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For about two weeks, I've been having awful insomnia. I go to bed at 9 and read for a little while, but I don't fall asleep until 11 pm. Then, I wake up at 3 a.m. and then at 6, and maybe I'll fall back asleep for a few more hours. I'm tired during the day and feel sick sometimes. Also, I feel paranoid and scared at night. I toss and turn, afraid that someone will kill me while I'm sleeping. I have a bed facing a wall, but I have to have my back facing the wall so I can "keep guard" of what's in front of me. Everyone in my family goes to sleep quickly except for me. I recently stayed at a friend's house. I kept waking up in 2 hr. intervals. The next morning, she said I was screaming during my sleep and being paranoid. When she tried to comfort me, I kept screaming and sweating. I realized it was a symptom of Sleep Terror Disorder. This has never happened to me before. I've tried everything, like tea, exercising, and not having caffeine before bed--what is this, and what can I do?


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replied August 14th, 2009
Sleep Disorders Answer A7065
I understand that you have been suffering from sleep difficulties, including falling and staying asleep, with intense fear and paranoia. Based on what you described, you may be experiencing night terrors. Night terrors are typically seen in children and are characterized by frequent repeated episodes of crying and fear while asleep. It may be difficult for someone to wake you during a night terror as well. Night terrors can be caused by stress, fever, sleep deprivation, and some medications. You may want to see your doctor and get a referral for a sleep study to figure out what is happening with you. In addition, if you have been going through an intense amount of stress, aside from feeling sleep-deprived, you may want to see a therapist to find ways to manage your stress better. Medications and a sleep routine (called sleep hygiene) may also be prescribed for you by your doctor.


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