Chronic Insomnia: Suddenly Severe

Hello everyone! I am a 29 yr old man who has chronic insomnia for last 5 years and have to rely on clonazepam 0.25 mg for sleeping every night. Sometimes, I even reduce the dosage of the drug and sleep effectively for 6-7 hrs. Insomnia is not something new for me, but I have managed it for over the last 5 years properly.

My insomnia became severe

However, just 3 weeks ago,I developed very severe insomnia. Initially, it just started as SLEEP HYPERAWARENESS...which means that as I was just drifting into sleep, I would get conscious and more aware of the fact that my brain was going to shut down, and this would break my sleep. This went on for 8-9 nights, with sometimes, it would be accompanied with palpitations and mild sweating at the time of sleeping. I realised that it was hyperarousal and then relaxed myself a bit.

For the previous week, I noted a slightly changed pattern. As I would go to sleep, after 1 hour, I would enter a trance like state and then wake up after 2-3 hours without realising anything about the passage of time. I would then fall back asleep again and wake up in the morning, but still felt that I had not slept. But, I was not aware of how quickly 5-6 hrs would pass. Indeed, I had slept but it was a very light form of sleep that was much different from the original restful sleep that I usually have on normal nights.

Medication isn't working

However,for the past 3-4 days, I am struggling to sleep despite taking the prescribed drug. Moreover, even if I fall asleep, I will wake up every 2 hours without feeling refreshed and then go to sleep once again. On some nights, I didn't get any sleep at all (on 3 nights in past 3 weeks).

It feels that my brain just cannot shut down normally and work out all the stages in the normal way it has been doing all these years. But, I cannot understand why this started all of a sudden just 3 weeks ago. I am worried that I may not be getting stage 3 sleep which is the most restorative form of sleep that our body needs. And also, I experience vivid dreams towards the morning.

Developing a sleep phobia

Throughout the day,I feel dizzy and tired and now I have developed phobia of sleep over past 3 weeks.I went to my sleep doc because I was scared of neurodegenerative diseases that damage the brain such as prion disorders. My doc just dismissed any concerns regarding them. But, I am scared as to why my brain cannot fall back asleep for 6-7 hrs in a deep phase that it earlier used to do.

Can anyone suggest me as to what could it be? Is it very uncommon to experience such symptoms?

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