Many people with Trichotillomania suffer from extreme tiredness. As far as we are aware, all medication currently prescribed for Trichotillomania causes tiredness, and this is the main reason, we believe, that urges to pull are often increased by Trichotillomania medication.
Let's examine the possible neurological reason for Trichotillomania related sleep problems.
The human body requires a fine balance between a number of chemicals known as neuro-transmitters. One of these, called CORTISOL, you may have heard referred to as the "stress hormone".
Cortisol is the one hormone which we simply could not survive without. We just wouldn't wake up at all. This hormone is designed quite literally to wake us up in the mornings, get us motivated throughout the day and to fall again at night time so that we can sleep. When a person has a stress-related disorder or has not mastered the free management of stress, cortisol can build up and up throughout the day in the form of stress, and therefore interfere with sleep.
Cortisol levels are designed to REDUCE throughout the day and rise in the morning. However, when an emergency, stressful situation needs dealing with, the body is designed to keep cortisol levels high, so we don't fall asleep and fail to deal with the emergency.
Evidence is emerging that many people with Trichotillomania are permanently or too frequently on emergency alert, and therefore sleep may be difficult. Some people have too much cortisol and some too little. Those with too little sleep more, while those with too much sleep less.
Neo : "In my own case, since I was a baby I have always had terrible problems. In the 60s the advice (which we now know was mentally very damaging) was to let the baby cry.
My parents put me on the third floor of the house and moved their bedroom downstairs, so I would literally cry all night and nobody heard. My mother was very fond of telling the story that I was such a bad baby that I "gave myself" a hernia from screaming too much. I then went into hospital to have the hernia treated and the family finally got some sleep!
As a child they had to lock me in my room at night so that I wouldn't wander around the house unsupervised, and I remember having to pee on the floor as I was NOT allowed to wake the family up.
My night activities still create a lot of friction between myself and my husband, but my daughter understands as her sleep patterns are similar to mine.
By testing my own cortisol levels, I have observed that they lower around 4 am although they "should" lower around dusk time. My (un)natural body clock is therefore telling me to sleep from 4 am to midday although of course that would be very inconvenient.
I therefore have to do a LOT of stress relieving techniques such as meditation in the evenings and also play at least one relaxation recording every single night in bed. If I miss a night, I just don't sleep."
The reason we take so long to wake in the mornings is because the cortisol has been so severely depleted the night before, that it takes ages and ages to rise again in the morning to wake us up.
Taking melatonin tablets (available online but not in the UK shops) can help as melatonin (only produced in the body by natural sunlight) helps the body to produce serotonin, which wakes us up and keeps us in a good mood.
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