What I Learned From Recording My Sleep

Recently, I had a chance to record myself sleeping. Initially, it was because I wanted to see if I stopped breathing momentarily with sleep apnea. But I found I don’t snore the entire night, and when I do, it doesn’t have those distinct pauses in it.

What does affect my breathing are my allergies and asthma, which got worse from having COVID. I adjusted my medication so it didn’t sound like I literally could not breathe when I was sleeping. But I also learned a whole lot about my sleep quality from those videos.

I saw how restless I was

I know my sleep quality and quantity is not awesome. I wake up exhausted and insanely early. But I hadn’t realized how much I wake up and move around, or even get up in the night. I am moving all over the place positionally and that I knew. But I literally wake up, rub my eyes or face, move my arms a bit and then re-adjust and go back to sleep. Over and over and over again.

The leg shaking I do is my first response when RLS is aggravating me, so it is definitely either waking me up or preventing me from getting back to sleep.

I’m always switching positions. On my stomach, then back, then knees up, then side, other side... and then pretty much at an angle taking up the whole bed.

Observing Periodic Limb Movement

I suspected a while ago that I had PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder) that can occur with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). I now know the PLMD is two spasms per minute. And I really remind myself of a dog dreaming that they are running. While I thought it was just my lower leg and foot that did this, it is the entire leg that contracts in these spasms.

I thought that those twitchy kicks weren’t at all disruptive to my sleep. Since I never actually feel it consciously, I assumed it had no real impact. Two kicks per minute doesn’t seem like much.

However, when the frequency picks up to three or more kicks per minute, well, every single time I will completely wake up. At that point, I re-adjust and try to fall back to sleep. Sometimes I would see myself shaking my legs, so I am also aware that once I am fully awake, the RLS impacts my ability to fall back to sleep. I am not positive if the increase in PLMD is to blame for these wake ups, or if the RLS plus the PLMD is to blame.

What should I do next?

I’m not too sure what to do about this. I have focused mainly on efforts to get to sleep, and to try and actually get a decent amount of sleep. I have no idea how to improve the quality of the limited sleep I actually get. Since I also have fibromyalgia, quality sleep has always been a major problem. So far, I’m just getting up for medication and often getting five hours or less a night.

Have you ever filmed yourself sleeping? Share your experience in the comments below.

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