I have had sleeping problems for as long as i can remember. As a kid i was never able to sleep because i was very imaginative, i would close my eyes to sleep, but something would pop up in my head and eyes open my eyes and just sit awake so i wouldn't see it again. it was usually a clown or a spider. i've got a problem with clowns. just scare the crap out of me. hate 'em. i figured it was just my mind trying to freak me out, but that didn't keep me from sitting in bed trying to stay awake. i got older and it didn't stop. When i was around 11 the actual nightmares started. From i guess age 11-13 my nightmares were just based in odd places that would change and go to many different locations. i knew it was a nightmare, i was asleep but i knew it was a nightmare, but i couldn't wake up, i tried moving a part of my body to wake up so it would stop, but its like i was stuck or something. the first really bad dream i had was of someone killing my mom, i can remember it so well that it scares me, this woman with long black hair, i couldn't see her face, she just ran at my mom with a knife and stabbed her in the chest multiple times. i had that nightmare around when i was 12 i think, i woke up crying and must have stopped breathing because i was gasping , or hyperventilating, i do that a lot. I just kept having nightmares, not one single dream, all just bad, messed up nightmares. And sometimes i know that it's a nightmare, but i can't move. yet other times it feels so real that i don't realize that it's a nightmare until i wake up. The times when i have nightmares are the rare times that i can sleep, and even then i wake up and can't get back to sleep. Most of the time i start to doze off but something grabs my arm, or leg, or my hair. Nothing is there, but it feels like it. Lack of sleep causes me to be so clumsy, i can't even walk straight, i nearly fell off of the bleachers at school, nearly slipped off the stage during drama, tripped myself walking up the stairs, almost stumbled onto the road because i don't realize were i'm walking. I couldn't stop shaking during class and kept falling asleep for a second and then some kind of murder scene flashed behind my eyes and i opened them again. When i have a nightmare i wake up shaking, crying, screaming, hyperventilating, or all of the above. I wake up before i either die or get hurt, always seems to be people who want to hurt me or are mad at me. Many times it feels like someone is grabbing me, but it's nothing, yet i still can't go to sleep. My mom said i might have a problem with my brain, i told her that i can't sleep very well, she said maybe i should try this Melatonin thing, i think that's what it's called, this thing i can take that'll make me tired so i won't really have a choice but to sleep, that way even if i have nightmares i will still get sleep, and i won't wake up. Haven't tried it yet, i would rather have a nightmare and wake up before the really bad part happens instead of sleeping and having to experience the entire thing. Any opinions on my problem? is there something i can do to stop the flashing of images in my head or to get more sleep or stop the nightmares? Does this happen to anyone else?