Posted by: Sleepless in KwaZulu Natal | 2005/01/12

Sleeping problems

I usually sleep very lightly and wake at the slightest noise. I cannot sleep until all my kid's (adult) are home in their beds and I sometimes wake up in the wee hours and check on everybody including the pets.
Lately I have been really battling to fall asleep. When I am relaxing on the bed reading for example I dose off but as soon as I am ready to really go to sleep I have twitches which i am not sure if they are involuntary or if I am causing them myself.
I think I am a control freak and that I am actualy scared to go to sleep in case something happens during the night and I don't hear the phone ring or someone calling me, or a break in or many other possibilities.
My sister (in jest I hope) told me tonight that she thinks that I am one of those people who always appear calm on the surface and then wake up in the middle of the night and murders the family. Quite strong! She is concerned that I am having a quiet nervous breakdow.
I have a happy marriage, not a bad job, altough a bit stressful sometimes and no financial problems. Generally I am a happy content soul.
Could this problem be hormonal. (I am 45)
I don't know whether to consuly a shrink, a sleep therapist or maybe even a hypnotherapist.
From the info I have given you could you advise?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

We vary very much between us, as to how we sleep --- how typically deply, for how long, etc. Some of us have what's called the Restless Legs Syndrome, not fully understood but otally harmless, in which we can get restless and twitchy legs at times when trying to sleep. Your self-diagnosis of control freak has a ring of truth to it --- you sound mildly anxious, concerned to be in control of everything to do with the home, and, like a child sometimes shows, reluctant to surrender to deep and peaceful sleep, because to you this entails losing control of events. It's so unlikely that you could actually miss anything important like a call. I don't think you're a risk to others or yourself, except at risk of continuing unsatisfying sleep and tiredness.
A shrink could help, and also could check out other possible contributing causes, lke a mild depression or anxiety sate that could usefully be treated. There are very few genuine sleep experts running proper sleep labs which can analyze and work on sleep problems.
Without any exception whatsoever, EVERYONE who practises "Sleep Therapt" involving heavily sedating someone to induce long periods of sleep, is a quack and a dangerous quack, and should be promptly removed from practice --- if someone ever proposes such trash therapy to you ( condemned by every competent expert organization ) leave the room immediately and don't speak to them again.
Hypnotherapy is not the answer, and is superficial. A proper psychiatrist will be able to assess you better, and will be able to choose among a range of possible treatments, to suit you. Always be very wary of any "therapist" who has only one method which they apply to everything and everyone.

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