As far as I can remember, I have always had issues with daytime sleepiness. I maybe never took my symptoms very seriously because I always managed to cope anyhow, but on a daily basis I have always encountered concentration and memory problems, feeling of dizziness and (sometimes strong) brain fog and reduced cognitive performance, whatever the subjective quality of my sleep or time spent in bed. Even if I cannot recall one morning at which I woke up refreshed in the last 15 years, I do not have the heavy symptoms of narcolepsy, CFS, or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, thus preventing doctors (and myself so far) to investigate further.
I discovered quite recently Zeo, a device placed on a headband capable of recording quite accurately (via EEG) the sleep stages (basically light/deep/REM sleep) you go through. After having collected a couple of weeks of data, I discovered that my sleep architecturewas comparable with those of males of my age, except for the REM stage. Indeed, the Zeo users spend on average 4 times more time in REM sleep per night than I do. The most representative illustration of this issue is given on the figure below, on which the Zeo sleep stages recorded over a couple of months are aligned according to the onset of sleep. At the top is represented a “normal” sleep architecture, compared to mine at the bottom. If both show similar deep sleep patterns (in red), it is not the case at all for the REM ones (in yellow).
Therefore, I am now collecting as much information as I can in order to try to improve the quality of my REM sleep, since I tend to suspect a correlation between my symptoms and my lack of REMs. I have already tried several directions, such as regulating my circadian rhythms thanks to melatonin taken one hour before bedtime or stimulants and light therapy used in mornings, increasing my vitamin D3 levels via supplements controlled by blood tests (I live in northern Europe and found interesting studies pointing out potential links between sleep disorders and vitamin D3 deficiency), or simply by regulating temperature of my bedroom and trying different supplements which tend to increase REMs (e.g., Huperzine-A, Magnesium Citrate, ZMA, GABA). I also recently conducted a more formal sleep analysis (PSG, Polysomnography) which ruled out any sleep apnea related issues that could have been the source of my problem.
These pages compile preliminary results I have gathered recently. Nothing really outstanding so far but it is an on-going process, and the goal is also to collect and exchange feedback from people experiencing similar issues. Therefore, do not hesitate to leave comments or to contact me if you have any feedback, advices, testimonials or questions!