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Accuracy Of Rem Sleep

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#1 oldgator

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:50 PM

I'm newly diagnosed (narcolepsy without cataplexy) and am wondering something. I've had 3 sleep studies and they have all come up with different things regarding my REM sleep. First one I had I was Concerta (ADHD) and prozac and I got one period of REM sleep throughout the entire night. On the day study I fell asleep in about 8 min and 30 min and no REM. The second study I did 3 weeks later and I had been off my concerts and Prozac for almost 3 weeks. 3 bouts of REM sleep at night and a daytime study of 3:30 until I fell asleep for the naps and no REM. 3 months later (and still off Concerta and Prozac) I hit REM 40 min into my night sleep and then had 3-4 REM periods. For the daytime study I had a sleep latency of 2 min and 30 seconds (although I swear it felt like I didn't even fall alseep on 2 of those naps - so crazy) and REM on all naps. 

 

That said, I know prozac can do crazy stuff to REM sleep and that is also why I have not gone back on it. However, does anyone know accurate REM sleep recording actually is? I feel so often (especially during the day) that I am not sleeping because my mind won't turn off and it keeps thinking about all the stuff I have to do. I lay down because my body is super tired but my brain just won't shut off. It is possible for all this activity in my brain to mimic like REM when it's actually not any sleep at all? I've heard your brain during REM sleep acts like it does when you are awake so is it possible that I'm just actually awake and that is what they are seeing?



#2 exanimo

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:47 PM

Hello, welcome to the NN forum! I am sorry about your diagnosis, but glad you have reached out to the PWN community. Hopefully you will find solace in knowing you are not alone. :)

The tests are pretty accurate - though REM sleep is more like wakefulness than NREM sleep - the brains activity during REM is very distinct and cannot be confused with wakefulness.

Prozac and similar antidepressants are known to suppress REM - which is why they are often prescribed to control cataplexy. The body becomes paralyzed during REM sleep so we don't act out our dreams. Cataplexy is this same paralysis - except that we are not asleep during the cataplexy episode. This is also why cataplexy is usually caused by a trigger such as laughing or surprise- the brain for whatever reason becomes confused and interprets that emotion as being apart of a dream - and then paralyzes the body as it would normally do in REM sleep (dream sleep.) So because drugs like Prozac suppress REM they are generally effective at reducing cataplexy episodes.

Now I cannot really give you an answer - but I can give you my perspective and my own experience.

Because REM sleep is more active and because it allows for thoughts to take place (unlike NREM where the frontal cortex is generally inactive) it is quite common for someone waking up from REM to feel confused, or as if time hasn't passed - even when it has. Those people who wake up panicked because they had a dream someone was hurt - they wake up from REM and experience confusion because the dream ( rem sleep) seemed real. My personal experience is this: I often think a lot before falling asleep. It sometimes feels like the thoughts just don't stop - though I can usually tell when I fell asleep - because eventually I begin to dream etc. but when given a shorter span - such as 20 minutes - it becomes harder to distinguish the active REM sleep and wakefulness because the brain was not able to fully adjust to sleeping.

There is always a possibility of ADD - which racing thoughts or having trouble falling sleep are common. But in my opinion - you are just experiencing the very slight transition of wakefulness to REM and it is indeed so slight that it can be difficult to recognize. Perhaps keep a dream journal for awhile? See if you can better understand how your sleep is and what changes you notice.

Good luck :)

#3 IdiopathicHypersomniac

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 12:21 PM

It's pretty accurate, because they're also picking up electrical signals from the leads placed near your eyes.  They're not just looking at the brainwaves.  Automatic scoring devices can confuse REM, wake, and Stage 1 though.



#4 oldgator

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:05 PM

Thank you Exanimo. I will attempt to keep a dream journal but I usually only remember dreaming maybe once every month or every month and a half. I'll give it a try though. Thank you for your input. I appreciate it.



#5 IdiopathicHypersomniac

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 09:44 PM

Dreaming can and does occur in non-REM stages.







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