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Unable To Sleep at all
Hello everyone,
I am a newbie to CPAP use (10 days) and so far I have not been able to fall asleep while using my CPAP. I have used it while awake everyday to get used to the mask and feel ok with it. When I lie down to sleep I panic and feel like I am not getting enough air, find myself holding breaths here and there and also clenching my teeth. I am going into this with a positive attitude because I am so sleep deprived I have to do something. Any help would be appreciated.
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Welcome to the forum charbat! Glad you found us!

I'm thinking based on what you're saying that maybe you need to contact your sleep doc and tell them you don't think you're getting enough air. Maybe the low end of your pressure range needs to be raise. Instead of 5 maybe you need 7 or 8 - who knows. Talk to your doctor.
APNEABOARD - A great place to be if you're a hosehead!! Rolleyes

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What is your EPR setting? Do you have ramp on? I would try increasing low pressure,turning off ramp and adjusting EPR for exhale pressure relief. A setting of 1, 2, or 3 reduces the exhale pressure by that number from whatever the machine is currently blowing at. If the machine is at 9 for instant then an EPR of 1 reduces the pressure to 8 when exhaling. Experiment. See what feels best. It's like about comfort for EPR and starting pressures.
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I hope you're reasonably comfortable with your mask. I went to a P10 to give me the least possible intrusive feeling.

Regarding air, I hope you've got good help in the startup, and you really are getting enough air. We usually are and it's just that feeling. The nice thing about AUTO machines is that they are a little self-managing.

For the first 3 months, it was a real struggle for me. It took me a year before I really settled in to some settings. I still needed middle-of-the-night sleeping pills for more a year and a half. Suddenly, then, I stopped waking up at 2-3am and didn't need them. That's a miracle for me.

CPAP required a real life restructuring and it took a long time for me. During that time, I don't know what I would have done without the advice from this board. If we ever had a convention, there are about 7 people that I swear I would kiss their feet for their advice! They frankly are able to prolong life for others. But almost everyone is able add one time or another to give good advice on their own personal revelations.

I had a couple of injuries, purely because of sleep deprivation -- even with CPAP. I see them as 2 different things: Getting sleep and getting oxygen. Of course, you must find a way to achieve both as soon as possible. Be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal... and however long it takes.

I went on a little one night away vacation awhile back. Oh no, forgot the power supply. That was the easiest decision I ever made... back in the car for the trip back home to get it. I suppose it was then that we really became good friends.
Sleep Apnea has given me a terrible memory. Please forgive me if I've repeated myself.
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Hi charbat,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
If you have ramp turned on, you could either back the ramp time down or completely turn itt off.
You might consider raising your minimum pressure to 7 and see if that is better for you.
You could also use EPR, maybe set it to 2.
Hang in there for more suggestions and much success to you with your CPAP therapy.
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Hi Charbat I-love-Apnea-Board

I am 12 days into my first CPAP machine so feel your panic about the breathing. I cant really advise you about anything because I am a newbie like you Bag-head but I do know that in the beginning I was so anxious - it did feel very foreign breathing in and out and I had to try and distract myself from thinking about the mechanics of the breathing in and out, and not getting enough air.

Trying to relax about it and not focusing on not getting air has helped me immensely. However, this is easier said that done and I have to put CPAP on about 20 - 30 minutes before sleep while reading my book or watching TV to forget about the breathing.

My very best wishes to you on your journey to better health and more sleep once you have adjusted to CPAP - hope your clinician can help with the air pressure modifications as well if this is what is needed in your case.

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When I first started on the 1st, the low pressure from the ramp seemed very strong to me. But in a week or less I got used to it, and now sometimes it feels like I'm not getting enough air. Which is exactly what I was told would end up happening. My ramp was set at 20 minutes per my doctor's prescription, but I already have knocked it down to 5 minutes. And may turn it off since my pressure range starts off pretty low anyway. I see yours is low too.

If you do have it set to ramp, you could try decreasing it or just turning it off as others have suggested. If the ramp is for 15-20+ minutes, that's how long it will stay under 5. The ramp seems to be a purely comfort setting, so it won't affect your treatment. I think it should be discussed with your doctor before you actually change your pressure setting though. The doctor picked that range for a reason, and a lot of people do adjust their pressure on their own but only because they think it will benefit their treatment. Since you haven't been able to sleep with the equipment you don't know whether it's a good range or not to go changing it. Just my opinion.
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(12-12-2015, 02:37 PM)charbat Wrote: I am a newbie to CPAP use (10 days) and so far I have not been able to fall asleep while using my CPAP.

So, you sleep without it? That's a huge mistake. You need to get acclimated to it and sleeping without it will ruin any progress you do make. Make a commitment to never sleep without it.

Quote:When I lie down to sleep I panic and feel like I am not getting enough air, find myself holding breaths here and there and also clenching my teeth.

I suggest you contact your doctor's office, explain that you are sleep-deprived and unable to function. Ask for a prescription for a sedative as a temporary measure until you can adapt to the machine.

You can ask for an increase in your pressure to treat this problem, but I doubt it will help. Pressure and flow rate are two very different things. When you inhale the machine automatically increases the flow rate in order to maintain the pressure. If you can breathe without the machine (and you can otherwise you'd be in intensive care on a ventilator) you're breathing at a pressure of zero. With the machine the pressure is higher than that, so the machine's pressure can't possibly be the reason you're not getting enough air.

Apnea Board Moderator

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Raise your min pressure to 7.
Your min is to low so its smothering you.

Id raise to 7 then see if i could tolerate a bit less. If not set min where you feel your getting enough air.
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I recently bought an Airsense 10 after using a Philips System One, and find that the A10's algorithm is much more aggressive and any time it goes above 9 or 10 cm it will wake me up (respiratory rate literally goes off the charts in sleepyhead, like above 50 bpm). This can wake me up in as little as 30 minutes after falling asleep, so I have to narrow the pressure range to a max of 9 when using it. You could possibly have a similar problem. Also raise the lower range a few points as others have said, I get the 'not enough air' feeling when under 6.5cm.
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