I have Narcolepsy. The symptoms for me are EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness) - common for oh so many of us moms, and Sleep Paralysis (usually feeling paralyzed while falling asleep). For the longest time I thought it was just because I wasn't getting enough sleep, but it felt like no matter what I did I was always tired. Not when I'm teaching, not when I'm interacting with people, but the moment that I'm alone or a semi-quiet moment at home? ZZzzzzzzz....
The only way to officially diagnose Narcolepsy is to be tested in a sleep lab. The first test is when the hook you up to all kinds of machines that record your sleep. The second test is where you stay hooked up to all the same machines and they have you take four or five short naps about two hours apart over the course of the day. This is called a "sleep latency test."
As the name suggests, the sleep latency test measures the amount of time it takes for a person to fall asleep. Because sleep latency periods are normally 10 minutes or longer, a latency period of 5 minutes or less is considered suggestive of narcolepsy. For each of my four naps, I fell asleep within TWO minutes. For the last two naps, I actually fell asleep in less than one minute.
If a person enters REM sleep either at the beginning or within a few minutes of sleep onset during at least two of the scheduled naps, this is also considered a positive indication of narcolepsy. I entered REM sleep each time within two or three minutes.Bottom line, if given the opportunity, I could sleep all day and then sleep all night. I NEVER feel like I have gotten enough sleep. Apparently, my sleep cycles are all wacky, so I'm waking many, many times during the night. My doctor prescribed medicine that would help me enter into deeper sleep, however when I took it, I was not able to respond to the kids when they woke up and needed me. It was like swimming up from the bottom of the ocean. I would hear them saying my name, but from a great distance, and it took forever to rise to the surface and respond.
I have another medicine that I take during the daytime to help me stay in the alert stage while I am awake. That works great - so great, in fact, that it is very obvious to the people who know me when I have forgotten to take it that day.
My dilemma is waking up on time.
|My Super Rolly Clock|
Today was one of those oversleeping kind of days. I woke up for real only to discover that not only did the kids miss their bus and I now had to drive them to school, it was already past the time I needed to be at my own school in order to set up and be ready for the day. CHAOS! I rushed the kids (not an easy thing to do with Autism and ADHD in the mix) to finish their morning routine while I threw on my own clothes, took my medicine, washed my face, got the kids their medicine, and then pushed everyone out the door, into the van, drove them to school, pushed them out the door, and rushed to my own school.
Clearly, something has to change. I think I know the answer, though I'm afraid to suggest it. I need to get The Princess in on the act. She is always awake well before her alarm clock tells her she is allowed to get out of bed. I believe I am going to put her in charge of getting me out of bed. I am going to (gulp) give her permission to splash my face with cold water if she does not hear me get out of bed and go into the bathroom after my alarm is turned off. She will be THRILLED to be allowed to do this, and it should be enough of a threat in my mind to help me fight off the need to go back into my dream each morning.
I just hope I don't end up drowning in the process.