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Hope and sharing a possible solution to sleeping on your back
I'm sorry to hear that the sleep number bed isn't so good for you. Maybe not for me either since I have tried sleeping at a steep angle many times (recliner and piles of pillows in bed) and after about an hour it start to hurt my butt from all the weight being relocated down there.

I also use a memory foam mattress topper that is a dual layer type with 2" of firm support on the bottom side and 2" of memory foam on top. I find it to be great for allowing me to sleep on my side without too much shoulder pain from that awkward position. One drawback that it had was that it was much warmer to sleep on so I corrected that by putting a cotton quilt on it before putting the mattress cover on. That did the trick but maybe I'll take it off for the winter.

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BTW, since this thread is about sleeping on ones back, I will add my recent experience in case it may help someone.

Having used the CPAP for a couple of months and learning all I could about trying to reduce the pressure required for the therapy, I finally arrived at a point where I had a good idea that I might put all of those things together and see if I could get by without the machine. I had previously tried a mandibular displacement device (from an internet source, hot water impression type) but didn't stick with it due to the discomfort it caused. Since I could now compare that with the discomfort of wearing a pressurized mask all night I decided to give it another try.

I have used it for two weeks now and it allows me to sleep on my back again. I sleep longer and wake up refreshed without a headache or any other sign that apnea is a problem. So at least for the time being I'm off the machine and comfortably sleeping on my back which is my favorite position. I hope it lasts forever but if not, I still have the S9 AutoSet standing by.

This obviously won't work for everybody and may not work for me forever, especially if my obstructions get worse, but for the time being I'm a happy camper.
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A update on my progress, as I have position triggered apnea I HAVE to stay off getting flat on my back.

This is the third day with my sheet wrapped dual pillows and my third good day.

It seems to be working.

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Well I did get some proof of how my pillow set up works and what happens when it fails.

The last two nights have not been as good as the earlier 5 nights, seems I am fighting it in my sleep.

Last night I defeated the tuck wrap.

I had a normal (for me) 1:24 with 0 AHIs first sleep season, then I woke up after 4 hours (3:57) to high of 5.11 AHI (the rating numbers of apneas) for that sleep season. I found that my back pillow’s tuck had failed and come lose allow me to get flat on my back again.

I re-warped the pillows and got another 3:23 hours of a third sleep season and a AHI for that .30 AHI.

Dynamic proof of how it works.

NOW I can only hope I cannot defeat it in my sleep too often.

Yesterday was a little run down..not sure why..I did have problems breathing the air from our munch fire, (in west Phoenix) especially in the afternoon when I was so bad I could not work in my shop…we even turned on the A/C to help clean the air. The night before was great BY THE NUMBERS of a low .15 AHI…and I had a sleep season of 4:12 hours. Although I did wake up once or twice even in my longest sleep season to just go right back to sleep, did that spoil that sleep season?? I think so.

So the $64,000 question is now which is more important, low AHIs (which I have had before and still have bad days) OR getting 4 or more hours of solid sleep??

Last night I covered above…So it is early morning and I will see how today goes.

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Low AHI is good, that says the therapy is working for you. Four or more hours of solid (i.e. "quality") sleep is good too. The two things are not the same.

Which reminds me of a song...... "Which of these things is not like the other, -- but I digress.

Waking up during a period of sleep, rolling over and going right back to sleep is not an indication of bad sleep. On the contrary, your body could be learning to experience great quality sleep for the first time in awhile. Your way-back brain is programmed to wake you up after sleeping for awhile. The purpose is so you can look around your cave and make sure nothing is about to eat you. Then it lets you go right back to sleep. The message the brain got was "ok, this guy's been really sound asleep for awhile, so it's time to check stuff out."

I learned to enjoy those fleeting moments in the night. For me, it was a "wake-up call" to celebrate how comfortable I was, and how nice sound sleeping was after so many years of not experiencing that. Alas, I don't wake up all that frequently anymore. Once or twice a night is about it.

Quantity does not always equal quality. So don't stress so hard about how long or how many "sleep sessions" you experience. Just go to bed, go to sleep, and when you occasionally wake up just roll over and think how nice it is that you have this nice warm comfy place to be, and nothing is in your cave about to eat you.
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(11-25-2014, 10:35 AM)racprops Wrote: So the $64,000 question is now which is more important, low AHIs (which I have had before and still have bad days) OR getting 4 or more hours of solid sleep??

In your case, Rich, the extra hours of sleep are more important than the lower AHI. I say that because you are telling us that a high AHI for you is up around 5. There is no clinical distinction between a AHI of zero and a AHI of 5. AHI is just not that fine or precise of a measurement.

This is especially true if your events are short in duration. Say 10 to 20 seconds as opposed to 60 seconds. An apnea that lasts 10 seconds is scored in your AHI the same as an apnea that lasts 120 seconds.
Apnea Board Moderator

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I have found that the AHI reports is like a old school teacher Grading on a Curve, the AHI DURING a series of apneas during a sleep season of 2 to 3 hours of sleep can in fact be a lot higher that the total for the whole night. (I cover that in one of my posts below)

AND I find IF I don't get a lease one three to four hour sleep season of good no AHI sleep I have NOT got a good nights sleep and will be a zombie the next day.

Here is a bunch of posts that I have been posting on my face book pages, this shows my efforts to get a good nights and how I have fixed this problem with pillows wrapped in sheets so that I am laying ON the sheet holding the pillows from being moved them part by myself.

AND using a night vision camera (Sony CCD-TRV87 Camcorder)to record my sleeping:

PS I was able to transfer it to my computer so I can post it as well.


There has been times when I kind of question how real Sleep Apnea IS!!

I got my answer: It is very real problem.

Last night I watched a very moving tape of my self-having a serious apnea season.

During the last six minutes of sleep as I woke up, I SAW myself stop breathing for two clear air apneas for seventeen seconds and for then for eighteen seconds and hardly breathe (Hypopnea) for three times for eighteen and then for nineteen seconds and then for thirty three seconds.

I was watching myself on a video tape I made using an old VHS Machine that can record for nine hours using a old Sony video camera that has real night vision.

And this could not be a better film: I had tossed off my covers so I was clearly visible: and I can see that I had woken up and even looked at the VHS machine to check the time and the flopped back down flat on my back and fell asleep again.

Even better my left hand fell on top of my chest, so that I could really see my breathing…honest this was all unplanned and not faked…I just fell back asleep on my back with my hand on my chest with no clovers and saw my breathing stop five times in less than six minutes..

And I saw the ASV Machine pumping as hard as it can trying to breath for me…you can see the face mask pumping up and down like an Alien Face Hugger as the machine tried to keep me breathing..and you can see me not take a breath on my own and you can see that the machine cannot really ventilate me as my chest did NOT rise or fall during the cycles..then you can see that I took a breath on my own and the mask stopped pumping up and down until the next apnea cycle.

During that last six minutes I had an AHI rating of 36.35!!

And even more interesting is up until that last six minutes I have a AHI rating of ZERO: NO APNEAS for five hours and fifteen minutes, not until I got flat on my back after moving my blocking pillows apart during my sleep movements…somehow…After I get the rest of my sleep I will watch this tape farther back and see if I can see how I worked my blocking pillows apart allowing me to fall back asleep on my back.

These things is made VERY CLEAR: A) sleep apnea is very real B) I cannot allow myself to get flat on my back because C) IF I do: I stop breathing, and D) I seem to be able to defeat my own plans and push apart my blocking pillow in my sleep.

Lastly this WILL be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life and each time I fail to stay off my back it can hurt my health and mess up the following day leaving me unable to fully function and do any complex work.
Well I did it again last night, I defeated my blocking back pillow and got flat enough to cause a AHI of 3.23 in 2.5 hours of sleep.

I checked the video and saw how it happened. SO I added a booster pillow under the back part of my main back blocker pillow making it more of a wall than a wedge and I stayed on my side for the second sleep season of 3.5 hours with an AHI .28 which is good.

I will use this new setup for the next few days and see if it can stop my having Apneas.

I also want to amend yesterday’s report, my ASV Machine does in fact ventilate me, I transferred my recording to my computer and with the smaller screen I could see that when the machine was pushing air into me at its higher pressures my chest was rising slightly. So it was indeed doing its job as best as it can.

OK Here we go with another sleep report.


Because for me this is even in some ways a bigger problem that my Heart Surgery. That was a problem for only a few months to perhaps a year before and a problem recovery from for six months.

At this point I cannot say how bad sleep apnea has been. For over two decades I have had what I believe to be chronic fatigue.

And I still seem to be fighting it.

BUT it seems it COULD be a combination sleep apnea and perhaps a Autoimmune Disorder causing chronic fatigue.

Currently my Sleep Apnea is leading and as I master my sleep I can track cause and effect: A Good night sleep and I have a good day. A Bad night sleeping and I have what seems to be chronic fatigue.

It is tricky; a good night is not a total of hours spent sleeping.

It is a total of how those hours are spent sleeping.

I find I need at least one sleep season of four hours with NO sleep apnea a night… two to three hour sleep seasons with some apneas is no good. Those give me chronic fatigue for the next day.
This has been the reason it has taken me over six months to do a model run I should be able to do in two.

This problem is having a MAJOR Impact on my life.

I am reporting these things as a way of helping those with these health problems, and as a warning to anyone that might have these problems…

Lastly so someone that might have an idea or knows something that might help with an offer of their advice.

Lastly my improved pillow blockers are again working and I had what is by the report as a GOOD night's sleep. And again only how the rest of the day goes will be the proof of the pudding.

Well I did it again.

Somehow I defeated my blocking pillows and got flat enough to have a major batch of apneas.

Last night during my first sleep season of 2hours and 44 minutes I did an AHI of 4.01 for the total sleep time, this was the worst reading for the past month.

The night vision camera is worth its weight in gold.

Without it I would not have known that I turned over onto my back and during the last 22.27 minutes produced an AHI of 29.38.

I will now have to see what when wrong with my blocking pillows!

I think it was that my holding wrapped around sheet is now trying to hold both of my back blocking pillows and it is not long enough to go around both pillows and have any underneath me to prevent my pushing them away from the front blocking pillow.

I plan on removing the second pillow from the wrap and after getting some of the sheet to now go under me so my own weight holds it so I cannot push them apart and then placing the second pillow underneath it.

And the fight goes on.

And again I defeated my blocking pillows and got on my back once again for the second sleep season…this was 3 hours and 52 minutes of poor sleep with an AHI of 1.55.

Watching the video show that I did indeed find a way to get over mainly on my back. I am considering either buying a longer piece of cloth that I can get totally under me so I cannot spread the pillows OR a hard back board 90 degrees to the bed, braced against the wall.

File this under: “You can’t win!” :

Well the double wrappings seem to be working. Two sleep seasons in, ZERO apneas, first season 3:26 long and the second one called due to pain was only 2:16 minutes long. Total of 5:420 sleep.

IT is Too soon to know if I have stopped myself from working them apart.

Now my old problem of sleeping on my side has returned…hip and shoulder pain.

I thought I had gotten used to sleeping on my side but it now seems all I had done was to work my way on to my back and caused a fair number of apneas. Which could be the main reason I was having such a bad year…I was unable to catch my self-getting on to my back and thus messed up my sleep every night.

Also I seemed to have been wrong about my being able to sleep partly on my back laying slightly raised up on my back pillow..I can now see thanks to the night vision that does not work, it is nearly as bad as full on flat on my back.

I had been living or rather sleeping in a fool’s paradise.

Now I will have to see if getting around 3.5 to 4 hours of apnea free sleep but waking up due to the pain will be worth it, IE even with the discomfort, will I have bright and awake days.

And will I get used to sleeping on my side to get better sleep.

At lease it is not as bad a pain that I cannot sleep or too bad when I wake up.

The first month I started using the blocking pillows and forcing myself to sleep on my side was a nightmare of pain..so bad I took prescription pain pills to get by.

The battle goes on.

Ok in spite of my food poisoning problem, (Well I did not plan on this, food poisoning.

After super about 5 hours later I when to bed and sleep I woke up an hour and 1/2 later with a belly pain..within an hour I was throwing up…and hitting the bathroom.

I hooked up my Jim Cullen zapper as soon as I could and sat with it for an hour…one more upchuck and bathroom visit and it seems to be over.

As always I cannot say if the zapper stopped it or I was just not all that sick, I cannot risk letting it run its course, I took two carbon pills and use the machine.

It has been three hours lost with this mess. I will be going back to bed…At least it was not an all-nighter…)

I had another fairly good night sleep wise when I was able to sleep.

I got 6 hours and 12 minutes of sleep with an AHI of ZERO again.

And I seem to have fixed my shoulder and hip pain by folding up a small blanket so that it fits between my arm pit and my hip and gives me about 2/3 inches of support, lifting my body slightly off my arm and hip.

I don’t have even a hint of pain.

So here is the total setup:

Two back blocking pillows stacked one on top of another wrapped in a folder sheet so that I lay ON the sheet making it nearly impossible to push aside, a front pillow with a second folded sheet wrapped around it as well and again I lay ON its sheet making moving it aside as nearly impossible.

On top of the front pillow I then add another movable arm rest pillow.

Then there is my hear pillow which is a feather pillow and the there is another pillow I can rest my arm on. I find if my arm is at a more or less 90 degrees to the bed it is less likely to hurt.

Then a thin leg pillow to go between my knees and ankles.

Lastly I have the Sony Camcorder without its own tape (this makes it stay on as long as I want it, put in a tape and it will automatically shut down, I think to save ware on the tape and transport) These have video outputs which I currently run to an old VHS Tape machine with an OLD 9 nine hour tape which will then record a full night’s sleep. With a Svideo out I am looking into getting an adaptor to switch the recording to a Laptop.

I use its remote to start and stop the recordings and to get a early look at my total sleep time or sleep season.

I have found this system really did the trick for me

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OK Little update on my sleep.

As with almost all things I do, after a couple of good nights, I seem to get used to the change and begin defeating it.

This time it is the folded blanket helping relieve the pressure on my shoulder and hip.

After a couple of nights of good sleep seasons, with no shoulder pain or hip pain, I started having pain again.

So I threw in the towel…really I added a small towel to add a little more lift… will have to see how it works out.

I think I will find this will work, as I have relieved a lot of the pressure on my arm and hip so I should be able to get used to this and stop hurting in time.

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OK Here are the pictures of my held in place pillow blockers.

First I fold the sheet like this:

[Image: BlockingPillows1RAC_zps5831ea65.jpg]

Then stack the two back blocking pillows:

[Image: BlockingPillows2RAC_zps5c5f3e50.jpg]

Then fold the sheet over the pillows and lay it down:

[Image: BlockingPillows3RAC_zps0ab90fe8.jpg]


[Image: BlockingPillows4RAC_zps3600f0ab.jpg]

Then when I go to bed I add a second sheet, like this:

[Image: BlockingPillows5RAC_zpsf29dc899.jpg]

Then add my front blocking pillow:

[Image: BlockingPillows6RAC_zps4da69400.jpg]

Then fold the sheet back over so it too is holding the pillow and when I lay on it I cannot push it aside either:

[Image: BlockingPillows7RAC3_zps0ec700bf.jpg]

Next is my body lifting folded blanket that lucky matches my body from above my hip to below my arm.

[Image: BlockingPillows8RAC_zpsca91fe9a.jpg]

Then there is my movable arm pillow and my leg pillow:

[Image: BlockingPillows9RAC_zps1f9dc07d.jpg]

This is my night vision camera, tripod and 9 hour recording VHS machine.

[Image: BlockingPillows11RAC_zps5c8522b4.jpg]

My bed side chest with my PR 960 in the top drawer, I have a light switch, my electric blanket control, a stereo system, a digital clock, the VCR's remote control, my PWM Fan speed control and a magnetic flashlight for low light to save the night vision camera's electronics.

[Image: BlockingPillows12RAC_zps362522c6.jpg]

By using the whole drawer I can turn the unit to remove the tank

And then store the hose and mask inside during the day.

[Image: BlockingPillows14RAC_zps1431762c.jpg]

Thus I lay on the two sheets holding the pillows that are keeping me from moving them apart and this helps preventing getting flat on my back and having high AHIs..

I was able to watch myself work the pillows apart and get on my back with a Sony Night Vision capable Camcorder.

Once I could see how I was defeating my blocking pillows I started looking for a way to prevent it.

And I was then able to see that it worked.

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Hi. I was just wondering: why does it matter sleeping on your back if you use the CPAP ?
I sleep on my back every night and unfortunately wake up,due to shoulder pain. I am trying to sleep on my stomache to relieve my shoulder pain but my neck gets too sore to sleep with it turned sideways all night. ( My tiny nasal mask works fine sleeping on my stomache if I am near to the side of the bed.)
Kimberly from HonoluluSleep-well
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