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First Week

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skidski +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

I'm one week in to using CPAP for treatment of mild sleep apnea. First night was rough but I've worn the mask 6-8 hours a night and have gone from not much sleep to begin with to probably 6 to 7 hours sleep the last three nights. Also I am getting to sleep more quickly within the ramp up window. My energy levels went up from the very first day. Still waking up a couple of times a night but falling back to sleep in a reasonable time.

Wanted to know if other people have experienced an impact from the sleep they missed while they were getting adjusted. Ironically, about the time I started getting comfortable with the mask and falling asleep quicker I now feel awful. It's very similar to how I've felt in the past on occasions where I missed sleep. It hit some the day after the first good night's sleep I got and then today it was like a house fell on me. I feel like CPAP will make a positive difference in my quality of life but I'm surprised (and a little apprehensive) about how bad I feel from missing sleep. Is this typical and how long does it take to make up the sleep you lost? Any advice on how to deal with it?

I really feel fortunate I've adjusted to the mask this quickly and I really feel sorry for people who take longer. If you went through this for a month or so I imagine you'd end up worse off from the cure than from sleep apnea. Thanks for any comments, experiences, or advice.

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

I had a lot of difficulty getting used to CPAP. My at home sleep test was about the worst night for sleep I have ever had. The second worst was the first night on the CPAP. Both nights I was ready to get up several times to take the equipment and throw it out the window!

That was 6 months ago, and along with a number of changes and simply time getting used to wearing the equipment it has gotten much better. My wife went on CPAP 3 years earlier than I did, and I really resisted getting into it. However that is now in the past. One of the big things that has helped is using SleepyHead software to monitor how well the machine is working for me. I started that with my wife's machine, and used it from day one on my machine. The software is very helpful in seeing what is going on when you are sleeping, when you are having apnea, and what may be waking you up, or keeping you awake.

I think there are a few components of the puzzle that need attention and be eventually solved:

  • Getting the machine pressure settings right. Getting a low AHI, but also reasonable comfort
  • Getting the mask comfortable to wear, eliminating leaks, and disturbances that can wake you up
  • Setting reasonable expectations for sleep and quality of sleep

These are all still works in progress for me even after 6 months on the machine. And after nearly 4 years, my wife is still making adjustments

One of the things I have done is lowered my target for sleep in a night. I was trying to sleep too long. I also do my very best not to nap to "catch up" on sleep after a poor night. I like to focus on a higher quality sleep while trying to limit it to 8 hours or a bit less. A site on the net called SleepWell has been a big help to me in identifying my poor sleeping habits and myths about sleep. Here is a link if you are interested. SleepWell

If you want to post what kind of machine and mask you have, and any particular problems or concerns, you will likely get suggestions from those that have gone before you down this road...

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skidski +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

Thanks, that's very helpful. I'll follow up on your suggestions. I'm happy that I'm staying on the machine for 8 hours and that I already feel more energy, just curious as to how long it takes to make up for all the sleep you lose that first week. I made several adjustments already. I bought a pillow with a cutout space on either side so my head wasn't pressing the mask down into the pillow. When the noise was keeping me awake I turned on an old air filter system I had on the other side of the room and that cancelled out the noise from the CPAP machine. Started reading a half hour before I go into the bed and don't watch TV in the bed. Trying to wait until I'm sleepy to get into the bed. Keeping the room temperature slightly lower. It hasn't been fun, but other than the first five nights (where I was laying awake) it's not been awful. I'm just still sleepy from losing about 20 hours sleep on those first five nights.

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

My philosophy is that one good sleep of 8 hours can make up for several nights of poor sleep. The trick however is getting that one good night sleep of 8 hours. I don't believe in using naps to try and make up for lost sleep, and do everything I can to avoid them.

I think one of the issues with CPAP that resolves over time is that there is some discomfort with the mask on your face, leaks from the mask, noise from the mask air vent, and noise from the machine itself. Those issues until you get used to them can prevent you from getting into a deeper sleep and more frequent wake ups in the night are probable. I don't think wake ups are a big issue providing you don't stay awake for any significant time.

On pillows that is a very individual thing. Everyone seems to end up with something different, but if it works it works. The best pillow I have found so far is a down alternative pillow from Costco. It is fairly soft, and does not push back, so it can make room for the mask without pushing it off my face. Others let the mask extend beyond the pillow.

I agree that lower room temperature helps. I recall seeing somewhere that 18 C or 64 F is supposed to be ideal for sleeping.

I find my ResMed machine to be very quiet, but the mask vent depending on the mask can be somewhat distracting. The AirFit P10 mask I am now using is very quiet though. I hear my wife's mask more than I hear mine.

Here is a link where you can download SleepyHead, and a basic manual. You do need a PC or a Mac, and a SD card reader. Most ResMed and DreamStation machines are compatible.

SleepyHead Download

SleepyHead Basic Manual

The manual gives you a good idea what the software can do.

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skidski +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

I like the idea of the soft down pillow. I may well try that.

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

I like the idea of a down pillow too, but my wife says she is allergic to real down and won't let one in the bed. That is why I had to go with the down alternative. I think it is a microfiber fill. It is different than a standard polyester fill which tends to have a lot of push back.

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