Please someone

Friday

Moderator
I get insomnia jags a couple times a year where I’m lucky if I’m getting 6 hours of sleep a week. It’s crazy making. Literally. As in the whole sleep-dep thing. As long as I’m getting at least 90 minutes every 2 days it holds off the hallucinations, but I still feel like I’m trying to drive a muscle car with the engine of a lawn mower. 😣

My nightmare cycles I’ve got a pretty good grasp on. I still have them, but the pieces that interrupt my sleep the most I’ve got workarounds in place to manage them... so they don’t actually disrupt my sleep very much, and I can still get the 4 hours I need or 7 hours I want.

Night Terrors, on the other hand, are far more associated with sleepwalking, and the person who has them rarely remembers anything... waking mentally alert / agile / refreshed BUT physically exhausted... as they “just” suffer the physical effects of screaming, running out of the house in winter, and other forms of -sometimes catastrophic- bodily harm.

All 3 things are very different from each other... (no rest, physical rest but no mental/emotional rest, mental/emotional rest but no physical rest)... and all 3 usually have different best-treatments. Sleep-Clinics / Sleep Specialists see people who have all kinds of sleep disruptions, from all kinds of different disorders, and can usually be VERY helpful in learning to manage them. <<< Which is what I’d recommend the most highly.
 
Ruminating, obsessing and wiring yourself up when you actually really need and want sleep is very common in highly stressed people and of course traumatised people. So I really know and appreciate how frustrating it is to feel like you desperately need rest and respite from an over-active brain and yet it will not allow you any peace.

I try lots of different things. Some work for some of the time. Switching them around is effective. Have you tried any sleep hygiene methods, cbt for sleep, sleep specialists, changing around your routines, habits etc to help coax your brain into a state more conducive to sleep?

Have you prepared yourself and your room where you sleep for sleep? I think there's a lot you can do to help that doesn't involve medications and that's my main focus. I found that meds either gave me super strange dreams full of amazing details and mostly quite disturbing or I only managed sleep for a few hours and then frustratingly I was unable to return to sleep.

I hope your good sleep patterns return soon.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Night Terrors, on the other hand, are far more associated with sleepwalking, and the person who has them rarely remembers anything... waking mentally alert / agile / refreshed BUT physically exhausted... as they “just” suffer the physical effects of screaming, running out of the house in winter, and other forms of -sometimes catastrophic- bodily harm.

Thanks, Friday. This has become a little bit of a pet peeve of mine as there seems to be a trend on social media where more and more people talk about having "night terrors" while it's obvious they refer to nightmares. I guess it's the attempt to emphasize just how bad the nightmares are - while nightmares by definition are already bad and not merely a 'bad dream'.

I only know I had night terrors because the first few times hubby woke me up out of it because he didn't know better and he was worried and tried to comfort me. Or because I woke myself up from physical pain because of running into walls/doors/cat trees. They very rarely are accompanied by imagery (I did get hallucinations with mine) and are just nacked flight-response. Your body literally is pumping adrenaline. Unless you wake up and experience that adrenaline rush in a more awake state (where the night terror may flip over into a panic attack and/or your brain connects the plain physical fear response with an emotional one and/or you remember any associated hallucinations), the aftermath is nothing more than a super sore throat, physical exhaustion, a painful knee, and a reshuffled spouse.

Nightmares hardly ever impact me physically but very much emotionally.

I don't get the ruminating-kind of insomnia, but I do get insomnia, and that leaves me just feeling like I was run over by a truck most times and I walk around basically with major jetlag. Physically AND emotionally exhausted, particularly the longer it goes on.

This is in absolute no way meant to diminish your experiences @Roseptsd98. But it matters insofar because on how you'd try to tackle the issue.

For me, regarding the night terrors, a weighted blanked seemed to have helped. It's only correlational still, but I haven't had one since I started using one over a year ago.

For nightmares, I have not yet identified what specifically triggers them (nor have I for the night terrors, but at least I seem to have found a remedy). They're hit or miss, but I think just general sleep hygiene and stress management are one crucial component. And if they're PTSD-made, therapy.

As for insomnia, probably also comes down to what specifically is the main cause for the insomnia. If it's ruminating? Therapy. If it's fear for 1 or 2 to happen (yep, that's a thing, every time I had a night terror I was terrified of getting another one) - well, management of 1/2. If you have insomnia because of PTSD-related fear, make your sleeping place feel safer; this may even mean sleep someplace else.
In my case, I gotta be mindful about medication timing, messing up my inner clock (if I work past a certain time, I'm just gonna stay awake no matter what), but I still have random insomnia bouts out of nowhere. If PTSD-symptoms keep me up, I manage with reducing those fears, e.g. by sleeping with the lights on, listening to an audiobook all night (also helps to keep the mind from ruminating) and other things that make me feel safe. Sometimes that means to just sit it out and sleep during the day. And while I'm reaaaaaaally not a fan of medication, I recently trialed some Melatonin and it did help somewhat.

The really f*cked up thing about sleep disorders? They are tightly interconnected. Sleep deprivation increases chances for parasomnias, for example. Nightmares increase insomnia. And so forth.

As someone who's had real crappy, unrefreshing sleep for forever despite only rare nightmares, I'm really sorry you're struggling with this. I hope you'll get better sleep. I encourage therapy (are you currently in therapy?), re-evaluate your sleep hygiene/bed room layout/ etc., and maybe consider a sleep study.
 
Top