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Alternate sleep cycles
#1
So, as I continue down the CPAP road, I find myself still persistently bothered by sudden awakenings, night panics, and similar disturbances. I tolerate my mask and generally enjoy the feeling of falling asleep with it. But about four hours in, I suddenly wake up like clockwork. I've posted about this before, so I don't want to go there necessarily.

Given that, I've been doing some research about different types of polyphasic sleeping -- a 90 minute nap during the day then at least two full sleep cycles at night (90 or so minutes each). You train yourself to wake up at the end of the cycle.

I'm curious if anyone has tried alternate methods of sleeping like this to combat the really nasty part of the sleep disorder (sleep disturbances like this). Instead of trying to force 8 hours -- like shoving a brick through a key hole -- it just struck me today that maybe accepting the uncomfortableness of sleeping that long, maybe it's worth a try.

Ideas?
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#2
As I no longer work, and can basically have my own schedule, I have tried not going to bed until tired (regardless of what time it is), and then not setting any type of alarm and waking when I do. For me, the problem is one night I will sleep well and long, and the next night I won't sleep at all, and then the 3rd 'day' I can't function worth spit.

And, because I have a lovely wife, I miss being on the same sleep cycle as her, and then it gets out of whack to the point it is a struggle to handle DR APPTs, and whatnot. So, I stopped this, and am trying to keep roughly the same 'normal' schedule my wife keeps - good nights and bad nights, but overall it's close.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
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#3
I think I'd rather "train" myself to go to bed at a regular time rather than "train" myself to wake up every 90 minutes. That doesn't sound like very restful or "natural" sleep to me. Do you exercise during the day? Have you tried breathing exercises to calm your anxiety? Before starting CPAP therapy I was so anxious about falling asleep because I felt like I couldn't breathe. But the first time I put on that mask at home and switched on the PAP machine I felt much calmer. I felt like "someone else" was going to make certain I would keep breathing throughout the night. Anxiety disappeared. Waking up gasping for air and feeling terribly frightened hasn't happened very often since then.

So… I like how you said "I tolerate my mask and generally enjoy the feeling of falling asleep with it". I think that's a good start on getting good sleep. Stick with that thought. And "train" yourself to go to bed at the same time every night.

And whatever you do, don't give up! Good luck!

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#4
I've had almost nightly panic attacks for most of my life, usually right on the dot at 3:30 am. I also had vivid nightmares, and 'persons' in the room as well. That all stopped after starting vpap 3 months ago. I now associate those events with my central apneas (90 per hour at the sleep study). Since my AHI runs below 1 most of the time now, I only wake to mask and swallowing air issues, and have no nightly terrors at all. I did have a terrible nightmare a few weeks ago, though, when I wasn't able to use my machine. So for me, the link is there between not breathing and basically primal fear.
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#5
Hi PhyllisBalboa!

I have a similar problem, although I think it will slowly fade away now that I have a handle on my apnea therapy. I have this problem of taking a long time to fall asleep since I evidently fear that I'll stop breathing. Apnea has a way of warping the mind in such a way that things like that seem reasonable and possible. I have to play background noise to allay that fear and direct my thought away from my breathing noise so I can think about other things. Even then it takes me over an hour to fall asleep and then I often wake at 3 am and have to waste another hour getting back to sleep.

Sometimes anxiety can be a bigger problem than apnea.

On the bright side though, it's getting better and hopefully it'll be a thing of the past.

It sounds like you've beaten your demons and I congratulate you for it.

Sleep-well

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#6
Surferdude2, hi to you as well. Yes, an interesting subject. I'll probably start a thread at some point about this, since I have beaten some demons with the vpap, and have noticed some things 'in the room' so to speak.

One thing in particular for me is that moving into the dream state becomes almost hypnotic, and so I stop breathing. It seems to be a focussing issue. I focus so much on the dream and its contents that I've developed self-hypnosis. I think my work enabled that, as well as my life history. There's a danger in too much deep focus, especially mixing it up with the dream world.

On the other hand, not being able to focus enough leaves me like you, unable to latch onto the mechanism for falling asleep, leading to anxiety as well. One of the reasons I like my vpap is that its 'companion' breathing reassures me that I won't be dropped off a cliff whenever I forget to breathe because my dream is so interesting.


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#7
(09-12-2014, 09:36 PM)chd3143 Wrote: Given that, I've been doing some research about different types of polyphasic sleeping -- a 90 minute nap during the day then at least two full sleep cycles at night (90 or so minutes each). You train yourself to wake up at the end of the cycle.

I understand that some people have tried seeking the help of professionals to get themselves on a regular sleep schedule. I've not heard of the type of thing you describe.

I've read that there are three types of insomnia. Difficulty falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night, and waking too early in the morning. I have suffered from all three.

My belief is that these are symptoms of sleep apnea that do not go away just because the apnea itself has been treated by putting on a mask and attaching it with a hose to a CPAP machine. It takes time for some of us to recover.

After almost three years of CPAP therapy, which followed probably decades of sleep apnea, I am still progressing and experiencing all three types of insomnia less and less. Currently my biggest problem is waking too early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. I occasionally have trouble falling asleep, and now rarely wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling back asleep.

I have made considerable progress. I used to wake up in the middle of the night almost every night, several times, and usually had difficulty falling back asleep.

Progress is slow but patience is rewarded. Just keep using the CPAP machine and check your data to make sure your therapy is effective. Practice good sleep hygiene.

Sleepster
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#8
For those having poor sleep efficiency, as it is called, I find some background noise makes it easier to ignore all else and fall asleep faster. I hate to get addicted to that but for the meantime it beats spending an hour before the sand man arrives. I've found a web site that offers free colored sound, yes you can get white, pink and brown, and it will run as long as you like for free.

Google freewhitenoise dot com and take a listen. Click the "Simply Noise" button and choose your color.

I like the white version best but YMMV so take a listen to all of them.

If you don't want to keep the puter on all night, you can remove the antenna connector from your TV and get some good white noise and even have the remote control to adjust it. You could also buy a noise machine from Walmart or elsewhere for around $20 that will do the job. I'm planning on testing one from there to see if it does the job, can always return it. I sure don't want something with a detectable repeating loop type of system. Plain old white noise without any change is best, at least for me. YMMV Those rainforest sounds and ocean waves just make me lie there and listen for the start of each loop. Not a good thing...
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#9
Great feedback all. One of the reasons I really love this forum. Someone once told me that if you live with sleep apnea long enough, your brain is tricked into thinking it's a normal state. So, as the theory goes, when you drift into the deepest sleep, or, the nexus we experience between sleep cycles, your brain goes into a fight or flight response because, to it, something isn't right. Even though, it's exactly as it should be.

My sleep numbers are great when I'm using the CPAP. And when I have these awful "awakenings," I'm never experiencing any kind of event except a few seconds of deep, up and down breathing -- exactly like a panic attack. No central apneas, etc. But by the time I awaken, my heart is going a million miles an hour which, if you've had these things, perpetuates an uncomfortable cycle of panic mode. It's the timing of them that made them suspect. They also never happen during the day, evening, or early morning ... just smack in the middle of the night. Someone also mentioned once keeping a light on? Otherwise, to the comments below -- I exercise regularly but am still overweight. I also have two fans in my room Wink Fortunately, my wife loves them too! They're definitely worse if I go to bed late. They're absolutely worse when I eat a lot late at night (which is not uncommon) -- usually high carb late night foods (cookies, cereal, that kind of thing). I also wondered if this isn't brought on by some kind of blood sugar drop.
Surfer dude, I just saw your profile pic ... still laughing Wink
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