Sleep Doc's 5 Tips if You Feel Sleepy Despite Using CPAP Every Night
A great majority of my patients feel more alert and energetic when they start using CPAP, but a substantial number of patients do continue to feel “no different than before.” If you happen to fall in the later group, follow these tips and talk to us or your doctor.
1. Ask your spouse if you snore or stop breathing with the CPAP on especially in the early morning hours. This would mean that the CPAP setting need to be adjusted.
2. Make sure you are using CPAP at least 7 hours every night. Studies by Antic et all published in Sleep journal (Volume 34, Issue 01) have shown that CPAP use of more than 7 hours provides the greatest chance of curing excessive daytime sleepiness.
3. Check with your pharmacist and your doctor to see any of the medications you take for your medical conditions can contribute to your fatigue, tiredness, or excessive daytime sleepiness. Further, ask them if these medications can be taken in the evening or at bedtime.
4. Make you sure you are not depressed. When I ask my patients if they are depressed, I often get, “I already am taking anti-depressant medication.” I tell them it is still possible to have residual depression symptoms including fatigue, tiredness, and sleepiness.
5. If you continue to feel sleepy even after going through the above checklist, talk to your doctor about Nuvigil, a stimulant medication.
I do stress to my patients that the CPAP use reduces the risks of stroke, heart attack, uncontrolled blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, and of drowsy driving death whether they feel better or not. CPAP in this regard is similar to cholesterol medication, which reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack, but does not make you feel better. You still keep on taking cholesterol pill to maintain your health. Same way, you should keep on using CPAP every night for seven or more hours.
Best Wishes. Sleep Well, Live Well.