I have only been using the CPAP machine for two days, but already the morning fog is lifting.
It’s possible that CPAP may have helped me a few years ago. But then, the issue ended up being my medication. Once I switched from Prozac to Wellbutrin, I was able to get out of bed and meet the day. I am still so thankful for my new psychiatrist who helped me think outside of the box. Or at least outside of the options I had been given up to that point.
Reviewing last night’s sleep experience, I am awe-struck at the difference I see.
Three days ago, I was up all night. Having gone to bed at 10:00 PM, I was awake at 11:30, 1, 230, and then 4 and 5 AM. The next milestone was when I should be getting up. Around 7:30 AM, my alarm went off. But this only served as an opportunity to negotiate a new get out of bedtime. I rationalized this by telling myself I actually had until 9:00 AM to get up and going, as I did not need to leave for work until 11:00 AM.
Negotiating is part of my poor sleep pattern now and was the last time as well.
But then I broke down and got out of the CPAP machine. I had been justifying not using it because I reasoned that I needed a new air hose and mask. After being packed up in my closet for years, it must have a way to many germs on it to be safe.
So, I threw away any ideas about my meticulous cleaning regime for the equipment and assumed the worst.
Of course, this gave me the perfect excuse for not using the machine. And then I did not need to worry about how I looked using it. It surprises me that I would be so vain that I would worry about what I look like when I am wearing the CPAP mask. It’s not like there are people lining up to look at me as I wear the mask. No one is selling tickets or posting Tik Toc videos of me, my mask, and me sleeping,
Even my wife has encouraged me to investigate the device and how it may help me feel like I can get up in the morning.
So, for years, I shied away from even considering the CPAP machine as a possible alternative to my shaky sleep problem. I had tucked the idea far away from my consciousness. This way I could continue to be awake all night and point to the fact that something was not right. Now I am back to my depression and unhelpful thinking styles.
This attitude of all-or-nothing thinking often keeps me from seeing an idea that is right in front of me.
So when my GP suggested I speak with my psychiatrist about my sleep issues, I went to My Chart to get her phone number. While I was on, I noticed the link to notes from my recent appointment. There, I saw how she had suggested my earlier sleep study and the possible use of my CPAP machine.
Suddenly, all of the excuses I have made for not using it disappeared.
I was empowered to investigate using it again. After re-reading all the operations guides, I set the machine up on my bedside table. Inspecting the hose and mask, I could find zero evidence of mold, dirt, or any substance that could cause problems if inhaled. So, I filled the reservoir with water, connected the hose and mask, and was ready for bedtime.
Two nights ago, I put the mask on at bedtime and turned on the CPAP machine.
I had forgotten how much air was being pushed into my lungs. But I persevered, reminding myself that it took me a while to adjust to that pressure the last time. And the machine has a button to allow the pressure to start lower and gradually build to the prescribed amount a bit later. This feature is designed to help me get to sleep before the full effect starts.
I made it an hour two nights ago before I took off the mask and switched off the machine.
This was enough time, though, to help me stay asleep. I remember waking up once or twice, but nowhere near as often as the nights before I began using the machine. This was encouraging. There was a bit of negotiating about getting out of bed, but I soon became the winner of that contest.
Last night, I had all the previous night’s success in my head as I went to bed.
Turning out the light, I put on the mask and turned on the machine. Once again, I was able to wear the device for a bit longer than an hour. I have yet to master turning over and having the air tube follow above my pillow. I know this will soon be a non-issue, but not yet. Until then, I will be working on wearing the mask the entire night.
For a change, I am looking forward to going to bed tonight.
Seeing that I can sleep most of the night using the CPAP machine is hugely encouraging. I understand that the change I am experiencing is only two days old. There is not much history to make statistical projections about the future. Once I get to 21 days or so, I can more confidently project the next 30 days.
Well, it’s the next morning and the grand experiment was OK.
I was able to wear the CPAP mask for over an hour. But when I turned over, the hose did not always move seamlessly. This caused more than a little consternation as I attempted to fall asleep. And as I removed my mask, I felt a tinge of failure that I had not figured out how to sleep with the mask on my face.
However, I did once again have long intervals of sleep, which is more than OK.
After all, this was my objective in the first place. After removing the mask around 11:30 PM, it occurred to me that I had gone to bed just after 10 PM. And I couldn’t stay awake very long, so the lights went out and I put the mask on before 10:30 PM. While I had only worn the mask only an hour, I may have slept during part of this time.
And I slept from 11:30 PM until 5:00 AM, before waking to use the bathroom.
But the reason I am less than excited about the result is that I ended up moving my get out of bedtime. I had set the alarm for 7:30 AM. When it went off, I moved my rise and shine time to 8:30 AM. And while my focus was on my moving the wake-up time, I missed the fact that I had slept another 2 ½ hours uninterrupted.
This leaves me with the feeling that last night was a draw.
Neither side won. But then, it should not be a matter of sides. All of this is about me getting enough sleep and being able to get up without negotiating with myself. This morning, I just decided that I needed more sleep and so I took it. With two managers out, I will be closing tonight, so getting up at 7 AM was not necessary.
In the end, I was catastrophizing about a small piece of the experiment and missing entirely the huge win.
5 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep. That is me hitting the lottery. It has been years since I have slept that long in one continuous event. I should be shouting that from the top of the mountain. So I will end here acknowledging that while I moved the ending, I scored solidly in the middle.