1. Irregular Biological Clock

    I am suffering from insomnia. Whenever I sleep for more than 11 hours, my biological clock gets affected. This in turn affects the whole day and I feel tired and lethargic. How should I adjust the hours of sleep to be able to wake up at 7:00 in the morning?

    Your problem as it appears is about the biological clock and not in the quality of sleep. You prefer to sleep during the day and waking up at night. This problem is called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. The treatment shall be behavioral. Since light stimulates the sleep hormones, the treatment involves being exposed to enough light (sunlight) to influence the biological clock. You need to consult a sleep specialist.

  2. Pain Syndrome

    Hello Doctor, I have read your articles about pain syndrome and I suffer from pain in the legs. I have this problem for years. Since I got married, this problem has increased especially during pregnancy and lactation. Please prescribe a treatment.

    Pain in the legs can be due to various reasons and it can be accompanied with strange sensations that can occur at any time of day. Such pain result in a strong desire to move the legs and start walking. As a result, the patient faces difficulty in sleeping and hence suffers from insomnia.

    Patients describe the sense by different words, such as:

    • Feel like “things are crawling on the legs”
    • Feeling of numbness and listlessness in the legs
    • Aches and pains in the legs that are vague and difficult to be described
    • Desire to stand up and move the legs while sleeping

    In order to confirm a diagnosis, I advise you to visit a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders and commence treatment. In addition, I advise you to measure the level of iron in the body, as lack of iron can also causes this problem.

  3. Sleep Paralysis (Nightmares)

    My father suffers from sleep paralysis. What are the drugs available for patients having nightmares?

    Certain breathing problems during sleep may increase the chances of sleep paralysis. A careful study of sleep should be undertaken. The case needs to be individually examined. An appropriate treatment should solve the problem.

  4. Choking During Sleep

    I am a 40 years old man. I do not smoke and I weigh a bit on the higher side. I am suffering from simple asphyxia during sleep, and hence I am unable to sleep properly. Please advice.

    Sleep apnea usually starts to appear at this age and may cause insomnia. We have found that 25% of Saudi men and 42% of women suffer from interruption in breathing and difficulty while sleeping. You need to get an electrocardiogram so that your doctor gets a better insight into your condition. The other causes of suffocation during sleep include acid reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

  5. Delayed Sleep Syndrome

    I feel very sleepy as soon as I arrive at my workplace in the morning. I try and resist the feeling till afternoon and then it goes away. This causes me lot of problems as I cannot concentrate on my work. I have had this problem for years. This is not a yearlong problem and happens only in some months. I have visited a doctor who has prescribed a drug called Orkallion vitamins and Vita Max supplements, but in vain. What can I do? I am a translator and I work in Cairo. Please advise me.

    The information provided by you is not adequate to comment on your condition. It is important for me to know the time of day when you go to sleep and the time wake up. In addition, I also want to know whether you find it difficult to sleep at night and feel sleepy during the day because of this syndrome.

    I advise you to visit a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders.

  6. Stop Breathing During Sleep

    Hello Doctor. I experience that my breathing stops during sleep. I am able to sleep initially, but after sometime, this problem starts. This occurs 1-3 times after which I able to sleep. I have visited a doctor, and got an ECG done, which indicated no problem. The doctor asked me to quit stimulants like smoking and gave me some treatments, but in vain. What can I do?

    I think you may be suffering from breathlessness during the early part of sleep. Suffocation has many reasons, such as a reflux of acid from the esophagus to the throat.

    If you also suffer from snoring, the most likely cause is the cessation of breathing during sleep. To confirm the diagnosis and start treatment, you will need to undergo a test to study your sleep, breathing, heart rates, and oxygen content in the blood. The results will help determine the severity of the problem and its long term impact on the quality of sleep and oxygen in the blood.

  7. Waking Up Repeatedly During The Night

    My son is 7 months old and he wakes up repeatedly during the night and cries. This is also accompanied by shivering. Please advice.

    Crying of infants during sleep may have a number of reasons, primarily infant colic. This usually disappears around the age of 7 months, but sometimes this might continue for a longer time. The first step is to visit a pediatrician, and if everything seems normal, then consult a pediatrician who specializes in sleep disorders.

  8. Eyeball Goes Back During Sleep

    My daughter is 8 months years old. Whenever she sleeps, we see that her eyeballs go back and her eyes look completely white. Should we visit a doctor?

    If she has natural sleep and normal activity in the day, then there is no need to worry. Several individual experiences incomplete eye closures as in Bells Sign. As time passes, it becomes a fully locked eyelid and hence we do not see the position of the eyes in adults.

  9. Weight Gain And Sleep Problems

    What is the relationship between weight gain and sleep?

    There is a close relationship between weight gain and sleep problems, particularly snoring and sleep apnea. In addition, gaining weight is accompanied with breathing problems during sleep and eventual conditions such as increased blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. The increased level of fat in the blood and irregular breathing during sleep, are risk factors for atherosclerosis.

  10. Improper Breathing When Sleeping

    I have a simple query. I suffer from breathlessness while sleeping. Most of the times, one side of the nose is completely blocked, other times it is only partially open. As for the way of my sleeping, I sleep on the right side as recommended by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Please suggest.

    Stuffy nose at bedtime is a common problem. It may be caused due to allergies and dry weather resulting from constant use of air conditioners, temperature changes, or the presence of viruses in the nose. The case may be treated using drugs for nasal allergy. I advise you to visit a nose and ear specialist.

  11. Waking Up After a Short Period of Sleep

    I am unable to sleep at a stretch. I wake up after some time because I experience shortness of breath and pain in the rib cage. I have consulted several doctors in Egypt, and got an echocardiograph done. They assured me that there is no reason to worry. I am a smoker and suffer from obesity and psychological issues. Please advice.

    Waking up from sleep due to breathlessness and pain in the chest are symptoms of sleep apnea, especially because you are experiencing obesity. Reflux of acid from the esophagus into the stomach during sleep may also be the cause. I would also like to know if you suffer from snoring and increased sleepiness during the day.

    I advise you to visit a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders and get a treatment prescribed.

  12. I cannot sleep at night

    Hello Dr. Ahmed, I am 24 years old and I have a sleep related problem. I am unable to sleep in the night. I wake up after two hours at the most and my head aches to such an extent that I cannot sleep again. I am able to sleep only after a few hours or in the morning. I have been suffering with this problem for a long time now.

    I do not suffer any other illnesses of the heart, pressure, breathing, etc. Please help me.

    Many individuals at your age of adolescence are infected with a disorder of the biological clock or called the Delayed Sleep Syndrome. Patients suffering from this prefer to sleep during the day and stay up at the night because they tend to sleep for long hours during the day. This can often disrupt their study or leisure time.

    The treatment requires behavioral changes accompanied with light therapy and modification of the sleeping time as suggested by the specialist. In order to reach an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you undergo a thorough examining to ascertain the exact cause.

  13. Groaning During Sleep

    My wife groans during sleep. It increase and gets louder during the period of disease, this often drives me away. She is 28 years old, and does not suffer from other illnesses. Please advice.

    Groaning during sleep or Catathrenia is a rare sleep disorder. It might be accompanied by problems in breathing - in which case it is easily treatable. However, if there is uninterrupted breathing, the treatment can be difficult.

    Please consult a specialist.

  14. Sleeplessness

    Hello Dr. Ahmed, I am a military officer. I am suffering from insomnia and I am unable to sleep for more than 2-3 hours. While I face pressure at work, I have no marital or domestic issues and I enjoy good health. Please advice.

    Insomnia or sleeplessness is a common problem and once the cause is identified correctly, it can be treated. If the there are no organic or psychological causes, the treatment shall be for behavioral issues and can be supported with sleeping pills at the beginning.

    You should visit a specialist to assess the problem.

  15. Walking And Talking During Sleep

    Hello, my son is fourteen year old and he walks and talks loudly and feels scared while sleeping. I feel worried when he calls out to us and we find him trembling.

    We give him a little bit of water, and then he goes back to sleep and he does not remember anything in the morning. As a child, even I had suffered from the same problem, especially during exams. Is this condition hereditary? Please advise.

    Sleepwalking is a complex series of behaviors that begins during the various stages of deep sleep. This is usually observed during the first one-third of the sleep, when the brain is half-asleep and half-conscious. While sleepwalking, he might be able to do some simple actions, like avoiding obstacles but he will not be able to do any complex ones.

    Some of the characteristics of this condition are:

    • Walking during sleep - it usually occurs in the first one-third part of sleep
    • Difficulty in waking the patient while sleepwalking
    • The patient usually does not remember the things done during sleep
    • In most cases, this disorder cannot be traced back to some physical or psychological reasons, only in some cases, there could be psychological reasons involved
    • This condition generally goes away with age and children grow up naturally
    • Sleepwalking usually disappears with time
    • While in most cases, sleepwalking might be limited to less than once a month, in some rare cases, it might occur as frequently as every night. While it might not be very dangerous, the patient always carries a risk of hurting himself or herself with a hard or sharp object, or falling off from a height

    What can be done about sleepwalking?

    Some of the preventive measures that the patient and caretakers should follow:

    • It is well known that fatigue increases the likelihood of walking during sleep, so be sure to get enough rest
    • Anxiety and nervous tension are other causes, so try be away from such negative emotions before going to sleep
    • Keep all sharp and pointed objects away from the patient's bedroom. One can also hang a bell on the door of the bedroom. The sound of it while opening the door might help the patient wake up or alert the caretakers
    • Fixing grills (metal bars) on the windows, to avoid the risk of falling off during sleep. Similarly it is advisable to have the patient's room on the ground floor of the house and even avoiding a high bed
    • While spending a night outdoors, be sure to follow the prevention measures above. Also, inform others around you (like the hotel reception) about the problem

    In most cases, this disorder is not dangerous to health but one should follow the prevention measures listed. If the occurrence continues, the patient might need a psychological evaluation.

  16. Sleeping and Crying

    I have a 5 years old child. Since the age of six months, she is suffering from a sleep related problem. After sleeping for around an hour, she sometimes wakes up and starts crying, hallucinating, and speaks unintelligible words. We wake her, and put her back to sleep. In the morning, she does not recall anything about these events. Please advice.

    I believe that your daughter suffers from a condition called Confessional Arousal. Sometimes children develop such a problem and this could be accompanied by sleepwalking. Although this is not normal, it should go away with age. However, I would not recommend you to wake up the child during this situation as this might increase the problem.

    This happens because the child might be strained before going to sleep. Therefore, my advice is to make sure that she is relaxed before going to sleep and allow her to sleep early, so that she can experience the deep sleep stage and relax adequately.

  17. Choking During Sleep

    Hello, I am Yousif (a Libyan national, resident in Switzerland). I am 46 years old, weight 80 kg and enjoy good health. I have read your articles on sleep and I have one query.

    Whenever I sleep on the left side, I feel choked. I then move outdoors to feel better. This happens almost every week. Please advice.

    Choking during sleep has more than one reason. The most important is sleep apnea and airway obstruction. This is usually accompanied by snoring. However, a doctor will have to conduct a thorough examination to confirm the same. Another common cause of it is the reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus and then to the throat, causing a bottleneck. I advise you to visit a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and commence treatment.

  18. Suffocation At The Beginning Of Sleep

    I experience suffocation whenever I go to sleep. About one year ago, I was diagnosed and treated for high blood pressure. I am now uncomfortable sleeping indoors and prefer to sleep outdoor. Please advise.

    Suffocation has more than one reason. The most primary being respiratory failure due to blockage of the airway during sleep and this is usually accompanied by snoring. However, there are other reasons, including reflux of acid from the stomach to the esophagus, and then into the throat. This may cause severe asphyxiation and asphyxia increases secretions of the sinuses that eventually reach the throat.

    I recommend that you visit a doctor and find out the correct cause and its treatment.

  19. Speaking Loudly During Sleep

    I am a 24 yrs. old man from Iraq. I have a tendency to walk during sleep and speak loudly. I even carry heavy objects. Please advice.

    Speaking and walking during sleep are well known problems but they might not necessarily happen together. This is because they both occur at different stages of sleep. However, they might not need any treatment. If the situation is severe and is accompanied with breathing problems, you might need to take some medicines. I advise you to visit a specialist and read my article on Sleepwalking.

  20. Compulsive Sleep

    I am a seventeen year old girl experiencing most of the symptoms describe for Compulsive Sleep. I have visited our family doctor several times, but I have always been asked to wait for a few months and undergo certain tests, but I am not satisfied.

    The constant feeling of fatigue and drowsiness affects my academic performance as I often sleep more than I study. Please advise.

    Compulsive sleep is known as a prominent problem affecting a large number of young men and women. Fortunately, this disease usually responds well to treatment, details of which cannot be described here.

    However, I advise you to visit a specialist for sleep disorders to confirm the diagnosis and commence treatment.