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Need some help/hints on falling asleep
Need some help/hints on falling asleep
My journey to this stage is not as long as some of you that I have read, but it is a different one!  After an at-home test, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.  I went for the sleep test, tried three different masks, ripped them all off due to severe claustrophobia, and left after 30 minutes!  I actually went and spoke with a therapist about the claustrophobia.  Months later, I then rescheduled for a 2nd try at the sleep test...along with a prescription for anxiety.  It seemed like it took forever, but apparently I was able to fall asleep for four hours.  This was using an "Amara view" mask.

So recently, I got my machine which automatically ramps the pressure up after so long (30 or so minutes) from 4 to 13.  I had a TERRIBLE time trying to adjust to the Amara view mask and could never sleep with it.  If I didn't have the perfect seal, it felt like I was sticking my head out of the car window while traveling 70 miles an hour...couldn't catch my breath.  So I went back and got a full face mask.  I should say that I cannot do the nasal pillow ones...I have to have one that covers my mouth because I turn into a mouth breather when I sleep apparently.  I tried it in the medical equipment office and it was like night and day.  Amazing!  VERY mild feeling of claustrophobia but I can relax enough not to want to rip the mask off.

NOW my problem is falling asleep.  I could be falling asleep on the couch, but when I put the mask on to breathe, I cannot get use to the feeling.  I know this will take awhile.  I get that.  I even tried the anxiety medicine and a melatonin but that didn't work either.  It was only when I took the mask off did I fall asleep.  Do you have any tips/tricks for falling asleep with it on?  I am also a side-sleeper.  Usually (without the mask) I have to turn on my side for a few minutes and then I fall asleep.  Any tips there?

Also, wearing this mask almost immediately makes it difficult for me to breathe through my nose.  Should I try nasal strips or does this require some adjustment to the way I am wearing the mask?

Thanks for any help.  I really need this to work.  I'm tired of sleeping on the couch and not with my wife!
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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
One trick for sleeping on your side is to hang your mask off the edge of the pillow. Also wheat chaff pillows work well. I sometimes get a stuffy nose with a Full face mask but don't have an answer for it. I just breath through my mouth.
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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
Hey Mike, 

Welcome to the forum where you will find answers provided you stay with it and don't give up. Treatment of your apnea is very important but there are challenges. I too am a mouth breather using a full face mask. Although I do not have claustrophobia I do have two family members with claustrophobia that do use CPAP treatment. One of them uses a nasal mask and the other nasal pillows. I am not sure if they are mouth breathers but I feel sure neither of them would be successful with a FFM. Several members are using tape to control mouth breathing apparently with success. Search the forum for their postings.

You mentioned using the ramp feature. I was doing that pretty heavily until I started reading postings from members that were using very little to zero ramp. I stopped using the ramp and never went back. Experiment with different ramp settings, try to find what works best for you. Too low on starting pressure and you do not gt enough air to be comfortable.

It is a challenge to find a FFM that fits and seals comfortably and does not leak excessively and combining that with your claustrophobia makes it even more difficult. At least look into other ways to deal mouth breathing so you can maybe use a nasal mask or nasal pads. I feel sure you will start seeing meaningful  help from others. Hang in there and good luck.

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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
A recommendation for getting used to the mask is to wear it whilst watching TV etc so your brain gets used to the alien on your face
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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
You could try the method I had to use to get used to masking up with pressure. I put the mask on while sitting at the PC or while reading a book. I gradually increased the time I could tolerate the mask being on until I felt more comfortable, then I progressed to masking while sleeping. I used that time as well to make fit adjustments to the mask straps. I have the Amara View and it's currently my backup to the main mask, the ResMed F20. I do not believe I have claustrophobia, but I didn't adjust well to the mask and sleeping very well. Also, I did get a script medication for sleep assistance due to extreme sleep deprivation while starting on the ASV. It seemed to help me transition to sleep faster. Coffee
Dave Sparky DukeNukem

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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
I would turn on the EPR so you will hardly notice the difference in breathing, start on 3 and go less if you can tolerate it, it makes it easier to breath out so you do not have to fight against the machine.  Also a pressure starting at 4 is a bit low, most people feel air starved at this pressure, it is worth considering putting it up a bit maybe to 8 as a starting point.  You will need to go into the clinician's menu to do this.
It will take a bit of time to adapt.

Welcome to the Apneaboard.   Smile

Getting used to the mask on your face can also stop you from sleeping.
Anxiety can also effect you, so stay calm and use the methods others have said about having it on while doing other things.  Hose disconnected.
I am NOT a doctor.  I try to help, but do not take what I say as medical advice.

Every journey, however large or small starts with the first step.

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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
My first thought was that your initial pressure is so low as to probably do a pretty solid job of helping you to feel anxious and maybe oxygen starved.  Not great for claustrophobia.

Taking your thread title literally, at face value, I have a fairly good routine, but it's mine and it works...for me.  Firstly, when comfortable and settled, everything feels secure, and I can close my eyes, I begin a mental journey.  For me, it is firing a steam locomotive from dead cold.  There are things that must be done in sequence, but many can be done concurrently to save time and increase efficiency, and when running through those, I often fall asleep inside of a few minutes.  Anything that requires some basic arithmetic is likely to have you sleepy in no time at all.

If the sleep is elusive, I turn over onto my left side in a foetal position.  This is the 'recovery' position for those coming out of anesthetic.   It is important to be on one's left side because of inner physiology; your can pass gas from both ends much more efficiently.  Those having endoscopies and proctoscopies will do much better this way.  We PAP endurers often have aerophagia, and lying even for a few minutes on our left sides, lower legs drawn up a bit, is often helpful.

All of this assumes that you can manage your initial anxiety.  If not, it's little wonder why you had to tear away your face mask inside of a few minutes.

I wish you success, and SOON!
Serial Tapist
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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
Try wearing the mask ONLY around the house.  If you have a favorite television show try the mask while watching the show.  This will get you used to the feeling of the mask on your face.  Remember the first time you wore a wrist watch or put a wedding band on?  Those things can drive you crazy but eventually you forget they are there.  You just gotta get used to it and doing it during the day or early evening does not add the pressure of closing your eyes and dozing off with that thing stuck to your face.

 The second problem occurs when you start getting a good nights sleep and are no longer sleep deprived.  It will take longer to fall asleep.  For me it seems like my nasal passages are closing when I first lie down but eventually I just kind of relax and everything goes smoothly after that.  I can even lie awake in the morning connected to the machine and the air flow feels great!
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RE: Need some help/hints on falling asleep
Hi !

This might interest some of you. It's an article on the web for those having problem falling asleep. 

Relax and Win: Championship Performance/ How to fall asleep in two minutes 

This is a military approved technique that apparently as been proven to be very good . 

You might want to try it !  Bag-head    snorybob.
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