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Posted by: Sherry Robertson | 21/01/2020

Q
What could be causing me to scream in the early stages of sleep?

I am 70 years old and almost every night since my mid 30s I have waked up with a scream - sometimes a small cry, but sometimes a blood-curdling scream. It usually only happens once or twice and within the early stages of sleep - within 20 to 60 minutes of falling asleep, but there have been times when it happened all night long, every 30 to 60 minutes. My husband and I cannot travel and stay in hotels or with friends or family over concern with disturbing or terrorizing them (not to mention it's also very embarrassing to me). Sometimes it is accompanied by numbness in my left arm (no matter what position I sleep in). And occasionally I've wakened with a scream and a panicky feeling that I cannot breath. Years ago I had a sleep study done and all they could determine was what it wasn't - they said it wasn't sleep apnea - but they couldn't tell me what it WAS. Curiously, a few years ago it stopped almost completely, for at least a year or two (with no change in lifestyle or diet), but the last six months it is happening again, every night. Over the years I have been to various kinds of doctors, trying to determine a cause, but no one has been able to help and it is very discouraging.

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