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Ask the Sleep Doctor: Do you have a question about sleep or sleep disorders?

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We occasionally have a live Questions & Answers from a sleep doctor.

Ask a question or leave a comment below - We might answer it in our next session. 

Please realize that we cannot answer personal medical questions. You should always consult your own doctor when seeking medical advice. ASA does not provide medical advice, diagnoses, or treatments.

 

Visit some of the Ask the Sleep Doctor Q&A's:

Ask The Sleep Doctor: Sleep Apnea in Child, Depression and Sleep, MVA and OSA, Morphine & Sleep

Ask The Sleep Doctor: What about 6 Hours of Sleep? Depression and Sleep Apnea? Traveling with CPAP?

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Sleep Apnea and ischemic optic neuropathy

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Not improving on CPAP & Dying without sleep?

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Narcolepsy, Insomnia, Sleeping Pills, and RLS

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea, Oral Appliances, Sleeping Pills

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Topics: Atrial Fibrillation, ADD, CPAP, and More

Ask The Sleep Doctor

Ask The Sleep Doctor

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Heart Attack, Dementia, Sleeping Aids

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Pulmonary Embolus, Epilepsy, Heart Failure & Pre-Eclampsia and Sleep

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: OSA and Growth Hormones, CHF, Children & Sleep, and Depression

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Sleep Apnea and Stroke, Pulmonary Hypertension, and MicroSleeps

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Night Eating, PTSD, Sleep Apnea and Dementia

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Ambien, Medical Marijuana and Sleep, and Sleep Apps

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Essential Oils, Heart Attack, Central Sleep Apnea, and more

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Night Shift, Sleep Apnea, Sleep Terrors vs. Nightmares

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Napping and Memory, Truck Driver, Exercise and Sleep, and Strokes

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Sleep Apnea and Diabetes, Laser Treatment, Asthma, and Nicotine

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Pregnancy, CPAP toleration, fibromyalgia, and sleep for school

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Magnesium and Sleep

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: How Common is Sleep Apnea, Alzheimers, Sore Throats, Bruises

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Autism, Support Hose, Weight Loss, and Hot Flashes

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Weight Loss, Antidepressants, and Oral Appliances

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Depression, Antidepressants, Heart Disease

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Weight Loss, Diet, MS, and Hypertension

Ask the Sleep Doctor – Bariatric Surgery, Narcolepsy Medications

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Night Owls

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Pets and Sleep?

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Is this Restless Legs Syndrome?

Ask The Sleep Doctor – Down Syndrome and Sleep Apnea

Ask The Sleep Doctor – “terrible time falling and staying asleep”

 

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87 comments on “Ask the Sleep Doctor: Do you have a question about sleep or sleep disorders?”

  1. Hello- I have a brother whose chronic fatigue may be at least partly caused by sleep issues: he reports he can only sleep for a few hours at a time. The problem is not with falling asleep, but with Staying asleep. I have heard that SSRI's destroy REM sleep; do you corroborate this? He has been on an SSRI for many years and feels he must take it for the rest of his life. Is there any remedy for this short sleep duration and lost REM? He is considering going on disability, which would be a huge waste of an otherwise highly excellent person.

  2. Hi,

    My girlfriend has had trouble sleeping since she was a kid.

    She usually falls asleep around 10pm, then wakes up around 1am and can't get back to sleep.

    She goes on her phone in bed for an hour or two at 1am and then dozes back off to sleep.

    She says that it's the only way that works to get her sleepy again and to get her back to sleep.

    I keep telling her blue light at that time is really bad for her sleep rhythm and eyes, but she won't listen.

    She says it's better than staring at the ceiling or relying on sleeping tablets.

    Please can you give your thoughts on the effect of a few hours of blue light from a iphone at 1am mid way through your sleep will have?

    As she won't listen to me. :-(((

    Any help would be massively appreciated!

    Best regards,
    Paul

  3. Dear Dr.
    I have a strange sleep related problem that I cannot find a solution to. I am 42. I go to bed at about 9pm and fall asleep very quickly. But for the last 3 months I have been waking up after 2-3 hours of sleep. No matter how tired I am. I have tried keeping awake all day long, doing physical activities during daytime, but the result is the same. On the other hand if I allow myself I will be able to sleep 5-6 hours continuously during daytime. I don't have any anxiety or other psychological issues. I don't drink coffee/tea after 2pm. I try to follow all the common tips but to no result. Can you please advise?

  4. I recently discovered that my husband talks in his sleep. Once in a while, Around maybe 3am he starts moaning in his sleep. This then progresses to talking either clearly or muffled. He’s clearly still asleep while he’s talking. Recently, I’ve started to record his ‘sleep talks’ so he can hear them. His most recent one freaked me out a little. He didn’t say anything strange at first, or at least I couldn’t tell what he was saying anyway. When he started to get more vocal, he said ‘wake me up’. I tried to gently wake him up as I didn’t want to freak him out. I placed a hand on his and also gently shook (I’m not sure if I should do that). It didn’t wake him, so I pulled my hand back and was going to walk to his side of the bed and try again. When I pulled away he let out a loud moan and started repeating ‘who are you’ and reaching out towards me. That sort of freaked me out because I didn’t expect it and the moan sounded really strange. He then started to repeat ‘wake me up’ louder each time he said it until I managed to.
    I’m not sure if he’s having a nightmare, what do we do to stop this? I don’t want it getting worse

  5. Are you familiar with hypersomnia? I have a friend I believe suffers from this but there is very little information out there. He can sleep like the dead for 36 hours or more. I’m not sure his psychiatrist (he suffers from depression) knows much about this either or how to treat it. Should he go to a sleep lab for help?

  6. Do you know what the rough estimate equivalent THC mg to have the same effect as 1 ten mg zoloidem or ambien? Is that even a fair or sensible comparison?

  7. Hello. I divide my time between Colorado, at about 9000 ft and California at the beach, so sea level. I have “snore lab” on my phone to record my sleep. I use it only to note the severity of my snoring. I have one major observation here. Sleeping at 9000ft I snore. Snore Lab tells me my snoring is minimal and a snore less than 20% of the time. Sleeping at sea lever, Snore Lab tells me I snore around 90% of the time and according to the recording and the graph, snore quite loud. They call it “epic” in some cases.
    Why do I snore loud at sea level and much less and quieter at altitude. Everything I read is opposite to that.
    Can you help me with an explanation. Thank you

  8. Hello,

    Is it possible to have “partial” sleep paralysis? I woke up the other morning and I had extremely limited/shaky movement of my body (I surely couldn’t pick up my phone or get out of bed) but was still having aural hallucinations and a foreboding sense that someone was in the room. It was deeply disturbing.

  9. I have a hard time sleeping and from what I’m told that a adult pacifier can help you sleep is that true

  10. I have heard about waking up early on little sleep to quickly reset your circadian rhythm. I want to see the pros and cons of staying up late vs. sleeping very little. Can you please specify which is worse for your body: Operating for long periods of time (after healthy amount of sleep) or operating on little sleep (for reasonably long period of time).

  11. I had a ischemic left capsule stroke 8 months ago. I am exhausted during the day all the time no matter how much sleep i get. I usually get 7-9 hours a night. I dont snore. I know my brain is healing but is there anything i can do that will help me with the constant fatigue.

  12. I will often be aware I am asleep when dreaming, and I am unable to wake myself up. I force myself through doors to other areas, hoping to get to the real world, but I just end up in a worse section of dream. I will talk to people in the dream, but they are unaware it's my dream. I will also have dreams where I'm aware that I'm 'dreaming,' but in reality I'm in another plane of existence, and this reality is my dream. How do I make all this stop? Prazosin and Doxazosin have been of very limited help.

  13. I went to a new Dentist today and I mentioned I have OSA and when they did a routine mouth exam and said I am tongue-tied and have I ever thought about having a frenulotomy, cutting of the tendon under the tongue. It is performed in a 45-minute laser procedure. They stated it might help with my OSA. Any one heard of this before? First time in my life this was brought up.

  14. Since I have retired (and with this COVID shutdown) my sleep schedule has shifted greatly and I do not like it at all.

    How do I shift it back???

  15. Hello,

    With the routine and amount of sleep seemingly the priority of sleep health, can it be healthy to go to bed at 1am and wake up at 8am. It still gives 7 hours of sleep, and if the habit of no screens before bed and maintain routine and other healthy sleep habits are recognized , would this be a healthy? Also, is there any major difference between male and females and operation on this type of schedule?

    Thank you,
    Rick

  16. I use a sleep tracking device and notice that very often my heart rate initially decreases when I fall asleep but then increases during the first two hours of the night (when I am logging most of my deep sleep). This seems odd to me because everything I read indicates that your heart rate should decrease during deep sleep. How could I find someone to help me analyze this and determine if there is any action I should be taking? Thank you!

  17. Upon waking up I will see an image appearing just inches from my face and in reality it is an image or portion of image from across the room. What is causing this ?

  18. How do I reset my sleep clock and start sleeping again? I’m taking sleep meds. I was sleeping about 7-7 1/2 hours a night. But then one night I went to bed 1 1/2 hour later than usual. I did not sleep as well that night. The next night, I was really tired one hour earlier, so I went to bed. But I was insomniac. Every night since then I have gone to bed at the same time, but I only get 3 hours deep sleep. The rest of the night, I either have sleep misperception or am awake. And I’m still taking my sleep meds.

  19. Hi doctor a month ago I was with my friends in a restaurant , I ordered a bottle of mineral water upon drinking it I felt extremly sleepy,heavy eyelid, I felt difficult to keep my eye open so I decided to sleep for while perhaps 30 minutes I did not check the time, was it possible that my drink got spike with sleeping pill that cause me to feel sleepy suddely? I am bit worried now

  20. My now college age daughter began having night terrors when she was 9. Though they have decreased in intensity, she continues to have disrupted sleep overnight that she often does not remember (agitated sleep talking, yelling, walking), rarely feels rested, and now that she wears a sleep tracking device has found that she gets less than required REM sleep and mostly just light sleep to awakefulness overnight. Her PCP had tried trazodone and it did not help. Where do we go next?

  21. HI, I am a college student who has completely messed up my sleeping times, after constantly playing with my friends the whole night, I sleep at 5:Am in the morning and wake up in the afternoon, I want to go back to sleeping early at night because I am going to be doing a part time job soon, please help!

  22. Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

    If I wake up naturally in the morning but feel like I could go right back to sleep, have I had enough sleep? What if I feel a little sleepy after ,y alarm wakes me up?

  23. please explain what should i expect from sleep doctor as far as recommending cpap machine and monitoring usage. i found sleep doctors dont want to learn about latest cpap machines, masks, algorithms. cpap technology improved over the years but doctors do not make effort to keep up with it. they just fax prescription to DME but they never write what machine to use. DME assigns machine that they have in stock not necessary one that works the best. why sleep doctors think that learning about cpap technology is not their job? i had 5 sleep doctors and fired all of them

  24. I was recently diagnosed with mild apnea. But my oxygen drops to 77!! When I did the titration study, they said I did best with added oxygen, but they aren't advertising recommending i get the CPAP with oxygen. Why on earth would they recommend anything but what works the best? I'm so incredibly frustrated after being fall-on-my-face exhausted for the last 2 decades.

  25. I can't get good sleep. What's the best way to cope?

    I have several autoimmune diseases and I have had trouble sleeping for over 4 years. I lose 2-3 hours of sleep most nights (sometimes more). Lately, it comes down to waking up to chronic muscle pain. I've tried it all. Melatonin, benadryl, hot baths, using only red light bulbs at night, bedtimes, pain killers, not eating or drinking for 2 hours before bed, sunshine in the morning.

    What I need to know is how to cope with crummy sleep. All the advice I find is how important sleep is and which habits will improve sleep. But what about when you have several bad nights of sleep every week? I have a flexible schedule. Sometimes it feels impossible to get out of bed because my sleep JUST got deep. How long do I stay in bed? 90 minutes? Is it better to get up for 1 hour on time (when I know I'll HAVE to go back to sleep soon from exhaustion? If I succumb to a long afternoon nap, is there a way to mitigate the damage?

    In short, of I can't get better sleep at night, is there a strategy for when to nap and when not to in the day?

    Thanks for any suggestions you have
    -Desperate and exhausted, lost in the dark

  26. I currently work shift work, 12 hour shifts on a consistent rotation of 2 day shifts, two night shifts, and then four days off. I wake up at 330 am to get ready for my day shift, and only average 3.5-4 hours of sleep - and I always feel exhausted doing so. I seem to get more sleep between my night shifts (approximately 5.5 hours). My question is, is it worse to work the night shift or to get up at 330 am?

  27. Why can't i sleep? Ok so I've been having this problem for id say a few years now. I just can't seem to fall asleep until early morning. I've tried everything for eating times, drinking times (I've never smoked or drunk alcohol) not looking or using screens/phones all day, not eating or drinking before 8pm, listening to different music, sounds, people talking, complete silence, a light on, no light on etc. I'm 17 and I am not stressed out in the slightest about really anything, im what you call a care free person, even this covid pandemic hasn't got me worried in the slightest, im not scared of anything, my mind doesn't make me think scary things at night, im not scared of the dark, I just simply lay their from 11- 5am not thinking about anything really, maybe I'll think of a action film I watched or a funny video I saw but thats about it, I just can't sleep at night at all it's almost like I'm nocturnal? This has been continuous all year aswell, I haven't slept for 38 hours, its 3.30am and im still not tired. I've given up at this point, someone out there please be my last hope!

  28. My husband is describing a pattern of breathing that is very loud when I am just falling asleep.

    He says I breathe in just fine, then seem to be having trouble breathing out, become apneic for a few seconds, then I blow out my mouth as if I'm blowing out birthday candles. However, I am not congested, my nasal passages are clear and it happens in any sleeping position until I am in a deep sleep. Once I'm in deeper sleep, I breathe just fine.

    This issue is actually keeping him awake at night, as I tend to blow on his face very forcefully. So, he tries to get me to roll over to my other side and then I wake up and the whole process starts over. I also am noticing RLS increasingly.

    Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated at this time.

  29. I'll be needing to teach an online course from home at 1-4am one night a week. Can you give me advice about how to best handle this disruption in my sleep schedule? My work schedule is otherwise entirely open.

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