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Sleep apnea, insomnia, and sound sensitivity...
So, I was originally diagnosed with sleep apnea about 10 years ago (about 20, slender) and had serious difficulties with the CPAP machine that I was given, in that I am able to get almost no sleep while using the machine. I tried it for a few months back then, and again in 2008, 2010, and finally this year.

My sleeping problems (besides SA) are mostly that once I'm awakened, I have extreme difficulty getting back to sleep, commonly taking 3 hours or more. The noise from the mask and the machine (an S9 Escape Auto) is enough to wake me up, though I've mitigated the machine noise somewhat by putting it on the far side of my dresser. I can usually fall asleep very quickly without the mask, but it can take hours with it, if I fall asleep at all.

Still, I haven't been able to sleep while using the machine, and last night, when I took off the mask at 4:30 AM, I wasn't even able to get back to sleep without it.

I'm a bit desperate here, and it's significantly impacting my performance at work, and I am also scared to even try to use the mask on a work night, as it could mean going to work the next day on 0-4 hours of sleep. Has anyone experienced something similar? Did you find something that helped?
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gsilver, have you tried ear plugs to lessen the noise, the CPAP should make hardly any nosie you may be hearing the echoing of your breathing. You may also want to try some over the counter sleep meds like Valerian to try to calm you or speak to you GP about stronger sleep meds for a short period of time. I hate prescription sleep meds abut can help some people.
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I have tried the following:
Valerian, Melatonin, Diphenhydramine, Trazodone, Rozerem, Lunesta, Provigil (on the flipside to treat my falling asleep at work)

The side effects were intolerable or it didn't do much good. I don't recall what the Rozerem or Lunesta did to me, but the Provigil left me WIRED at night and the Trazodone gave me extreme sound sensitivity (ex: someone crumpling a plastic bottle felt like I was being hit with electric shocks). With the Trazodone, I did sleep through the night every night that I was on it, if I didn't use the CPAP, but I still had sleepless nights when I attempted to use the CPAP.

I've also tried earplugs, but I awaken with chest pain when I use them. I only experience that when I use the earplus, so I think that that's a good reason to avoid them.
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Hi gsilver,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I'm sorry you have had such a difficult time with CPAP therapy and sleeping as a whole.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and I hope you find a solution to your problems.
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I started cpap on 6/21. The first few nights I was falling asleep right away and sleeping like a baby. The last couple nights though I've been less lucky. One thing is that I'm paying attention to the mask and the inhalation sound the machine makes. For some reason I try to synch my breathing with the motor, which changes pitch at the end of the exhale cycle and before I begin to inhale. It makes breathing feel a little uncomfortable and 'synthetic'.

Other thing is I wake up to find that even though my mouth is closed there is air escaping between my lips.
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I woke up a lot and had trouble falling back asleep before CPAP. Is it possible you wake up because you're not breathing and the adrenaline rush is what stops you from falling back to sleep?
After 2 months, when I wake up now, I fall right back to sleep, usually.
I've also been listening to a self hypnosis CD when I go to bed. It's one that focuses on sleep by Paul McKenna. I got it from the library. I've noticed my AHI has dropped since I started using it. The other thing that helps me sleep is cutting out all caffeine.
Were you evaluated for Restless leg syndrome or Periodic Limb movement? Meds for that is reducing my waking up times a lot. Just ideas I'm throwing out.
Either way, the only way to get used to CPAP is to use it every night without exception. Can you take a vacation? Work on this on days off? I just hope you don't give up. Everyday it seems like new research comes out that links some horrible disease or death to Sleep Apnea.
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I also had problems sleeping the entire night. Doc gave me Ambien and that did the trick. I still feel tired all the time though, like most here. Sad
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Since you've tried so many meds, I won't suggest that track. They've gotten really good though at developing sleep meds for different sleep issues. Like waking up and being unable to fall back asleep. Have you consulted a psychiatrist about these meds or just your GP?

Have you:

- looked into sleep hygiene methods?

- tried to use the machine during the day, sitting up, room quiet, to get used to the sounds and sensations of the mask and machine? This works for a lot of people as they slowly get to where they accept the noise as just part of the surroundings vs something annoying.

- tried meditation that focuses on breathing and makes the mask/breathing sounds less noticeable? (this works for me when I go through bouts of not being able to ignore the sound of my own breathing)

The core of it comes down to you have got to use the machine and mask. You need consistency with your sleep patterns. Your body and brain are habitual offenders. They get used to a routine, to what they think is normal, and will fight to maintain that. And if your normal is waking up and not being able to go back to sleep, then that is what they strive to do. The key is to break that cycle. A psychiatrist and/or counselor (better if you can find someone who knows about sleep!) can help with that a lot. It's not that you're crazy, it's just there's things to learn and unlearn.

Sleep hygiene information should be handed out with every sleep apnea device, every sleep assist pill, and every stay awake pill. It is that important.
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Breathe deeply and count to zen.


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(06-30-2013, 11:27 PM)gsilver Wrote: I've also tried earplugs, but I awaken with chest pain when I use them. I only experience that when I use the earplus, so I think that that's a good reason to avoid them.

What kind of chest pain? Many people report a "muscle strain" type of pain when first starting CPAP that eventually goes away, sort of like what you get after a flu that has you coughing a lot. Is it possible that, with earplugs, you are sleeping more soundly and therefore starting to experience irritation because of sub-optimal sleep position, mattress firmness, or pillow setup? If so, you might just want to work through the initial acclimation and continue trying to use earplugs.
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