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Is this normal (sleep)?


sbgrace
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Over a decade ago, after sleep apnea treatment, I began sleeping great. I would fall asleep easily and wake up rested after 8 hours of sleep.

In the last year or so, I began experiencing times when I would wake up in the early morning hours in the middle of a dream--wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I think this is sleep maintenance insomnia. Anxiety was (is?) probably a big part of it. I'm likely far into peri-menopause, so that may be a factor as well. I've been working with a doctor to try to address the problem. 

That isn't happening right now. But I'm finding that in the morning--maybe starting around 6 or so, 2 hours before I would normally wake I briefly wake up lots--maybe every time I turn over in bed. I'm generally able to go back to sleep.  I'm wondering if this is normal and I'm just so attuned to morning sleep issues that I'm noticing things I didn't notice before! 

So, is this normal? 

If it's not normal, what might be the issue/what can I do? 

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28 minutes ago, sbgrace said:

 

In the last year or so, I began experiencing times when I would wake up in the early morning hours in the middle of a dream--wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I think this is sleep maintenance insomnia. Anxiety was (is?) probably a big part of it. I'm likely far into peri-menopause, so that may be a factor as well. I've been working with a doctor to try to address the problem.  

 

menopause/peri-menopause

high cortisol  (reduce stress, support your adrenals - lots of support sups on the market)   if you test for this, you need the 24 hour spit test (spit in a tube 4 - 6 times).  cortisol follows a curve, and a blood test only measures one moment in time.

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1 hour ago, gardenmom5 said:

menopause/peri-menopause

high cortisol  (reduce stress, support your adrenals - lots of support sups on the market)   if you test for this, you need the 24 hour spit test (spit in a tube 4 - 6 times).  cortisol follows a curve, and a blood test only measures one moment in time.

I have an appt with my doctor again next week. I'm sure he will be open to doing cortisol spit. I'll ask. 

But do you think it might be causing the early morning restless/brief waking too or just the wake up at 3 am wired thing? 

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Totally normal. I don't know any women who sleep without waking.

Although it’s funny to me that you are using 6 am as an example. I’m usually up well before then—6 am is sleeping in! Maybe your body is just ready to get up? 

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Oh gosh this is totally normal for perimenopausal me.  Especially near mid cycle and the first few days of my period.  Or if I am especially anxious.  I try to wind down at bedtime - watch something trashy, knit, play Animal Crossing.  If I do wake up, I sometimes make a chamomile tea and settle in on the couch.  I usually fall back asleep in not too long.  

I did just get some cbd gummies, I may try those for middle of the night insomnia.  I have done a couple at night and oh my gosh they make me super drowsy.  

I will say with perimenopause, I was having heavy periods and this spring I was just a MESS with sleeping, anxiety, feeling cruddy/tired, etc.  I did have some blood work done and I was very slightly anemic.  Like had they not tested me at that time, I may have not shown up anemic at all a week later into my cycle.  I switched to a good quality prenatal multivitamin and that has helped me like 75% of the way, I suspect my B vitamins were off too.  So if you're following up with a doctor, I'd have that looked at and might consider supplementing if things even tend on the low side.  

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21 minutes ago, sbgrace said:

I have an appt with my doctor again next week. I'm sure he will be open to doing cortisol spit. I'll ask. 

But do you think it might be causing the early morning restless/brief waking too or just the wake up at 3 am wired thing? 

cortisol issues are common for causing waking in the middle of the night (re: 2am - 3am), and being up for hours.

the normal pattern for cortisol is high in the morning, and low in the evening - on  a curve downward.  there are optimal ranges on that curve (you want to make sure it is optimal range.)  when it's not, waking happens.

I also really benefitted from yoga as it can support healthy cortisol patterns.   injuring my leg, really messed things up for me.

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2 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Honestly, the only abnormal (in a good way!) part is that you were able to get plenty of uninterrupted sleep for so many years. I don’t know any adults who are able to do that. 

especially if they have kids . . . . . . 

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Maybe you CPAP machine needs to be readjusted?  Can you see your leakage, average pressure, and number of apeneas when you wake up in the morning?  I can tell before I even open my eyes if my numbers are good or not.  Before treatment, my apneas would wake me up just like that.  Some nights a terrifying dream, other nights I was fully awake every thirty to forty-five minutes.  And when I do occasionally have a restless night like that now (with the machine), my apneas are always way too high.  Maybe you need a refresh on your CPAP machine settings, or just a new style of mask? 

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44 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Totally normal. I don't know any women who sleep without waking.

Although it’s funny to me that you are using 6 am as an example. I’m usually up well before then—6 am is sleeping in! Maybe your body is just ready to get up? 

I go to sleep around midnight. I know from past experience that I do best with 8 hours of sleep. I didn't always get that of course, but when I did I would wake rested without an alarm.

I don't think I'm ready to wake up at 6 am because I'm really tired. I mean sit down and fall asleep, feel a little uncomfortable if I'm highway driving in case I doze off sort of tired. So something seems off. 

I hadn't thought about my apnea being a cause. Thank you LJPPKGFGSC. I will also mention that to the doctor this week. 

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Waking up at 6?! I wish I was so lucky, I was often up at 4 during perimenopause  and especially during stressful times even now.  I am generally not one to be an early riser either.   

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3 minutes ago, ***** said:

Waking up at 6?! I wish I was so lucky, I was often up at 4 during perimenopause  and especially during stressful times even now.  I am generally not one to be an early riser either.   

Yup. If I can make it til 4:30, I’m fine with just getting up and starting my day. Much earlier than that seems silly for me, but I don’t expect to sleep much later. 

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Posted (edited)

Oh my! If this is going to be a feature of my age...how miserable I will be. I hope it's correctable. If not, I suppose I need to figure out how to shift my bedtime earlier. It's hard because one of my sons, with special needs, "needs" me to check on him before he goes to sleep. Hence my midnight bedtime.

Edited by sbgrace
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Check out Matt Walker on YouTube or get his book. He’s a sleep researcher.

He says that as your core body temperature rises, you come out of sleep. He can control sleep-wake cycles in his research participants just by controlling their temp. So, a cooler room could help.

You might want to consider getting an Ooler cooling mattress pad, which is programmable. They’re a bit pricey but are reliable.

Glycine powder an hour before bed might be worth a try. It lowers core body temp.

Theanine and magnesium threonate also work very well to prevent waking in middle of night. Must use mag threonate. I take this combo and very rarely have trouble sleeping even while traveling which I’m doing now and staying in multiple hotels. 
 

I’m late 50s in menopause for reference.

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I had real sleep problems when I was pre- and in menopause.

I know this sounds woo-woo, but a friend who was into herbs recommended lemon balm tea. After I determined that it was totally safe -- and it is -- I found a health food store that sold loose lemon balm tea.

I'd make a cup before going to sleep and it seriously cleared up my terrible insomnia. (I remember telling a friend, "Don't drink this stuff and drive.")

Just a thought: you might make the tea, put it by your bedside and drink it when you wake up in the night.

Maybe it was all placebo, but it really helped me.

Menopause is so different for everyone: I never had a single night-sweat. Instead I was seriously claustrophobic. Elevators were a real problem. I wouldn't get in one if "too many people" were already in it. My poor kids and husband. On trips they'd see people in an elevator and all turn to me with faces asking, too many or are we good here?

This was entirely new for me, it's gone now. I'm 57.

And I had bad insomnia. Everything went away at some point. Definitely by the time I was 51 or so.

Hang in there -- I know it's hard.

Wendy

 

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