I understand how it may seem like I'm against the sleep apnea diagnosis, but I feel like I am just looking at the facts.
For example, 1- if this (very mild) sleep apnea was truly an issue for me, why hasn't it woken me up all the time in years past? 2- why is it that my sleep issues began ironically RIGHT after the very stressful event in my life? And 3- again, if this all really IS 100% caused by sleep apnea, why is it that my awakenings always take place at the SAME exact times? Either around 3am or 5am ish?
If my sleep apnea was giving me problems wouldn't 1am, 2am and other times be happening as well over these 8 long months? There is just too much that points to these last 8 months being anxiety only related, even though I do in fact acknowledge the sleep apnea diagnosis and do find it interesting since as noted by me earlier that it's true I've never been such a great sleep to begin with.
I will try the mouth device out of course. It can't hurt. But I just hope you guys can understand how I feel about all of this.
No I am not doing cPAP. He suggesting trying the mouthpiece.
Believe me if I had to guess, regardless of what this doctor said, andas wild as it sounds for over 8 months now, anxiety is probably the culprit. There is no coincidence that this all began after a super stressful event in my life.
But this random mild sleep apnea diagnosis is a whole other monkey wrench thrown into the mix that may finally make me lose my mind, so i don't know.
Hey everyone. Back here with a big update. Had my follow up appt yesterday. Basically the doc showed me the results (which I have a copy of) which states that I have “mild obstructive sleep apnea”. It states that I have “arousals” 6.8 times an hour due to snoring and 4.9 times an hour due to respiratory. So technically I guess this means I’m having arousals almost 12 times an hour. These aren’t actual “awakenings” but from what I have read people with as few as 5 arousals a night can be affected by chronic fatigue. It should also be noted that my overall sleep “efficiency” was 92%. Truth is I can’t really understand this stuff well and this doc is one that I really can’t seem to communicate well with so I didn’t bother pushing him as he already seemed to have one foot out the door as he prescribed me a mouthpiece that a special dentist would make for me to try.
The bottom line of all bottom lines here is, if you read my entire story, is that I am just absolutely totally confused. My entire life, while not a GREAT sleeper, all I know is that I never had any serious issue with sleep. 8 months ago after a STRESSFUL EVENT, I began having my middle of the night awakenings and all I EVER read about and thought was that this was insomnia/anxiety. When I found myself finally relaxing and becoming calm and this STILL just wouldn’t go away, I thought well maybe it really is in fact something else. Next thing I know, me a 145lb 6’2 32 year old man is actually diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, and now I don’t know what to think at all.
To verify, the doc thinks anxiety WAS tied into all of this, and bc of that my underlining sleep apnea it became more apparent. Something to that effect at least. What does everyone think? It should be interesting to note that over the last 2 weeks I’ve suddenly been sleeping noticeably better, but as we all know and as I stated initially, this could just be another phase. The doc also bashed any online purchase of a mouthpiece saying “none of them work.” Typical doctor talk it seems like, only caring about the specialist who would make me one I guess.
Yes I know all about how its hard to deprogram yourself from waking up in the middle of the night but this has simply gone on too long now. You would think eventually by default I would have started to go back to normal. I have tried all the basic sleep hygiene methods, read books on it, etc. I can't live like this anymore.. and i know, Insomnia pros will tell me saying stuff like that shows I still have anxiety, but trust me when I say I reached very calm/non anxious points and still continued to have problems. I can say that I have NOT slept through the night completely 10p-6a now in almost FIVE months. Every single night has consisted of either a 3am-ish wakeup or a "too early" 5am-ish wake up. If I had sleep apnea that was truly bad enough to affect my sleep, don't you think that its odd how its always the SAME wakeup times for the better part of 8 months now? Isn't it odd how i've never woken up at 12am or 1am? EVER?
And with regards to my hypothyroidism.. I only feel it should be treated if its a problem. For years, it never affected me much and I even had a second opinion doctor tell me that Synthroid isn't a necessity right now if I don't feel it is, especially seeing as how my levels are only SLIGHTLY off. Of course if you told me my thyroid was the cause of my insomnia, i'd be on the pill starting TONIGHT. Synthroid isn't a joke though. Its a rather big deal and big committment. Its not something you just "try" really. So I dont think you can blame me for trying to rule out EVERYTHING else before i considered that.
My latest, and honestly what feels like it could be last attempt at trying something is me now ordering a $77 de-snore/sleep apnea help Mouthpiece. Comes in a few days. I figured hey, what not.
Yes waiting AGAIN it is extremely annoying and only adds to my stress. This isn’t some blood test to talk about improving my diet or something, this is something that is affecting me pretty much every minute of every day. I waited a month for the hell that was a sleep study and now I have to pretty much wait over another month for a follow up appointment to discuss the “treatment” which based on everything I read, will likely just be the doc telling me to eat healthier and sleep on my side as much as I can. WiredGeorge thanks for your words, but with regards to my primary care doc and my slight hypothyroidism, there is nothing that will be done aside from him suggesting Synthroid which he has twice in the past, which most of us know is the medication you must go on for the rest of your life, every single day. I’m desperate at this point, but I still just have a hard time believing this is anything but anxiety since it began after serious stress. If my thyroid IS the issue, why wasn’t I dealing with insomnia years before this? As noted above, I was diagnosed in 2011. When I do wake up at 3am, now days I just try and remain calm and I typically fall back asleep within 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I look at the clock, sometimes I don’t. I’ve learned that it really doesn’t matter anymore. I’m fully aware that I’m still waking up around that time and this is still a big problem. This morning I woke at 4:55am and couldn’t fall back asleep, and last night I couldn’t have gone to sleep any more calmly. This all continues to fascinate me.
He did not give me a number over the phone but I will request the report at the appointment (in two more weeks.....)
He also gave no ideas over the phone. Honestly he seemed like the typical doc who just wanted to end the call as soon as possible and then make me schedule ANOTHER appointment. I really can't deal with this ongoing saga anymore.
As far as the same issues yes, absolutely, although in the last week or so i've been in a "better" phase of waking at 5-520am or so instead of the 3/4am ordeals. Still makes me feel exhausted everyday though. Exhausted as I'm typing this with the typical purple bags under my eyes. Starting to really dig deep now and wonder what it could be if its something physical. I'm reading that insomnia/sleep issues can easily be a symptom of hypothyroidism. My last TSH level was 4.85 which is only slightly out of range. But who knows, maybe it affects me worse. Then again, i was diagnosed 7 years ago now and only started having my insomnia 7 months ago.
I feel lost at this point.
Hello again everyone. Back here with an update and it may be a shocking one to some. I just received the results of my sleep study and according to my doctor I have "mild sleep apnea". On the phone he says it is not enough to make me come back for a 2nd sleep study and is not enough to have to use a CPAP machine but i should come back for a follow up appointment where we can discuss "treatment options". He said it is "worse on your back" which i found odd since I only sleep on my side.
I am in absolute disbelief and don't know what to think. If I had sleep apnea wouldn't i be waking up at OTHER times in the night and not just the usual 3(sometimes 4) am like clockwork? And what about that weird three week phase where I suddenly thought I beat my insomnia back in December?
All that aside, I must admit that in a weird way i kept thinking there is still a good chance this was something physical and not mental as waking up at 3am like clockwork night after night after night just seemed surreal to me, even on days where I was very relaxed an made sure to practice good sleep hygeine. As noted in my original post I don't think i was ever the best sleeper (had a bit of a history of feeling groggy 1-2 times a week, probably bc of bad sleep hygeine i thought) but never in a million years would i think i had any form of sleep apnea. My fear is that its hardly anything much and he might just be calling it "mild" sleep apnea, I don't know.
All I do know as stated in my original post is my Insomnia did NOT begin until after a stressful event that took place in my life in September 2016, but the doc told me that this anxiety i developed bc of that event may have just made me more "aware" of my night time awakenings when they would now happen. Basically he's saying i would always wake up at night like this, only now after developing some anxiety i started "noticing" them more and staying awake once they happened.
What does everyone think of this? So ALL along I never really had anxiety then? All the internet research, books read, melatonin pills popped, etc were all for nothing???? And what are the treatment options for mild sleep apnea anyway??? A mouthpiece? Losing weight? I'm 145 lbs! lol
Also, to respond to the last post, I actually do have a touch of Hypothyroidism. Diagnosed in 2011. Doctor suggested Synthroid but understood when i said i didnt feel it was necessary right now.
Thank you very much for your kind words. Just curious, if in the (unlikely) event that i do have sleep apnea, is a special mouthpiece an option these days? The doctor explained it all to me, how my tongue might be obstructing my airway and that causes me to wake up during the night, etc. I have read a few success stories, celebrity Joe Rogan in particular, who says the mouthpiece completely changed their lives and they now have 100x more energy after sleep.
Hello everyone. Here is my story. Any advice is very much appreciated during this tough time in my life.
In mid-September 2016 a rather stressful event occurred at work and this was followed by a few mornings of waking up too early and ending up exhausted throughout the day. A bit of anxiety if you will.
My normal sleep time has always been 10p-6a, but I would be waking up around 5am instead. After about a week I began to get very frustrated, and by the beginning of October I had started in with driving myself insane. I purchased new pillows which did nothing, and that was just the start. Over the next two months it would continue… I bought a white noise machine. Tried melatonin. Got blood work done. Began drinking sleepy time and other herbal teas before bed. Blacked out my room as much as possible. Bought a brand new pair of sheets. Bought a book on how to sleep better. And lastly, read every piece of internet research possible on what could be wrong with me.
Throughout these two months, the early wakeups progressed to horrible 3am wakeups. When these would occur I’d fall back asleep after about a half hour or so, then sometimes wake up at the 6am alarm, sometimes 5am again. I was a walking zombie at work, and was becoming physically ill. My life was a fog and consumed by what I now felt was a sleep disorder. I canceled plans, gave up on dating, stopped going to the gym and missed out on other things, quite frankly Bc I was too shot to function properly.
Finally at the end of November I had enough and went to a sleep doctor and told him I couldn’t fix whatever was going on. He told me he thinks I had “situational insomnia” from the work event and that triggered anxiety and my sleep problems. He did say that it should not be lasting too much longer. He said its been 2.5 months. If its 5-6 months in, then there’s a bigger problem. He also briefly mentioned that sleep apnea was a possibility, but I insisted that's unlikely as this bad sleeping began after the stressful event. It should be very much noted that within a month after the mid September stressful event, everything was fine at my job again and there was no more stress.
But anyway, as hard as it was to believe that 90% of nights like CLOCKWORK I was waking up around 3am, I did feel somewhat anxious in general, and accepted what he told me. It was just hard to believe that a person’s brain, mine especially, could work like this and affect my sleep like it was supposedly doing to me almost EVERY single night, and ruining my life.
One week later I had a revelation. Between what he told me and after reading up on some new material I found online, it seemed as if the answer was simple… STOP worrying so much. Accept the problem for right now. Things like that. Immediately, something began happening. I began sleeping better. The 3am wakeups stopped and soon it would only be the early morning wakeups. I built on this and shortly after, by December 9th 2016 or so, I was sleeping normally again!! The rest of 2016 went by fine, with me not believing how mentally sick I’d made MYSELF over my insomnia. It turned out, at least I thought, that my nonstop worrying was only fueling my anxiety and messing with my brain.
This was until around New Years. January 1st and 2nd to be exact, when a few bad nights of sleep had returned. 5am wakeups that left me foggy again for the first time in three weeks. I was upset, and wondering why in the world this returned. Somehow, someway, before I knew it, by mid January, I was back in the cycle of bad sleeping/insomnia. By the end of January, the 3am horrors had even returned. I was devastated. Quickly, I told myself to stop worrying and that was what caused this in the beginning. But something just wasn’t working this time. Now in February, it seemed as if my anxiety returned and decided it wasn’t going to leave as easily this time. This was a horror for me. Zombie days returned, and my lifeless self would get home from work plopping on the bed trying to figure out how to get rid of this FOREVER, but at the same time trying to tell my brain to just relax. Back to the internet I went, but this time there were no melatonin pills or sleepy tea or any of that junk. I beat this naturally before and I knew I could do it again, or could i?
It was now already the end of February, and just like that, for another two months, I was sleeping poorly again. Finally I decided to try the one thing I never seemed to try and that was going on a strict sleep routine (something I had read about). Instead of going to sleep when I felt completely exhausted at 9pm or even 8:30pm, I would return to my normal bedtime of 10pm EVERY single night. Finally, I had some progress. The 3am wakeups became more rare and again, it only became about the 5am wakeups. Soon I was sleeping until 5:30am and then sometimes very close to my alarm at 6am! But by mid-March I was going back and forth it seemed, and for the next month it was clear, I was just not returning to normal sleep. My best case scenario’s would be falling asleep at my normal bedtime of 10-1030, and then waking up around 5, and going in and out the last hour. For someone who has always needed a good 8 hours of sleep, this left me going to work exhausted as per usual, although the good news was that this second wave of insomnia was not as bad as the first. I was shot during the day, but not like I was at the end of 2016 when I let the anxiety completely consume my life. In the rare event in the last few months that I've woken at 3am, I would just turn over and try and relax. Many times I wouldn't even LOOK at my clock.
So by the end of March this has been going on for so long that I began having to put light makeup under my eyes to cover the purple bags. That's right, a 32 year old man having to put on makeup. Bc honestly, aside from those three perfect weeks in December, this was going on now for over SIX MONTHS. Now a month later at the end of April, things are still the same. I feel like I have SOME form of control over whatever my sleep disorder is, but the days of waking up completely refreshed are few and far in between.
I finally decided to return to the sleep doctor who now suddenly wants me to do a sleep study, claiming that since it has been going on this long, sleep apnea is actually a very good possibility. I told him but for my entire life, while never a great sleeper I admit, before September 2016 and that stressful event, I never experienced insomnia. He said he understands but needs to rule this out, and I may have had sleep apnea all along but the insomnia has now only maximized what one experiences during sleep apnea, and how now I'm simply more "aware" of my awakenings during the night.
I have no clue. All I do know is that I’m 6’2 very thin at 145lbs and to my knowledge a light snorer and certainly cannot fall asleep easily anywhere so the chances of sleep apnea being the culprit would truly surprise me. From what everyone has read here, do you actually think sleep apnea is a possibility??