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What causes pressure in head before going to sleep?

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Posted on Sat, 28 Feb 2015
Question: Hi. I have been having a strange feeling just as im about to fall asleep. I get a huge amount of pressure in my head like a head rush. My body cant move for a few moments. And then i go back to normal. I was getting these alot but not with the head pressure. Just now im.getting alot of head pressure and its freaking me out. Any advice would be great. Thank you
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Need sleep study

Detailed Answer:
Good evening. My name is Dr. Saghafi and I am a neurologist practicing in XXXXXXX Ohio, USA. I would like to try help direct you with your symptoms.

First off, let me tell you that I've also read your other questions to other colleagues on this network who have made many other suggestions for somewhat different problems. What I think you should add perhaps to their list of suggestions for a workup which would also help in this case with your head symptoms and then, the movement disorder type of feeling are blood tests to include thyroid and adrenal gland function. Your GP will know which tests those are just to be sure that you do not have either hypo or hyperthyroidism or hypo or hyperadrenalism. My guess is that those tests will likely come out normal but it won't hurt to check along with the other tests I recommend below.

You may have the condition of narcolepsy and from your description of symptoms I am concerned you could be experiencing cataplexy (loss of ability to move the body with an odd sensation in the head, dreaming at the point of falling asleep, loss of muscle tone in the body, etc.) which is usually brought on by some strong form of emotion such as laughing, crying, pain, etc.

You may also be experiencing sleep paralysis although in this condition the inability to move the body generally occurs immediately UPON AWAKENING not just before going to sleep. Also, in sleep paralysis patients are often fully awake and conscious and not in any type of altered state of awareness which to me appears to be more the case with what you're describing.

In any event, what can help firm up the diagnosis would be a sleep study. You may also with to ask they include a parameter known as the MEAN SLEEP LATENCY TIME (MSLT). This will practically define the sleep study parameter necessary to make the diagnosis of narcolepsy.

Good luck! I know you'll need that because you're Australian which means you are going to have to figure out how to sell these recommendations to your primary doctor who is then, going to have to agree to first send you either to a neurologist or a sleep neurologist. Beyond that, you'll have to convince the neurologist or sleep specialist to do the study.

We won't even talk about what to do if the study comes out equivocal for any reason and I might want to recommend you submit for a spinal tap for assaying a substance known as HYPOCRETIN which is not produced in the fluid of narcoleptics which can help strongly support a diagnosis of narcolepsy if the clinical parameters are there but the sleep study is not entirely supportive! LOL.....

Lots of luck mate!

Well, whaddya know? Here's an article that discusses all the things I just mentioned! Perhaps, if you print this out and present it to someone they'll have an easier time agreeing to my recommendations?

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/excessive-daytime-sleepiness-disorders/narcolepsy-and-catoplexy

I'd appreciate the favor of your providing a STAR RATING and some brief written feedback if your question has been satisfactorily answered. In addition, CLOSING THE QUERY on your end will also be most helpful.

Don't forget that my webpage to keep me abreast as to how you're doing is:

bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi

All the Best

This query has required a total of 28 minutes of physician specific time to read, research, and compile the return envoy to the patient.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Dariush Saghafi (20 minutes later)
hi dr. thank you. in relation to sleep paralysis it has happened many times when I just wake up in the middle of the night and cant move or talk but my eyes are open. this latest incident freaked me out because of the pressure in my head I thought stroke or tumor or something like that. are the conditions you mentioned life threatening?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Unlikely to be a tumor- Need sleep study

Detailed Answer:
Your symptoms are most consistent with a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. This is when people have a hard time staying awake while doing activities or even speaking with people. eating food, performing physical activities, etc. They literally just fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

The facets of cataplexy and/or sleep paralysis don't always occur in all narcoleptics but it seems very possible based upon what you are saying that in fact, that's what's going on.

You should push to have a sleep study performed. If I were your neurologist I would probably get an MRI of the brain as well, however, this would be for the purpose of just making sure nothing else were masquerading as this sleep disorder, however, I really wouldn't be expecting to find anything such as a tumor that you mention.

Nobody really considers narcoplepsy a "fatal" condition unless you were to be driving a car and suddenly lose control of the vehicle and have an accident but that would be secondarily to the disease. Otherwise, life span and other factors affecting quality of life are quite normal. Proper treatment makes this a very treatable and controllable condition....though not necessarily "curable."

Your doctor may choose not to get the imaging study and that's fine too. But the sleep study, in my opinion, is the test of choice for your symptoms.

Once again I'm grateful for your providing a STAR RATING and a little brief written feedback if your questions have been satisfactorily answered. In addition, CLOSING THE QUERY on your end will also be most helpful.

Don't forget that my webpage to keep me abreast as to how you're doing is:

bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi

All the Best

This query has required a total of 39 minutes of physician specific time to read, research, and compile the return envoy to the patient.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Dariush Saghafi (19 minutes later)
Ive never in my life fallin asleep without wanting tool. In fact it the opposite. Takes me sooo long to fall asleep
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Insomnia evaluation

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for the update on that since sleep paralysis and cataplexy can certainly be associated with other types of sleep disorders and medical conditions as well. However, in this case and as you've now clarified you may suffer from insomnia.

In any case, a sleep study still remains one of the most sensitive diagnostic tools to use which can define the symptoms you've previously mentioned as well as your problem of insomnia.

Thanking you once again for your providing a STAR RATING as well as some written feedback if your questions have been satisfactorily answered to this point. In addition, CLOSING THE QUERY on your end will also be most helpful.

My webpage is also open to your needs at:

bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi

If you are successful at obtaining the sleep study I'd be interested in knowing the results if you care to share them. Hopefully, they will refer you to a sleep specialist if the study indeed shows some form of parasomnia....which we already know you have given the information on your insomnia.

This query has required a total of 48 minutes of physician specific time to read, research, and compile with return envoy to patient.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

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What causes pressure in head before going to sleep?

Brief Answer: Need sleep study Detailed Answer: Good evening. My name is Dr. Saghafi and I am a neurologist practicing in XXXXXXX Ohio, USA. I would like to try help direct you with your symptoms. First off, let me tell you that I've also read your other questions to other colleagues on this network who have made many other suggestions for somewhat different problems. What I think you should add perhaps to their list of suggestions for a workup which would also help in this case with your head symptoms and then, the movement disorder type of feeling are blood tests to include thyroid and adrenal gland function. Your GP will know which tests those are just to be sure that you do not have either hypo or hyperthyroidism or hypo or hyperadrenalism. My guess is that those tests will likely come out normal but it won't hurt to check along with the other tests I recommend below. You may have the condition of narcolepsy and from your description of symptoms I am concerned you could be experiencing cataplexy (loss of ability to move the body with an odd sensation in the head, dreaming at the point of falling asleep, loss of muscle tone in the body, etc.) which is usually brought on by some strong form of emotion such as laughing, crying, pain, etc. You may also be experiencing sleep paralysis although in this condition the inability to move the body generally occurs immediately UPON AWAKENING not just before going to sleep. Also, in sleep paralysis patients are often fully awake and conscious and not in any type of altered state of awareness which to me appears to be more the case with what you're describing. In any event, what can help firm up the diagnosis would be a sleep study. You may also with to ask they include a parameter known as the MEAN SLEEP LATENCY TIME (MSLT). This will practically define the sleep study parameter necessary to make the diagnosis of narcolepsy. Good luck! I know you'll need that because you're Australian which means you are going to have to figure out how to sell these recommendations to your primary doctor who is then, going to have to agree to first send you either to a neurologist or a sleep neurologist. Beyond that, you'll have to convince the neurologist or sleep specialist to do the study. We won't even talk about what to do if the study comes out equivocal for any reason and I might want to recommend you submit for a spinal tap for assaying a substance known as HYPOCRETIN which is not produced in the fluid of narcoleptics which can help strongly support a diagnosis of narcolepsy if the clinical parameters are there but the sleep study is not entirely supportive! LOL..... Lots of luck mate! Well, whaddya know? Here's an article that discusses all the things I just mentioned! Perhaps, if you print this out and present it to someone they'll have an easier time agreeing to my recommendations? http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/excessive-daytime-sleepiness-disorders/narcolepsy-and-catoplexy I'd appreciate the favor of your providing a STAR RATING and some brief written feedback if your question has been satisfactorily answered. In addition, CLOSING THE QUERY on your end will also be most helpful. Don't forget that my webpage to keep me abreast as to how you're doing is: bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi All the Best This query has required a total of 28 minutes of physician specific time to read, research, and compile the return envoy to the patient.