I hate that mask sometimes. It wakes me up at night and I just want to pull the hose out and throw the damn thing on the floor. This mask I now have to live with to control my sleep apnea. It covers my nose and I have to keep my mouth shut at night while cold air assaults my nostrils. Oh, the endless joy. Here is my experience with sleep apnea. I hope It will help you if you have the condition, too.
Why Am I So Damn Tired?
A couple of years ago, I noticed that I was always tired. I don’t mean just sleepy but falling down tired even after a full night’s sleep. I could barely get through my morning coffee without wanting to have a nap. More coffee made me feel better for a while but it never lasted. By two o’clock I couldn’t keep my eyes open and could feel my crankiness levels reaching the stratosphere.
I would often fall asleep on the couch by dinner time and often with my phone or remote in my hand. After dinner, I was as good as done and would often want to sleep around 6 or maybe seven. I could sleep 10–12 hours and still make up tired. I would go to the bar, have a beer and want to take a nap. My wife would hurl pillows at me and tell me to sleep on the couch due to my freight train snoring. Yep, this is a problem.
I knew I had some sort of issue. I’m over 40, so I’ve put on some weight in recent years so I thought that that might be the cause of my sleepiness but that wasn’t the cause at all. My doctor told me I have sleep apnea and that mine is a moderate case but still a cause for concern.
See, when you have sleep apnea, you’re always waking up at night but you’re not fully awake. Your breathing will stop and then start again and this can happen multiple times per night. If it’s not treated it can lead to many different diseases including high blood pressure and heart disease. Yay, more fun! I thought my life was over at this point and I got pretty depressed about the whole issue.
I was first given a small device to wear over a few days to monitor my sleeping. I sent this back for the results and sure enough, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I was sent to the doctor for a CPAP machine or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. There’s a bunch of different masks but I picked the nose one as it’s the least obstructive. I found that this fit the best and was the most comfortable to wear.
The mask attaches to a smaller hose and then to a huge hose that bends as you move around. When you wear the mask, you can still move around in bed for the most part. The machine also uses water to humidify so your throat doesn’t get dry when you sleep.
Living with Sleep Apnea
It’s not much fun having to wear that mask each night, but it does make me feel a whole lot better I can get through the entire day without feeling tired and I can go to bed at a normal time. I wake up refreshed on most days and the tiredness is gone during the day. The CPAP machine has become a part of my life and I’m thankful that I have it as it lets me to a whole lot more than I could before since I was so damn tired all the time. My wife can also sleep through the night without my bandsaw snoring. I hope by also losing some weight that my sleep apnea may improve somewhat in the future.
Dealing with the Challenge
It’s difficult and even scary when your life changes health-wise, you may have a whole lot of negative feelings about it. I know I did but I gave myself the time to get used to my mask. I still hate it from time to time but I know the reason I’m wearing it is that it helps me cope with my sleeping disorder and makes me feel better. If you’re not sure about a mask, try a few and you’ll find one that works for you. Ask the doctor about the different masks and get one that you feel comfortable with.
Try wearing the mask for an hour before you want to go to sleep just to get used to how it feels. Practice breathing in and out of the mask and keep your breathing steady. It’s going to feel very weird at first but given a bit of time, you’ll adjust to it without much difficulty. The mask is designed to help you so let it do the job it’s designed to do.
Sleep apnea sucks, but the mask will help you lead a better life. It’s designed to help you so spend some time with it and soon you’ll think of it as an old friend.