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Dreaming while awake, and worried
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Dreaming while awake, and worried

For a number of years I have dealt with insomnia from time to time and at times have not been able to sleep for days (think the longest was actually 8 days once.)  I have taken a number of different sleep aids; Ambien, Melatonin, and drugs for the side effect of sleep; Trazodone, Geodon, and others.  I now work over nights at my job and many days I don't need to take the two I am still prescribed (Ambien and Trazadone) to sleep.  In fact many days taking them wouldn't be possible as I am also a full-time Social Work grad student in an accelerated program and I honestly have a very small window of time to squeeze sleep in (4 hours on Monday/Wednesday/and Friday.)  I will also say that I have a great deal of stress in my life not only due to what I have already listed, but also the fact that I have brought my boss (the Sr VP of our agency) charges of ethics violations
None of this is actually the issue of which I have a question though I know that all the stress has an impact on my sleep.  My question is that there are times when I still experience Primary Insomnia as well as Primary Hypersomnia, along with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder all of which are issues in and of themselves, but again not the issue I need an answer to.
The big question is this...there are times when I lay in bed and I am conscious of the world around me and know I am not asleep, I can hear the clock in the living room chiming, can feel my girlfriend next to me breathing and feel my hand on her side, however, at the same time I am dreaming.  I do NOT mean daydreaming or hallucinating, but I mean actual dreams.  I tend to have extremely vivid and well odd dreams based massively in symbolism and the waking dreams are no different.  I say I know it isn't hallucinations as it still has the dream like quality and while I am completely aware of the real world I am also completely aware when the dream ends that it was nothing more than a dream.  These events only have occurred over the past week or so and only on days when I have not taken any sleep aids so it is NOT related to the side effects of these drugs.
What I want or more need to know is what is going on?  Is this something that heard of?  I looked at the DSM IV and talked to my girlfriend who has a masters and taken psychopathology as well and I am not sure how to classify this.  Honestly I am a little worried that the huge amount of stress coupled with lack of sleep is in someone causing some sort of a mental disorder that I am not aware of or that perhaps there is something else that I need to worry about,
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish I could tell you what's going on.. I understand what you're going through though. It happens to me when I'm too tired I don't have to be stressed or anything. It kinda freaks people out because I'll talk to people when it's happening and I'm completely aware that I'm talking to them. Do you read or watch tv series alot? I've noticed it happens to me alot when I'm really engrossed in a book or tv show because I'll be looking at my boyfriend sleeping next me but I'll be wondering why someone from the book or show isn't talking to me because that's what I'm dreaming about. It's not medication for me either, though I take trazadone to stay asleep at night (If I don't I wake up everything I realize I'm dreaming and that's alot) but this was going on way before I started any medication. Does this sound like what you're experiencing? I'm going to talk to my dr about it and see what she thinks so if it sounds familiar I'll let you know what she says and hopefully it will help both of us.
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Avatar_m_tn
I actually looked into it further and have decided that what I am experiencing is hypnagogic hallucinations brought on by extreme sleep deprivation.  Was thinking that it wasn't that due to the definition of them given by a professor who said it was when a person brings part of their dream into the real world. She's a psychologist so not surprised she didn't make sense. lol (I am working on my MSW and so think our methods are better.)  

These aren't the hallucinations that you think of when you hear that word, the "crazy" guy who sees a big pink rabbit thing.  There is a similar thing which everyone has experienced called hypnopompic hallucinations.  Good example of this would be if you have ever woken up in the morning and wondered if what just happened (fill in the blank with whatever) really happened or if it was a dream and then realized it was a dream.  Actually it wasn't a dream in actuality it was hypnopompic hallucination.  While the second is very common the first is generally cause by sleep deprivation, sleep cycle being off, and medicines.  
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hello,

Disorders related to dreaming could occur with REM sleep behavior disorders. Here the person experiences symptoms related to his dreams which interfere with his sleep schedules. he may even acts out the dreams. Extreme sleep deprivation could have provoked this. I would advise you to discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician who may then refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation. In the meantime try to adopt good sleep hygiene measures and allot enough time for sleep.

Hope this helps.
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Avatar_m_tn
I get that when I have insomnia but choose to lie in bed. It usually occurs after three hours when I'm tried of thinking. I lose control and my thoughts lucidity and begin running off on their own. Like when first entering dreams I often stop myself form entering these thought streams but after a few attempts I let them run. The thoughts become more bizarre and dreamlike until I almost forget about the exterior word and surrender myself to my imagination. A feeling I get after reading for several hours. Some of the most intense periods of this have been after using stimulant drugs, namely amphetamine. Sometimes I almost long for those dreams.
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