I never thought I had an issue with sleep. In fact, I thought I was a fantastic sleeper because I could fall asleep just about anywhere- at the movies, at church and in the car – even when I was the one driving!
When I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, I was skeptical about if my condition was a true medical condition and if I would feel different after wearing that mask all night. I can tell you, I definitely felt different going to sleep with that mask on.
Once I suffered through the embarrassment of showing my family what I needed to wear on my face each night, I struggled to get used to the feeling of the mask strapped to my face and the hose dangling over me to the machine. It felt like just another thing to add to the list of things that wake me up at night – second only to my husband stealing the blankets!
What I didn’t realize though was the immense number of small wake-ups that I had every night because of my sleep apnea which depleted my body of oxygen. For anyone struggling with getting used to CPAP therapy, I encourage you to keep trying so that you can experience its benefits. For me, it really was a commitment to adjust to my sleep apnea equipment. I started with small goals of wearing it to fall asleep, then for 2 hours a night, then 4 hours a night.
But once I started truly experiencing the benefits of CPAP, I was wowed!
Soon after I started using my CPAP equipment, I noticed two improvements. First, my brain fog was lifted. I hadn’t realized how many mistakes I was making at work despite tremendous effort on my part. Once I treated my sleep apnea, even my boss noticed the difference!
Secondly, I stopped suffering from painful, leg cramps. Like many of my friends on sleep apnea treatment, I am completely dedicated to my sleep therapy. I don’t leave home without it; I bring my equipment with me on long vacations and I bring it with me even for just one night away. I know without my CPAP the next day my brain will feel fuzzy and my legs will feel “crampy” and that is not how I want to feel.
After years of wearing CPAP I still wake up periodically because my mask will shift as I turn over or because it’s pressing too hard on my face. What has changed though is now I view these wake ups as slight inconveniences, much like having to steal the blankets back from my husband.
If your CPAP equipment is lying idle, I encourage you to give it another try. Your symptoms and relief may be similar to my experience or perhaps your sleep apnea treatment has helped in different ways. Have you used a CPAP mask? Share your experience in the comments below!
These are the results that Pauline experienced; individual results may vary.
(Pauline is not a patient of CareCentrix and was not compensated for this article)