What should I do if I cannot sleep because of noises that I imagine?

This question was asked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 08/03/2012.
When I sleep, daydream or zone out for a minute, I always hear a loud tap or a continuous tapping noise on things around me such as the wall, TV, etc. When I sleep it wakes me up every couple of hours. It seems as though something is trying to keep me from sleeping, thinking or daydreaming. I've daydreamed and zoned out in front of witnesses to make sure it wasn't just me hearing things, and they can very much hear it. Is there some type of invisible world study going on, and am I the guinea pig? Please help!

Doctors Answers (4)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 8/10/2012

No invisible world study going on that I know of at present, so you don't have to feel like a rat in a cage. If you are hearing sounds that awaken you from sleep and are zoning out I think you should see a neurologist to order a head scan and an EEG to rule out seizures. If this is negative then you can see a sleep specialist to rule out a sleep disorder.

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 8/9/2012 6

From your history sounds like you could in addition to having a sleep disorder, also have a psychiatric condition. Consider evaluation by a psychiatrist and see if he/she recommends sleep consultation.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 8/8/2012 5

If you are imagining noises and recognize that they are not real then you have a different issue than if you considered them real. Regardless, you need to see a psychiatrist who can help you sort out what is real and not real. Then, your sleep should improve.

Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D.
Answered on: 8/6/2012 1

There are some sleep disorders that are associted with unusual symptoms. The experiences you are having may be representative of a sleep disorder, or perhaps another type of problem. For example, narcolepsy is known to be associated with hallucinatory events known as "hypnogogic hallucinations" just before sleep onset or upon awakening. It is important to talk with your primary care physician or a sleep specialist to assess the experiences you describe and determine if they warrant treatment.