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CPAP making me a light sleeper

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KarmanMonkey +0 points · over 5 years ago Original Poster


Got a CPAP about 5yrs ago, but only used it a short while because I started having apnea events as I was drifting off to sleep, and there were lots of life events that took away the mental energy I'd need to follow up and fix the issue. Pan forward to about 3 months ago. I had two sleep studies done (one without CPAP, one with) and got an updated prescription. Have been using the updated CPAP for 3ish weeks.

New problem: Still getting used to the CPAP, but falling asleep relatively quickly... The problem is that when using the CPAP now, I wake up many many times in the night. I can get back to sleep relatively quickly, but I spend a significant amount of time awake in the night, and suspect I don't get any deep sleep. I certainly don't get a restful sleep.

The good news is that CPAP has improved my migraine frequency, and has had other health benefits. It's unfortunate that this comes at the cost of being drowsy much of the day, and nodding off during meetings at work.

Please offer any advice/suggestions/commiseration you can. I don't want to have to choose between having lousy sleep or having frequent (15/mo average) migraines.


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Sierra +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Patron

Welcome to the forum. One thing for sure is that wearing a CPAP mask does take some getting used to. It is an irritant and can cause a lighter sleep until you make peace with it. So my main advice would be to hang in there and it will most likely get better.

There are some issues with the machine and the mask that you may want to look into. I find that using a higher minimum pressure and preventing the machine from running up and down in pressure all night is more comfortable to me. Mask leaks can be an irritant, and if you can't eliminate them without using too much tension in the straps, it may be time to consider a different more comfortable mask. I have found that nasal pillow masks are the most comfortable to me, but they don't suit everyone. These are things to discuss with your sleep technician, unless you want to dig into it deeper yourself. If you want to see what the machine is doing during the night I would suggest downloading the free SleepyHead program. It uses the data from the SD card in your machine. A PC or Mac with a card reader is needed to use it. With the software you may be able to see what the machine is doing when you are waking up and whether or not something can be changed.

Last I stumbled on a website which was developed by a pharmacist and university professor. The purpose of the site is to help people with insomnia without using drugs. I have found the various tools on the site helpful in improving my sleep. One of my main learnings from the site was to reduce the amount of time I was trying to sleep, and to eliminate to the extent possible, naps during the day. And, if I have a poor sleep one night I don't try to make up for it by having a nap, or trying to sleep more the next night. I try to sleep the same every night. In any case here is a link to the site.


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sleeptech +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Some data from your machine would be best way to start investigating if it is doing its job.

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wiredgeorge +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

The CPAP therapy causing shallow sleep and frequent waking is kind of opposite what should be expected. You should be sleeping more soundly and in REM sleep a lot longer. Your symptoms (other than migraines) is pretty much totally 180 degrees opposite from my experience. Prior to therapy, I was up every couple hours thinking I had to take a potty break and had frequent and vivid dreams. These are a sure sign of non-REM sleep. Now I never get up during the night and can remember few, if any, dreams except those just in the half-awake state in the morning prior to hopping (well rolling) out of bed. Need to hear more regarding machine type, prescription and stats from sleep (AHI).

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