I went out to Boston today to see the sleep doctor. I did a consult and sleep study with her 3 years ago while I was at Riggs, and she was very helpful. So with my recent issues sleeping, I decided it would be good to do another consult.
Apparently I am a mystery. She cannot figure out for certain why it takes 3 or 4 hours for my sleep meds to kick in–with what I take, it should kick in within half an hour and knock me out for days…but I’m still only averaging 4-6 hours of sleep a night. One theory is that the MTHFR polymorphism is the problem. It interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize medications, but there’s so little research on it that she couldn’t say for sure. Her other theory is that the receptors in my body are on a delay. Apparently receptors have their own circadian rhythm too, which I didn’t know. So it wouldn’t matter how early I took the meds if the receptors weren’t in the right stage.
She’s having me do a 48-hour Holter monitor. When she did the sleep study three years ago, she found that I was having a lot of premature ventricular contractions, 5 or 6 every 30 seconds. It’s not something that would be concerning as far as me dropping dead or whatever, but there were arousals in my sleep each time I had a PVC, keeping me stuck in stage 1 sleep. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately stuck in stage 1 sleep too, so she thought it would be a good idea to get the Holter study.
Her major theory is that I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. She wants me to go off all the sleep meds this coming week, not set any alarms or need to get up for anything, and chart when I go to bed and when I wake up. If it’s DSPS, then I can get a light box to reset my circadian rhythms and not have to take all these meds. That would be pretty amazing–right now, I’m on 4 sleep medications, and if I were able to go off them, I’d only be on the Deplin. I am nervous about not taking anything for a week…but it is only for a week, so if it gets really wacky, I can just go back on them again. But I’d really love to be able to go off all these meds.
So we’ll see how it goes. It’ll be an interesting week.