for apnoea but I don't generally find the apnoea very disruptive (though it was much worse when I had Covid earlier in the year!)

Instead, I got prescribed Melatonin (it's not legally available to buy here in the UK as it is in many other countries) I've been taking 2mg every night for almost two years. It has definitely helped my parasomnias – they still occur but not as regularly. And it has had the added bonus of making me feel sleepy before bed so that I generally get to sleep more quickly (though that effect seems to be wearing off now, perhaps as I have got used to it?) For me, the primary purpose of the Melatonin is to consolidate my sleep by ensuring that I cycle through the necessary sleep stages so that I don't end up in a weird, between stages limbo state, which is when parasomnias and disturbances are more likely to happen.

One thing I would say about Melatonin if you're thinking of trying it, is that they did give me crazy, intense dreams for about three weeks when I first started taking it. Sometimes they were unpleasant dreams. Mostly not – but they were so vivid and intense that they didn't feel remotely restful. I'd felt like I'd been caught up in intensely cinematic experiences lasting the whole night, which was just exhausting. It did settle down. But if I have a few days without taking it, I then go back to a couple of weeks of mad dreaming again when I start re-taking it. I've heard several other people also report this effect, so I think it's quite common, but not everyone seems to. Don't know whether the fact that you already have nightmares would make that Melatonin effect more likely? Or whether Melatonin and Prazosin are compatible or counter each other? But it may be worth a look?

For nightmares – a soft toy to cuddle, I usually get up and switch the light on and really get grounded in the present time, I sometimes jot a few notes down about the dream.

In general for getting to sleep, staying asleep and having calmer sleep – diaphragmatic breathing exercises before bed. Even just 10 mins of slow, deep breaths to calm the mind and still the body, it seems to help me. I haven't done that for a while so perhaps I need to re-start.

Sorry – a long post! But I feel your pain. Sleep deprivation/not having restful, restorative sleep is just awful. And adding distressing dreams into the mix makes it even more so.

I hope there's something in this thread that is useful to you. And I wish you a more restful night tonight! (And everyone else on this thread who is struggling with sleep issues)


One thing I would say about Melatonin if you're thinking of trying it, is that they did give me crazy, intense dreams for about three weeks Don't know whether the fact that you already have nightmares would make that Melatonin effect more likely? Or whether Melatonin and Prazosin are compatible or counter each other?
Thank you for your reply @barefoot!!! I will talk to my psychiatrist about melatonin and find out what he has to say about trying it.


There are two drugs that I have found effect my sleep and nightmares dramatically. one is a benzo that makes it possible to sleep with nightmares interrupting much less than without, they also help me get back into bed and get some rest or possibly sleep before the 4:00 alarm if I have a nightmare (down from 2-5 weekly to 1-3 monthly). In reality, two and only two outside forces have helped my PTSD and sleep/nightmares: Benzo's and EMDR in all of their forms. The rest is talk and learning, online and in session. thanks all.
The other drug is opium, in any form. Even when I have procedures done early as possible in the day I know I will have nightmares that night and possibly for a few nights. It has never been a drug of choice but I know I get over that after a month or two and I am counting my prescriptions to have a few on hand for a better weekend and that kind of crap. I know the signs and run scared, honest. Never sought or used an illegally obtained opiate, ever. i have seen that movie in real life, no thanks.
First time out was Darvocet and what they called a Tylenol 5 at the time. Dilaudid is another enemy drug that I have a long and horrible relationship with. Since about 2010 it has all been replaced with Fentenyl and I am developing a hate for it also. All of these experiences are usually followed with a bottle of vicodin or oxy C to take home. I pass now, skip the Benzo's and have a beer or two instead.
I had a procedure done this morning, they used fentanyl and told me it may cause insomnia, I just smiled. I know what it causes and I am sitting up typing away like a two year old that doesn't want to go to sleep.
I tell my anesthetists to go light but I also warn them that I can be combative after being under so guess what? I am a big guy, they give me the horse dose and bring in extra orderlies and hide their women when I am in post op.
Their conscience is clear, I had no pain, and worst case I got a stern talking too and maybe roughed up a little while I was laying on my back being obnoxious but probably unable to get traction even if I could reach the floor in my hospital socks, let alone use it to back up a decent punch. Maybe worst case I could bang their heads together but that takes recovery skills I am not in possession of at the time. Still learning.....
All I got today were injections in my neck above and below where it was broken 45 years ago, to see if the headaches will stop or get better. So far ...no. I give it time. Too bad I know I will probably sleep with one eye open tonight, or for five minutes followed by an hour of abject fear and loathing.

A positive outlook is half the game, right?

Better one: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" Mike Tyson.