We've updated our privacy policy.

Thinking about Labor Day and sleep apnea

19 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
RebeccaR +0 points · 7 months ago Original Poster Support Team

Labor Day got me thinking about how sleep apnea affects people as workers. Sleep apnea can affect more than sleep. It can affect relationships and professional lives too. What are people's experiences managing their jobs and their sleep apnea?

  • Has anyone had to change their work or leave their work?

  • Has anyone worked with a manager to accommodate their sleep condition?

  • Has anyone noticed positive changes at work following treatment?

  • What lessons have you learned along the way that can help others?

1,323 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Sierra +0 points · 7 months ago Sleep Innovater

My wife and I both use CPAP but were retired before starting. Our son uses a CPAP too and is still working. I think your questions are quite individual although there may be some patterns. I got into CPAP because I failed an apnea screening test. I felt fine and in my opinion slept fine without it. However I did snore and that was affecting my wife's sleep. I continue with the CPAP treatment because of the other health benefits of controlling the apnea frequency, and of course to control snoring.

My wife on the other hand was not sleeping well before diagnosis and has experienced a huge improvement in sleep and energy. If she was working at the time, I'm sure there would have been benefits there. My son also reports significant improvements in sleep and I'm sure work performance as a result.

Lessons learned? Well I think first one needs to pay personal attention to their CPAP therapy and take ownership of it themselves rather than depending on health care providers. While an Auto CPAP can do a lot with just the basic setup, it can be improved with careful analysis of the data and adjustment of the setup to each individual. Health care providers seldom will take the time to do that. My son got a ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset and part of the package was supposed to be a wireless monitoring of his results and adjustment of his setting to suit him. He has been on it for over two years, and I recently just looked at his SD card with SleepyHead. His setup was originally as he bought it with 5-15 cm pressure, no Auto Ramp, no ramp start pressure, and not one adjustment to the settings. I spent some time looking at the data and set the machine up properly with a start pressure of 7 cm, EPR at 3 on ramp only, and a min max of 8-10 cm. Lesson learned? If you want the best treatment you have to do it yourself, or push the health care providers to do it.

A second less is that you have to try different things if your treatment is less than satisfactory. My wife has been using the same make and model of mask for over 3 years (ResMed FX Nasal) but was starting to have excessive leakage. It took some time but I convinced her to try a F&P Brevida nasal pillow mask instead. She went from a % time over the leak redline of 35% at times to now a consistent less than 1% over the red line.

For myself a big learning was that one has to consider comfort as well as numbers. It took me a long time but I have finally concluded that lack of comfort (too hot, uncomfortable bed, pillow, poor fitting mask, leaking mask, etc) actually causes your AHI to go up. If you don't sleep well and keep waking up during the night your numbers will suffer. Lesson learned is that you have to be comfortable to get good numbers. And on numbers one has to also realize that not everyone can get the same degree of AHI reduction. Central apnea if it is a problem cannot really be reduced with a basic Auto CPAP. But, as long as AHI is under 5 it is acceptable. Over that and you need to be considering a different type of machine.

I could go on, but that is what immediately comes to mind...

59 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Sherry +0 points · 7 months ago

I started my own business at 22 to give me flexibility of working hours because I had struggled getting up in the mornings through all my school, college and working for someone else years. At the time I had no idea that my issue was sleep apnea. I just knew that every morning I felt like I had been run over by a train. Once in business for myself and able to adjust my working hours, I was able to thrive. I found that I was most energetic and productive in the afternoon and evening hours. The traditional working world did not accommodate that time frame.

I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in my late 20ies. At least, I now had an explanation for all my morning struggles. Now 34 years later, I am still self-employed. Even after treatment, I still prefer sunset vs. sunrise!

3 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Beatrice +0 points · 7 months ago

Good topic, quite relevant for me I think. I took a long time getting through graduate school (several extra years), which I had always attributed to depression. I did well with a postdoc position for a few years that was not demanding in terms of time/schedule. I struggled greatly for a couple of years in a more demanding and structured job (which came with about an hour commute) in a medical clinic setting. I barely made it through the 2 year commitment to get some loan repayment there. There were others working there who needed a lot of coffee and some naps over lunch, too, so it was not clear to me that it wasn't normal to struggle with it. For the past year or so, I have been trying my own business so I have more flexibility and then recently was diagnosed. Got my cpap machine and started last night. Hoping it helps significantly, as I don't think I'd be able to work hard enough otherwise.

944 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
wiredgeorge +1 point · 7 months ago Sleep Enthusiast

First, welcome to the site. Second, working hard may be over rated. Third, coffee is only a weak substitute for 5 hour energy drinks with enough caffeine to induce body quivering. If your OSA was diagnosed correctly and you had an effective prescription, you will do good! Keep in mind that folks react to therapy differently. Some folks take awhile for therapy to mitigate negative effects and others are good from the get-go. Some folks are in between but the important thing is to get a copy of your sleep report and prescription and attempt to understand your personal study results. Once you understand the medical jargon, you can them self-monitor with a view to directing your own therapy from a more informed perspective.

1,323 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Sierra +0 points · 6 months ago Sleep Innovater

As George says different individuals respond differently to CPAP therapy. My wife who was diagnosed with an AHI in the 70's felt almost immediate benefits. I was diagnosed about 3 years later with an AHI in the 30's. I have been on CPAP for about 6 months now and am finally seeing some net benefits. My suggestion is to focus on comfort as much as the numbers. If you are not comfortable you will not sleep well. Getting a good mask is usually the hardest part. There are some things you can do with the machine as well. Assuming you have a compatible machine, I would encourage you to download SleepyHead which is a free CPAP data monitoring program. It gives you a lot more information than the machine does. Then either by doing it yourself or by asking your provider, you can adjust the machine to your own needs. Even the auto machines need some help to be as effective and comfortable as they can be.

3 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Beatrice +1 point · 6 months ago

Thanks for your responses. It's been about 2 weeks and I think I'm adjusting pretty well to the cpap use. I can often tell the difference in my "awakeness" during the day, but I think it will take some time for it to really change my life noticably.

944 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
wiredgeorge +0 points · 7 months ago Sleep Enthusiast

Welcome into the fray Rebecca! I have never suffered much from my non-treatement of my sleep apnea and it certainly didn't affect my personal or professional life. I was diagnosed after I retired from the Federal Govt back in the last century; went into private industry for a time (IT work) then started my own business 13 years ago. The only negative affect of sleep apnea was dozing/nodding off. Sometimes these dozing sessions were at non-opportune times such as working with power tools or riding my motorcycle. I was only half comatose I guess because I survived; sometimes with a lump in my throat! Issue was cleared up with therapy which has been effective since day one.

29 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
Turquoiseturtle +0 points · 6 months ago

I was diagnosed shortly after retiring. In the morning, I would have trouble concentrating enough to read the newspaper, even though it felt like I slept well. I always felt it was my morning commute by bike, 5-10 miles, that got the oxygen flowing and I was truly awake. I would then be alert all day. Of course, those kindergarteners kept me on my toes all day. I'd crash about 9. With CPAP, I find I am up a bit later, am still an early riser. I sleep about 7.5 hours now vs 8.5 before. I still hit the road early for 30-60 mile rides several days a week and am feeling great.

19 posts
bio
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
RebeccaR +0 points · 5 months ago Original Poster Support Team

Dear All,

First- sorry for my delayed reply!!! And thank you for all the great comments and stories.

It sounds like the impact of sleep apnea on work has varied widely but has often impacted important quality of life issues- ranging from not being able to concentrate on the newspaper, to being in a serious accident (wiredgeorge-- so glad you are okay). I found it interesting that several of you mentioned that treatment can have varying affects. It can be a life changer, make a small but noticeable difference, or take months to make an impact if at all.

On that note, recently, MyApnea researchers have been investigating trends in the MyApnea survey data on that topic: sleep apnea patients who use their CPAP machines and still feel sleepy. I wonder how common this concern is for the MyApnea community and for sleep apnea patients broadly...

Topic locked due to inactivity. Start a new topic to engage with active community members.
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.