Sleep Disturbance and /nightmares?

I wonder if there are any opinions on sleep disorders and Ataxia.

I take sleeping tablets (Zolpidem) to help me get off to sleep
(to help my mind relax ??)

I have noticed, that I have always had wierd nightmares/Dreams.
these have included “Killer Pigs” chasing me through woods
Mice opening “squeeky” doors ?
making a bonfire with all my sailing (and Kayaking)clothes, and equipment (Which has no bearing on anything done during the day)
plus other very odd things ???

sometimes the cause of which has some bearing on activites, or conversations, late in the day, other times they just seem to happen, NO PATTERN.

Alan Thomas (confused)

I have very strange dreams but hardly ever remember them long enough to tell others. They often seem very real when I wake up - not just at night - in the afternoon too.

Everyone dreams of course but ataxia might affect them in some way. [curious]

I dont have nightmares or probs getting off to sleep most of time although I have had some pretty bizarre dreams but i had them before I got ataxia too. I used to get lots of dreams about bouncing everywhere like on trampolines and pogo sticks for some strange reason… maybe I was a kangaroo in a past life!.. lol :o)

I’m curious that in my dreams I can hear, even though I have been deaf 24 years now and I’m never in a wheelchair either, my speech is as it was when I was young teenager and I can hear myself and others speaking perfectly.

In early days I used to find it difficult first thing in morning if I had been running over fields or something in my dreams then waking up to find wheelchair parked at side of bed, it used to make me cry. Inca was my biggest incentive to stop feeling sorry for myself and haul myself out of bed cos she still needed me to get up and let her out, wheelchair or not!


Last night 23/24 Feb.
it was cutting up polystyrene, for the Krypton Factor on TV ???

making squares and Cylinders, for the contestants to put together ???
( now, that WAS totally random, and no bearing on anyhing ???)

Alan ???

I was having sleep problems and I took Ambien almost every night. This wasn’t good as I had weird dreams and would sit up and think I was awake, I wasn’t. I started to have weird conversations with my wife and that was enough for me. I tried a couple of other meds but they seemed to cause more ataxia related problems the next day. Finally someone told me a different way to take Melatonin. Rather than taking it just before bed, start taking one pill each hour until you go to bed. This really works. After a few days of doing this start starting an hour later. Keep cutting back as long as you sleep well. Once you don’t, go back one step. If for any reason you start having problems again repeat the process.


Hey Alan (AKA Cool Kid),

I don’t take meds to go to sleep, that’s one area I don’t have problems (LOL). But I do have dreams, always with me walking or running. One dream I was parading around in high heels (never could wear those damned things) and stating to people in the room, “see I’m not doing so bad.” Another dream was me running away from a mad dog and thinking, wow, I CAN run!.

Who knows what’s behind dreams, I will say this, I’ve never had a dream with me pushing a walker. Hmmmm, wonder if there’s something to that?


Thanks Alan for your comment on dreams.

Why do i dream that im ok but wake up in a panick when i realise it was only a dream?Ive always believed that one is suposed to reverse our dreams,if only that was true eh?
Strange or what,Sheila.

Hi Alan,

I have a REM sleep disorder that is a symptom of my ataxia. Have you ever acted out your dreams, as in kicking or punching? If so, you may have this too. I also was taking Ambien at the time. Another problem that the disorder is that you’re getting very little REM (restorative) sleep. My doctor in Boston started me on Clonazipan. It has helped tremendously. Something to think about…


Alan, I suggest researching alternatives to your medication.

Journaling these dreams will bring up any subconcious trauma which may be setting them off as well as stress you are experiencing due to poor quality sleep.

I suggest you read Writing As A Way of Healing by Louise DeSalva.

I have also had many strange dreams. Often I wake up screaming for help. I did read night terrors can be related to ataxia.

It certainly has effected my sleep. I take trazadone since diagnosis. I take naps when I can.

I seem to have my sleep interrupted by nightmares".screaming and wakes me up.“I don’t know how this is related To my ataxia”.there is no pattern…but is this part of ataxia? It does bother me especially the screams.".""I am not on medication

Please NOTE

This is an old discussion, revisited (information) for the newly Diagnosed.

At the time, a different manufacturer of Zolpidem was tried and seemed to have positive effects.

(Maybe this is due to the different ingredients ("fillers") or even the "coatings" on the tablets.)

I don't go to bed until I'm practically falling asleep in my lazy-boy chair, as I can't go to sleep otherwise. I dream occasionally where I remember my dreams (usually NOT bad dreams, otherwise I don't). I have sleep apnea, diagnosed at the same time as my ataxia, therefore I use a C-Pap machine when I sleep. I've never taken any medication to sleep and although I rest during the day, I never sleep, as if I did, I wouldn't sleep at night! ;o)

I'm like rose, I don't go to bed until my eyes are practically falling out of my head. I then read for a few minutes, and then fall asleep straight away. However my problem is staying asleep. I have restless leg syndrome (which I understand can be a part of ataxia), and am generally ok for four hours, then the legs start to hurt, and I keep waking up to change position, and I consider it a good night's sleep if I can manage six hours all up. Generally once I get up to go to the loo, that's it for the night.

Dreaming is not normally a problem. I do dream, but rarely have any dreams worth remembering, although there are exceptions. One was just before I had to fast for a blood test. I was in a panic (in the dream) because I couldn't remember where I had parked the car, and I needed to find the car so I could eat my chocolate cake!

Quite a few years ago I went through a particularly bad emotional time when my marriage was breaking up, and I had some doozies of dreams! Once things got sorted out, the dreams stopped.

i have trouble getting to sleep also, but i remember almost all my dreams, which gets my reality messed up, cause my dreams are so real,and in most of my dreams i can walk also.

When I was a kid and in college, my mother and my roommate said I talked inmy sleep. After I was married(50yrs ago) I think this stopped until a few years ago when the ataxia began. Since then my present husband says I talk in my sleep and I know from others that I sometimes scream. I have some weird dreams too but if I am too tired i just lay awake all nite. I have even taken tylenol pm or a zquil and still can't sleep. I think the dreams go with the ataxia, myself. I also some times get very tired and sleep off and on all day then sleep all night too.Nothing predictable!

The drug you are taking is just a hypnotic

Do some reading on Sigmund Freud and dream meanings...can't blame ataxia for everything

I have weird dreams too. I trash and talk in my sleep. I even scream but often do not remember my dreams or even wake up.. I am on clozapine and Requip.. The clozapine makes me groggy in the AM.

I learnt in my search for a diagnosis that many sleep & neurological disorders can cause ataxia symptoms without leading to a diagnosis of a classified Ataxia condition although I question whether these disorders alone cause the symptoms or whether there is just a lack of proper diagnosis. For example people with Narcolepsy have disrupted sleep patterns and often experience very vivid dreams and as a result of this they may suffer from ataxia symptoms even though they have not been diagnosed with a classified Ataxia as such. If you are concerned about sleep problems it is always worthwhile seeking referral to a sleep specialist to see whether or not an underlying sleep disorder might be causing the sleep problems & might be treatable rather than assuming that the ataxia condition is the cause of the sleep problem. I hope this makes sense.

By the way, I was told the restless leg and screaming, talking, acting out my dreams, etc. was related to ataxia and I was given meds to get some sleep and let others sleep!.