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Whenever I sit down for a while, I fall asleep!

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by helenemdee, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. helenemdee

    helenemdee Occasional commenter

    I have a bit of an issue with feeling sleepy and starting to drop off whenever I'm inactive for a while. I have a fairly busy lifestyle - teaching 3 days per week and tutoring 3 nights after school till 8pm. I also attend university one evening per week and have the associated reading and assignments to do. I'm pretty active and do lots of walking, home workouts several days per week and swimming twice per week. I don't get much spare time despite not working every day. My sleep patterns are less consistent than they should be - I usually don't get to bed till around 1am and only get 5.5 - 6 hours sleep on school nights, but make up for it on days off by lying in till 10:30 or 11. My diet isn't the best (Not enough fruit and veg, too much sweet stuff) and I probably drink too many energy drinks (mainly to help me get through days where I haven't slept enough).

    However. Most of the above has been my life for years, and I've managed. Being busy is part of teacher life as far as I'm concerned. But the sleeping problem has got worse recently. I'm now on anti anxiety medication (I'd got myself into a state of stress because of being so busy all the time) and its got worse since, but the doctor tells me that wouldn't cause drowsiness. I find that often when I sit down or when I'm bored, I find myself dropping off - even when I don't think I'm tired. It's usually when I sit down to study or attend university lectures, sonetimes when listening to children read in class, sometimes at tutoring too (usually at one particular client's house, weirdly). Today I almost fell asleep in my seminar and I have had a full night's sleep everyday since Saturday! I also find that I can sleep much more than before and will happily sleep till midday at the weekend (from a 2am bedtime). Getting up for work is also becoming more of a problem. Having done a little research, I don't think it's anything like narcolepsy, but am struggling to find potential causes. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post!
     
  2. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Ask your GP to be referred for a sleep study. These days you are generally sent home with equipment that you use overnight at home and return the next day. This measures how many times you wake up in the night plus your blood oxygen levels. You may not be aware of how many times you wake up. Do you go to the loo several times a night? Do you snore? Do you wake up with a dry mouth?

    I say this because I think you need to rule out sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with a mild SA 7 years ago but offered no treatment, returned repeatedly to the GP with feelings of exhaustion, brain fog, mixing up my words, going to the loo several times a night. Was told it was depression, 'lifestyle' etc etc. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with borderline severe SA, stopping breathing 30 times an hour. Started using a CPAP machine, it immediately stopped the loo trips, I had more energy and some of the brain fog started to lift. Still a long way to go but I no longer feel jet lagged/drugged every day. I'm in an assessment phase and once that ends the DVLA will have to be contacted, as if you have a sleep disorder, you can't legally drive unless it's under control. I know I've certainly had many days when I just haven't driven because I felt I wasn't alert enough.

    There is a rating scale you can assess yourself with, the Emsworth Sleep Scale, although I found some of the statements didn't apply to me. Your description of your sleep pattern does mirror mine, though now I find I want to go to bed earlier and I wake up earlier. Before I never felt rested or alert and struggled to get to work. Don't let whatever 'it' is get to that point.

    I feel angry that it has taken so long to get treatment and the physiologist at the hospital says that they see it all the time, that GPs seem reluctant to refer people for sleep studies. It may not be that you have this, but the falling asleep you describe does sound like it, but I'm sure there are other possibilities. It's worth noting that slim, active people can have it too. Good luck with your diagnosis.
     
  3. rayondesoleil1976

    rayondesoleil1976 Occasional commenter

    Have you been to see your GP? Things like your thyroid being under or overactive could be affecting your sleep and making you feel exhausted. Also maybe a blood count to check for anaemia. Also look into something called sleep hygiene. Hope you feel better soon.
     
  4. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    Anaemia was my first thought too, followed by thyroid problems. Best to get both checked out.
    Another thing that might help is fixing your body clock. Try get up and go to bed at the same time every night 7 days a week. There's scientific research that links short weekday sleeps/longer sleeps at the weekend to 'catch up on sleep' as not being good for the body and causing various immune and hormone problems.
     
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    You're tired! You are going to bed too late, not getting enopugh sleep and doing too much. You would probably be much better going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday. Sleeping in at weekends can make things worse.

    I would check out your medication too. Doctors don't always know the details of side effects. I'm very susceptible to anything that causes drowsiness even if it's a rare side-effect, and I've had medicines the doctor said wouldn't make me drowsy but did, and then I found it was a listed side effect. But really, if you're not getting enough sleep, which you're not, then you are going to be tired.
     

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