Sleep apnea and Insomnia

by Sleep anonymous

I can get to sleep, but wake after an hour or two. Then it is impossible to get back to sleep. I asked my doctor for a prescription for Lunesta.

Tried it last night and it did help a bit to sleep longer. However, I hate to have to be addicted to sleeping pills.

If I can't sleep, however, I cannot keep my CPAP mask on. Very frustrating.

Wish there was a natural way to stay asleep. Any ideas?


Firstly, I want to say something about Lunesta, and other sleep medications.

Lunesta can actually make the sleep apnea worst, but I think the thought here is it's better to get some treatment than none until you can fully adapt. So I understand why you take sleep medication.

Either way, medication isn't really the answer and you should try to find a way to adapt to the machine.

Now, maybe you are wondering why can lunesta make sleep apnea worse?

When you go to sleep your body goes into a very relaxed paralytic state. With OSA (assuming your apneas are obstructive) this relaxation causes the muscles and tissues in your mouth and throat to loosen up which narrows your airway and leads to cessation of breathing.

This relaxation happens to everyone but some people already have narrow airways or any number of other physical variables which contribute to actual blockage of the airway.

Sleep medication makes your body and muscles relax even more which can increase the number of apnea/hypopnea events. I believe this is also true for other alcohol, narcotic/barbituates and muscle relaxers.

That's not to say it can't be used as a tool to help people adjust but it should really only be a stepping stone to help people adjust.

I strongly believe that behavioral treatments for insomnia have significant advantages. Research has shown that behavioral treatments are as likely or more likely than medication to succeed over the long term, and they do not carry the health risks or side effects of sleeping pills.

  • I recommend hot baths before you get to sleep. You take a long, hot bath an hour or two before bedtime, which raises your core body temperature and delays its eventual nighttime drop.

  • Although the effect is not huge, altering the body temperature cycle seems to help some people fall asleep more easily and get more sleep.

    This treatment causes no harm and its feels good, so there's no harm in trying it:)

  • exercise regularly - exercise also improve sleep.

  • Research has repeatedly shown that exercise provide three critical benefits: you fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.

    You don't have to run marathons or play full-court football to earn exercise's benefits. Most of the advantages come from temporarily elevating your heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes three or more times a week.

    So, brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, and aerobics all accomplish this.

    Some people recommend to exercise before bedtime. I personally don't agree, but you can experience.

    I don't exercise too close to bedtime because this is a stimulating activity that can make it harder to fall asleep. If you finish exercising at least two hours before bedtime, you'll eliminate the risk.

  • Sleep hygiene, such as:

    • keep a regular sleep/wake schedule

    • develop a presleep routine - start by setting aside fifteen to twenty minutes to resolve any mundane matters that might otherwise be on your mind if left undone when you go to bed (unwashed dishes, plans for the next day, etc.)

    • reserve the bedroom for sleep and intimacy

    • avoid frequent naps.

    • if you can't sleep, get out of bed. Bed is for sleep, not frustration.

    • Get up and do something soothing, such as reading or drinking milk or herbal tea.

  • Control bedroom noise. Maybe your CPAP machine has a high noise level...

  • block out light.

  • keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated.

  • Hide the clock - the clock can be a taunting reminder that you're awake, both when you're trying to fall asleep and when you wake up during the night.

  • Make your bed comfortable - you need a bed you like using, so put some effort into finding the comfort, firmness, and design that suit you.

  • Test some other mattress and buy the one you like it. Same for the pillows.

  • Avoid caffeine in the evening and stop smoking - nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that speed your heart rate and incites fast brain waves activity that interferes with your sleep.

Well, I think you have now an idea how can you help yourself getting a good sleep.

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

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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Aug 15, 2010
maybe the mask is the problem
by: David

do you think it is your mask? Have you tried anything different?

Your leaks and leak rates are ok?

The mask usually seems to be the prime culprit.

Aug 15, 2010
me too
by: Sleepy

This subject has me thinking....

Before my first (and only) sleep study...I used to look forward to going to bed...and I would be out like a light. Of course, that was only the first thing they found wrong with the way I slept during the sleep study.

So, I have Sleep Apnea...and now I use a CPAP....not a horrible thing, and I looked forward to going to bed with it in the beginning, but I do have my issues and there are nights where it doesn't help in making me want to go to bed. Usually in the form of nasal congestion....or mask sores.

But, more recently, I've found that I will have trouble falling asleep. I would have trouble now and then due to anxiety...but seems I have much more trouble than I use to. Then it seems like I'll eventually get off to sleep for an hour or two, and then I'll be awake again wondering if I'll get anymore sleep before morning.

In the beginning with CPAP, it was good...I was waking up feeling better and doing better during the day...but gradually, and possibly connected....all the problems seemed to come back.
Strange thing is that I'll be tired all day, occasionally microsleep....and continue to struggle to stay awake in the evening....not knowing why I'm fighting the idea of going to bed early as an option. But, then bedtime will roll around...and, I won't be tired at all.
And, then I'll be unable to get to sleep.
I suppose maybe I should mention it to my doctor, and maybe another sleep study is in order....though the sleep apnea is currently under control. And, the doctor has found other things wrong with me....some of which could lead to needing to adjust my CPAP (the upcoming treatments has listed as a potential side-effect, worsening of OSA....)

But, here I am...I was tired when I got home, and an hour ago I was debating in my head if I should find earplugs and try to go to bed early...but now I'm not tired.

Could be an interesting new sleep study, if it comes up....'cause in the original, I was the early person to get set up....showing up at 7pm (allowing the tech 2 hours to wire me before the other guy shows up)...but once he was done, I just went to bed and it did take a little longer than normal to overcome the strange bed and the wires...but I still got off to sleep faster than I should've. Now, I can see myself laying there for hours....just as I do some times now.

I've thought about checking out one of those home sleep monitoring things, just so I can see how bad things are. But maybe I don't want to find out (inaddition to not wanting to spend the money)....though I'll spend money on other things related to sleep, if I think it might help.

Oh well, its still early, but I think I'll go off and try to sleep now....

Aug 15, 2010
about Lunesta
by: Anonymous

Hi - I too am on Lunesta off and on - 3 mg - I try not to take it every night - last night I took a whole one as I just wasn't sleepy and it was 1 am - I hate not getting sleepy - that is my biggest problem -

I am 66 years old - I do take 2 melatonin 3 mg each timed released but when I take them every night they lose their potency but when I am off them for 2 or 3 days and then take them it's great - I can sleep without the Lunesta -

I also alternate with Ativan too - I am like you - I want to get off them but it seems there is always a need - I think I average 2 a week but they are expensive and I feel badly when I do take them - I don't think it is a dangerous drug but I just want to be able to take it when I really need it and for it to work- that's why I alternate

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