Using a CPAP Machine Again
Getting a consistent good night sleep has been a major challenge. For many years I have struggled mightily with sporadic results. I have gone from using a CPAP machine, to taking meds for Non-24 sleep wake disorder, to nothing and now back to a CPAP machine. Yes, you read right. I have come full circle.
Last summer I started using a CPAP machine again. Seven months prior I took a home sleep test and discovered my oxygen levels were too low. So, my sleep doctor ordered a machine but it took six months to get it because of a major recall and all that pipeline stuff going on. My doctor was singing its praises. She shared how much better my sleeping would be. How much rest I would get. How much better overall I would feel. Although, my non-24 was still lurking in the background, I was sold. But that aint what actually happened.
The Real Story
Now, let me tell you the real story. No salt, no chaser. Yes, I admit initially my CPAP machine was fulfilling all of those wonderful things. I slept better. I felt better. I had more energy. I was doing the happy dance.
But when daylight saving time rolled around in November all bets were off. All my old sleeping problems came crashing back. I wasn’t falling asleep. I wasn’t staying asleep. I had insomnia. When I woke up I felt like death warmed over. I had low energy; no get up and go. What was going on with me? I had been doing so well and now this?
Taking Meds Again
Out of desperation, I started taking meds again. I would alternate between my former meds for non-24 to prescriptions. I even started dabbling with CBD. Nothing worked. Not long term at least. Meds work well for a minute or two but are not recommended as a permanent solution. So, I take them sparingly and only when my sleeping is really bad.
Just the Way It Is-No Miracle Cure
I had made peace with my lack of sleep a long time ago. I know full well sleeplessness impacts mental health and can cause or exacerbate depression. I was not thrilled to go back down those old dark roads. However, initially using the CPAP machine made such a difference that I quickly forgot how bad it use to be. I spoke with my doctor and she said this might just be the way it is but I refuse to totally believe that.
I did a little Googling and found using a CPAP machine is not a miracle cure for all my sleeping problems. The Mayo Clinic listed 10 common problems. Some I identify with such as difficulty falling asleep and distracting noise from the machine. I learned about CPAP resistant syndrome or True Residual Sleepiness. Never knew this condition existed and will chat with my sleep doc about it at the next appointment. Apparently, there are other factors impacting my sleep that don’t have a direct connection to the CPAP machine. Like my non-24 sleep wake disorder and blindness. This was a huge comfort because I saw it wasn’t just me.
Doing All the Right Stuff
I mean I am doing all the right stuff. Keeping my regular bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time every night. Playing relaxing music or a YouTube video. Completing breathing exercises. Reading audiobooks conducive to bedtime.
I also have followed the CPAP machine guidelines for upkeep and usage. Cleaning my supplies weekly. Using distilled water for the humidifier. Ordering supplies when needed. Changing the filter every 2 weeks. Monitoring and adjusting my mask when there are leaks. Sleeping with the machine at least 4 hours a night.
Listening to the Science
To stay positive, I adjusted my expectations. I am listening to the science as they say. I am listening to my body and its responses. Today is daylight saving time again. Changing the clock back and forth has a direct impact on my quality of sleep. But how much I really don’t know. This is not just a problem for me but thousands of Americans. So much so there is the Sunshine Protection Act currently moving through Congress. I am hopeful with this time change I will revert back to those happier sleeping days. I’m ready to do my happy dance again.
Spring is here and time for new beginnings. It is also National Sleep Awareness Week, (March 12-18). So as I sit here this afternoon at my computer writing this post and yawning, I am determined to remain optimistic.