Patients with paradoxical insomnia often report spending hours lying awake at night, even though, to others, they appear to be sleeping. They overestimate the time it takes for them to fall asleep and underestimate their total sleep time.
Paradoxical insomniacs have an intense awareness of their surroundings throughout the entire night, as if they were awake. They might think they've gone without sleep for days at a time, but with only moderate signs of daytime fatigue.
A surprise diagnosis
"My nights were dreadful," says the marketing manager. "I felt like I was getting about three to five hours of sleep, and those were on 'good' nights. I felt OK during the day, but I did notice that I had a shorter attention span at work, and I forgot things easilyplaces I'd just eaten, or what movies I'd recently watched were about."
Watson assumed that her sleep study would reveal obstructive sleep apnea, since it ran in the family; her father had surgery to treat his.
At the hospital sleep center, Watson was wired with electrodes on her head and body, belts around her chest and abdomen, and a small clip on her fingertip.