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Sleep Attacks And Micro-Sleep


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#1 Mmartens3

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:57 AM

Ok so these are some terms I see a lot on this forum. But the official symptoms of N are EDS, Cataplexy, HH, and SP. So what are sleep attacks and micro-sleep episodes? I have only thought of my symptoms as Extreme fatigue/sleepiness, and HH and SP. But I am wondering if there is more to my EDS than I had thought about. Can someone elaborate on these terms please?

#2 DeathRabbit

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:23 PM

I call a sleep attack a wave of fog/sleepiness that hits suddenly w/o warning. Those of us with cat usually relate that to being a sleep attack. I know my triggers for my sleep attacks are the same for cataplexy, so I think I'm just expressing it differently (my mind seizes up instead of my body) . Microsleeps have an official medical definitions as periods of sleep that occur in <1-30 second duration, IIRC.



#3 sk8aplexy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:34 PM

Interesting descriptions DeathRabbit.

For me, I consider the Micro Sleep what happens when I'm doing something either tedious or non-stimulating, perhaps also or in other words, if I'm just not able to remain focused due to boredom or repetitiveness; the result is basically finding that I've missed a section of what I'm watching or maybe as DeathRabbit described 'mind seizes up' and I've breifly nodded off or just tuned out/day dreamed away. I sort of think of that last bit as 'Automatic Behavior' also.

Sleep Attack, for me, would be similar but perhaps more, during while I'm actually trying to remain focused on whatever, rather than not having the interest.

These both occur mainly while I'm attempting to watch something, a movie or a series/show, reading can trigger it too; there is for me definitely something related to stimulation though as well as at what point it is in the day, along with how rested I am from the previous night.  I do not have a job, nor do I socialize hardly at all, I do cook almost daily but what I'm saying is that my low key and non overwhelmed mannerism helps a lot in avoiding such happening, a lot more; as most anytime I do begin more normal or routine activity/ies I have a lot more of both sorts of attacks, including Cataplexy.

I refer to them both as, 'nodding off' as well.



#4 munky

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:13 AM

When I refer to "sleep attacks," I mean falling asleep without knowing it ... At least, that's how it's played out in my life. That's how I got diagnosed, in fact: I started falling asleep at work, and I didn't know it was happening. Got in trouble for it, even, and argued with the supervisor who wrote me up, telling him he was flat wrong and I hadn't been asleep--until a co-worker quietly told me I had been. Didn't feel sleepy; didn't feel like I was falling asleep; didn't feel like I was sleeping; didn't feel like I was being woken up. As far as I could tell, I was just sitting there watching my monitor. Since then, I've also found it happening at home, if I'm doing anything that involves sitting down--watching tv, playing on my computer, reading, even chatting with my mother or friends, if we have anyone over. It also happens when I'm a passenger in a car for any length of time. Thankfully, not while I'm driving--but, then, I'm a lot more attuned to how tired I am when driving is involved. I'm learning to recognize the same signs when I'm not driving, so I can fight off the attacks.



#5 Hank

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:43 AM

Ok so these are some terms I see a lot on this forum. But the official symptoms of N are EDS, Cataplexy, HH, and SP. So what are sleep attacks and micro-sleep episodes? I have only thought of my symptoms as Extreme fatigue/sleepiness, and HH and SP. But I am wondering if there is more to my EDS than I had thought about. Can someone elaborate on these terms please?

It has taken me a while to figure out how all of this works. Here is how I describe sleep attacks and microsleep (aka automatic behavior).

Sleep attack- I get an overwhelming feeling of crushing exhaustion, like a tsunami wave that keeps rolling in. I feel it coming and can try to fight it. If I can keep myself active, I can stave it off with varying degrees of success. This is a major red flag that I need to take a nap.

 

Micro sleep- This often occurs for me when I am fighting off a sleep attack. this continues to be a mystery in many ways. It may be a long blink where I sleep for a second or two. Or a vacant stare for a second or two. 

Micro sleep ties in with automatic behavior. I describe this as "walk sleeping" as opposed to sleep walking. I am not walking in my sleep, I am sleeping in my walk- quite literally. Once, I was starting a 3 mile run before diagnosis. I was fighting off a sleep attack before starting and tried to push through it. At one point, I noticed my breathing was very shallow and my feet were shuffling in baby steps. I was in a different place along the road- and I had no memory of getting there. This scared the heck out of me- especially when I figured out that 12-15 minutes had passed. Yikes.

 

I hope this helps.



#6 Wokndead

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:29 AM

Hank, that makes a lot of sense to me. I had a sleep attack yesterday, right after work. I was really busy all day, but knew I just wanted to sleep. I walked back in after walking the dog, and I must have made a particular noise because my wife said, "No, don't go to sleep!" as I walked into the bedroom. I REALLY wanted to lay down and snooze. Alas, I had trash to collect and take out, so I stayed away from the bed and got it done. But I relate to the waves rolling in, the tiredness just washing over you. I was able to stay awake for the rest of the evening, and even watched a movie with my wife until bedtime. But MAN, did I want to sleep during the day.

 

As for the micro-sleep, I do have moments where I zone out and miss what's going on. Or I'll be driving somewhere and suddenly have no idea where I am, or how far I've driven, until I see a landmark I recognize. Scary! It's like driving through a time warp!

 

I'm not yet diagnosed, and still waiting for my sleep study to be scheduled, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can here.



#7 Mmartens3

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:15 AM

Ok, I guess I get both of these. Not to the extreme as in cataplexy but I do have very strong urges to sleep throughout the day as well as episodes in which I am staring off into space and seeming unaware of what's going on around me. My daughter always says "mom, you're doing that stare like you're dead again, stop you're freakin me out."

#8 NetiNeti

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:59 PM

Microsleep is the worst. Sleep attacks I can see coming and prepare for them. Microsleep is like being there but not. Some part (or parts) of your brain are asleep, but you might seem awake. I could be "gone" for 5 - 15 min or so, and come back with full awareness with little memory of what I did. Sometimes I did things (this usually happens at work) sometimes I don't, I just notice because the clock has progressed or my monitor has timed out. It has even happened driving on the interstate. I work with patients and once during a session I was gone for 15 min or so. One time I fell asleep on a patient who thought I was boring him (that was a sleep attack though).

I don't have cataplexy, but the microsleep and sleep attacks are by far the scariest thing. I can deal with the EDS and the fog I have some days. Those are just my "low" or off days. Microsleep and sleep attacks do not discriminate though.  Even on medication, I can tell when the micro sleeps still occur, although now I dont' lose awareness. 



#9 sleepwalkingmama

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:26 PM

My sister, dx'd with N about 2 years ago, did not believe she fell asleep for one nap. Apparently not only did she hit REM within seconds, but she had hundreds of micro sleeps per hour. She was literally living in a dream. I guess she had a ton of automatic behavior, too. Honestly, it makes me understand how people can be dx'd with ADHD instead of narcolepsy!

#10 Wokndead

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 12:21 PM

Wow, that's crazy scary! I still have yet to hear about my sleep study being scheduled, so I think I need to get in touch with my doc. It's been far too long, and I'm getting tired (no pun intended) of waiting.



#11 Mmartens3

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:22 AM

Question: can emotions trigger sleep attacks in a similar way that they can trigger cataplexy? I have noticed my sleep attacks sometimes being triggered by emotions such as romantic feelings, nostalgia, excitement, or embarrassment. Not laughter or surprise though.

#12 slo.mo.a.go.go

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:13 AM

My sister, dx'd with N about 2 years ago, did not believe she fell asleep for one nap. Apparently not only did she hit REM within seconds, but she had hundreds of micro sleeps per hour. She was literally living in a dream. I guess she had a ton of automatic behavior, too. Honestly, it makes me understand how people can be dx'd with ADHD instead of narcolepsy!

 

what are her of n symptoms /EDS like? 

just curious because i'm adhd-pi but before adhd dx & now during my adderall holidays, I feel like i'm stuck living in a dream, even down to my handwriting. it gets as loopy and nonesensical. I can't maintain muscle tone, walk like i'm drunk and sink into chairs but my minds awake yet the people speaking around me are respresented in dreamstate, i can follow the coversations and tell you what was said, but i'm unable to open my eyes and they bcome surreal. Recent example. i was in that aware but unable to move feeling the dream state take hold of me. my friend, Will, was speaking w/ my boyfriend and I saw him in my dream state as a large muppet letter E blue with black yarn hair flopping aroung as his big muppet mouth moved to the conversation I heard. I asked them after i repeated their conversation to them if i heard it right and I had.  funny muppet friend, but this is what my eds is really like and not quite what the doc's says EDS is. luckily i've tested and ruled out some scary other causes but the sleep study is looming... mirco-sleeps aren't what I thought I was experiencing but what I desrcibe as my eds.,, hmm    



#13 cmanbrazil

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 06:21 PM

I spend a lot of time micro sleeping, at least I believe I do. That quick 15 min doctors visit where your told you have Narcolepsy and given prescriptions for Xyrem and Nuvigil doesn't explain much.  However, I live by daydream.  In college I spent many a day living in my dorm room listening to music having such wonderful daydreams, sometimes going into a full sleep, but mostly too tired to move. 

 

Now, over twenty years later I want to say my Narcolepsy and Sleep Apnea have made it worse, but maybe its my lifestyle that has changed.  I now work more in meetings and from my computer, so less movement. 

 

In meetings, especially ones that last for hours, I always drift off, but never sleep.



#14 Chrish1441

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 03:26 PM

My sister, dx'd with N about 2 years ago, did not believe she fell asleep for one nap. Apparently not only did she hit REM within seconds, but she had hundreds of micro sleeps per hour. She was literally living in a dream. I guess she had a ton of automatic behavior, too. Honestly, it makes me understand how people can be dx'd with ADHD instead of narcolepsy!

It's the micro sleep and automatic behaviour that is ruining my life. I feel I spend a large portion of my day either micro sleeping or fending off a sleep attack. I initially mentioned to my neurologist of feeling like a zombie for most of the day and he instead starting looking at the depersonalitation route! I am a happy 23 year apart from the excessive sleepiness, I do not need a neuropsychiatrist!

 

I know this is an old thread but does anyone else suffer severe cognitive dysfunction that they believe is due to micro sleeps?

Is it possible to be drifting in and out of micro sleep all day long? My automatic behaviour is severe an hour or two after waking up, and there or there abouts all day. I would describe it as drowsiness which shifts into micro sleep the moment I fail to get a hold of it. At it's worst my brain empties and I literally can't handle the simplest of tasks - making my feel mentally disabled. My memory is terrible and my ability to understand and manage information is declining year-on-year.

 

This is based on getting plenty of sleep. If I did however, get around 5 hours sleep, my day is completely wiped out.

 

 Can anyone else relate?



#15 Della The Red

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 06:16 PM

I can relate!

 

'sleep attacks' for me are, out of the blue, HUGE tidal wave of sleepiness, mind and body, my eyes are rolling as they struggle to stay open. I cannot function either mentally or physically when it comes on. I have learnt to make myself get up and stroll around the house or garden.

 

Unfortunately, after years of this, and doing battle with it all day every day, I kicked into micro-sleeps with auto behaviour instead of just being able to nap. For the past couple of years, I am having micro's on and off all day.

 

I would not remember anything during them, but found myself somewhere else, or kept finding things in odd places (I live alone so nobody to blame for putting things in odd places), eg: finding forks in the toothbrush cup in the bathroom.

 

I had video eeg testing for 5 days to explore these 'blackouts' only to be told that I didn't have epilepsy so must be having 'psuedo seizures"...pfft what a joke.

 

Finally, with the sleep physician diagnosis, helped by the fact that for my sleep study, they recorded a couple of micro-sleeps well before I even went to bed for the psg part of it, these 'blackouts' turned out to be micro-sleeps.

 

I am still having them every day, I have to super careful about personal safety but at least I know what they are now.

 

I cannot talk for more than half an hour on any given day, micro's kick in and before long I am violently ill with mental exhaustion. If the brain could vomit...mine feels like it is retching and I know I have pushed too far.

 

I am on modafinil for the EDS which helps a bit.



#16 psychonauticat

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 11:39 PM

I struggle horribly with automatic behaviors as well since I find it hard to actually let myself slow down and nap. I get very hyperfocused if involved in an activity. My body will scream for sleep but my brain just won't shut up long enough to let me, I have ADHD too. I think this is partially from powering through staying awake in school all those years, I'd start an inner dialogue along with what the teacher was saying to keep myself from nodding off and to try to pay attention in class.

 

Initially I was also tested for epilepsy because my mother would notice me wandering around the house unresponsive and doing things not quite correctly, like putting the milk on top of the fridge and the box of cereal inside it or putting a fork in my bowl and pouring apple juice on my rice crispies :wacko: I lose my keys and other objects constantly because I move them and won't remember. Recently I found my car keys after searching for nearly week, they were in the pocket of a spring jacket I don't wear since it's too cold right now. I've come out of autopilot wearing two different shoes more than once too. Some instances I can look back on and laugh at but it really makes me feel like I'm losing my mind at times.

 

Adderall helps somewhat, the stimulants feel like they remove the thick layer of fog I'm otherwise submerged in all day drifting in and out of being fully awake. I take the 30mg IR tablets and those do allow me to nap during the day when I really need to between doses since stimulants when you're truly needing sleep just make things worse. When the adderall wears off I start drifting around in autopilot again. Being extra careful for safety has become a habit, I also live with my parents which is a huge help even though someday I hope I'm stable enough to move out.

 



#17 julesj

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 12:02 AM

It has taken me a while to figure out how all of this works. Here is how I describe sleep attacks and microsleep (aka automatic behavior).

Sleep attack- I get an overwhelming feeling of crushing exhaustion, like a tsunami wave that keeps rolling in. I feel it coming and can try to fight it. If I can keep myself active, I can stave it off with varying degrees of success. This is a major red flag that I need to take a nap.

 

Micro sleep- This often occurs for me when I am fighting off a sleep attack. this continues to be a mystery in many ways. It may be a long blink where I sleep for a second or two. Or a vacant stare for a second or two. 

Micro sleep ties in with automatic behavior. I describe this as "walk sleeping" as opposed to sleep walking. I am not walking in my sleep, I am sleeping in my walk- quite literally. Once, I was starting a 3 mile run before diagnosis. I was fighting off a sleep attack before starting and tried to push through it. At one point, I noticed my breathing was very shallow and my feet were shuffling in baby steps. I was in a different place along the road- and I had no memory of getting there. This scared the heck out of me- especially when I figured out that 12-15 minutes had passed. Yikes.

 

I hope this helps.

This is exactly how I would describe both sleep attacks and microsleep for me.



#18 Ferret

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 12:13 AM

I remember zombie land like it was yesterday...and it was nearly 28 years ago. That cotton wool feeling in your head and the inability to do more in a day than take a shower. I hated it and I hated me.
Each of us does what is necessary to have a life and our decisions may not be conventional but it is our life and our choice.
When I picked up a cigarette in December of '89 after not smoking since '83, the fog cleared instantly...INSTANTLY. Menthol cigs gave me back my life. I now vape it. I tried the patch and it didn't work for me. I tried the nicotine gum and it didn't work for me. Only inhaled nicotine works for me...it also suppresses REM and takes the edge off the severity of cataplexy.
Only you can decide what works for you...I chose to have a life and was fully prepared for it to be shorter to achieve it.
I have now eliminated cataplexy completely for nearly three months by ingesting a small amount of cannabis oil before bed.
Golly gee...maybe there's a reason why humans have nicotinic receptors and cannabinoid receptors in their brains.

#19 purpley

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 01:45 AM

Ferret, the good news is, you knew right away with the nicotine, which is usually the case for any substance/chemical that people use for EDS. So if any of y'all reading this are going to try it -- and you shouldn't be trying it unless other options with fewer side effects aren't working -- if it doesn't work for you right away, toss the cigarettes, and don't keep trying, OK? Nicotine is very addictive stuff, much more addictive than any stimulant you might be afraid of using.

#20 Ferret

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 08:54 AM

Absolutely agree.