Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

mom on many medications, falls asleep mid sentence?

My mom seems to be falling asleep while doing every task, but not exactly... it will happen mid sentence, while cooking, walking up stairs, washing dishes (I one watched her literally hold on to the edge of the counter preventing herself from falling backwards for like 15 minutes... but shes like half asleep and not even acknowledging it! i tell her to go to sleep, and she is always saying she isnt tired! and then she gets mad at me... but I dont know what to do, she does this while smoking, almost burnt the house down. she does take sleeping pills, and i wonder if she is maybe mixing them up with other pills? shes also on oxycotin (or however you spell it) and other pain meds, and antidepressants and ritalin (i think for sleeping) and probably other things. She is 65, has a history of cervical cancer, heavy smoker, has degenitive disc disease (sorry for all my spelling errors) she is really thin... also has all kinds of arthritis, is probably clinically depressed, and I dont know what else. I just want to get help for her, and I am at a loss of what to do. Any suggestions? I dont even know if its actually just "falling asleep" in the sense of insomnia, it just looks like that. i know some nights she wont sleep, and others she will sleep several days straight... but she is INSISTING that she isnt falling asleep when these instances occur. Can it be related to something else?
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replied March 18th, 2012
Oyakua - what you describe as happening to your mom sounds like narcolepsy (look this up on the internet; it's not insomnia-related) which can vary in its severity. It's just odd that it would show up at her age - usually it occurs in younger people.
She should start by keeping a regular getting up and going to bed time (what Drs call 'sleep hygiene'), take a little light exercise each day and perhaps keep a journal of her sleeping habits, emotional feelings etc. Try to help her with a healthy diet too.
She's on a lot of meds as you say and sometimes new meds get added by a Dr who doesn't really know the history of the patient and what's gone before. So it would be a good idea for her (and you if it would reassure you) to sit down with her regular doctor and go over her meds, what they do, how much and how often she should take them. This doctor also needs to look into what's happening with these 'sleepy' episodes - it could be to do with the meds or something else.
One of the worst things that could happen is that she has one of these episodes while driving.
I know you know her smoking won't help with any of this and that's a long and tough battle, but giving up may help.
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replied April 5th, 2012
I am having almost the same problem as your mom except I am so very frighten by my episodes because I fall hitting my head or actually fall on my head which scares me to death I am seeing a sleep specialist who was honest enough to say he didnt know what to do for me. I will try to keep a journal and go to bed at the same time every night. I am afraid to go to sleep most nights so I fight it until I cant help it I am afraid Im not gonna wake up from one of these falls.
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replied April 5th, 2012
falling while sleepwalking
I am having almost the same problem as your mom except I am so very frighten by my episodes because I fall hitting my head or actually fall on my head which scares me to death I am seeing a sleep specialist who was honest enough to say he didnt know what to do for me. I will try to keep a journal and go to bed at the same time every night. I am afraid to go to sleep most nights so I fight it until I cant help it I am afraid Im not gonna wake up from one of these falls.
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replied January 23rd, 2013
I am having the same problem with my mom. I have even had them do a head scan and they said it was normal. I'm really concerned as it is causeing lots of issues. My dad can't sleep at night because she keeps him awake. When I visit I can't sleep because I'm always up checking on her.everything she owns has burn holes in it. She has fallen asleep in mid conversation, and has even fallen asleep head first in her food at christmas. She tries most of the time to deni that she is sleeping, but she is. She is on pain meds for back issues, and stomach issues. She only has about a quarter of her stomach left due to ulcers and stomach surgerys. Very worried. Help
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