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New to cpap and insomnia

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cristi229 +1 point · over 5 years ago Original Poster

Hi all, I’m a 28 year old female and just got diagnosed with sleep apnea. I seem to be a little unique in that I remember waking up throughout the night, and I’ve developed insomnia as a result of waking up so many times per night. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep (all of this prior to starting cpap). This is my first week on cpap, and I really want it to work. I can fall asleep fine on it, but I wake up after about 3 hours and take it off because I can’t fall back asleep once I wake up, and then either sleep restlessly the rest of the night or don’t fall back asleep at all. I’m not really sure what to do, I am worried that my apnea won’t improve because I can’t tolerate it for long enough, and I’m even more exhausted than before. I’m worried that I have to keep going to work and operating on such little sleep when I’m already sleep deprived. I want this to work so badly but I don’t know how to sleep through the night. I’m going to talk to my doctor, but do you guys have any similar experiences/advice?

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Hi cristi229

It's a hard place to be in but if you persist it will get easier.

Many Apnea sufferers seem to go through similar experiences in the beginning.

Sometimes it's harder to get to sleep when you are worried about it and trying too hard.

Perhaps you should try something quiet like a dull book until the next wave kicks in.

I think that even restless sleep might be better than no sleep at all.

I get the impression that really low doses of Melatonin might be useful in your circumstances.

It might be worth reading up on.

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Sierra +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Patron

Welcome to the forum. Your issue is fairly common, and not only with CPAP users. Here is what comes to mind for things to try:

  • Make sure your PAP machine is set up for the most comfortable starting ramp pressures to get you to sleep. If you post your specific machine model and the pressures it is set to, and we may be able to help. When you wake up in the night and feel you can't get back to sleep, shut the machine off and get up, and read or something else boring. Don't use a computer or smartphone. Probably best to keep them out of the bedroom. And then when you do go back to bed, your machine will start in the ramp mode again. The long term goal is to get one long sleep, but in the short term it does not make sense to toss and turn in the bed when you can't sleep. Just get up. Reserve the bed as a place to sleep.
  • Do whatever you can to make your mask and machine comfortable. If the pressure is bothering you, talk to your sleep clinic about any opportunities to reduce it.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time. 7-8 hours sleep is all that most people need. If you try to push the time longer, it can make for poorer quality sleep, and waking up in the night.
  • Try to avoid naps during the day and evening. Save your sleep for night time in bed.
  • Avoid alcohol or the like before bed. It can get you to sleep quicker, but when it wears off you wake up.
  • If your climate control allows it, set the temperature in the room lower for sleeping. 18 C or 65 F is considered ideal for sleeping.

I have found the tools at the website link below to be very helpful in getting a good sleep without medications.

SleepWell - It's no Dream

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PatCat +0 points · over 5 years ago

Hi cristi229,

I remember those days you're having now, im 3 and a half months using my Cpap machine and I can tell you it does get easier my dear.

At first I was only getting between 1 - 2hrs sleep a night, getting up for work at 5am feeling like crap. But now I'm getting between 6 - 7hrs sleep. It took alot of tweeking my machine to suit me also i had to try a few different Masks.

Don't be hard on yourself, you will get there, it takes time. I never thought I'd be able to write anything positive on here but look at me now.

If i can do this you can, take a day at a time, and just make little changes to your temps etc.

Wish you all the best.

Pat X

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Ruby +0 points · over 5 years ago Sleep Commentator

I think most of us went through this and it gets so frustrating! The worst thing you can do is worry about it. But I understand because then you worry about not worrying. Something that has helped me a lot when I wake up during the night is to think about what is bothering me. What am I worried about or thinking about? Can I do something about it? Maybe I forgot to do something important. Either make a note (keep a notebook and pen by the bed) or if it is something I can take care of quickly then just get up and do it. If I can't do something about it (like get the windows washed before company comes LOL) then I tell myself to let it go. That may take awhile to actually do but practice does help. As for the CPAP issue, it's about the same. Wear it as long as you can. If you take it off, fine. The next night you might wear it a little longer. If it bothers you too much one night, let it go but don't stress over it. Sierra had good advice, if you can't sleep just get up and do something boring like work on a jigsaw puzzle or hand-write a letter to yourself about everything you did during the day. Something to keep your mind occupied but not busy. Does that make sense? Or figure out something that will help you sleep (with or without mask) like soothing music or ocean sounds, run a fan for white noise, use aromatherapy. I hope this gets better for you soon.

Please be advised that these posts may contain sensitive material or unsolicited medical advice. MyApnea does not endorse the content of these posts. The information provided on this site is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for advice from a health care professional who has evaluated you.