By Taitum M,
(Leader is standing in the center in front of five chairs. Four people walk in wearing the name tags “Insomnia”, “Narcolepsy”, “Sleep Apnea”, and “Night Terrors”. They’re greeted by the Leader as they walk in, and then they sit down.)
Leader: (still standing) Good morning sleep disorders; welcome to support group! I’m here to help you with all your problems, why don’t you all introduce yourselves? Insomnia, why don’t you start? (sits)
Insomnia: (stands) I’m Insomnia.
All: Hi, Insomnia.
Insomnia: I cause problems going to sleep or staying asleep.
All: We support you, Insomnia.
Narcolepsy: (stands) I’m Narcolepsy.
All: Hi, Narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy: I cause people to fall asleep anytime, anywhere.
All: We support you, Narcolepsy.
Sleep Apnea: (stands) Hi, I’m Sleep Apnea.
All: Hi, Sleep Apnea.
SA: I cause people to forget to breathe while they’re asleep.
All: We support you, Sleep Apnea.
(Sleep Apnea Sits)
Night Terrors: (stands) Hi, I’m Night Terrors.
All: Hi, Night Terrors.
NT: I cause children to be terrified and thrash and cry out when they’re asleep.
All: We support you, Night Terrors.
(Night Terrors sits)
Leader: Thanks for sharing everyone! Remember that this is a safe zone; everybody here cares about you, so you can share anything that’s on your mind.
SA: I have something to share.
Leader: Go ahead, Sleep Apnea!
SA: Every time my husband and I try to sleep in the same bed, it always sounds like he is snoring, and it keeps waking me up. During the day, he’s always irritable and complains about being sleepy. (Narcolepsy begins drifting off as Sleep Apnea continues talking). I know it’s my fault that he wakes up during the night because he forgets to breathe, and he can never get slow-wave, deep sleep. I just can’t help taking his breath away! I don’t know what to do about it.
(Narcolepsy is now clearly asleep)
Leader: Well, Sleep Apnea, you could talk to a physician about getting a mask with an air pump that will keep his airway open while he sleeps. That would help!
(Leader notices that Narcolepsy has fallen asleep)
Leader: Narcolepsy! …. NARCOLEPSY!
Leader: Is there anything you’d like to share?
Narcolepsy: Hm. Well, my family keeps getting on my case (begins drifting off to sleep but stops) because every time I’m around my fami- (drifts into sleep and Leader nudges her to wake her up) … family they always get super sleepy and they fall asleep. I keep causing them to lose muscle tone and (drifts off and is nudged again) and hallucinate during the day. And the last time I had a sleepover with my friend, she couldn’t move or talk when she woke up.
Leader: Sleep paralysis?
Narcolepsy: Yeah sleep (drifts off again) paralysis. And I’m dealing with issues too! I keep falling into REM sleep in the middle of doing things.
Leader: Well, there’s medication that you can get from your physician that could help relieve some of the sleepiness. Maybe you should try that! . . . Anyone else want to share?
NT: I guess I can. So, last night, I snuck into a little girl’s room while she was in Stage 4 sleep. Her heart rate and breathing rate doubled, and she got super terrified. She never woke up, and she didn’t remember it in the morning, but she sat up and starting talking incoherently. It just made me scared, and I didn’t really know what was going on.
Leader: Hmmm. Maybe, for the future, you just don’t sneak into children’s rooms while they’re sleeping?
NT: Oh, yeah… I could probably do that…
Leader: Insomnia, you haven’t spoken in awhile. Would you like to share next?
Insomnia: I guess… My younger sister is having a birthday party and after what happened last year I’m not sure anyone wants me to go. Everyone was already super stressed out, and they had been drinking caffeine all night. Adding me into the mix has made it so that no one can go to sleep or stay asleep. It’s causing problems between me and my family.
Leader: You and your family should start avoiding caffeine, and you should all try to get on normal sleep schedules. Exercising regularly can also help; just don’t do it right before bedtime.
Insomnia: I guess I could try that…
Leader: Good! Just remember, take it one step at a time!
Leader: Ok guys. That’s all the time we have today. Try out those tips, and I’ll see you again next week!