Very tired and light headed

i have been doing nocturnal dialysis for about 2 months now i still have a hard time sleeping so most of the nights i get about a hour of sleep and then i go to bed after my 8 hours is up. have not felt much different before i was in center doing 5 hours a dAY 3X A WEEK. feel tired all the time. and lightheaded. i thought coming home i would feel better. what are somethings you have done to get better?

I imagine there are some people who might never get used to it, sleeping while on dialysis all night, that is. I got used to it pretty quickly. I even have a strong coffee while doing my setup so I don’t get too sleepy, and once on, I fall asleep during the first 30 minutes, usually. How was your sleeping before nocturnal? I don’t have any suggestions for you. I don’t think it would be feasible to take a sleeping aid, because, you might not wake up if the machine alarms - but I’m not a doctor. Maybe you just have to make an effort for a while not to sleep during the day and to get plenty of exercise and fresh air - just to retrain your sleeping cycle.

When I went to daily nocturnal after almost 3 years on conventional hemo, I had to relearn how to eat and drink. There’s no diet on nocturnal, but there is a reverse diet in the sense that you do have to eat heartily with plenty of protein - like you don’t have kidney failure at all. Check with your home hemo nurse/dietician though.

Maybe you need some adjustments to your dialysis prescription - bicarb, blood pump speed, calcium, phosphorus, etc.


What kind of machine and R/O are you using? Can you tell if it’s the light or the noise or the dialysis itself that’s keeping you awake?


If the parameters are set for long nocturnal, I would have to say that you really don’t feel anything from the dialysis itself. It’s like you’re not on it at all - because everything is running so slowly.

The display screen on the Fresenius is lit, like a small computer screen. It’s not that bright. It doesn’t bother me at all, but I have heard other patients say they tape a piece of cardboard over it in a way that they can lift if up if they need access to the screen.

The noise from the Fresenius itself is not really much of a problem. It’s more like white noise than anything else. The really noisy component is the R/O. Mine is in an adjoining utility/storage room, so, I don’t hear it at all. In fact, the noise from the dialysis machine during the night is so low and you get used to it so much that sometimes, when I happen to wake up, I have to look at the machine to make sure it’s still rolling.

Having bloodlines and needles in your arm is something you just have to get used to. It’s always a little scarey at first, but, after a few days, you just learn to have confidence that those little suckers aren’t going anywhere. Plus, you learn to sleep without trashing around. It’s amazing how adaptable our bodies are.

It’s possible that continued fear might hinder sleeping. To be frank, if you can’t learn to trust your machine, your careful setup (and I do mean careful - it’s not like short daily where you might take some liberties because you will be monitoring the treatment), nocturnal hemo might not be for you. If that’s the case, there’s still short daily hemo.

Remote monitoring is more of a security blanket than anything else. If something truly serious enough happened that you needed the remote monitoring folks, there’s no way they could get you help in time. For other things, like if your blood pump stops and you don’t wake up to reset the machine (it will alarm, of course), well, the worst that will happen is that the rest of your treatment will be kaput, and you just pick it up the next night. Personally, I prefer not to have a remote watchdog over me knowing every move I make.

Now, I have to say that in my lifetime, I’ve slept on heavily pitching and rolling warships on a bunk about a foot wide with my head separated from the ocean by just a 1/4 inch steel plate, I’ve slept in foxholes and tents with heavy main battle tanks and 10-ton trucks going by just feet away from me, and I’ve even slept through a hurricane, so, maybe I sleep easier than some :slight_smile: