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Friday, January 16, 2009

Q: What's worse than Chronic Insomnia?

A: Nothing

Experts and other survivors say that a sleep disorder (Chronic Insomnia) comes with the TBI territory. For me, this is the most miserable part of the injury. It's like human torture. I've made all recommended lifestyle changes to improve my sleep:
  1. Try to go to bed at the same time every night
  2. No liquids before bed to decrease the urge to use the toilet in the middle of th night (but I live in Utah, which is practically the dessert. I'm so thirsty at night so I have to drink water)
  3. Sleep with an eye mask and earplugs
This has made a huge difference. But it's not enough. Before the accident, I could sleep through my alarm. After the accident, I wake up if a cat walks outside my bedroom window. Before I began to implement the suggested lifestyle changes, I would sleep only 4-5 hours during the night. No joke! Now I sleep 6-7 hours at one time. At the Brain Injury Association of Utah Conference in 2006, Mark Ashley (see http://www.neuroskills.com/) told me I should be sleeping 7-9 hours per night.

I can't remember the last time I've slept even 8 hours straight during the night.

Bottom line, I'm not going to stand for this sleep disorder any longer! I just made an appointment for a Split Night Sleep Study, two weeks from now, at Intermountain Medical Sleep Center in Salt Lake City. Hopefully February 2, 2009 will be the day that I can get my sleep fix! Give me 8 hours straight of rest, it's all I want (Imagine me shouting these words because I didn't sleep well last night--even though I had over 9 hours in bed--I still went to the gym this morning, and now I have to take a nap to recover).

I hate feeling like I must plan my life around a sleep schedule.

On another note, studies of people with TBI found that between 37% and 98% of them said they had some kind of fatigue. As many as 70% complained of mental fatigue. It doesn't matter how severe the TBI is. Fatigue is a very common problem among all people with TBI.

1 comment:

Andrew Sutton said...

I do sympathise and as many people have responded to zolpidem (Ambien) please have a look at the website of a book that has just been published because it will almost certainly interest you: www.hopeinbraindamage.co.uk
Also do a Google on zolpidem brain damage.

If you are having problems due to the brain injury the obvious suggestion is that you could try Ambien for both them and your sleep problem ( 10 or 12.5mg at night) in case you are one of the 30% or so people with TBI who respond to Ambien. If you are a responder it should show before sleep and on waking, then the reponse disappears as the Ambien is eliminated from the body. During the day you could try sub-sedative doses ( half a 5mg tablet) to try to get the benefit without the sleep.
Good luck
Andrew Sutton