My sleep apnea with insomnia is getting worse

by Jamie
(Ontario, Canada)

I just got my results back for my second sleep apnea study.

According to the results I went from mild/moderate to chronic.

I have 71 obstructions an hour, waking up about 7-8 times in one hour as well. REM sleep cut in half.

I tried CPAP and couldn't ear it and get to sleep and the headaches seemed worse.

I do take imovaine and have for over 4 years. This could contribute to the problem by relaxing my throat muscles. If I don't take them I don't sleep.

Bottom line..going to try CPAP again...and trying to get off the pills. Is this usually a progressive disease? I don's smoke..(15 years), I don't drink, but am about 23 lbs overweight. I was never told what type of sleep apnea I have (obstructive apnea, central apnea).

Any advice would be helpful.


Thanks for sharing your story....Oh my, where do I start!

Is very important to know what type of sleep apnea you have, or what is the cause of your sleep apnea. In this way you will understand better which is the better option for treatment and why.

Your sleep doctor and the Durable Medical Equipment Supplier (DME) should pay more attention to your problems, because you have two sleep disorders: sleep apnea and insomnia.

Imovane does cause irritability, I find. Not sure about depression, but it seems that some patients get that too at times. Bitter taste is a well-known side-effect.

I believe that a lot of these type of sleep meds, including Imovane, are REM sleep suppressants and as such can mess up your sleep architecture.

If you don't believe me, you can check this link and read the section "Who should NOT take Imovane?"

You should talk to your sleep doctor about this.

Regarding your CPAP therapy, you've got to make this work. Hang in there with your CPAP. In time it will work out for you. Maybe you have a wrong pressure, so you really need to get a proper titration done and find out what your correct pressure should be.

Because you also have problems to fall asleep, try hooking up with some ear phones buds and a good iPod with stories. Or if music charms you. No kidding, it works for some patients with insomnia! Anything to keep the cpap on a full night.

Also, don't expect too much from your CPAP so soon! It can take a while for some of the symptoms associated with your apnea to resolve. Unfortunately, because everyone is different there is no such thing as a normal time to relief.

Remember, miracles we can do at once; the impossible takes a little longer!

Good luck with getting your medications sorted out, and with progressing with your therapy.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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Jan 10, 2011
by: Jamie

Thank you very much for the comments.Very helpful and at this point motivational. I'l keep at it and keep pressing for more information from the doctors as well. I always have questions after I've been ther.I need to prepare a list of questions on paper next time.

Jan 10, 2011
CPAP and Drugs
by: Registered Sleep Technologist

If you are treating your sleep apnea with Cpap you should be O.k. I believe the reason they do not recommend it, is because hypnotic drugs actually lengthen apneas in untreated individuals. Same goes for Ambien and so on... still if you are not sure you should ask your physician or pharmacist. Good luck.

Jan 10, 2011
No more meds for me:)
by: SleepySleep

I was able to break my addiction to Imovane (Canadian med similar to Ambien) by imagining I took the pill. I went through the usual routine i.e. I pretended to take the pill, took a sip of water and imagined the bitter metallic taste. Then, while in bed, I wasn't sure whether or not I took the pill. I convinced myself that I had, which eased the anxiety of fearing not being able to fall asleep.

It sounds crazy but I broke the addiction cold turkey this way. Once I realized I could fall asleep without the med, the dependancy was broken.

The mind is a powerful thing...

Try it. It works.

Jan 10, 2011
My wife has the same problem
by: Benji

I feel for those that can't get to sleep as this is the major problem my wife has, she get's tired and sleepy but just can't shut down to sleep. She's been on various meds to try and help but they all have their own unwanted affects.

After a sleep study she was diagnosed with insomnia and put on Imovane and although that helped, after being on it for almost 3 years it had lost its effectiveness and we were very worried about getting her off it although according to the documents it is not supposed to be addictive.

She is now on Seroquel which she takes only when needed and it helped get her off the Imovane without problems. I am hoping that she may agree to go see the same sleep doctor I last saw, he was fantastic and thorough whereas the other sleep doctor spent no more than 5 minutes with you on any visit and was more interested in his clinical trials and profit, not the patient's health.

We both have mixed issues with many of the meds and after the experience with the previous sleep doctor and the Imovane even more so. It's too bad that sleep as a whole still seems to be so poorly understood and something that we all take for granted. I've learned how much it can impact things first hand suffering from sleep deprivation due to recently diagnosed severe sleep apnea for which I am still awaiting treatment but pushing hard.

She has always had problems getting to sleep and once she gets to sleep she seems OK, able to sleep a full nights sleep (when she can ignore my snoring like a jet engine) but we question the quality of her sleep. She has frequent headaches which we both believe are mostly a result of the poor sleep. This is why she has interest in the autogenics.

I too have found this thread interesting as it relates closely to what I see my wife go through.

Jan 10, 2011
Imovane, CPAP and sleep apnea
by: Teresa

Now, I am on CPAP just 5 weeks. To tell the truth, No big improvement. But good news is that after 4 weeks, I mean a few days ago, I did feel good for 2 days (30% better?).

To answer your question, I have to use sleep aid to get used to the space equipment otherwise I will take two hours before going to sleep. I use IMOVANE and my sleep doctor said you could use as long as you need and no side effects and very little additive. In fact, before I was diagnosed OSA, I took this med for years. That time I only use when I cannot go to sleep for one hour then I took half pill work perfect.

Now I have to take one pill every night, I slept 2-3 hours then wake up every hour or hour and half. I believe that is main reason we do not feel benefit right away. Like you, I don?t think that I have any big issue regarding the mask but our brain do need longer period to get used to the air pressure and stranger (mask).

I will not give up until 3-6 months to see what going to happening.

Mar 30, 2011
by: Jamie

Well here I am... I've been off Imovane for almost 3 weeks now, I just decided enough was enough. I have to teach myself how to fall asleep again. I find daydreaming about pretty much anything allows me to fall asleep.My sleep is much lighter than before but I think that will improve with time. Finished anoter CPAP study...actually ued an APAP machine and got my pressue set correctly. I use it every night as long as I can.Once I wake up I take it off so I can actually get back to sleep. I hope to eventually leave it on 100% of the night. Feeling about 60 percent better than before :-) Keep trying

Mar 31, 2011
Well done!
by: Remy

Jamie, I'm so happy for you! If the next week is just a little better than the last week, you can say that this is progress.

Ahh...progress...I love this word when we speak about our sleep:)

Keep it going!

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