View Full Version : Unusual Sleep Requirements & Have They Changed ?

10-14-08, 08:02 PM
I have a few questions about sleep and an curious to hear from others who may be like me or who may have had similar experiences.

This can just be a feedback forum, but please post experiences related to my inquiry (as so many people have had so many different experiences related to sleep especially because of medications).

This is really about sleep requirements or sleep duration - not the quality of sleep or trouble with going to sleep or staying asleep.

To a lesser degree it is about sleep regulation as a problem before getting ADD treatment.


I have found that for nearly all my life (at least from the age of 5 or 6 on) I have craved sleeping for generally long periods of time each night - close to ten hours a night.

I could also get up and function w/ less sleep - I never suffered from excessive daytime sleepiness - but I could feel my alertness and responsiveness was hampered.

Also, I would frequently make up for previous lost sleep by sleeping for a twelve hour stretch (just to "make up" for a seven or an eight hour night).

Now that I am taking a stimulant for my ADD (just a few weeks in), I have found that I can easily wake up after between seven or eight hours. I feel even a bit more alert right when I wake up. I am surprised by the change.

Here are my questions -

1) Do others have a history of needed (wanting) more sleep than most other people that they know?

2) If yes, is your ADD more of the hyper-active type or more of the inattentive sub-type (as with me) ?

3) If yes, did you find that stimulants or another ADD medication (Strattera or Wellbutrin) helped you transition to a lower sleep requirement?

4) Did that happened initially, but then it reverted back toward the older requirement?

Another interesting thing for me is that I have always been more of a "night owl" and never had much trouble staying up late. I would go to bed late not feeling too tired but could then sleep late into the next day (or be tired).

This was always a problem for me, because it was hard to deal w/ getting my required sleep by going to bed at the right hour. Ugh.

So, it may be that I have an unusual circadian rhythm too, but it could also be due to a problem with "sleep regulation".

I'm interested in other people's experiences.

Have you always needed (or wanted) lots of sleep too?
When you treated your ADD, did that change ?

10-15-08, 12:52 PM
Have you always needed (or wanted) lots of sleep too?
When I was younger I could never get enough sleep. 12 hours was just right (I'm talking ~high school age). As I've gotten older (49 now) I find that I really do seem to be able to get by on less sleep (6-7 hrs/night). Now mind you, I'd REALLY love to be able to sleep longer, but #1) I can't get to sleep and when I do I can't stay asleep (even when I take Lunesta I don't sleep more than 7 hrs) and #2) There just aren't enough hours in the day to get more sleep, even if I could manage it. Life and all that-lol.

When you treated your ADD, did that change ?
I've noticed that I actually seem to be able to sleep a bit better without the help of a sleeping aid. And some nights I only wake up 2-3 times vs every hour on the hour. I've only been treating my ADD since August - was only just dxd this year and had to suffer through Strattera before being able to try dex ir which has worked wonders.

I don't know if that helps or not, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it...;o)

10-15-08, 03:26 PM
justcallmedorie -

Did the Strattera impact your sleep requirements at all, or perhaps your alertness in the AM ?

Did Strattera help address your ADD symptoms but caused too many side effects, or was it just ineffectual (along with side effects) ?

10-15-08, 03:46 PM
justcallmedorie -

Did the Strattera impact your sleep requirements at all, or perhaps your alertness in the AM ?
Not sure, was taking Lunesta pretty much every night during that time. I didn't notice any difference in my morning alertness (I have NONE 'til my 2 cups of coffee, then I'm beyond alert, but that's how I've always been).

Did Strattera help address your ADD symptoms but caused too many side effects, or was it just ineffectual (along with side effects) ?
It didn't seem to help any of my symptoms and the only side effect I really noticed was utter fatigue which was the main reason I quit taking it. The doc asked me if it was helping and I told him I didn't know, so he said if I didn't know, then it wasn't helping.

I have to keep putting something below the quote or the forum system won't let me post...:)

01-09-09, 01:49 AM
Follow up, twelve weeks later.


Shortly after this post, I was sleeping between 5 and 6 hours per night. Even if I missed some sleep I was almost never getting any "catch up" sleep.

What I eventually learned was that I was overly sensitive to Focalin.

This became clear to me because I also experienced some other responses that originally seemed like normal initial side-effects but that didn't subside over time. The one that finally drove the point home was a fairly acute circulatory problem in my toes and feet.

These remained present even though my dosage wasn't mostly in the low range and even after I reduced it significantly. So after about seven weeks it was clear that I was suffering something like an allergic reaction and I stopped Focalin.

Now, on a different set of meds (Dexedrine and Wellbutrin), my sleep is a more normal 7.5-8 hours, with an occasional 6.5 night hour but also an occasional 9 hour night, or more if I really need it. Better than where I started and better than on Focalin.

01-09-09, 09:37 PM
Sleeping more than 8 hrs a day can be a sign of sleep apnea or PLMD (periodic limb movement disorder -- two sleep disorders ADDers seem to get.

(Most "psychiatric" disorders have a sleep disturbance component, BTW.)

Sleep Apnea can occur even in children (large adenoids, etc).

Sleep Apnea and PLMD can cause people to awaken hundreds of times per night, breaking up sleep architecture so that people need to sleep longer periods of time.

Talk to your Doctor about possibly getting a sleep study.


01-09-09, 10:37 PM
Thank you Queens_U_girl.

I do think this may be more related to "delayed sleep on-set" and circadian rhythm issues. It feels like an issue with sleep cycles themselves and seems more purely neuro-chemical to me.

I think I am at almost the opposite end of the spectrum from PLMD - I sleep very deeply, don't move much and am (still) almost completely oblivious to outside noises. It more just seems that my neurotransmitters didn't "recharge" fully with less than that 9-11 hours of sleep per night.

On Focalin I would really awaken quickly and sharply. When I woke up it was before I actually had expected to, and that happened day after day. I was really unable to allow myself to go back to sleep. I felt so alert that it seemed difficult to even choose to close my eyes and rest at that point. In a way it was a sort of like an agitation - like a mild manic transition. It wasn't that my mood was erratic after I woke, more that the shift from one state to another was very abrupt.

Now I feel alert and awake but I don't have this urge to actually bolt up. If indeed I need more sleep I can fall back into a slumber.

I know some medications for narcolepsy can benefit ADD symptoms as well. I don't know if a sleep study would point me toward a particular drug or group of drugs, but my impression is that if it could that is where the study could most benefit me. I would be surprised if Sleep Apnea is happening and very surprised if it was PLMD, but I can't rule them out completely.

I'm going to look into it. At they very least I'm going to try to speak to a sleep specialist. Thanks for the suggestion.